Talented footballing teens at College of West Anglia are up for the national cup
- Credit: IAN BURT
Some of the brightest prospects in the county's part-time scene are dreaming of playing in a national final.
Dereham Town's Toby Hilliard and Shaun Stocker of King's Lynn Town are just two of the well-known young players who also compete for their college side. On Wednesday they will take on Preston's Myerscough for a place in the English Schools' Under-18s College Trophy.
And head coach of the College of West Anglia (CWA) Elite Football Programme, former Lynn player Dan Buhlemann, is relishing the opportunity that will arrive next week.
He said: 'The ESFA Cup gives us the opportunity to play teams we don't regularly play and in the last two seasons we have been knocked out by teams that either went on to win it or make the final.
'This year we are one game away from getting there ourselves and hosting one of the best category one teams in the country. All the boys will be up for it.
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'Although to be confirmed, last year's final was played at the Ricoh Arena, home to Coventry City, so this would be a great opportunity for the players to play in a Football League stadium.'
CWA Elite have already eliminated sides from Norfolk, Cambridge, Essex, London and Lincoln and are now looking forward to hosting one of the most successful college sides in men's football. The last time CWA, whose main campus is based in Lynn, reached the final was when they were beaten 3-1 by Blue Coat College of Merseyside in 1987.
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While Stocker and Hilliard are known by many admirers of the non-league scene – and those who take an interest in England Colleges' national team – a total of six players in the squad have also represented Norfolk this season while many others wear the colours of Fakenham Town, Swaffham Town and Downham Town.
The latest hot talent is Dylan Edge who has bagged 11 goals in his first campaign with the CWA footballing outfit.