Clubs’ choice to return to neutral venues

THE decision to return to neutral venues for this season’s Suffolk county cup semi-finals was the choice of the clubs.

Mick Pearce, chairman of Suffolk Football Association, said that they had listened to what the clubs wanted and had acted accordingly.

He said an initial straw poll saw 90 per cent of clubs in favour of neutral venues, and this figure was repeated when clubs across the county were consulted at the start of the season.

For the past two years clubs drawn out first have had home advantage, but all ten senior semi-finals drawn last Friday will once again feature neutral venues.

The idea to do all the draws on one night at the county’s headquarters in Stowmarket was held for the first time last season, and Pearce said it had proved even more popular this time around.

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Each club was invited to send two representatives along, and around 50 members of the Suffolk football fraternity turned out to find out their fate.

“We didn’t have as many here last year, so it was pleasing to see a significant growth in numbers, and the draw has certainly thrown up some fascinating ties,” said Pearce.

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“The stand-out tie is Whiton United against Grundisburgh in the semi-final of the Suffolk Senior Cup. I have seen Grundisburgh play this year and they are very strong and I saw Whitton’s win at Lakenheath in the quarter-finals and I think a fantastic tie is in store.

“Then there is Leiston against Bury Town in the Suffolk Premier Cup. You would expect the three Ryman League teams to be strong (Lowestoft Town face Ridgeons League Haverhill Rovers in the other tie) but you never know.

“It will be interesting to see what sides they put out which will depend upon the league games they have to play at the time because all three Ryman sides are trying to win promotion.”

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