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Benevolent Fund does it's job for Jay after his career-ending injury

By Herald Express  |  Posted: November 22, 2012

  • RAISING THE BAR: Above, from left, Jay Miller, Anthony Roach and Martin Hoare with Wattsies' FA Charter Standard Status award; top right, Lee Breslan and Brook Ward go up

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AROUND a thousand SDFL players take the field every Saturday to enjoy their afternoon's football, with the vast majority coming off unscathed.

Inevitably there are the rare occasions when serious injuries do occur which can leave players struggling both physically and financially.

October 13 this year was one such occasion, as Watts, Blake and Bearne's Jay Miller painfully recalls.

The midfielder found himself on the wrong end of a challenge which left him with a broken tibia and fibula.

In an unhappy afternoon at Wall Park, there was one grim stroke of luck for Miller: a paramedic was already in attendance following an earlier serious knee injury sustained by Brixham's Lee Hazlewood.

After this second incident, referee Steve Bygrave called time on the match, and Miller, at 31 years of age, has since decided to hang up his boots.

He recalled the 'excruciating' pain as those boots were cut free, leaving him screaming until the welcome relief of gas and air, and eventually morphine.

Miller's leg has now been permanently bolted together and the groundworker faces a lengthy period off work.

Fortunately, WBB are one of the Premier League clubs who have chosen to donate to the SDFL Benevolent Fund set up to financially assist players in precisely such a predicament.

Miller gave his support to the scheme, as he was presented with his cheque last Saturday.

"I didn't know about it before but I think it is a great thing.

"I had no savings or anything, so when it hit me it hit me hard. Thanks to Wattsies and the Fund, it's really helped."

Clubs become eligible for support after making a small minimum donation, and the fund can also be topped up by individuals and organisations. "I do encourage other clubs who aren't doing it to pay into it."

Miller added: "It does pay off, even if you already have your own insurance."

Miller was among the supporters at Abbrook Park last Saturday as a dynamic and mobile Kingskerswell & Chelston put recent disappointments behind them to outscore weakened Wattsies 4-2 in the Herald Cup Third Round.

Manager Neil Snell had nominated himself in place of missing goalkeeper Jamie Bradley and it wasn't long before he was picking the ball out of the net. After five minutes, Snell raced out of his area to replicate Joe Hart's defending header from England's midweek International. The ball landed at the feet of young Brook Ward who had a far simpler passage to goal than Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Kingskerswell doubled their lead when Snell's save trickled out to Shane Shobbrook who tapped home.

In an entertaining half, both sides traded good chances and after another Ward strike was ruled out for offside, the Claymen seemed to galvanise themselves into action, culminating in a scrambled goal for Andy Eden.

After the interval, former Kingsteignton player Darren Sowerby curled a shot against the post and later provided the cross that led to the equaliser: Aplin's save from Dan Massey's header ended up at the feet of Eden who struck gold again.

The champions regained the lead soon after courtesy of a quick free-kick and some hesitation at the back, Louis Horton striding through to score. Sowerby and sub Curtis Booth both had goals called offside as the Premier heavyweights sought the all-important next goal, but when Booth's low cross was turned in by Gareth McEwan the game was up for Watts, Blake and Bearne.

They may have been knocked out of the cup, but WBB can look to a brighter future after receiving their FA Charter Standard Status award. The current home pitches are due to be carved apart by a road development project, but two more pitches are currently being developed on the site, which is owned by Sibelco, the minerals company which took over WBB Minerals.

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