The Final of the Sussex Veterans Challenge Cup is due to take place on Thursday 12 March 2020 between Rustington and Eastbourne Town.
Rustington vs. Eastbourne Town
Sussex Veterans Challenge Cup
Date: Thursday 12 March 2020
Venue: Sussex County FA, Culver Road, Lancing, West Sussex, BN15 9AX
Rustington are enjoying a great season on the back of winning the West Sussex & District Sunday Football League last year and look a good bet to do so again with 10 wins from 10.
Their Sussex Veterans Challenge Cup performance, however, is something that needs correcting according to manager, Gareth Davies: “It’s a proud moment for everyone involved, to get to a county cup final at any stage is a huge achievement.
“We lost at the semi-final stage last season in a game that we should have one and that was a bitter disappointment for us all and something we set out to put right at the start of the season.
“It’s a great occasion for the club and as a club we have a good history in county cup competitions over the past 10-15 years.”
Eastbourne Town on the other hand won the competition last season and are under management by former Brighton & Hove Albion players, Danny Simmonds and Stuart Myall - who are also part of the playing squad.
For Stuart Myall the ambition is very high for all competitions: “As a group we are really excited to be returning to the final of the Veterans Cup.
“It really is what we are working towards when we sign up for vets football each year. Over the past four years we have really enjoyed the competition getting to a couple of finals and of course winning it last year meant a lot.
“As every year goes past, we’re all getting another year older it’s amazing that we’re still so competitive. The focus of the vets is for us all to get together.”
Similarly, for Rustington manager, Davies, the rewarding aspect of it is what continues to drive him forward: “This is our second season as a club, it’s hugely rewarding as a manager, you are giving players (some of which had been retired 10 years) another opportunity to experience the dressing room and camaraderie that comes with football.
“The players have been excellent, embraced the challenge and we have a really good set of lads both on and off the pitch, they all are ex Rustington lads and you feel a sense of pride whenever they cross the white line and some see it as one last opportunity to experience success on the pitch.”
Gareth Davies is somewhat of a cult hero at Rustington having previously managed the Rustington first team, guiding them to a Sussex Intermediate Challenge Cup victory in 2006 and coming runners up in the Sussex Principal RUR Charity Cup in 2009.
For Davies, he knows what this would mean to the players: “I think everyone understands the opportunity we have, I’m sure the desire is there for everyone involved to win the competition.
“Quite a few of the lads have been involved in similar games and we know that it’s an opportunity to go down in the history books.
“Rustington FC is a club close to all of our hearts and we would love to win the competition for those that have sponsored us, supported us and got behind us the past couple of seasons.”
“We’ve obviously done our homework, we respect Eastbourne and to once again reach the final after winning the competition shows the quality they have, players such as Stuart Myall and Danny Simmonds, to name but a few have played a very high standard of football.”
Myall has been involved with the Eastbourne Town Veterans team for the past five years and started it with Danny Simmonds as a way of getting together and enjoy playing football again and knows there will be a mutual respect there between them and Rustington: “We don’t know to much about Rustington Vets. I think they are very much in the same boat as us though where they have been lifelong football friends that get together play football.
“I am sure that over the years a number of us played against them at some point and at some level. It will be great to have a game on Thursday night and then have a good drink in the bar afterwards to reminisce about old times.
“I’m sure we will have a really good time at Lancing and taking the amazing facilities that going to be on offer.”
Entry prices for the final are as follows:
£6.00 Adult (17+)
£4.00 Concession (65+ and students with valid student ID card)
FREE Child (16 and under)
£1.50 Official Match Day Programme
For further details about the Sussex Veterans Challenge Cup please contact Competitions:
T: 01903 753547