WINNING the McDonald’s Suffolk Primary Cup would be an ‘incredible achievement’ for Laxfield.
That’s the view of manager Stewart Balls, whose side face fellow Macron SIL Division Three side Bramford United in Saturday’s final at Framlingham Town FC, kick-off 2.30pm.
Neither side have previously won the competition, which dates back to the 1933-34 season, with Bramford United’s only previous final appearance ending in a 4-2 defeat to Waveney Wanderers in the 1982-83 season.
Balls said: “It's our first season in senior football as a club, so expectations weren't high on winning any competitions. I have every faith in my young squad, most of which have played together for five or six years at Youth level, that they would improve as the season progressed and so it has proved.
“It has been an excellent achievement to go this far in such a historical competition and we will give it our all in the final to try and lift the cup.
“It would be an incredible achievement to win the Primary Cup in our first senior season. It would be nice to put Laxfield on the local football map by winning the competition, but by just reaching the final we think we have already done that, anything else would be a bonus.”
Laxfield sat in tenth place in the table with seven points from nine games when the season was halted by the coronavirus pandemic, while Bramford were top after registering nine straight wins.
Balls continued: “All we know about Bramford is that they are a famous local football club with a great history. They topped our division when it was abandoned.
“We have not played them this season, but we are looking forward to testing ourselves against probably the strongest team in the competition.”
Although Laxfield don’t attract large crowds, Balls said interest in the club had grown as the team have progressed in the competition.
“Hopefully we will have some extra support at the final. We will look forward to seeing our friends and neighbours at Framlingham Town on the day.
“Our brilliant committee have all supported the club as parents of the Youth team previously and have carried on their hard work at senior level. We have five sets of brothers in our squad although three of the boys can’t play in the cup this year as they're cup tied.”
Manager James Fulker said Bramford United will be looking to create some history on their journey to regaining the club’s former Senior Division status.
He said: “It’s a great achievement to reach any final, so I think everyone at the club is very happy, considering we put this team together at such short notice before the season started.
“It’s definitely an opportunity to create history. Bramford have always been a Senior Division side, therefore we’ll look to try and keep making history as we continue on the journey back towards the senior.”
Fulker admitted he doesn’t know too much about their opponents going into the final, but agreed that Bramford will start as favourites.
“I know they were in the same division as ourselves, however they were one of only two teams we didn’t play during the season, so it will be a completely new test for us.
“If you look at the league table this season then you would have to say yes, we are favourites, although finals represent their own pressure to perform in a one-off game.
“We have got players that have been in this situation before, so I’m hoping we’ll have saved our best performance until last.”
Bramford United (red shirts) are pictured above attacking against Grundisburgh (light blue shirts) in their 3-0 win in the quarter-finals. Photograph: Paul Voller
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