A LARGE carrot is being dangled ahead of Tuesday’s Turners Hyundai Suffolk Premier Cup ties.
The winners of the first-round tie between Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division opponents Whitton United and Walsham-le-Willows will face Needham Market in round two.
Needham’s victory over Yeovil Town 8-7 on penalties following a 1-1 draw in the fourth round of the Buildbase FA Trophy on Saturday is the best result achieved by a Suffolk non-league side for many a year.
The county cup second-round tie is scheduled to take place on Tuesday, February 15th – just three days after the Marketmen’s last-16 FA trophy tie.
Walsham manager Trevor Collins said: “There is a large carrot being dangled in front of both Whitton and ourselves, with the winners then playing Needham Market, which after their result on Saturday will provide a great chance to test ourselves against them.
“It is difficult for clubs in our league to actually win the Suffolk Premier Cup, but it does provide the opportunity to play against clubs at a higher level so our players can see where they are in comparison.”
Walsham will face a rejuvenated Whitton side, who have recorded three consecutive victories since the tie was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch in early December.
Shane Coldron’s side won 2-1 at fifth-placed Norwich United on Saturday thanks to goals from Owen Betts and Liam Wales and have lifted themselves up to 13th place in the table.
Collins, whose side have been enjoying a fine season and currently sit sixth in the table, continued: “Shane’s sides are always difficult to play against and matches against Whitton are usually tight affairs and we are not expecting anything different on Tuesday.
“They have actually come into some form with three wins on the bounce, and Norwich United is never an easy place to go and get three points.
“I said to Shane when we beat Whitton earlier in the season (a 1-0 away win in October) to stick to what he was doing as they had players that were too good for the team to be at the bottom of the table, so I am pleased for him and the club that they have picked up.”
Walsham were scheduled to face Lakenheath on Saturday, but the match was postponed due to their opponents’ involvement in the fourth round of the Buildbase FA Vase.
Collins said: “We trained for two hours which is what we try to do when we don’t have a game and a few of the boys who have not played since mid-December got some minutes playing for the Reserves.
“Everyone is available which creates a nice problem because we have a fairly large squad. It means I can change the players and shape around and it doesn’t weaken the team as such.”
Tuesday evening other tie sees Stowmarket Town, who are second on goal difference to Aveley in the Pitching In Isthmian League North table, host Lowestoft Town.
Although Lowestoft play a level above Stowmarket they currently sit second bottom of the Pitching In Southern League Premier Central, but have won two and drawn two of their last five league games.
Wroxham goalkeeper Ollie Sutton is pictured above saving at the feet of Walsham’s Cameron Nicholls (red & yellow striped shirt, No.7) on the opening day of the 2021-22 Thurlow Nunn League season at Summer Road. Photograph: Paul Voller.
Turners Hyundai Suffolk Premier Cup First Round: Stowmarket Town v Lowestoft Town (7.45pm), Whitton Utd v Walsham-le-Willows (7.45pm).