Former Brighton striker to bolster Dereham Town’s attacking options

Joe Gatting in action for Swardeston in the East Anglian Premier League earlier this season. Picture

Joe Gatting in action for Swardeston in the East Anglian Premier League earlier this season. Picture: MARk BULLIMORE

Dereham Town have won the chase for the signature of former Brighton and Hove Albion striker Joe Gatting.

The 28-year-old has been playing East Anglian Premier League cricket for Swardeston this season, prompting plenty of local interest as the football season honed into view.

Gatting is the nephew of former England cricket captain Mike and the son of former Arsenal, Charlton and Brighton defender Steve.

He was released by Hampshire at the end of the 2015 cricket season after three years with the county but earlier in his career Gatting played football for Brighton – including against Norwich City as the Seagulls were beaten 3-0 in a Championship game at Carrow Road in 2006.

'Joe was a professional at a young age and has played a lot of football at Conference and Ryman Premier level,' Dereham boss Matt Henman said.

'We completely understand that cricket is his first priority but obviously we are delighted to complete a signing of his quality.'

The striker played in Ryman Division One South for Peacehaven & Telscombe FC last season but is now working locally and bolsters Dereham's attacking options.

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'It's easy for us to say we're signing a former pro,' Henman added. 'But having met Joe it was clear he was exactly the sort of character to complement what we already have and to help our younger lads develop.'

Gatting's signing is added to by further good news for the Magpies, as defender Jay Eastoe-Smith has also re-joined the club.

Last season Eastoe-Smith had been on a dual registration deal with Norwich United but with the Planters now also in Ryman League Division One North following promotion, that has come to an end.

The defender is a strength and conditioning coach in the Norwich City academy and made 13 appearances for United last season, scoring once as he helped keep the Thurlow Nunn Premier Division title at Plantation Park.

That follows on from last week's news that former Lowestoft midfielder Dawid Radomski and former Ipswich and Yeovil trainee striker Max Melanson had signed.

• Ryman League fixtures for the new season will be released on Friday, July 15.

The Thurlow Nunn Eastern Counties League will confirm its full fixtures on the same day but has already released fixtures for its opening week.

In the Premier Division this sees Fakenham host Hadleigh United on Saturday, July 30, when Thetford travel to FC Clacton and Swaffham to Saffron Walden. First Division new boys Wisbech st Mary will host AFC Sudbury Reserves and Gorleston will entertain Leiston Reserves in the League Challenge Cup.

The following Tuesday Wisbech travel to March Town United in the First Division. On the Wednesday Kirkley & Pakefield host Gorleston in the Premier Division and Diss Town travel to Dereham Town Reserves in the second tier.

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