Bob Coleman Cup preview: Benhall buoyant ahead of Achilles clash

Benhall St Mary win the SIL Division One title

Benhall St Mary win the SIL Division One title - Credit: Archant

Victory for Benhall St Mary in tomorrow’s Bob Coleman Cup final against Achilles, would cap off a memorable season for Carl Wilkins and his side.

The Badgers won the SIL Division One title last weekend and reached the Suffolk Junior Cup semi-final, losing to eventual runners-up Oulton Broad.

All this has come in Wilkins’ first full season in charge and the icing on the cake would be to win the final this evening, against the Senior Division giants at Woodbridge Town (kick-off 7.15pm).

“The boys are definitely on a high and have done really, really well this season,” said Wilkins, who replaced Alan Crick as permanent manager at the start of the season, and is ably assisted by trusted leftenant Mark Eagle.

“A lot of (Division One) teams wrote us off halfway through the season, but we stayed strong and, apart from the Junior Cup disappointment, showed great resilience to go on a nine-game winning run prior to last week

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“I can’t fault the lads, they have been immense all season – we have lost three games (in the league) and they are ready for the final.”

Tonight’s game could give an indication of how Benhall may fare in the Senior Division next season, as their opponents have just finished runners-up in the top flight and are the newly-crowned Suffolk Senior Cup winners.

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“Achilles are a class side, they won the Senior Cup, so it should make for a good game,” Wilkins added.

“We hold them in high regard and we came up against a lot of their players when they played for Ipswich Athletic and beat us in the Junior Cup final two years ago.

“We know how good they are and some of them could be playing at a higher level.

“We are confident of holding our own though.”

Wilkins is a relative rookie when it comes to managing in adult football, having initially helped former Benhall manager Crick out from the touchline, towards the end of last season, before the erstwhile Badgers’ boss stood down.

“I only ever worked with kids before, but I helped out at the end of last season,” Wilkins said.

“The lads asked me to carry on in the summer and I have managed to feed off some of the older players’ experience and we have a good unit here that is hungry to do well.”

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