EVO-STIK LEAGUE SOUTHERN PREMIER DIVISION: Luke wings in for Bluebirds (From The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald)
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EVO-STIK LEAGUE SOUTHERN PREMIER DIVISION: Luke wings in for Bluebirds
LUKE Ballinger is looking forward to a fresh challenge at Hardenhuish Park next season after making the switch to Chippenham Town from local rivals Frome.
The 24-year-old winger, who is captain and all-time top goalscorer of the England Futsal team, has agreed to join Nathan Rudge’s Bluebirds after turning down a move to Conference South Weston-super-Mare.
The former Melksham Town man, who also spent time at Swindon Town and Bristol City as a youngster, was Frome’s top scorer with 11 strikes last season and revealed that he would have been content to remain at Badgers Hill for the coming campaign before Rudge got in touch.
“Weston talked to me but with what they were offering, I didn’t feel that it was the right move for me. You have to think about your job and travelling and things like that,” said Ballinger.
“I told them that I’d be staying at Frome but I then got a call from Rudgey and when I met him. He came across really well and it seemed like a good time to make the move.
“I loved my time at Frome – they’ve got a good chairman, a good manager and there’s a great set of guys there, who are all my mates, but sometimes you feel like you need a fresh challenge.
“I played once for Chippenham when Darren (Perrin) was the manager (in 2007) but I eventually moved to Mangotsfield United, so I know the club well.
“I spoke to Griff (Alan Griffin) and Steve Casey and it seems like pretty much everyone is staying with the club, so that’s a good thing too – it seems like some of the Chippenham fans aren’t too impressed with me but hopefully I can win them over.”
Ballinger will be a like-for-like replacement for Ross Stearn, who has left the Bluebirds to rejoin Weston.
The 21-year-old, who had a short spell with the Seagulls in 2010 and was named Town’s most improved player last season, expressed his thanks to the Bluebirds on his Twitter page, saying: “I would like to thank everyone for all the support they gave me last season and wish them all the best in the future.’’
CHIPPENHAM are holding a prize draw on July 7 at the Blues Bar for businesses or individuals to become their main shirt sponsors next season.
Draw tickets will cost £150 and winners will also win a pitchside advertising board and hospitality for 10 guests for the first home league match of the season. Call 07768 353558 for details.