YATE Town have been dealt a double blow after captain Mike Bryant and Tom Seery left the club to join newly-promoted Southern League Premier club Paulton Rovers.
The key duo are the first confirmed departures of the summer with the lure of playing football at a higher level proving too hard to resist, while Yate are yet to announce any signings.
Paulton boss Nick Bunyard announced the double swoop on the club’s website.
He said: “Tom is a young centre half who has been outstanding for Yate over the last couple of years. “He's quick, strong and is technically good and he should develop into a top centre half.
“I don't see why he can't be a full-time footballer if he keeps working hard and improving.
“Tom has turned down a good offer from Weston-Super-Mare which is testament to what we are trying to do.
“Mike was Yate’s skipper and is a midfielder who gets beyond the front man and chips in with goals. “I've been a keen admirer of his for the last couple of seasons and am looking forward to working with him. He's still young and should keep improving over the next few years.”
For midfielder Bryant, the move represents the next step on his rapid rise from Berkeley Town, where he started his senior football career.
He joined Yate from Slimbridge in the summer of 2012 and helped the club reach the first round proper of the FA Cup for the first time in their history, hitting the late winner after coming off the bench in the third qualifying round tie against North Leigh to set up the now-infamous meeting with Newport County.
Bryant was handed the captain’s armband last season following a mass exodus in the summer and scored eight goals, one of which came in Yate’s 2-1 Southern League Division One South and West win at Paulton in March.
Defender Seery joined Yate from Chippenham in November 2012 and soon became a fans’ favourite when he scored the only goal of the game in a derby clash at Mangotsfield a month later.
His last appearance for Yate came in their 2-2 draw at home to Gloucestershire City in the third qualifying round of the FA Cup last October.
Seery’s form at the start of the season saw him being the only player from the fourth tier of the non-league to be selected for a South West XI, jointly managed by England C boss Paul Fairclough and Craig Laid, to face Devon FA.
However, he pulled out as Yate’s FA Cup replay against Gloucester was on the same night, where he broke down in the warm-up, and did not play again for the remainder of the season after undergoing an operation on his knee.
A statement on the Yate Town website said: “Yate Town Football Club would like to wish both players the very best for the future and thank them for their service during their time at the club.”