W J Jewell HERO

Sussex W J Jewell Trophy Final (Under-12s) Preview

Words by Kieran Wiggs
Bognor Regis Town vs. Horsham

The final of the Sussex W J Jewell Trophy Final (Under-12s) is set to be played on Sunday 5 May 2024 between Bognor Regis Town and Horsham.

Bognor Regis Town vs Horsham
Sussex W J Jewell Trophy Final (Under-12s)
Date: Sunday 5 May 2024
Kick-off: 2:30pm
Venue: Sussex County FA, Culver Road, Lancing, West Sussex, BN15 9AX

Having both topped their leagues, Bognor and Horsham will be hoping for domestic cup glory to achieve double dreams in the County Cup Final.

Horsham manager, Neil Vanson has been thriving in first season managing his side in yellow and green.

In their journey to the final, Horsham beat Burgess Hill thanks to Reuben Edwards scoring the only goal in the quarter-final in what Vanson re-called as his side’s toughest game of the season.

“The quarter-final was always going to be a tough one. Burgess Hill are in our league and they were a strong side, and we played them on a very windy Sunday morning,” said Vanson.

“I thought if we win that we had a good chance of going through to the Final.”

The semi-final was a breeze for Horsham having played a gusty quarter-final. Vanson’s side enjoyed an empathic 9-1 win on their home 4G turf against Hastings United.

“We powered through them, “ said Vanson, “We were at opposite ends of the table, so we were favourites going into it.

“We played really well that game; we were just really ruthless in front of goal and on our game and never really looked in any danger of losing.”

Having topped the Mid Sussex Youth Football League with a handful of games left, Vanson and his triumphant side have taken delight in a dominant season which they are currently unbeaten in.

“We have got a lot of pace in our team and attacking power,” said Vanson, “We have also been really cool on the ball and have got some really good coaches who do the coaching sessions, it is all very technical.

“We try and get the boys playing the right way. I always feel that we are strong in games which has been good.”

Horsham’s standout player this season has been Edwards, the league’s top scorer. He will prove to be a vital player in the final being “a big lad and one of the oldest of the year,” according to Vanson.

Although he was sure to highlight the hard work in the whole squad enjoying a really good season.

“They are a real strong good group of committed boys,” he said. “I only have a small squad because I like to get as much game time for the boys as possible.” 

So, what type of challenge does Vanson expect from Bognor Regis Town?

“We played them in a pre-season friendly game, they are a big strong team. We have just got to play our game,” he said. 

“I am glad it is on a 4G pitch as we can get down and play the way we play. We play the same way against everyone and let the other team set up against us.”

Despite a glorious season, Horsham saw defeat in their League Cup final against Three Bridges. So, this time round, Vanson is hoping his side can come out on top. 

Understanding the importance of what the Final means to the club, Vanson said, “the youngest Horsham team and the senior team are the two teams that have made the County Cup Final, so it is a nice vibe.

“Everyone at the club is really buzzing for us because we haven’t had a County Cup Final for the youth section in a while. It just shows how the club is getting a lot stronger now.”

In the opposite dugout sits Andrew Weir, who has enjoyed his side’s first cup run which has seen them surpass expectations to reach the final. 

It took penalties for Bognor to beat Cuckfield Cosmos after a goalless game in the quarter-final. 

 “That was a very tight game, both defences cancelled each other out. There weren’t many shots on goal,” said Weir.

“It was luck of the draw with penalties, and we managed to get over the line. No one deserved to lose that game.” 

Wier’s side relished a semi-final with less pressure, outperforming Willingdon Athletic in a 3-1 victory with a game plan of “shoot on sight” due to the compact pitch and its poor conditions. 

Weir said: “We started fast and strong and took an early-ish lead and then George Bowles got injured but got himself back together and scored one of the goals of the tournament. 

“He shot from 25-yards straight into the top left corner from right-wing which settled the game before we scored a header to make it three.”

Likewise, to their County Cup final opponents, Bognor have triumphed their league in the Saywell International (Arun and Chichester) Youth Football League only seeing defeat once. 

“The season has been good the boys have managed to win their league,” he added.

“It is not the most competitive league so we are now looking to move on and push into the Mid Sussex League next season which is the strongest league we can go into.”

That is where Horsham sit, as Wier said, “they are the kind of teams we want to play against and test ourselves.”

He is well aware of their attacking presence and knows who his key player on the final will be giving them a taste of the season to come. 

“Our most important player in the final is 100% going to be our centre-half, Romeo Zousa because there probably isn’t a striker around like Horsham’s striker with what his stats say,” Weir said in what will be a “big job” for Zousa.

“We are going to have to make sure we take the chances we can get and will have to defend strong and keep our shape making sure our frontline works as hard as it can to press and win the ball in high areas,” Weir said on facing Horsham. 

So how important is this final to Weir’s Bognor boys?

“The most important thing is that they enjoy the experience. This is the first time they have played in the County Cup so to reach the final first-time round is an achievement itself,” Weir said.

“We always say it is not about how good they are at 11 or 12 years old; it is about how good they are at 18 years old and where they are playing as an adult.

“This is another step in their youth career taking them to hopefully where they want to be and where they should be.”

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 W J Jewell Trophy (Under-12s) please contact:

T: 01903 753547
E: Competitions@SussexFA.com

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