Chris Evans reports…
ESSEX SENIOR CUP SEMI-FINAL DRAW
Billericay Host Romford, East Thurrock Meet Chelmsford
Essex Senior Cup underdogs, Romford, have been handed a high-profile Semi-Final tie away at Billericay Town after the draw was made on Wednesday (10th January), with East Thurrock United set to entertain Chelmsford City.
Paul Martin’s ‘Boro’ side, who defeated Grays Athletic 1-0 a short time after the draw was made thanks to a Connor Hammond strike, are currently in the lower reaches of the Bostik North Division. Yet their Senior Cup performances have been a source of great pride, already dispatching promotion contenders Maldon & Tiptree and Canvey Island.
Now they’ll have Glenn Tamplin’s Premier Division leaders in their sights as they bid to spring a surprise and make it to the final at Colchester United FC’s Weston Homes Community Stadium on Tuesday 20th March. Billericay themselves progressed, 3-0, past Harlow Town with two Billy Bricknell goals and one from Dean Inman the previous evening.
Meanwhile, two clubs who are very familiar with each other are Vanarama National League rivals East Thurrock and Chelmsford, who’ll go head-to-head at the FutureFuel Stadium. John Coventry’s Rocks are hoping to go a stage further as 2017 runners-up to holders City, managed by Rod Stringer, who knocked out Colchester United 1-0 thanks to Shaun Batt’s late finish. East Thurrock also snuck past Concord Rangers by a single Montel Agyemang goal.
The Semi-Final ties are due to be completed by 10th February. Two special guests assisted with the draw – local non-league football journalist, James Colasanti, pulled out the home clubs, while Nick Alliker selected the away sides. Colasanti felt it was an intriguing pair of ties.
“You’ve got a repeat of last season’s final on one side of the draw,” he said. “Personally I try to remain Essex-neutral but I always kind of have a hankering for the underdogs so I’d like to see Romford come through and certainly get to the final or, perhaps, win it. I know they run things on a shoestring down there, so that would be the romantic one.”
James also commented on the fortunes of Bostik North challengers Heybridge Swifts, for whom he has a media reporting role. Swifts have performed exceedingly well in the FA Cup and Trophy this season and have the chance of further glory in the League. He added: “It could go any way for Heybridge at the moment.”
“In context, they’ve only beaten relegation on the final day for the last two seasons now so, for this season to come through and be the lowest-ranked team left in the FA Cup at League Two Exeter City, and also the lowest-ranked team left in the FA Trophy, it represents quite a turnaround in fortunes. They’ve now got up to a dozen games in hand so, if they can remain consistent, hopefully they can push themselves and challenge for a play-off place.”
Essex Senior Cup Semi-Finals (on or before 10th February)
Billericay Town vs Romford
East Thurrock United vs Chelmsford City