THIRTY-EIGHT teams set out on Saturday on the road to a possible appearance in this season’s Total Football Suffolk Junior Cup Final.
The competition has arguably produced the best adult county cup final in each of the last three seasons.
Bacton United 89 beat Oulton Broad 3-2 after extra time in the 2016-17 final and AFC Kesgrave came from 2-0 down to defeat Trimley Red Devils 3-2 with a last-minute winner a year later.
Bildeston Rangers made it a trio of thrilling finals as they beat Bacton United 89 4-2 thanks to two late goals in a see-saw contest in last season’s showpiece occasion at Portman Road.
The two teams are pictured above making their way out on to the pitch at Portman Road ahead of kick-off.
With a further 13 sides waiting in the wings after receiving first-round byes, the competition under the new sponsorship of Total Football this season is sure to be as fiercely contested as ever.
Ipswich side AFC YourShirts played in consecutive Suffolk Primary Cup finals, albeit losing to Bures United on both occasions, before reaching last season’s third round of the Suffolk Junior Cup in their first season in the competition.
It was there that following a goalless draw they lost 5-4 on penalties to Shotley, who themselves went down 2-1 to eventual winners Bildeston Rangers in the quarter-finals.
AFC YourShirts are in first-round action, entertaining Carlton Colville Town, while Sporting 87 – losing semi-finalists to Bildeston Rangers last season – are away to Suffolk Punch Haverhill.
AFC Kesgrave, Mutford & Wrentham and Tacket Street BBOB, who all bowed out at the quarter-final stage last season, have all been drawn away in this season’s first round.
The draw for the second round will be announced live via the Suffolk FA Twitter feed next Wednesday at 12.30pm.
Holders Walsham-le-Willows start their defence of the Days Sports Suffolk Senior Reserve Cup on Saturday.
They have a home tie in the first round versus Beccles Town while Stowmarket Town, who Walsham defeated 3-0 in last season’s final, entertain Waveney.
The remaining 11 ties – Old Newton United are already through after defeating Framlingham Town 4-2 on penalties following a goalless draw a fortnight ago – are scheduled for next weekend.
There is one Suffolk Veterans’ Cup first-round fixture on Sunday afternoon as Martlesham Old Boys host Old Times.
In the morning this season’s Crown Imperial Suffolk Girls’ Under-13 Cup starts with three first-round ties, including holders Ipswich Valley Rangers away to Felixstowe & Walton United.
Total Football Suffolk Junior Cup First Round: AFC Yourshirts v Carlton Colville Town, Barham Athletic v AFC Kesgrave, Bungay Town A v Coddenham Athletic, Cockfield Utd v Mutford & Wrentham, Exning Utd v Brandon Town, First & Last v Tacket Street BBOB, Grundisburgh v Sudbury Sports Academy, Hearts of Oak v Kirton Athletic – Away Win Walkover, Hundon v Stoke by Nayland, Ipswich Athletic v Somersham, Kirkley & Pakefield Under-23 v Spexhall Huntsman & Hounds, Mendlesham v Tattingstone Utd, Redgrave Rangers v Bures Utd, Saxmundham Sports v Woolverstone Utd, Southwold Town v Redwood Utd, Stonham Aspal v Ufford Sports, Stowupland Falcons v Stanton, Suffolk Punch Haverhill v Sporting 87, Thurston v Wickham Market.
Days Sports Suffolk Senior Reserve Cup First Round: Stowmarket Town Res v Waveney Res, Walsham-le-Willows Res v Beccles Town Res.
Crown Imperial Suffolk Girls’ Under-13 Cup First Round: Brandon Town Community v Ipswich Exiles, Felixstowe & Walton Utd v Ipswich Valley Rangers, Kesgrave Kestrels v Capel Plough.
Suffolk Veterans' Cup First Round: Martlesham Old Boys v Old Times (2.30pm).