By Connor Steel
AFC PORTCHESTER have announced the resigning of hotshot striker Lee Wort for the new 2023/24 season as the club look to push for Southern League promotion; the thirty-one year old returning back to the On-Site Group Stadium after a highly successful third period with their former Wessex League Premier rivals Sholing.
This news was announced by both clubs on Monday morning (June 26) and will add another attacking threat to Portchester’s ambitions next season; Wort set to contest his position against Brett Pitman, George Barker, Ryan Pennery, Scott Jones and Harrison Brook in Dave Carter’s side for the new campaign set to start soon.
It also won’t be the first time that Wort has played for the Royals, having first joined the club in late July 2020 under the leadership of Mick Catlin. He stayed for two years and although the 2020/21 season was truncated due to Covid-19 regulations, the striker netted forty goals during the following year as Portchester ended 7th.
The striker re-joined Sholing last summer and proved a large component in the Boatmen’s maiden promotion to the Southern League Premier; scoring twenty-seven goals from 38 matches. He further scored the opener as the Boatmen sealed promotion over Hamworthy United in the play-off final; winning this match 2-0 in May.
His contributions for Sholing stretch back to the 2013/14 campaign; helping them clinch their FA Vase ‘title’ at Wembley alongside Wessex League glory that season. Five years later in 2018/19 Wort doubled up well with Dan Mason in the Boatmen team; the duo adding 114 goals between them as the side again won the league.
When he joined Portchester in 2020, the striker was the second highest ever scorer for the Boatmen; having scored 256 goals from 472 matches under Dave Diaper. Wort has furthermore had a spell with both Gosport Borough and Poole Town throughout his career, alongside a sadly unsuccessful trial with Accrington Stanley.
Wort will likely make appearances for Portchester during pre-season, which begins against Camberley Town on Saturday and includes a match versus former side Sholing on July 25. And the Royals have learnt the full fixture calendar for the upcoming 2023/24 campaign following an ‘official league meeting’ held this weekend.
They will open their season on August 8 with a home tie against Hyde & Dibden, which follows a potential FA Cup game three days earlier. The Royals are further playing Bournemouth Poppies and Laverstock & Ford in two more home matches before travelling for their first away trip versus Hamble Club on Tuesday, August 22.
The festive period will see the Royals play three matches, firstly playing Moneyfields on December 23 before hosting Brockenhurst at the On-Site Group Stadium seven days later. 2024 is currently due to start with their postcode derby with United Services Portsmouth on January 2 and then a home tie against Sherborne Town.
Two local derbies versus Fareham Town are scheduled within the fixture list; the first El-Creekio taking place on September 30 whilst the reverse match is planned for Easter Saturday (March 30). The season ends with two blank weekends to catch up with postponed fixtures, alongside games versus Petersfield and Stoneham.
PICTURED BY DANIEL HASWELL: Lee Wort hits his low effort on target against Alton back in early January 2022; the attacker proving dangerous with forty goals for Portchester during the campaign as team finish 7th.