Suffolk Senior Cup draw fiasco
RED-faced Suffolk FA officials have had to hastily rearrange the Suffolk Senior Cup second round draw after FOUR teams were accidentally left out of the hat at the weekend.
Following the completion of the non-league competition’s first round ties on Saturday afternoon, players gathered in club houses across the county to listen to the last 16 draw as it was announced live on BBC Radio Suffolk just before 6pm.
The only problem was someone forgot to include Grundisburgh, Leiston St Margarets, Haughley and Corton – the lucky teams who had received byes past the opening games.
A re-run of the draw will now take place on Friday at 6.30pm, with teams anxiously waiting to see whether they will be handed a more or less favourable fixture in their quest to reach the prestigious Portman Road final.
Non-league managers have reacted with a mixture of amusement and anger at the fiasco.
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Many weren’t aware of the error when The Evening Star contacted them yesterday morning and some had to hastily cancel sponsorship and travel plans that were already being made.
In addition, those who end up having a home draw taken away from them also stand to miss out financially, as larger non-league crowds are expected that weekend (November 19) due to the fact that Ipswich Town are playing away.
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The Suffolk Senior Cup is contested by clubs from Step Six of the non-league pyramid (Ridgeons League Division One) and below, with the chance to play in a final at Portman Road a massive motivation for all those who take part.
The county FA sent out an e-mail apologising for their mistake yesterday afternoon, with some recipients feeling a little more forgiving than others.
Phil Knight, the chief executive of the Suffolk FA, said: “Regretfully, where eight games should have been drawn there were only six.
“We have contacted the clubs to inform them of the mistake and have arranged for the second round ties to be re-drawn on Friday at 6.30pm.”
THE PHANTOM DRAW
Achilles v Whitton Utd
Felixstowe Utd v Cornard Utd
Lakenheath v Team Bury
Long Melford v Ipswich Ath
Ransomes Sports v Melton St Audry’s
Stowmarket Town v Beccles
WHAT THE BOSSES SAID
“It’s a bit of a fiasco isn’t it? We were all going out in Colchester as a team following our game on Saturday so we couldn’t get near a radio, but I told our physio Karl Baldwin to have a listen on his drive home and let us know who we’d got.
“When he rang us back and said we hadn’t been drawn I didn’t believe him, but he just said ‘listen mate, I’m telling you – they didn’t read our name out!
“We’re laughing about it but at the same time it’s pretty serious.
“The Suffolk FA are always coming down hard on us with fines, but are they going to fine themselves?
“I’ve got one suggestion. I remember a couple of years ago when we won the competition we were told we had to pay �55 in insurance money to hire the trophy for a celebration night at our club house.
“Maybe the Suffolk FA could foot that bill this time around for the winning team?”
– Mickey Squirrell, Grundisburgh
“We were relatively pleased with a home tie against Cornard, but it’s not the end of the world.
“The Suffolk FA have been quite harsh on us at times, but we know how hard they work and there will be no grudges as long as they are big enough to hold up their hands and admit their mistake.”
– Ian Watson, Felixstowe United
“It wasn’t the easiest draw (Ipswich Athletic at home), we could have got, nor was it the hardest.
“These things happen sometimes and I suppose if you want to win it you’ve got to beat the big teams at some point.
“Time will tell if this goes against us or works in our favour.”
– Jason Maher, Long Melford
“Although we were drawn against the holders (Whitton) we were pretty happy with the draw.
“Ipswich Town are away from home on that weekend meaning we would have probably got a good-sized crowd.
“The chairman was already joking that we would have to reinforce the collection box, while someone had already asked to sponsor the match.
“We were looking to raise somewhere between �100 and �200, which is a lot of money for a club like us.
“Now, if we get handed a long away trip, we might have to pay out that much in travel costs instead.”
– Alan Middle, Achilles
“To be honest we are quite happy it’s going to have to be re-drawn because Lakenheath are a good side that got to the final last year.
“That said, you have to beat the best sides if you are going to win it and sometimes it can be better to face them in the earlier rounds.”
– Ross Wilding, Team Bury
“We’re disappointed because we had a home draw against Melton, who are in our league. Knowing our luck we’ll probably get someone naff now.”
– Peter Gorham, Ransomes Sport