Bourne Town and new boss Raffa Mazzarella have had a tough start to the season and life in the UCL Division One has just got harder with the news that last season’s player of the year has left the club.
Midfielder Craig Rook is set to become the third Bourne player to join last season’s UCL Division One champions Oadby.
Before the season even started Aaron Bellairs and Dan Smith joined Oadby but the latest departure comes as a big loss to Mazzarella, just months into his first season in charge of the Wakes.
Mazzarella said: “Its a blow. I knew that it was always going to be tough.
“Rookie is one of the senior players, not in age but in experience, and with Dan Smith leaving at the start of the season and Aaron Bellairs going before the start it is three of the best players from here last season leaving.
“It has got me thinking where we would be with them here. It has definitely made it a lot tougher.
“But Rookie leaving gives someone a chance to come in from the reserves or maybe internally. We are not looking to bring anyone in.”
Mazzarella got a good taste of what the club’s reserves can do when he watched them beat Northampton ON Chenecks at the Abbey Lawn on Saturday in the UCL Reserve Division.
Jake Mason, Harley Williams and Ashley Wilson scored in the 3-2 vicotory.
Joshua Dawson and Lee Wilson had given Northampton a 2-1 lead at half time but Bourne fought back to earn the three points.
Mazzerella said: “It was a strong display against a decent outfit. The spirit looked good and they were playing some nice football.
“They are a young unit, which is exactly what a reserve team should be, and there will be a chance for them to play their way into the first team.
“There will probably be some reserves players in the first team squad at the weekend.”
The manager said he was particularly impressed with Jack Bottreill.
Things don’t get any easier for the Wakes tomorrow when Bourne host Division One leaders Lutterworth, who have won all four of their matches to date.
Mazzarella went on a research trip to watch Lutterworth on Wednesday night and said: “Lutterworth finished fifth in the league last season which is no mean feat and I think they are going to be up there at the end of the year, they have certainly started with intent.
“I saw Lutterworth play last year a couple of times and they are a young, quick, fit side who press high.
“All I am looking for us to do is get our heads down and compete, make it hard for the opposition and try and nick something.”
Mazzarella was pleased to see an improvement last time out when the Wakes drew 2-2 with St Neots Saints and his side have had a weekend off to recover from the fast pace of the season so should be fresh.
Although they conceded an equaliser in added on time against St Neots, Mazzarella felt his side worked much better as a team than in their 7-3 opening day defeat by Irchester.
He said: “We were very nervous in our first game but we are getting there, we just need to become a bit smarter.
“We have plenty of goals in us and we will cause teams problems.”
“Someone said watching us it is men against boys because we are so young, and to be fair that is true most weeks, but it doesn’t mean the men will always come out on top.”