Walsham-le-Willows prepare to host Ipswich Town in Suffolk Premier Cup tie

DAVID is preparing to host Goliath in the first round of this season’s newly-named John Banks Suffolk Premier Cup.

Walsham-le-Willows, with a population of just 1,100 will entertain Ipswich Town, whose borough boasts a population of 138,000, on Wednesday, October 17, after manager Paul Jewell instigated the club’s entry for the first time since winning the competition in the 2009/10 season.

Ipswich were drawn out as the home team, but the npower Championship club have agreed to concede home advantage and play the match at the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division side’s Summer Road ground. Walsham will therefore keep the gate money, meaning they will gain more out of the tie than if the fixture was played at Portman Road.

Mike Powles, chairman of Walsham, revealed: “We contacted Ipswich Town as it is such a big game for us and we wanted to sort out when and where it would be played.

“The tie was scheduled for the week before, but Ipswich Town did not want to play then, so we agreed to put it back a week and they said they were happy to come to us.

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“On previous occasions when they have been drawn at home in the Suffolk Premier Cup they have agreed to play at the smaller ground, and we are very pleased they have decided to do so.

“It is not every day you get the opportunity to play a professional club, and it will probably be a case of the smallest team in the competition versus the biggest in the competition.

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“Walsham only has a population of 1,100, so it is a big game for us, although it is difficult to say how many people are likely to turn up.

“We would expect our gate to increase to over 200 (Walsham’s average home attendance so far this season is 65) as people like to come and see a professional club, especially with potentially one or two first-teamers in action.

“We have played an Ipswich Town Under-18 side before in a pre-season friendly, but this is different, although the side they put out will depend upon who is available and who needs match fitness.

“At the end of the day the more people who come through the gate the more food and drink we will sell at the burger bar and bar.

“We have improved our facilities in the last couple of years and we now have more car parking available, assuming the weather is reasonable, across the road.

“Potentially it could be the biggest game to be held at Summer Road, although we did have about 500 youngsters here to see Thurston College play in a national quarter-final against Reading last season.”

Ipswich Town secretary Sally Webb said: “Although we were drawn at home we were more than happy to switch venues. It’s something we have done regularly in the past and suits both clubs. The County FA are always happy to support the change in venue and we thank them for that.”

Powles added that the tie, which is scheduled to kick-off at 7.45pm, may have to be postponed if Walsham draw their FA Vase tie at Hadleigh United the previous Saturday and require a replay.

The first match of this season’s John Banks Suffolk Premier Cup competition took place last night when the holders, Ryman League Premier Division Lowestoft Town, hosted Brantham Athletic from the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division.

The remainder of the first round ties are scheduled to take place next Tuesday.

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