Cup final is latest stop in Crowley’s rise up the ranks

UPWARDLY-MOBILE AFC Crowley are targeting their second Suffolk Primary Cup under the management of Neil Coltart.

The Needham Market-based outfit head to Cornard United’s Blackhouse Lane to face Glemsford and Cavendish United Reserves in the semi-finals tomorrow (2.15pm) hoping to replicate their success of 2006/07.

But Coltart hopes it will just be the latest stop on AFC’s rise through the Suffolk and Ipswich League, which could see them promoted to Division One at the end of this season.

“It would be brilliant to win the cup twice because not many teams do that,” he said.

“Since I took over six years ago we have gone up three divisions.

“Next year we would like to see if we could compete in Division One — we think we could hold our own and have already beaten Bramford United and Ipswich Exiles in cup competitions this season.”

The ambitious club — now chaired by former Stowupland chairman Maurice Brand — are having floodlights built at their Crowley Park ground, but thoughts of a Walsham-le-Willows-esque rise into the Ridgeons League currently remain a distant dream, especially with Needham’s leading club doing so well in the Ryman League.

To make it through to the final, Crowley will have to overcome the loss of four cup-tied players.

Mick Chinnery, Rob Firman, Jamie Bloom and Kieran Morley are the missing men, but it will provide a chance for Kevin Folkard, Bob Brittain and reserve striker Elliott Ballard, who has struck 23 goals in 17 matches this season for AFC’s second string.

Two more players who have scored more goals than games they have played in this season are fellow Division Four frontmen Stephen Holland and Tom Allnutt, who will turn out for Cedars Park in their Primary Cup last four clash against league rivals Aldeburgh Town at Framlingham Town’s Badingham Road ground.

Manager Andrew Kirk — whose side are only in their third season and are yet to taste — said: “It would be brilliant to make it through to the final and possible set up a local derby with AFC Crowley.”

On Thursday (7.45pm), Bury Town Under-15s take on their counterparts from Sizewell and Knodishall in the semi-finals of the Suffolk Under-15s Minor Cup at Stowmarket Town’s Greens Meadow ground.

Coach Trevor Collins — whose side made the Eastern Junior Alliance cup final by beating Bedford Town on penalties at the weekend — said: “All we promote to them is the game is about enjoyment and then about developing and improvement — lastly it’s about winning.

“Deep down I know they would love to win one if not all three, but if they have improved by 10 per cent at the end of the season that would be considered a massive success.”