HEAD coach Carl Teasdale is expecting 2004 to be a big year for the Golden Star ABC as he hopes to unleash more of his new crop of novices into competitive action.
Ellesmere Port's oldest boxing club has been patiently developing its latest batch of talent for the past 18 months and after handing a trio of his most advanced students their debuts a fortnight ago, Teas-dale is looking forward to blooding further youngsters in the coming weeks.
He said: 'We're up and running and now that some of our lads have tasted their first action, it won't be long before they're receiving invites from other clubs for more match-ups, and things should snowball from there. It will also provide inspiration for the other boys in our gym who will be eager to get in the ring themselves.
'I'm planning to put a show on about April time as we should be able to pull a team together by then with between four-to-eight boxers of our own. We know that we have no problems with filling a venue when we stage such an event because the Golden Star name sells itself and we've got terrific support. It will be something for us all to look forward to - a goal to aim for.'
Teasdale is delighted with progress being shown by his squad as a whole but is particularly pleased with the development of four of his members.
He said: 'Tony Cridland has been a great pupil and he travels to our gym three times a week from Elton. He first came to us as a small and frail 11-year-old two years ago and there wasn't a great deal we could do with him as it was difficult to find suitable match-ups. But he has grown both physically and as a boxer and he held his own in his first contest, sticking to his task for three rounds and boxing to the letter.
'Ashley Dodd, 15, has been with us for less than 12 months but has progressed fast. His determination is second to none, he learns really quickly and has good fitness. He's doing really well and is channelling all his energy into ringcraft. He didn't get the decision on his debut but that was more down to referee. Even the home crowd booed and hissed at the call.'
He added: 'Ashley Poole, also 15, is another kid with a good attitude and determination. He's 11-and-a-half stone and he's going to be a big, strong man when he's fully developed. I'm expecting big things from one of my seniors too with 18-year-old Matty Beaton also poised to make his bow. He's a young apprentice
with a firm in Chester and he loves his boxing. He's not afraid of hard graft and is a powerful, healthy lad who gets stuck in.
'All four of these lads were honoured this month as we gave out our prizes with Ashley Dodd picking up the Billy Whit-marsh Memorial Trophy, Tony Cridland the Billy Whitmarsh Achievement, Matthew Beaton receiving the Billy Hickman Memorial Trophy and Ashley Poole collecting the Jack Barry Memorial.'
A Golden Star show in the New Year would also provide the club's youngsters with the chance to box in front of their own crowd.
Teasdale said: 'We consciously made the decision to let the lads make their first step on their own without any outside pressures. Parents were asked to stay away and although some were a bit disappointed to miss out, they were able to understand
our reasons. It's hard enough taking part in their first contest without having to think about impressing watching family members, but they'll be fine once they've got a couple of bouts under their belts.'
Although Teasdale does not want to make large additions to the Golden Star squad as he is committed to the lads who have already dedicated their efforts to the squad, he insists that the club is far from being a closed shop.
He said: 'What I need from young boxers is a commitment to make regular appearances at the gym and a dedication to learn. I don't want anyone who just shows up expecting an easy life, they've got to be prepared to put the work in.'
Teasdale is assisted in the gym by club secretary Charlie Beswick, who uses his considerable experience to great effect, and Ian Williams, who started out with Teasdale as a schoolboy at Golden Star.
Progressing through the ranks and racking up 70 contests as a senior, Teasdale's boxing career spanned from 1984-92.
He said: 'I started out as a featherweight and progressed to light-welter and welter in my latter years. I represented the North West Counties and West Lancs/Cheshire ABA's and fought, won and lost against numerous champions, many of who went on to the pro ranks. Coaching is different because I'm concerned with the welfare of others rather than myself, but I'm totally dedicated to the Golden Star cause.'
The Phoenix Club on Cambridge Road has been the Golden Star's home since the late-80s, but before then, Ellesmere Port's oldest boxing club had something of a nomadic existence with several locations.
Life began for the Golden Star in Billy Hickman's garage back in 1967 and 'home' included the Carnegie Suite over the library in Westminster and the Princes public house before the move to the Phoenix.
Teasdale said: 'I'd like to thank the Phoenix for their help over the years, but it's still our dream to have a place of our own. I'm hoping to go and visit the council to see if they can help, but what I'd really like is a gym that I can lock up myself at the end of the night. We're still looking for a sponsor to come on board and help out.
'The general maintenance costs of the gym is something that we wouldn't have to worry about if we had a backer, but what we might lack in finances we make up for in our hearts. There's a real steely determination in the squad I've got currently, and with a little more polishing, I've got a real bunch of contenders on the horizon.' The Golden Star ABC train on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays between 6-7.30pm. If you can help with sponsorship or would like more details on the club, contact Carl Teasdale on 07901 814 582.