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SIL preview: Benhall St Mary battling on three fronts, ahead of Suffolk Junior Cup clash

PUBLISHED: 06:00 17 March 2017 | UPDATED: 20:49 17 March 2017

Benhall's Leigh Bailey scores in his side's Bob Coleman Cup quarter final. win over Wenhaston United, earlier in the season. Picture: James Bass

Benhall's Leigh Bailey scores in his side's Bob Coleman Cup quarter final. win over Wenhaston United, earlier in the season. Picture: James Bass

© James Bass 2017

Benhall St Mary go into tomorrow’s Suffolk Junior Cup semi-final with Oulton Broad at Beccles Town, still challenging on three fronts.

The coastal side are also in the semi-finals of the Bob Coleman Cup, where Division One representation will be ensured in the final, given they play league rivals, Claydon in the last four, next Saturday. The winners will face either Achilles or AFC Kesgrave in the final.

And they are not out of the running in the league yet, Benhall sitting third from top in Division One, five points off second-placed Sporting ‘87 and a further two behind leaders, Claydon.

Manager, Carl Wilkins, said: “We brought in a couple of new lads who gelled really well and we have got some older heads in the team, the likes of Chris Wright and Chris Sillett, who have played at a really good level.

“We have quite a small squad so I didn’t expect us to do so well, so I am extremely pleased with the season. We didn’t set out to target the Bob Coleman Cup and Junior Cup, but now we are here, let’s have a go at winning them.”

With the prospect of winning promotion as well, would Wilkins swap success in the cups, if promotion to the Senior Division was guaranteed?

“Me personally, I would. I would like to guarantee going up to Senior football as the lads have gone so close the last couple of years and I know we would hold our own in the top flight,” added Wilkins, who is looking forward to tomorrow’s game with Oulton.

“I am a big believer in my boys. Oulton will be a quality team but it is ours to lose if we play to the levels we know we can.”

In Saturday’s other semi-final, Bacton United ‘89, ninth in Division One, play Brandon, at Walsham-Le-Willows’s Summer Road ground, for a place in the final, which will be played at Colchester United’s Weston Homes Community Stadium.

In the Senior Division on Saturday, third-bottom Grundisburgh, fresh from a morale-boosting 4-1 victory at Ipswich Athletic last weekend, go to fifth-bottom Capel Plough, keen to keep pulling away from trouble at the bottom.

Micky Squirrell’s men moved out of the bottom two with that result and were replaced by Westerfield United, who face a tough away day at Achilles.

Achilles are third-from-top in the Senior Division, but 11 points adrift of leaders Henley Athletic, albeit with two matches in hand.

Sanwiched in between the Mighty A’s and leaders Henley Athletic, who are without a game today, are defending league champions, Crane Sports.

On Saturday, Iain Radnor’s Greshams-based side, who are 10 points off the leaders with three games in hand on the leaders, are at home to mid-table Haughley United.

East Bergholt United, in ninth, meanwhile, host fourth-top Bramford United, whilst Leiston St Margarets entertain Coplestonians.

In Division One, Benhall aside, three of the top four are in action, with leaders Claydon at home to Ipswich Valley Rangers.

Sporting ‘87, two points behind the leaders, host Mendlesham, while AFC Hoxne go to Ipswich Exiles.

The Club Colours Cup final between AFC YourShirts and Cockfield United is to be played at Old Newton United FC on May 13, kick-off 2.30pm.

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