Colts and Cougars set for Devonshire derby
Devonshire Colts president Ray Jones is hoping history will repeat itself for his team in the FA Cup competition this season.
Jones was coach of Colts when they became the first First Division team to win the FA Cup in 2006-07 with a 2-0 extra time victory over strong favourites Boulevard.
Colts went on to win the ‘triple' that year, gaining promotion and also winning the Shield competition and now, in a season when they are hoping to make a strong push for promotion back to the top division, they have a meeting with the ‘Triple Crown' champions Devonshire Cougars on January 19.
“As we're aspiring to return to the Premier League I think it is an excellent cup draw, against the current FA champions, league champions and Friendship champions and it will be a good challenge for us to see exactly where we are because that will be the start of the second half of the season,” said Jones who was at today's draw.
“Hopefully we will see some good results in the first half and if we are pushing for promotion this will be a good test to see how close we are to running with the big boys. And with it being a Devonshire derby I think it adds that extra bit of spice to the tie. We were the first team to win it as a First Division team.”
Colts, five time winners of the FA Cup, enjoyed a winning start to the campaign, only losing their perfect record last weekend when Boulevard beat them 3-2 at Police Field. “I'm a little disappointed with the result on Sunday but it's early in the season and we had a little speed bump but hopefully we'' be back on track this Sunday (against X-Roads). It should give us a good measurement of where we are.”
Jones said promotion isn't necessarily the team's main priority this season. “We have a decent size roster and I think we're in a better position this season to be able to concentrate across the competitions,” he feels. “Outside of the FA there is only the Shield and that is only two extra games because we avoided the preliminary match. I don't see it as too much of a distraction.”
Interestingly, nine of the 10 Premier Division teams were first out of the draw for the FA Cup first round, setting up four all-Premier ties for January 19.
Southampton Rangers will meet St David's, Hamilton Parish play Flanagan's Onions, Wolves take on Dandy Town and North Village host PHC in a clash of two of the most successful FA Cup teams.
Another former FA Cup powerhouse, Somerset Trojans, will meet Young Men's Social Club, who last won the cup in three successive seasons in the 1960s.
After a slow start Somerset Trojans are starting to put some results together in the league under new coach Danvers Seymour Jr and football chairman Nadir Wade was relieved when his team came out ninth in the draw and were pitted against First Division side Social Club.
“It was pretty interesting when we had all those Premier teams drawn together and I think that's going to stir the pot and make things interesting, make a few big teams fall out in the first round,” said Wade, a former Trojans player himself.
“Our focus this year isn't really cup games, we're focused on the league and everybody knows we've lost a good number of players but we're confident with the young players that we have.
“We're going to surprise some teams this season as we build in our younger players and start to gel together. If we can get another cup in there like we did last year then that will be good.
“Danny Seymour has his father assisting a little bit on the side, providing that senior support, which creates a good balance for us.”
Hamilton Parish are enjoying their first season back in the top flight and would love another good run in the FA Cup. They reached the final in 2004-05 before losing 2-0 to North Village.
“We're pretty pleased with our draw, as far as the Premier League goes it is a pretty evenly balanced match,” said veteran goalkeeper Nigel Burgess, the only member remaining from that FA Cup final team. “We played Flanagan's last weekend and it was an evenly balanced game and if we can take it up a step higher we should get past them next game.
“Our priority is to remain in the Premier Division and hopefully we can secure that pretty early and then make a push for top four and then top two.”
FA Cup draw:
Preliminary round, November 10: Somerset Eagles v St George's (White Hill Field).
First round, weekend of January 19: Southampton v St David's; Ham. Parish v Flanagan's Onions; Wolves v Dandy Town; North Village v PHC; Somerset v YMSC; Dev. Cougars v Dev. Colts; BAA v Robin Hood; X-Roads v winner of Som. Eagles/St George's.