Thurlow Nunn League new boys Wisbech St Mary ready for their huge day

Dean Miller makes a vital challenge during his time at Swaffham - skills Wisbech St Mary will be kee

Dean Miller makes a vital challenge during his time at Swaffham - skills Wisbech St Mary will be keen for him to replicate this season. Picture: EDDIE DEANE - Credit: Eddie Deane

Wisbech St Mary will kickstart a new era this afternoon when they officially begin life at their highest-ever level.

The progressive village club, formed in 1993, have rapidly grown in size and stature and this summer gained promotion from the Kershaw (Cambs) League Premier Division – despite finishing fifth.

That upward move now sees the Saints plying their trade in the Thurlow Nunn League First Division alongside a host of the area's illustrious non-league clubs, such as 1994 FA Vase winners Diss Town. And they can't wait to get started. Up first during their maiden venture at Step Six is a home clash with AFC Sudbury Reserves – a match boss Arran Duke is hugely excited about.

He said, via Twitter: 'Massive day for us. Our first game of the season in Thurlow Nunn Division One at home to Sudbury Res #newchallange #bigday'.

That momentus occasion may provide a string of competitive debuts for well-known semi-professional players like Robbie Harris, Dean Miller, Nick Davey and Matty Hails who have all been enticed to join the Beechings Close adventure.

St Mary's match is only one of five on what is an unusually early opening day of the league's 2016/17 campaign – brought about, in large, by next weekend's FA Cup fixtures.

In the Premier Division, Fakenham Town – who stayed up by the skin of their teeth on the final day of last term – will be looking for a positive start at home to Hadleigh United.

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The same can be said for Thetford Town and Swaffham Town. Both received relegation reprieves last time around so will be keen to avoid another season of struggle. Thetford travel to FC Clacton while Swaffham, back under the management of Paul Hunt, visit Saffron Walden Town.

In the Thurlow Nunn League Challenge Cup second round Gorleston get their competitive action under way by hosting Leiston Reserves. Both sides received a bye in the first round.

A host of the area's other sides will be playing their final, or penultimate, friendlies of the summer.

One of those will be taking place at The Walks where King's Lynn Town welcome Lowestoft Town.

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