U18 Midweek Cup May 2023

Rovers' Young Guns through to U18 final

HAVERHILL Rovers’ Young Guns are through to the Veo Suffolk Under-18 Midweek Cup Final.

HAVERHILL Rovers’ Young Guns are through to the Veo Suffolk Under-18 Midweek Cup Final.

Rovers defeated Walsham-le-Willows 1-0 thanks to a stoppage time winner in Wednesday evening’s semi-final at Mildenhall Town FC.

The only goal of the game came in the 91st minute from a corner taken by Illias Zachariou which was bundled home by Liam Powell.

They will now take on Bury Town in the final to see who will be the first club to lift the trophy other than AFC Sudbury since Woodbridge Town won the competition in the inaugural 2014-15 season.

Rovers' manager Harry Zachariou said: “It was a tight game - we had played and beaten them twice before and they had a game plan.

“We are struggling with injuries so were down to the bare bones, but the boys knuckled down and it was a good performance.

“Every one of the players was an under-16 - and half of them aren’t even 16 yet! Some of the boys have been with me since they were under-8s, but we have had to rebuild after losing four boys to academies over the last two years.”

Rovers play in the Cambridge Division of the Thurlow Nunn Youth League and currently sit second, 10 points behind leaders Royston Town but with three games in hand.

Zachariou continued: “We are an under-16 side playing at under-18 level, but we are not just competing, we are beating teams who are two years older than us, and the players have learned so much in the last six months.

“This group have won their league in the Eastern Junior Alliance three years in a row, culminating with them being crowned Champion of Champions last season.

“This season they have played 16, won 16 and require just one point to be champions again.

“Some of the parents had reservations about us playing against under-18 sides, but we are competing for the (Thurlow Nunn League) title and we have now reached this cup final.

“No under-18 side wants to lose to an under-16 side, so every game is tough for us.

“The club are very proud because they have identified these boys as a group that doesn’t come round very often, and they are the best team the club have had bar none.

“Six of them are already playing in the first teams at Haverhill Rovers and Haverhill Borough.”

Rovers will be aiming to make it a county cup double - they face Ipswich Wanderers in the semi-finals of the Portable Space Suffolk Mixed U16 Cup on Sunday, April 14th

The date and venue for the Veo Suffolk U18 Midweek Cup Final has yet to be decided, but Zachariou said: “We lost to Bury Town 2-1 away in the league and also 3-2 to them in the FA Youth Cup, but beat them 3-1 at our place three weeks ago, and every game so far has been a good one.”

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