Town already out of one cup competition

IPSWICH TOWN: The Blues will not be defending the Suffolk Premier Cup next season.

The decision will disappoint a number of top non-league clubs in the county, who enjoyed the prestige and financial gain of playing against Roy Keane’s second string.

After a long absence, Ipswich decided to return to the competition in 2006/07 and their presence enhanced the county’s major cup competition.

“When Ipswich came back into the Premier Cup it was a fantastic PR exercise for them,” said Needham Market manager Danny Laws.

“We played them three times in four seasons and to draw 800 spectators to our ground showed how Ipswich can interact with the local community.

“Being in the competition went a long way to Ipswich making friends and after all local clubs channel good young talent their way.

“It is up to them how they work, but they will be sorely missed from the Premier Cup.”

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Ipswich’s decision is made even more surprising with neighbours Norwich City opting out of the Combination reserve league and entering the Norfolk Senior Cup instead.

The Canaries last won the competition in 1989 and had not previously entered for a number of years.

Ipswich, who have not ruled out making a Premier Cup return in 2011/12, are believed to have based their decision on the expectancy of fielding stronger second XI’s next term.

Critics will argue that Ryman League Premier League outfits like Bury Town or Lowestoft Town and even Ryman Division One Needham and AFC Sudbury would give Ipswich a better game than a reserve team of a Blue Square Premier League side that they have met in the Combination in recent years.

Ipswich do play regular second team games against other league clubs behind closed doors, a trend that is practiced commonly among midland-based teams.

“There have on occasions been a bit of a mis-match but this did not matter as far as I was concerned,” added Laws.

“To have a massive club like Ipswich come to your ground with their manager on the touch line and all conducting themselves impeccably is a huge thing.

“We lost 4-1 in last season’s final and we had to chase the ball around a lot against the likes of Pablo Counago, Lee Martin and Alan Quinn.

“But you go into this game to strive to play against the best.

“Full marks to Ipswich for playing a number of local clubs pre-season, but to have the chance of a competitive fixture against them is what we will miss.”

Ipswich beat Leiston 8-0 in the 2007 final before they lost 3-2 to Lowestoft in the first round the following year and 1-0 to Needham in the semi-final in 2009.

Ipswich have confirmed that they will continue to stage the final at Portman Road.

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