Intermediate Cup HERO

Sussex Intermediate Challenge Cup Final Preview

Words by Sophie Munro
Storrington Community vs. Rustington

The Final of the Sussex Intermediate Challenge Cup is set to be played on Tuesday 30 April 2024 between Storrington Community and Rustington.

Storrington Community vs. Rustington
Sussex Intermediate Challenge Cup Final - In memory of Matthew Grimstone and Jacob Schilt
Date: Tuesday 30 April 2024
Kick-off: 7:30pm
Venue: Sussex County FA, Culver Road, Lancing, West Sussex, BN15 9AX

The Sussex Intermediate Challenge Cup Final is only days away, and it’s been a cup run to remember for both Storrington Community and Rustington. 

Storrington manager, Dave Ray, had a target to reach the Final when he took over the club, and after a fantastic journey to the Final, he’s reached his goal. 

“It means a lot to have made it to the Final,” said Ray, “It’s something that was a target for us when I first took over at the beginning of last year, and last season it was something we strived to achieve, so to make the final this year I’m really pleased.

“It also really means a great deal to the club to be fighting in the final for quite a prestigious cup.” 

His team have faced sides such as Linfield in the Semi-Finals, where they won the 3-1, but it was by no means an easy ride.

“There’s no easy games in football, so you’ve always got to be at your best, and cup football more than any other type of football will always bring about a few surprises,” said Ray.

“They’re one-off games, and one bad day at the office and the opposition having a good day at the office can lead to being dumped out of a competition.

“In a league season, you get another go and another opportunity the week after, you don’t get that in cup football.”

The goals keep rolling in for the one star England Football Accredited side, having netted 13 in this competition alone, and he believes this will give his side the confidence they need for the Final. 

“I do believe we’re capable of scoring goals, every game we play, we back ourselves to score,” said Ray.

“It always helps if you know you can find the net, it does give you a bit more confidence. But one thing we’re certainly aware of with our opposition on Tuesday night is that Rustington do have a very good forward line for our level of football, and they’re capable of scoring a lot of goals. 

“We’ll certainly have to be at our best for this game to have any chance at success.”

Away from the Cup Final, Storrington have had an incredible run in the Southern Combination Football League (Division Two). 

They currently sit at the top of the division with a staggering 56 points, and an 11 point difference between them and Bosham who sit in second. 

“It’s been a great experience, and winning is what makes it enjoyable,” said Ray.

“When you’re in good form and you’re winning games of football it’s a much happier environment to be working in. So, when we have training off the back of a win, your whole weekend off the back of a win, even away from the football, it just makes everything feel better!”

Storrington have faced some challenges in this cup run, but what does Ray expect from Rustington in the final.

“Any cup final, no matter who you play it’s going to be a tough game,” said Ray.

“In truth Rustington, with some of the signings they’ve made recently, and with some of the players they have available, we know that they have the potential to beat anyone in our league.

“They’ve got some fantastic players and they’re a real threat going forwards,” he said, “It’s going to be a really tough game, we’ll have to be at our best.”

Rustington’s co-manager Tom Barnes, hasn’t had an easy run to the final either, with him and Spencer Vine's side having faced tough games, such as their 3-2 win over Eastbourne United Association in the Quarter-Finals.  

The one star England Football Accredited club have won the cup twice, so adding a third would be a huge achievement for him and the club.

“It means a lot, it's a great cup with a lot of great teams involved,” said Barnes, “The club have only won the competition twice in their history, so adding a third would mean a lot to everyone involved at the club.”

Despite their tough games, Rustington have come out on top with their strong mentality, and excellent playmaking skills. 

“It's been very enjoyable, and I'd say most of our better performances have come in cup competitions this season,” said Barnes.

“The Quarter-Final against, probably the favourites in Eastbourne United, was especially enjoyable, because we had a game plan and it worked perfectly.”

Barnes’ side has scored an impressive 17 goals throughout this competition, and with the team having no issues finding the back of the net, does that give him more confidence in the Final?

“Yes, but to be honest, we're always a confident team, we know if we're at our best we can be a match for anyone at our level,” said Barnes.

Rustington haven’t always had it easy this season, with the team currently sitting in 6th on 35 points, but with games in hand they can climb the table.

“There have been a lot of ups and downs this year,” said Barnes, “we took over late and didn't really have a pre-season, so it took us a while to get a settled squad and system. But the last couple of months have been really positive and will hold us in good stead for next season.”

With Storrington already basking in League glory, Barnes knows it’ll be a hard game but also has confidence his team can beat anyone. 

“We know Storrington are a very well-organised side with good players and a great manager, they've worked together for a few years now and you can tell,” said Barnes.

“They're deserving champions in the league but like I said, if we're at our best we know we can beat anyone in this league, so I’ve no doubt that it’ll be a great game.”

Entry prices are as follows (cash and card accepted):

£5.00 Adult (17+)
£3.00 Concession (66+ and students with valid student ID card)
£1.00 Child (16 and under)
Official Match Day Programme will be available online

For further details about the Sussex Intermediate Challenge Cup please contact:

T: 01903 753547

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