FOOTBALL: Eastern promise as Luke signs off from Bees

Dorset Echo: QATAR-BOUND: Chris Luke QATAR-BOUND: Chris Luke

CHRIS Luke is set to bring the curtain down on his Bridport career this Saturday after accepting an offer to work in the Middle East.

The 31-year-old midfielder, who has served the Bees for the last 14 seasons, is off to Qatar at the end of August with wife-to-be Fiona.

Both have secured new teaching jobs which will see them set up home on the Arabian Peninsula for at least two years.

That means tomorrow’s game at Slimbridge (3pm), Bridport’s final Toolstation Western League Premier Division outing of the campaign, is almost certain to be Luke’s last for the Bees.

He and Fiona, currently PE and maths teachers at Budmouth College, get married in July and then fly out to Qatar after returning from their honeymoon.

Luke and his partner took time over the decision to move, but ultimately it was one that they felt was too good to turn down.

“We talked about it for a few months,” he said. “But we fancied a lifestyle change and doing something a bit different.

“It’s a totally different culture and way of life out there, and that appealed to us so we’re really looking forward to it.

“The big decision was leaving our jobs at Budmouth. We’ve both got really good jobs there and it’s an enjoyable place to work.

“Of course we’re going to miss friends and family but it’s a lot easier to get around the world these days and we’ll be able to chat to them on Skype.”

As for his football, Luke is keen to carrying on playing when he settles in the Middle East, though it is likely to be at a more leisurely pace than what he is used to at St Mary’s Field.

But one thing is for sure, finding out the latest Bees’ result will definitely be one of his top priorities.

On his time at the club, he added: “I’ve played in the Wes-tern League since I was 17 and, although I want to keep playing when I’m out there, it would be nice to do it more for fun.

“I’ve had 14 seasons at Bridport so I will miss it. You get used to preparing for matches and then being with the lads in the changing room.

“I think it will be my last game on Saturday and, even though you can never say never in football, I don’t envisage playing for the club again.

“They are a good club to play for and there is a great bunch of lads there, so it will be a shame not to play with them after Saturday.”

Ryan Dovell, an unused substitute against Hengrove last Satur-day, returns to action at Slim-bridge.

Chris Senior is back in the squad, Darren Watts and Morley are unavailable, while Matt Condliffe is suspended.

The sides drew 1-1 at Bridport back in October with Condliffe scoring the hosts’ equaliser.

Bees (from): S Filkins, J Filkins, C Clarke, Senior, Evans, Ry Hayter, Stewart, Luke, Wise, Richardson, Dovell, Buckler, G Bulman, Rh Hayter

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