The final of the Sussex Senior Challenge Cup is set to be played on Thursday 11 May 2023 between Worthing and Bognor Regis Town.
Worthing vs. Bognor Regis Town
Sussex Senior Challenge Cup Final
Date: Thursday 11 May 2023
Venue: American Express Community Stadium, Village Way, Brighton, BN1 9BL
For Worthing manager, Adam Hinshelwood, it’s Sussex Senior Challenge Cup Final number two at the helm of the Rebels.
However, to get there, his side first had to dig deep to overcome a determined Hastings United in the semi-final, as they were held to a 1-1 draw in regular time, forcing the tie to be determined by penalty kicks.
“Overall, I felt we played well in what was a tough game,” said Hinshelwood, “we kept a lot of the ball, we were just a bit wasteful in the final third, but we definitely deserved the luck we got in the penalty shootout.”
The game saw Hinshelwood field a team of seven academy graduates, which for him, was a source of great pride.
“Games and tests like that are great for their development,” he said, “they’re learning to be involved in big games, like a semi-final, so we were pleased, not just with the result, but the way they got it, playing our way and our brand of football.”
With the run in they have, Hinshelwood is going to be calling on all his players to be ready to step-up as they head into a season defining period, with the team finishing 4th in the Vanarama National League South and preparing for a play-off semi-final against Oxford City.
“A few weeks back I said to all the boys that, in this period, all of them were going to play a part, and that was reflected in the fact that all 22 of them saw some action over the semi-final and the game prior,” said Hinshelwood.
With so much left to play for at this point of the season, for Hinshelwood, having the players maintain the focus they’ve shown over the year is crucial.
“Focus is everything at this stage,” he said, “we had a little blip a few games back against Taunton Town, but we bounced back and now it’s about keeping the momentum and having the boys continue to play with confidence.
“And that’s down to the mindset those players have, and that mentality to be able to pick up and go again so quickly, so full credit to them.
“A lot of this team have been together a good while now, and from that comes a good amount of self-belief that they’re able to take into games.”
That self-belief in the side is going to be vital if the team are going to be able to do one better than last year and lift the Sussex Senior Challenge Cup for the first time since 1999.
“I think that the experience we now have from playing in the final last year will play a part this time out,” said Hinshelwood, “we made some mistakes in the game last time, and we weren’t able to capitalise on the good positions we got ourselves in.
“So, we’re keen to learn from that and give a better account of ourselves, so hopefully we’ll be able to do that.”
Standing in their way this year is Bognor Regis Town, who booked their place in the final after edging Brighton & Hove Albion in a penalty shootout.
For Hinshelwood, the game against Bognor will be something of a family affair, as his brother-in-law is Assistant Manager, Jamie Howell.
“Yeah, the family are going to have something of a decision to make that day, in terms of what side of the ground to sit on! Reckon I’ll be spending most of the game looking behind me to see where they are sat.
“I’ve got huge respect for what he and Robbie [Blake] have done over at Bognor, the team they’ve put together, and how they play, so we know we’re in for a huge test.
“For me it’s going to come down to which team can get into their game plan, and hit their rhythm as soon as possible, so I think it’s going to come down to who can play their game and assert themselves the quickest.
“It’s the local derby and it’s the one the fans always really look forward to, and because we’re now in a different league it’s a game we’ve not had for a little while, so to have it in the cup final is going to be a really special occasion for the supporters.”
Of course, behind the 11 players on the pitch, there’s the team behind the team, and for Hinshelwood, the Sussex Senior Challenge Cup Final, is a day, as much for them as it is for anyone.
“From the coaching staff, to the physio to the kit man, they all help the club function on a match day, and I can’t thank them enough for all that they do.
“Then you also have all the volunteers that give up their time on a match day to help the club, so to be able to have this day where they can enjoy a game rather than being amongst it, it’s just great and I hope we can give them the result they deserve!”
£6 Under-18 / 65+
For more information about tickets and the Sussex Senior Challenge Cup please contact:
T: 01903 753547