Treble-winning captain Perry drops retirement hint

Marlborough captain Darren Perry has dropped a big retirement hint after guiding the team to a glorious treble.

Darren, a Marlborough player for over 14 years, hung up his boots following the team's Carrow Road Norfolk Sunday Senior Cup final win in 2009.

But this season he was coaxed back into action at the age of 39 by the north city pub side's manager Mark Jones who wanted to add some experience to his crop of young talents.

Darren turned up for an early-season game against AFC Wanderers as a sub, but was pressed into action early on and has never looked back since.

Injury to regular skipper Shaun Cameron saw Darren pick up the captain's armband and he has been sporting it proudly as the team has won the Norwich Sunday League Cup, , and the Premier Division title.

The crowning glory came when Marlborough beat Camden Tavern 4-1 at Carrow Road to add the Norfolk Sunday Senior Cup – thereby becoming only the sixth team in 54 years of Norwich Sunday League history to achieve the illustrious treble.

No-one was more proud than central midfielder Darren whose decision to play again has been rewarded with the best season of his career.

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He is comfortably the oldest player in a team of largely 20-somethings and teenagers. 'It's been really enjoyable to play alongside them and it was nice to see the lads all playing for each other. Mark has put the morale back into the team and it has been like the old times,' he said.

'I was a bit worried about my age and whether I would be able to compete but I seem to have done OK.

'I would like to thank everyone at the Marlborough. It has been a great pleasure to be a part of it all. I would also like to thank the FA because a lot of people don't see what they do behind the scenes.'

Darren, a father of two boys, with another on the way, admitted he was leaning towards retirement for family and business reasons, although he would like to help the club off the pitch.

'I thought winning the double under Matt Foulger in 2009 was propably as far as I was going to get but having come back and won the treble maybe it is time to go out on another high.

'With my young boy Rio, 8, coming along as a player it will be nice to get behind him and help him as much as I can. I know I will miss playing once the season comes round so you never know I may even end up coming back. But at the moment I think I will be bowing out.'

Marlborough took centre stage at the Evening News Copy IT Norwich and District Sunday League awards dinner at the Holiday Inn. Trophies were presented to the cup winners and divisional winners and runners-up. The secretary of the year award was presented to Kevin Brown of Vale Longo and awards were also made to the league's top four referees of the season: Stuart Bidwell, Larry Choate, Matt Carpenter and Matt Gostling.

A special award of a carriage clock was made by the league committee to referee David Jordan for over 25 years service. The league's annual meeting is on June 12 (7.30) at the British Legion, Aylsham Road. Twelve new teams so far have applied to join.

Honours Board

Division One: champions Marlborough; runners-up AFC Wanderers.

Division 1a: champions Fiveways; runners-up Vale Longo.

Division 1b: champions Sprowston Rovers; runners-up Bayer.

Play-off winners: Bayer beat Vale Longo 2-0.

Division 2a: champions Sprowston Sunday; runners-up Hockering.

Division 2b: champions Acle Rangers Reserves; runners-up Moles Rest.

Divison 3a: champions Riverside Rovers; runners-up New Buckenham.

Divison 3b: champions One Love United; runners-up Briston Wanderers.

Division 4a: champions Bungay Town; runners-up Brooke.

Division 4b: champions Schoolhouse; runners-up William Wanderers.