v Nailsea & Tickenham (8 August 2020)

Tuffley Rovers’ first pre-season fixture of 2020/21 ended in a narrow defeat, away at Somerset County League side Nailsea & Tickenham, but it was a far from disappointing afternoon as Mark Pritchett’s side played for the first time in almost seven months.

Rovers’ last competitive fixture of 2019/20 had taken place on 22 February 2020, when they had run out 3-1 winners against Brackley Town Saints, so Pritchett’s squad were desperately in need of game time, although they might have wished for slightly cooler conditions, with temperatures in excess of thirty degrees throughout the game making it a tough return to football.

The two sides had met in Rovers’ opening fixture of the 2019/20 pre-season campaign, with Pritchett’s side recording a narrow 2-1 victory, so this promised to be a tough game and it was ultimately decided by a 16th minute close range finish from Josh Benjamin, after good work from Luke Osgood.

Despite the result, there were plenty of positives for the visiting side, as Pritchett was able to give a debut to 16-year-old Jacob Geddes, who looked like a player beyond his years at centre-half, as well as welcoming Harrison Iddles, Henry Birkett and Liam Wright into the squad. There were also appearances for Miles Ferguson and Antoine Thompson, who had only featured briefly during the hastily concluded 2019/20 campaign.

So, despite the result, valuable game time for a rusty looking squad and a couple of stand-out performances for Jake Rhodes, Geddes and wide-man Joe Shutt.