Bungay prepare for first Senior Cup final appearance in 55 years

Bungay Town have a big night out at Portman Road. Picture: Shaun Cole

Bungay Town have a big night out at Portman Road. Picture: Shaun Cole - Credit: Archant

Bungay Town take on Woodbridge Town at Portman Road, Ipswich, in the final of the Suffolk Senior Cup on Friday night – and they intend to enjoy it.

It will be their sixth appearance in the prestigious final, but their first for 55 years, and they will be up against a Woodbridge side who play three steps higher in the football pyramid, and who have just won the Thurlow Nunn Division One title at a canter, losing just three games and notching up 136 goals.

It means the Black Dogs are clear underdogs against the Woodpeckers – but despite a frustrating league season they have performed magnificently in the senior cup, not least in their 7-1 thrashing of Brantham Athletic Reserves in the semi-final – and they won't go into the game with an inferiority complex.

This is a fitting climax to their season and a tribute to the morale in the squad and the efforts of manager Richard Daniels.

The ex-Gorleston manager has played for and managed several clubs in the region, but he said: 'To take Bungay Town to Portman Road is one of my biggest achievements in the game.

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'Woodbridge Town deserve the success they have had this season, and have already won promotion to the Premier Division of the Thurlow Nunn League. We will clearly be underdogs, but we aim to go there and enjoy the day.'

It will be a notable night for Bungay's veteran defender Craig Hunting, who will be making his 538th appearance for the team, so equalising the mark of Wally Collins (1955-1972), who is second in the club's all-time appearance list.

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The Black Dogs have won the Senior Cup twice – in 1949-50 with a famous 2-0 win over Lowestoft Town at Portman Road in front of a crowd of 4,236, and in 1960-61 when they beat Orwell Works 1-0 in a replay after a 4-4 draw. But they have not been in the final since 1963, when they lost to Whitton United 3-0.

The Woodpeckers were the very first winners of the Suffolk Senior Cup in 1886, and have won it four times in all, the other years being 1978, 1993 and 1994.

Bungay have reached the final the hard way, playing all their games away against sides from higher divisions. They beat Leiston St Margaret 2-0, Hundon 3-1 and Lakenheath 4-2 to reach their semi-final.

And if the whole town gets behind its football club, and ensures there is a big Bungay contingent at Portman Road to urge them on and create a vibrant atmosphere, who knows what could happen!

A 53-seater supporters' coach has been booked, others will travel by road, and a shop window display competition in the town is helping to create a vibrant atmosphere ahead of the game.

An added lift to the occasion will be provided by a team of university student who will be streaming the game live on Facebook, with eight cameras, pundits, action replays and commentary, as their final major university project of their television production course.

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