Bulwell and Linby chasing Notts FA Senior Cup glory

NOTTS FA SENIOR CUP -- the historic trophy has not been won by a Dispatch district team since 2004.
NOTTS FA SENIOR CUP -- the historic trophy has not been won by a Dispatch district team since 2004.
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The chance of glory in the Notts FA Senior County Cup warms up the domestic football season for two clubs in the Dispatch district next Tuesday night.

The historic competition gives teams the chance to call themselves the pride of the county.

And it has reached the key Third Round (last 16) stage where the elite ten seeds join the six sides to have battled their way through the opening two rounds.

Not since Hucknall Town lifted the giant trophy in 2004 has a side from the Dispatch district tasted success.

And they have already been knocked out this time round, having been demoted to unseeded status for the first time since the tournament was restructured.

So it’s left to LINBY COLLIERY WELFARE and BULWELL to fly the local flag as the competition takes on a midweek, Champions League feel.

Linby have been drawn at home to Central Midlands League (CML), South Division rivals Southwell City, the team who dismissed Town 2-1 in the previous round.

Because Linby do not have floodlights at their Church Lane ground, they have booked the Rolls-Royce Leisure ground to stage the tie, rather than switch it to Southwell.

And although they are struggling near the foot of the CML, they will be heartened by the fact that Southwell are one of only two teams they have beaten so far this term.

Dave Marlow’s boys triumphed 4-2 back in August thanks to goals from Martyn Burke, Rhys Davies, Damian Mann and Ash Winfield.

Of course, Linby also have tradition on their side because they can point to their proud history in the Senior Cup, having reached six finals in the 1940s and 1950s when they were renowned as the top non-league team in the county under the management of former Arsenal star Ernest ‘Tim’ Coleman.

Coleman, later to become manager of Notts County, guided Linby to three victories, including in 1950 when their final against Retford was watched by a crowd of 20,500 at the City Ground, home of Nottingham Forest!

Bulwell’s opponents next Tuesday, Rainworth Miners Welfare, boast illustrious history of their own because they reached the final of the FA Vase at Wembley back in 1982.

Led by Brian Phillips, The Wrens lost 3-0 to Forest Green Rovers at the old stadium -- at a time when they were arch rivals of Hucknall Colliery Welfare (now Town) in the old Notts Alliance.

These days, Rainworth ply their trade in Division One South of the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League and sit seventh of 22 in the table, only eight points behind leaders Leek Town.

That’s three levels above Bulwell, but Scott Rickards’ squad, which includes several ex-Hucknall players, would be advised not to under-estimate The Bulls.

Having romped to two successive Notts Senior League titles, Bulwell are now gunning for the CML crown and although this is only their second season in the Senior Cup, their first reflected huge credit on them.

Knocking out Basford United, Bilborough Pelican and Southwell City, they were foiled only in the quarter-finals by Carlton Town (2-1), who went on to lift the trophy, hammering Sutton Town 5-2 in the final.

Carlton and Sutton now meet again in the best tie of next week’s Third Round matches.

DON’T miss next week’s Dispatch Sport for a review of the ties, including full match reports from the Linby v Southwell and Rainworth v Bulwell action.