Wickham Market aim to show their worth in Omnico Cup final

WICKHAM Market have a chance to show in tonight’s Omnico Cup final that they will be worthy members of the Senior Division of the Kingsley Healthcare SIL next season.

They take on Crane Sports from the top flight at Notcutt’s Park, Woodbridge (kick-off 7.15pm) having been promoted behind champions Leiston St Margarets from Division One.

Manager Steve Cooke said: “A number of clubs are not keen on us moving up because of the reputation the club had a few years ago.

“I was a player in those days and have to admit that we were not all sweetness and light.

“But we have changed and instead of us kicking Crane Sports tonight it will be them kicking us.

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“If my players get booked I double their fine and tonight gives us a chance to show that we are now a footballing side.

“We have come a long way.”

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One of the few junior clubs to reach this final, Wickham Market have beaten Achilles and Felixstowe United to get this far.

“I’m quietly confident that we can do well,” added Cooke. “But we know that Crane will start favourites and are a very good side.”

After originally taking Wickham Market from Division Three up to Division Two, Cooke returned as manager at the start of this season vowing to get promoted to the Senior Division.

“We have let ourselves down in recent weeks and failed to turn up when losing to Leiston St Margarets,” added Cooke.

“Our form dipped after that and the boys owe themselves a good display tonight.”

Cooke, who is assisted by Freddie Crowfoot, says that he will be staying as manager next season.

“There are rumours about me and my former club Framlingham Town, but I like the way Wickham Market work and the people and enjoy being at the club. Freddie does most of the work to be honest and is an unsung hero, and it is hard work that has seen the turn round in the club’s fortunes in recent years.

“The club has been living on its Suffolk Senior Cup appearance at Portman Road in 1982 for too long, and it’s time to change that.”

Ironically, it was Crane Sports that Wickham played 29 years ago losing 1-0. The Greshams-based side has had a mid-table league season and is managed by Kevin Sharman with Gary Bevis his assistant.

Chairman Steve Roper said: “We are all looking forward to a tough battle with Wickham Market having a strong squad of players.

“We have had a good run of results recently, which has ensured our senior status and huge praise to Kevin Sharman and Gary Bevis for getting the very best out of the squad.

“Reaching this final is a great reward for all their hard work and also for those who put in so much time behind the scenes, especially treasurer Shaun Barnett and secretary Mary Barnett.

“We go into the final in a confident mood but aware that we will have a very hard game on our hands and will possibly be seen by many as underdogs.”

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