We are now all set and raring to go as the line-ups for all four cup finals are complete. What with the terrible weather conditions in recent months, it was a relief to have had a weekend which provided no obstacles and allowed all remaining knock-out fixtures to be completed.
Like last season, we have been fortunate enough to link up with our friends at Trafford FC and Hyde United FC who have allowed us to use their wonderful homes as venues for our cup finals with the Bridgewater Cup and Open Trophy being played at Shawe View and the Murray Trophy and Gilgryst Cup at Ewen Fields.
The first final on the calendar is the Bridgewater Cup, being played on Wednesday 25th April with Leigh Athletic Reserves and Uppermill Reserves going head to head.
Latics route to the final started after qualifying from Group B as runners up which earned them a tie with Old Alts Reserves which they won 3-0. They had a tougher task in the Semi Final where they faced Chadderton EDS which went to a penalty shoot-out. The game finished 4-4 after 90 minutes but progressed to the final with a 3-2 win from spot kicks.
Uppermill’s route to the final wasn’t too dissimilar. They topped Group A and were drawn at home to Hollinwood in the first knock-out round. The game finished 3-3 after full time but they progressed to the last four with a 4-3 penalty shoot-out victory. Division Four side Elton Vale awaited them in the Semi Finals and thanks to a 3-1 win they sealed their place in April’s final.
The Open Trophy final is next on the calendar and is to be played on Wednesday 2nd May as Rochdale Sacred Heart Reserves entertain Wythenshawe Amateurs.
RSH’s journey to Trafford began by finishing runners up in Group B before meeting Group A runners up Springhead in the Semi Final. It was one hell of a game between the two sides, producing 11 goals which RSH edged by the odd goal to see them through to their 2nd Open Trophy final appearance in 3 years.
Wythenshawe Amateurs Reserves were flawless in the group stages, topping Group A with maximum points which set them up for their Semi Final tie with Avro Res where they came through 3-1 to seal their place in May’s final.
The Ammies have already tasted final defeat in the Manchester FA Amateur Cup and will look to use that as motivation for this finale.
The first of Ewen Fields’ events is the Murray Trophy, where 2016/17 finalists Manchester Central try their luck against MFL debutants, Tintwistle Athletic, will be played on Friday 4th May.
Manchester Central topped Group C and were drawn at home to Chadderton Reserves in the first knock-out round. The game finished 2-2 after 90 minutes thanks to a last-minute equaliser and set them up for a penalty shoot-out which they were 4-3 winners. It was a tight affair in their Semi Final tie with Altrincham Hale which saw seven goals scored with Central nicking it 4-3.
Tintwistle Athletic qualified from Group A as runners up by the narrowest of margins, finishing level on points with Division One side Atherton Town but had a slightly inferior goal difference.
Nevertheless, they progressed to Round 1 where they hosted their fellow group side Atherton Town and picked up an impressive 1-0 win. They met another Division One side in Leigh Athletic in the Semi Final which saw them win by the odd goal in five.
Can they claim their third win over higher opposition or will Central be second-time lucky and lift the trophy?
In the Premier Division’s Gilgryst Cup, which will be played on Saturday 12th May, the final line-up sees holders Rochdale Sacred Heart look to retain their cup crown against Wythenshawe Amateurs who will be looking for some silverware to show for a great season.
RSH kicked off their defence with an emphatic 7-1 win away to Hindsford in the First Round and were rewarded with a tasty tie at runaway Premier Division leaders Avro in Round 2. The tie finished 2-2 after 90 minutes with the Fox Park men going through to the Semi Finals thanks to a 6-5 penalty shoot-out victory.
AFC Monton were the opposition in the last four but proved little danger as they eased to a 4-0 success to book their place in the final to defend their title.
Wythenshawe Amateurs have been in free-scoring form throughout the competition, notching 12 goals from their 3 games. Stockport Georgians were dismissed 5-1 in Round 1, before Heyside were beaten 3-1 in the last eight.
The Semi Final was no different as The Ammies romped to a 4-0 win over Dukinfield Town, clinching another final place for the Club.
Wednesday 25th April 2018 – 7.45pm
Bridgewater Cup Final
Leigh Athletic Reserves v Uppermill Reserves
Wednesday 2nd May 2018 – 7.45pm
Open Trophy Final
Rochdale Sacred Heart Reserves v Wythenshawe Amateurs Reserves
Friday 4th May 2018 – 7.45pm
Murray Trophy Final
Manchester Central v Tintwistle Athletic
Saturday 12th May 2018 – 3.00pm
Gilgryst Cup Final
Rochdale Sacred Heart v Wythenshawe Amateurs