For the first time in the history of the shoestrings sponsored Chippenham & District Sunday Football League will both of it’s major cup finals be staged on the same day. The league was formed in 1966 and although the Knockout Cup was introduced the following year, the WG Parr Trophy didn’t take it’s place on the league calendar until 1974.
The coronavirus pandemic forced the league to postpone both competitions last term, and for much of this campaign it was looking as if the league’s committee would have to curtail both competitions again this year. Luckily for the 30 league clubs, that wasn’t the case as in early April they were all given the chance to return to action either in the Knockout Cup or WG Parr Trophy which were already underway prior to the lockdowns of November and January.
For those clubs who didn’t reach the quarter-final stages of the afore mentioned competitions they went into the Gooding Accounts sponsored Subsidiary Cup which has reached the semi-final stages.
This Sunday will see The Lye at Seend host both the RP Clarke Sheds & Fencing sponsored WG Parr Trophy Final which kicks-off at 10.45am and the A M Print & Copy sponsored Knockout Cup Final that will get underway at 2.00pm.
WG PARR TROPHY FINAL PREVIEW – Lavis FC Vs The Castle FC
First Division, Lavis FC and Second Division, The Castle FC will compete the 46th final of the WG Parr Trophy, the Cup that will be presented to the victorious team bears the name of W.G. (Bill) Parr, who sadly passed away in 1999, the trophy is a fitting memorial to a man who gave up so much time to a sport and league that he loved so dearly.
Down to the final two teams from the 14 that started out last December, a keenly contested match is expected between Lavis FC and The Castle. Formed in 2019 Lavis, managed by Aaron Latchem are named after the late Pete Lavis who many years ago bought together a number of youngsters that played in the league under the name of Staverton FC. The Castle led by Tom Perkins maybe new to the league this season, but many of his players are no strangers to the league, having tasted Premier Division & WG Parr Trophy success in 2014, along with Knockout Cup disappointment in both 2014 and 2015.
It would be fair to say that neither of the teams will be seen as outright favourites to lift the cup, however Lavis who began their cup run back in December with a 3-2 victory away at Warminster Athletic will start the final as slight favourites.
Goals from Jamie Hancock, Darren Jones and Levi Wood scored in that success that saw them book their place in Group A of the quarter-finals, where they defeated Old Road FC 3-2, Chippenham Icons 4-1 before romping to a 7-0 triumph away at Fox & Hounds (Warminster). Up against defending champions Bath Road FC in the semi-finals they turned in a 5-star display with goals from Jack Booth (2), Mark Maguire, Nick Taylor and Ashton Shanley earning them a 5-1 win and a place in the final.
Lavis know they shouldn’t underestimate their opponents who began their journey to Rusty Lane with a First round BYE, which was followed with a quarter-final Group B opening match 1-1 draw at home to Biddestone, goals from Dan Sloane and substitute Nathan Emm earned them a 2-1 victory over Bremhill View before they received a walkover in their final group match when Bath Road couldn’t raise a team. A Chris Allen double and Matthew Tilley goal saw them defeat Old Road 3-0 to book a cup final spot.
The match is first up and a 10.45am Kick-off should bring the supporters to Rusty Lane for what has the makings of a classic cup final.
KNOCKOUT CUP FINAL PREVIEW – FC Devizes United Vs AFC Melksham
2.00pm Sunday afternoon will see what will be the 53rd final of the League’s Knockout Cup competition and although, much to the disappointment of many people it isn’t being staged at one of the so called Senior grounds, to the delight of others, the fact that it is being played at The Lye, Seend is irrelevant, they are happy that after a truncated season, it is actually being played at all.
From the 32 teams that started out in the A M Print & Copy sponsored competition way back last October, we are down to the final two teams, and on paper, Sunday afternoons showpiece could be a classic as it brings together Premier Division AFC Melksham who have seen it all before and Second Division FC Devizes United who are emerging as the new kids on the block.
The match is really hard to call, but if both teams bring their ‘A’ game to the final it could prove to be one of the best for many seasons.
For Melksham who started their cup escapade with a 3-1 triumph away at Chippenham Icons this will be their second Knockout Cup final appearance, having suffered defeat in the 2019 final to Box Rovers. Dave Jenkins, Melksham side had to dig deep to beat First Division, Royal Oak in the second round, eventually it was an Own goal and Ashley Fletcher’s goal from the bench that saw them win 2-1 and make it through to the Quarter-Finals where they defeated Semington 3-0, Bromham FC 5-1, before finishing their set of Group B round robin matches with a 1-1 draw against FC Lacock to see them top the group.
Standing in the way of AFC Melksham and a place in the final was First Division, Pack Horse who went into the semi-final clash as massive underdogs but after coming from 2-0 down to restore parity at 2-2 before the break they finally succumb to an early Ryan Baggs second half effort as Melksham claimed a nail biting 3-2 win and with it a place at Rusty Lane.
For Andrew Webster’s young Devizes side who have claimed the notable scalps of Corsham Wildcats and FC Lacock on the way to their first ever final, a victory should see them launch what could be a few years of dominance in the league. A 6-3 win away at top flight Wildcats started what has been an impressive cup run.
Since a 7-0 victory over Calne Athletic in the second round back in December and a return to cup action in April, Devizes have scored 25 goals while conceding none. They ended top of Group B in the quarter-finals after defeating Sporting Box 8-0, Pack Horse 4-0 and Calne United 4-0, before beating Premier Division top dogs FC Lacock 2-0 in their semi-final showdown, Gabe Costello and captain Jamie Walters who has bagged himself eight goals on the way to the final sending their team through to what should be a great game.