Trawler Boys cast net for Vase glory

KEITH PEEL Never has one county so dominated the fourth round of the FA Vase. Suffolk will have no fewer than six sides seeking a place among the last 16 in one of non-league's biggest national competitions.


Never has one county so dominated the fourth round of the FA Vase.

Suffolk will have no fewer than six sides seeking a place among the last 16 in one of non-league's biggest national competitions.

And they all play in the Ridgeons League, whose Norfolk contingent can only look on in envy - and support - after all being knocked out.

Lowestoft Town are among the Suffolk flag-flyers, along with AFC Sudbury, Bury Town, Mildenhall, Needham Market and Newmarket.

Vase glory is a major ambition for the Blues, who are also among the teams aiming to dash Sudbury's hopes of a sixth successive Ridgeons League championship.

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“Confidence in the camp is sky high at the moment,” said joint manager Micky Chapman in advance of Lowestoft's visit to Northern One team Newcastle Benfield (Bay Plastics) on Saturday.

“The important thing is to keep concentrating, as you're only as good as the last game.”

Fellow joint manager Ady Gallagher cautioned: “Every team left is a good team, but we are going there for a result because we are in a good run of form.”

Lowestoft will be cheered on by their travelling “Trawler Boys” fans, and Gallagher added: “Our fans are superb and the club is very appreciative of their support.”

The other fourth round ties involving Suffolk clubs are AFC Sudbury v Bedlington Terriers, Brockenhurst v Bury, Dorking v Mildenhall, Needham Market v Nantwich Town and Newmarket v Welwyn Garden City.

Bedlington, second in Northern One, will provide Sudbury with a major test.

“The big advantage for us is being at home,” said manager Gary Harvey.

“I wonder if we are ever destined to win the Vase and I was always convinced we would draw a Bedlington or Winchester. If we can make it through, the confidence it will instil in the side would be huge.”

Brockenhurst are struggling in Wessex One, but Bury Town boss Richard Wilkins will still treat them with the utmost respect.

“I have always believed a team will only get complacent if the manager does,” he said.

“It is great to see so many Ridgeons League clubs in the final 32 and I believe the final this year could contain two teams from the Ridgeons League.”

Mildenhall knocked out holders Didcot in the last round and, on their day, will match any team left in the competition.

But manager Trevor Munns stressed: “You don't get through two rounds for knocking the holders out, only the one, so we must keep our Didcot victory in context.”

Go-ahead Needham Market are looking forward to putting their progress to the test against North West Counties One team Nantwich.

But manager Mark Morsley admitted: “If you gave me the option of winning the league or winning the Vase, it would be the league every time.”

Newmarket know they face a tough task against Spartan Premier League side Welwyn, who have already beaten Sudbury in the FA Cup and almost beat Histon.

“They are clearly a very good side, but we are in good form ourselves,” said the Jockeys' manager, Chris Nunn.

The rest of the draw is: Buxton v Ashville, Chessington & Hook v Cammell Laird, Crook v St Blazey, Hillingdon v Brook House, Hythe v Winchester, Leamington v Wimborne, Pickering v Tavistock, Squires Gate v Gedling, Thackley v Arnold and VCD Athletic v Broxbourne.

t Dereham Town chairman George Hayes said the club is in “buoyant mood” as it looks ahead to a “challenging period” in the season.

The Magpies have recorded four straight wins since Boxing Day, with 20 goals scored and none conceded

“It is a fantastic achievement,” said Hayes, as he looked ahead to a run of away Ridgeons League games and a mouth-watering Norfolk Senior Cup semi-final against Wroxham.

“We've done really well to get to this stage, but it would be a great reward for the squad to get to Carrow Road and play in the final.”

He added: “We've got a challenging period coming up for the team. They're playing really well at the moment and scoring lots of goals.”

t Former King's Lynn and Dereham striker Chris Bacon salvaged a draw for Southern League, Premier Division Grantham on his full debut as the Gingerbreads were held 1-1 against Evesham.