The second semi-final of the Sussex Senior Challenge Cup is set to be played on Wednesday 26 April 2023 between Hastings United and Worthing.
Hastings United vs. Worthing
Sussex Senior Challenge Cup Semi-Final
Date: Wednesday 26 April 2023
Venue: Sussex County FA, Culver Road, Lancing, West Sussex, BN15 9AX
For Worthing, Wednesday night’s semi-final has fallen at a busy period in the season to say the least, but for manager Adam Hinshelwood, that’s simply a reflection of where the club finds itself currently.
“The way I see it, if you’re busy at this point in the season you’re doing something right, and you’re being relatively successful, so it’s good to have,” he said.
Indeed, a successful season it has been for The Mackerel Men, with the side currently 6th at the time of writing, and very much still in contention to make the play-offs in the National League South.
A remarkable feat for Hinshelwood’s team, considering it is their first season in the division.
“Going into the campaign the only goals we’d set ourselves was to sustain our presence in the league, and to try and avoid slipping below the dotted line.
“So, for us to still have lots to play for with three games to go, and a semi-final in our last week of the season is excellent, and full credit to the players for getting us in the position.
“At times this season it’s been tough, and we’ve had tough games, but their professionalism has never faltered, and we’ve always tried to respond quite well.”
This campaign is Hinshelwood’s eighth in total with Worthing on-and-off, so just how does this one compare with previous?
“This year we’ve got a really good mix of experienced pros and exciting youth in the squad,” he said.
“For example, you have players like Darren Budd, who’s not featured too much but he runs the dressing room, trains hard and helps push up the standards.
“Then at the other end we’ve got the likes of Joe Rye, an 18-year-old centre-back who’s now racked up 30 appearances at this level, which is a real achievement.
“Alongside him, Reuben Austin and Finley Chadwick who can still play in our youth teams but have also featured for us.
“It’s obviously tough for young players to break though, but we’ve always looked to give them that opportunity and that pathway.”
As for their run to the final this year, whilst the score line of some of the games tell a rather one-sided story, Hinshelwood is quick to point out that some of the games provided a real test to his side.
“The Crowborough game in the quarter-final was one that turned into a real test for us,” said Hinshelwood, “at one point they were 2-0 up, so we had to show a lot of resolve to keep on going.
“And whilst the final score flattered us in the end, that was a really tough tie looking back.
“Each of the games were a challenge in their own way because, especially in recent years where we’ve been successful, that’s brought with it a bit of kudos in the region if teams beat you.
“So, a lot of sides tend to raise their game when they come to play us, but like I said, that sort of thing only comes from the players on the pitch being successful in recent years.”
As for the semi-final against Hastings that awaits them, Hinshelwood is in little doubt that his reunion with his old side will be the toughest challenge the team will have faced in the competition yet.
“I’ve no doubt that that game will be as tough a test as any we come up against week-in-week-out in the league,” said Hinshelwood.
“I know Gary [Elphick] and John [Meeney] really well, and I don’t doubt they’ll be getting their players fired up for the occasion.
“There are still a few players at Hastings that I had a hand in bringing to the club, so it’ll be great to see them again, and I know that all the players will be leaving everything out on the pitch to make sure they get to the final.”
Of course, for Worthing, with memories of last year’s final defeat to Brighton & Hove Albion still fresh in their minds, motivation to make it back to the Amex certainly won’t be in short supply for Hinshelwood’s men.
“That final was definitely one the big downsides of last year,” he said, “I’m still not sure what happened, perhaps the occasion just got the lads, but we just froze out there and really didn’t give a good account of ourselves.
“It’s a brilliant day and a great occasion for the supporters to get to go to a Premier League stadium, and see their local side perform there is a great thing.
“So, we’re hungry to get back there this year, but we know we’ve got an incredibly tough test ahead of us.
“There’s absolutely no guarantee that we will make it to the final this year, so we’re going to have to put in the work on Wednesday night if we’re going to stand a chance of righting the wrongs of last year.”
Entry prices are as follows (Cash and Card accepted):
£12.00 Adult (17+)
£8.00 Concession (66+ and students with valid student ID card)
£3.00 Child (16 and under)
£1.00 Official Match Day Programme
For further details about the Sussex Senior Challenge Cup please contact:
T: 01903 753547