16th May 2018
WRCFA County Cup – Final
At WRCFA HQ in Fleet Lane, Woodlesford
Alwoodley v Rawdon OB
Alwoodley had broken one record by being the first YAL team to reach the semi-final stage of the WRCFA Challenge Cup surpassing both Farsley Celtic and their own previous record of reaching the quarter finals. They are now the proud holders of a second and even bigger record when they defeated Ilkley Town Res 4-3 in the semi-final on the 25th April. They had no easy matches and have defeated Grangefield, Horbury Town, Aberford and Golcar Utd with the Horbury win after a superb display and they delivered a perfect display when beating Aberford 3-0. The Ilkley victory demanded all the footballing skills of a successful side but also the character and mental discipline required at this level when turning a two goal deficit into a 4-2 advantage with the movement with or without the ball of the Alwoodley strike force baffling the Ilkley defence. The overall standard of the Alwoodley and Ilkley game reached that shown by our Rep XI in National Inter League matches such as those with the one time winners the Isle of Man.
No side reaches the final of the WRCFA Challenge Cup without some difficult ties. Indeed Rawdon were knocked out and then reinstated. Rawdon had a first Rd bye and a second round walkover against a by then mythical AFC Horsforth. Rawdon scrambled a 1-0 victory over the West Yorks Div 2 newcomers Huddersfield YMCA, but the coup was the penalty shoot out triumph 5-4 over West Yorkshire League Premier Division colleagues Leeds City with the score 2-2 after ninety minutes . Rawdon won a much easier quarter final with Campion Res 3-1 but were beaten by Carlton Athletic in the semi-final only to be reinstated as Carlton played an ineligible player.
Alwoodley have finished fourth in the League with a surfeit of matches played at the rate of three per week during April and early May. They do seem to have survived this ordeal and will be anxious to confirm that the next 90 minute will be the most important in their history. Rawdon OB are worthy champions of the first division of the West Yorks league losing but two games during their campaign with Craig Nicholls on 17 goals, Sallo Dawo on 15 and Chris Softley on 13. Alwoodley’s title challenge suffered because of a long early season injury list and the end of season glut of fixtures but Danny Ashton amassed 12 goals and Callum Armstrong 19 from 16 games. They are a team in form with several Rep XI players, and the arrival of both new and younger players this season has created a lively, well managed team under Brett Gaunt. Brett played for Alwoodley first team in division 4 when they became members of the then Yorkshire Old Boys League in 1999/2000. It has been a wonderful journey to WRCFA HQ and their Challenge Cup finals day, taking in a number of honours on the way including the Leeds Senior Cup. Brett is fortunate in that they will stick to their task with religious fervour and not give the hard won ball away easily They have a potent attack with skill, pace and strength. Hope that both teams settle into the game quickly and that Alwoodley take the initiative and not let the Rawdon leading scorers too near their goal. All we can ask for is a fabulous contest.
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