Football Tonight: Double Hopefuls Contest Les Bishop Cup
Tonight’s Les Bishop Cup, sponsored by Combined Roofing, will see Division Four’s two most prolific sides come up against one another. League leaders Liverton United Reserves, who have dramatically bounced back from relegation last season, will take on the reserves of Buckfastleigh Rangers at Bovey Tracey FC (7pm kick-off).
It is only a year since Buckfastleigh last reached a divisional cup final, the Reserves losing out 2-1 to Preston South End in the Bill Treeby Cup, but repeat spectators making the trip on Friday will see quite a different Rangers team to the one that turned out at Moor Road, Ipplepen.
“There have been quite a few changes really as I’ve only got about half a team left from last year due to retirements and things,” said manager Colin Hayman (pictured with son Connor Hayman). Among the new arrivals is former Newton Spurs, Watts Blake Bearne and Saltash striker Glen Palmer, a man who’s experience may prove telling.
One problem that Hayman’s Rangers will have to contend with though is the loss of influential captain Brett Easterbrook who is away in Australia. Jay Revell is also out, due to suspension.
But Rangers are not just cup specialists. They themselves are well within reach of the title, and it would be a second successive one too. Dittisham and AFC Staverton are the other two sides in what can be confidently be narrowed down to a four-way race. Liverton and Buckfastleigh have met once already in that league battle,just last month, the Lillies coming out on top to inflict a first home defeat for last season’s Division Five champs by winning 3-2 at the Duckspond.
“There wasn’t much in it and it could have gone either way to be honest,” said Hayman. “We took the lead twice but they came back into it and scored with 20 minutes to go; then we had a man sent off and still had chances after that to get a point.”
However, Hayman is not shouting about another title just yet.
“I’m not overly confident because of the number of games we’ve got to play still,” he admitted. “And six of them are going to be evening games.”
The first of those evening game is, of course, on Friday but, unlike the others, there will be a guaranteed trophy for someone at the end of it.
Elsewhere, Buckland Athletic will hope to get their Premier title bid back on track on Saturday by following up their 4-0 midweek win over Loddiswell Athletic with a home victory against leaders Dartmouth AFC. Champions Watcombe Wanderers invite East Allington to the King George V; Upton travel to Loddiswell and James Hannaford will take charge of his final home game as manager of Stoke Gabriel Reserves, Waldon the visitors. Anyone interested in taking the hot seat at Stoke Reserves are invited to contact secretary Mike Calf at firstname.lastname@example.org.