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Kings of Anglia Issue 10 Magazine Offer

Bacon's Bites: More 'feel-good' factors at ITFC. And for goodness sake, slow down those bikes!

Leiston are crowned winners of the Suffolk Premier Cup Final.  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Leiston are crowned winners of the Suffolk Premier Cup Final. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Archant

Mike Bacon takes a look at the Suffolk County cup finals, Danny Capriani’s call-up and the speed of speedway!

Christy Finch celebrates after scoring for Leiston to make it 2-0.  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNChristy Finch celebrates after scoring for Leiston to make it 2-0. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

It was good to be at Portman Road watching the Suffolk Premier Cup final on Wednesday evening.

Leiston deserved their win over a gallant Bury side, who played 50 minutes with just 10 men.

But for me it is always good to see Suffolk’s top non-league cup final at Ipswich Town – I hope this continues for many years to come.

Of course, it hasn’t just been the Premier Cup on the hallowed turf at ITFC this week, many other Suffolk County cup finals have taken place there.

At a time where many folk are talking about ITFC being at ‘a crossroads’, with a new manager set to be named, a discount on season tickets having been offered and the recent appearance of owner Marcus Evans on video, the county non-league cup finals have come at a good time for all concerned.

Another ‘feel-good’ factor.

Because make no bones about it, Ipswich Town Football Club, get a lot of good comments and vibe from the non-league community in the county because of their staging of Suffolk FA finals, and the club’s participation in the Premier Cup.

Midfield action at Portman Road in the Suffolk Premier Cup final on Wednesday night.Midfield action at Portman Road in the Suffolk Premier Cup final on Wednesday night.

The amount of chairmen of non-league clubs I speak to, many of them with good local business contacts, are positive about it all.

It’s important.

Last year, Suffolk FA had to stage many of their finals at Colchester United’s Weston Homes Community Stadium.

And while some still are played there, most are back in Suffolk.

There are lots of good players in non-league and many ex and current professionals come from the non-league game.

It’s not hard to see why.

Fine lines. Opinion is key.

Wasps' Danny Cipriani (left), called up by Eddie JonesWasps' Danny Cipriani (left), called up by Eddie Jones

One manager’s ‘holding’ player is another one’s ‘lacking creativity’.

Another’s ‘solid at the back’, is another’s ‘lacks pace’.

As I have said, there are fine lines and apart from the Lionel Messi’s of this world, plenty in the professional game, especially in the Championship and below, could easily have fallen on the other side of the fence and now be playing non-league – something many of them and their clubs would do well to remember.

So, it’s fantastic to see Ipswich Town supporting the grassroots game in the county.

Indeed, I think it’s time for Suffolk FA to be able to prepare for all their prestigious finals to be at Portman Road every season.

If ITFC want to be even more ‘community’ and, just as importantly, be even more ‘relevant’ to fans of the non-league world here in the county (of which there are thousands), then that commitment would do nicely.#

Another bad crash at speedway, where the faster bikes are still on tracks made 40 years or more ago. Photo: STEVE WALLERAnother bad crash at speedway, where the faster bikes are still on tracks made 40 years or more ago. Photo: STEVE WALLER

I’m a bit of a Danny Cipriani fan.

I know he hasn’t been whiter than white over the years – a drink driving conviction two years ago a case-in-point.

However, as a rugby player, I rate him.

Although he’s now 30 I think he brings real energy to a game, especially when coming off the bench.

So, I’m glad to see Eddie Jones has named Cipriani in the tour team for South Africa and has given a bit of a shaking up to the Six Nations squad that so disappointed.

The one thing I would like to see is Cipriani start.

As I mentioned earlier, he excites, ‘when he comes on’.

Perhaps it’s time to give him the No.9 shirt from the off.

The speedway season is up and running, but sadly so is the injury count.

Already, riders are having to take long spells out of the sport because of injury.

This week two Mildenhall Fen Tigers’ riders, Jordan Jenkins (broken vertebrae) and Sam Bebee (fractured wrist) crashed out of a meeting at Birmingham which saw the Brummies’ Mitchell Davey suffer a punctured lung, several chipped vertebrae, a broken shoulder blade and 12 broken ribs.

Horrendous injuries for these young men.

OK, so they know the risks. But speedway bikes are simply too powerful these days.

Tracks that were built for races lasting 62-64 seconds over four laps, some 40 years ago, are now having to cope with race times four, five, six seconds faster as the bikes get more potent.

Can you imagine if golf courses hadn’t lengthened holes to cope with the new equipment and super long-hitting players of today?

The top golfers would be hitting many of the par 4’s in one. Golf has at least tried to address the problem as best it can.

Speedway needs to do the same.

While making the bikes less powerful won’t stop accidents, less speed will give riders that extra half second to react.

And that could be the difference between life and death.

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