The Gray Hooper Holt LLP Mid Sussex Football League’s Management Committee is tasked with staging three cup finals and a play-off all in the space of five days commencing on Saturday (3 May) with Handcross Village III and AFC Haywards II meeting at Jubilee Field, Three Bridges kick off 2.00 pm to decide the Division 11 championship.
The Handcross team, who won the Brian Hall Cup at the same venue in early April and were reformed only at the start of the season, head Division 11A while their opponents, who are in their second season have improved last season’s mid-table position to take Division 11(B) this time around.
Remarkably, apart from a diference of 5 goals in Handcross’ favour, the sides have identical records - played 14 won 10 drawn 1 and lost 3 - and an extremely tight match looks on the cards.
The following day (Sunday 4 May) the action moves to Leylands Park, Burgess Hill where AFC Brighton & Hove meet Faygate United in the final of the Fred Pretty Veterans Cup. The competition is the only one of its kind in Sussex, with initially league matches from which winners and runners up move into a knock-out stage, and the finalists have emerged from an entry of 24 teams of players aged 37 and over that set off in the competition last September. Despite reaching the final on previous occasions Faygate have yet to put their name on the trophy while for AFC Brighton it is their first “Vets” final appearance.
Leylands Park is again the venue for the next two finals. On Tuesday (6 May) AFC Haywards and Sporting Elite meet to conest the Mid Sussex Junior Charity Cup Final kick off 7.30 pm. AFC, unbeaten in any league or cup match so far this season, play in Mid Sussex League Division 8 following a league and cup double last year while Crawley’s Sporting Elite, who are in Division 2, are the current holders of the trophy and added another league challenge trophy to their tally only last week.
The following evening (Wednesday 7 May) there is a rare all-Mid Sussex League final of the Mid Sussex Senior Charity Cup at Leylands Park kick off 7.30 pm with local teams Burgess Hill Albion and Balcombe the finalists. Both play in the Premier Division with Albion in their first season in the top flight still holding a chance of gaining the winners’ crown while Balcombe are in a comfortable mid-table slot. Neither side have previously won the trophy but Balcombe have won the Montgomery Cup, the League’s premier challenge cup, twice in the past seven seasons.
In last week’s only final at Jubilee Field last Tuesday (22 April) Sporting Elite in a lively encounter secured the Edgar German Cup edging Copthorne II via a single goal from Sam Whyton who also gained the man-of-the-match award