THE Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service team are one step away from reaching the finals of two cup competitions this season.
The Suffolk side are through to the final four in both the English Open Age KO Cup and the British Open Age KO Cup, where they will face Merseyside in both competitions.
The team, who have also supplied four players for the current England team, only reformed this season after lapsing for more than a decade and contains players from several non-league clubs in the county.
In the English Cup the Suffolk team, which comprises both full-time and part-time firefighters, defeated Cheshire away 15-1 and Cambridgeshire at home 13-1, before winning 5-1 away to Cleveland.
In the British Cup they beat London 3-2 at home, then South Wales 8-0 at home and were scheduled to travel to play Northern Ireland in the quarter-finals, but their opponents withdrew.
The Suffolk side is captained by Crew Commander Dan Davis, who is stationed at Princes Street in Ipswich and plays for Felixstowe & Walton United in the Bostik North Division.
The four players from the Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service squad who have represented England this season are pictured above (left to right) Josh Collins, Dan Davis, Declan McAvoy and Phil Weavers
He said: “A Couple of high-ranking officers wanted to see if there was enough interest to form a team and so put the word around and around 30 staff came back expressing their interest. We had some trial games and selected the squad from that.
“We are a tiny brigade compared to the likes of London, who have 6,000 members, and Merseyside, and so we didn’t expect to do as well as we have done so far.
“But we have gelled together really well and, as a result, had some success as a team this season.
“Suffolk had previously reached the quarter-finals, but this is the furthest we have gone in either competition.”
The Suffolk team is run by Group Commander Paul Goodman, Area Commander Dave Collins and Group Commander Nigel Vincent, who used to play for Eastern Counties League side Stowmarket Town.”
The team are now looking forward to facing Merseyside away in the English Open Age KO Cup on February 27th and then at home, to be played at AFC Sudbury, in the British Open Age KO Cup on March 19th.
Four members of the Suffolk side – Crew Commander Davis, Josh Collins (Long Melford) who works in the prevention department, Firefighter Declan McAvoy (Kirkley & Pakefield) and Firefighter Phil Weavers (Mildenhall Town) – have all represented England Fire Service this season.
Collins and Weavers both featured in the 7-0 victory over Wales last month and all four of them are in the squad to face Scotland next Thursday, February 20th at Consett in County Durham.
The Suffolk team are pictured above (back row, left to right) James Foreman (Wickham Market), Ben Bolton (Cavendish), Josh Collins (Long Melford) Dan Davis (Felixstowe & Walton United), Louis Johnson (Mildenhall Town), Phil Weavers (Mildenhall Town), Chris Baker (Wickham Market), Declan McAvoy (Kirkley & Pakefield), Adam Tubby. Front row: George Slater, Luke Wilkinson, Alex Bowell, Tommy Hardwick (Lakenheath), Richard Daniels (Long Melford), James Bowell, Pete Brown (Spexhall Vets). Not in photograph: Matty Brown (Caister), Matty Hayden (Hadleigh United), Sean Ryan, Alex Smith, Aaron Turner (Mildenhall Town). Dave Collins, Paul Goodman, Nigel Vincent (managers).