BACTON United 89 boss Ryan Owens believes the experience of playing in the final two years ago gives his side an advantage in this season’s KBB NEEF Suffolk Junior Cup Final.
They meet fellow Touchline SIL Division One side Bildeston Rangers, who have just won promotion, in the final at Portman Road on Tuesday evening, kick-off 7.30pm.
Bacton lifted the cup two years ago, before seeing their defence ended at the semi-final stage last season, losing 2-0 to Trimley Red Devils.
Owens said: “Last year we didn’t give a true account of ourselves in the semi-final against Trimley Red Devils. We had a few players missing plus the late change of venue on the day of the match all went against us. Being holders as well it was very disappointing, especially with the final back at Portman Road, so getting to the final this year again allows us to put that right.”
Bacton beat Oulton Broad 3-2 after extra time in the final at Colchester United FC two years ago – and Owens believes that will stand them in good stead.
He continued: “We have a few new players since then, but the majority of the squad were involved that day so know what it’s like to play in a big stadium, how to handle the whole day, not just the match but also when things go against us we have the experience to deal with that.
“We also have our captain James Hitter, who is a double Junior Cup winner, plus Warren Taylor-Holt, who has won both the Junior and Senior Cups, so we have lots of experience in finals.”
Bacton United 89. Back row (left to right): James Smith, Warren Taylor-Holt, Sean Caley, Tom Fisher, Jack Hardy, Sam O’Connor, Kalum Benham, Dan Steed, Arben Kastrati, Jack Finbow. Front row: Nick Knights, Kurtis Goatham, Gavin Mortimer, Jerome Haynes, Neil Hitter (Assistant Manager), James Hitter (Captain), Ryan Owens (Manager), Jamie Claydon, Ben Gutteridge, Archie Theobald.
And while Owens enjoyed the occasion at Colchester United FC, he appreciates what the opportunity to play at Portman Road means to his players.
“I think for the Ipswich fans in the squad it means a great deal. Personally I loved it at Colchester, but living in Ipswich I know what it means to all the players to play at Portman Road. Lots of them have watched from the stands so to be able to get out there and play themselves will be a very special occasion for them,” he added.
Bildeston Rangers, who will be playing in their first Suffolk Junior Cup Final, are aiming to make it a double celebration, after winning promotion to the SIL Senior Division as runners-up behind champions Old Newton United.
The final will mark the end of manager David Lorimer Senior’s two-year spell in charge, before handing over to son David ‘Bart’ Lorimer Junior who has been assisting him this season while he has been recovering from injury.
The former AFC Sudbury and Hadleigh United striker suffered a cruciate ligament and ACL injury in the final match of last season and will not return to action until around the middle of next season.
David Lorimer Senior admitted victory at Portman Road would be a fitting way to bow out.
He said: “It will be brilliant if it happens, but we know it will be a difficult game. We lost 2-1 at home to them earlier in the season and then beat them 3-1 away just a couple of weeks ago. I spotted several things about them that hopefully will work in our favour.”
Bildeston Rangers. Back row (left to right): George Buxton, Daryl Alexander, Sam Sharp, Tim Rix, Ben Baldwin, Callum Bentley, Ben Goodchild, Lloyd Dodsworth, Paul Dodsworth, Charlie Guy, Trevor Vinyard. Front row: Kye Wright, Alfie Smith, Dean Cox, David Lorimer Snr (Manager), Charlie de Lara-Bell (Captain), David Lorimer Jnr (Player Manager), Josh Everett, Kieran Dilloway, Stuart Brooks.
David Lorimer Senior said it will be a big night for the village club.
“It is fantastic for us to play at Portman Road. We have got players who have played in big cup finals before, but also players who have never played on a pitch like that and probably never will again, so it is something they will remember for the rest of their lives.
“However, we have a big squad who have all played their part this season in us winning promotion and two of them will not make the 16.
“While everyone was celebrating in the changing room after last winning promotion I was thinking it is heart-breaking that two of them will miss out on being involved at Portman Road,” he said.
Admission to the final will be £6 for adults, £3 for concessions (over 65 or in full-time education) and £1 for children under the age of 12.
A souvenir programme, priced £1, will be on sale inside the ground.