Nothing amateur about ‘pub team’ Reffley Royals’ courageous Norfolk Junior Cup victory
Their players may have chanted 'we're the best pub team in the world' as they celebrated winning the Norfolk Junior Cup on Tuesday, but there's certainly nothing amateur about Reffley Royals.
Even though the song was perhaps a tongue in cheek swipe at some of the club's critics, most would agree Royals are one of the shining lights in West Norfolk's grassroots circles.
With a joint-management duo of Robbie Back and Marc Curson, both experienced Ridgeons League operators, and a director of football in Chris Milsom, the club is set up to move forward off the pitch.
And they've certainly progressed on it, having won countless North West Norfolk League trophies and now Junior Cup winners medals to go with their runners-up ones from last season's Carrow Road defeat.
Back said: 'You saw the reaction when we won it; I've never been involved in anything like that. The jubilation was incredible.
'It was my proudest moment in football by an absolute mile. Reffley Football Club is a small club. Everyone says we're a pub team and I don't really mind people saying that, but this pub team's won the Norfolk Junior Cup. I'm lost for words.'
Reffley turned up looking the part, with their club ties and tracksuits, and showed courage many a professional sides would have been proud of by overturning a 1-0 half-time deficit to beat Harleston Town 2-1.
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Even though their Anglian Combination visitors were the better side for large parts of the first half, with goalscorer Hadlee Wright terrifying Reffley's defence with his lightning pace, few can argue the Royals didn't deserve their win eventually.
Staring down the barrel of consecutive showcase defeats at Norwich City's ground, the men in red and white dug deep and pulled themselves through thanks to goals from the tireless Tom Anderson and Danny Jezeph.
Back said: 'You didn't see the proper Reffley first half as defensively I thought we were poor. Second half, though, we dug deep and were superb. Defensively we played like I know we can and the three in the middle of the park were superb. Tom Anderson was immense.
'The pain of losing to UEA last year has made it even more special. It did hurt us to lose. Last year was like a day out, but at half-time here I could see the lads wanted it. They were absolutely fantastic because Harleston were the better side at first, but we dug so deep. I'm so proud of everyone at Reffley.'