As the summer has finally arrived and we tuck into the European Championships and burnt BBQ burgers, it seems the right time to reflect on 7 County Cup finals that provided a competitive and exciting end to what was a hectic and challenging 2020-21 season.
The U18 Giantkillers was the first of the 7 HFA County Cup finals to be played. The competition was created to commemorate the famous victory of Hereford United in the 1972 FA Cup against Newcastle United and saw Kidderminster Harriers and Cinderford Town step onto the Edgar Street pitch. With both teams coming through competitive matches in the previous rounds with strong performances, the game was promising to be a good spectacle and it didn’t disappoint. Cinderford Town took an early lead before Kidderminster Harriers began to assert their dominance on the match and reclaim the trophy that they had previously won many years ago.
The second final saw Bartestree Ladies face Pegasus Ladies in the Senior Women’s County Cup, for the first time also held at Edgar Street. With women’s football in the county developing every year, more opportunities are being created and performance levels continue to develop. Both teams earnt their space in the final which was held in front of a bumper crowd and it was Hereford Pegasus that took victory on the night, securing a 4-1 win.
On Thursday 20th May it was the Men’s County Challenge Cup final, the HFA’s most senior competition. After some brave and competitive performances from County League teams in the lower rounds, it was 4 regional sides that made the semi-finals. Wellington and Kington Town faced Westfields and Hereford Lads Club respectively, with both games being tight close call matches showing the high quality of football available within the County, with Westfields and Lads Club having to dig deep to earn their way to the final. The final itself was a sell-out, with far more demand for tickets than there were available due to Covid restrictions. The two teams produced an exciting high-quality match which saw Hereford Lads Club come out on top, winning 4-2 and lifting the trophy for the first time.
The finals then continued to come thick and fast with the Charity Bowl next, played out between the County League champions Clee Hill United and Hereford Pegasus Reserves. The competition played for by teams within the County League Premier division saw a small upset as Hereford Pegasus took the honours, deservedly winning 2-1.
The HFA Youth County Cup and HFA U16 Girls County Cup saw teams from the junior section of local football take centre stage at our fantastic 3G County Ground facility. Westfields Juniors U17s faced Fownhope U17s in the Youth Cup final with Fownhope running out 1-0 winners in a closely fought match. Belmont Wanderers faced Hinton in the U16 Girls final, two teams that have been challenging each other for silverware all season. Although Hinton showed promise it was Belmont Wanderers that had the cutting edge to secure an impressive 4-0 victory.
The last of the finals was the Junior Cup final. This competition involves teams from Divisions One & Two of the HFA County League, and it saw many upsets along the way with lower ranked teams overcoming their counterparts, although it was two Division One teams that eventually made the final. Tenbury United who had looked so strong for much of the season came up against a youthful Fownhope team. The match was a hard-fought battle, one deserving to bring the curtain down to the season. With the game looking like it was heading to extra time, Fownhope managed to find the net with 5 minutes to go and held on under the pressure to secure a 1-0 win and have the title of Junior Cup winners.
After what has been a difficult year (to say the least!) for the country, we at the Herefordshire FA have recognised the importance of providing a safe return to football, allowing people to resume their love of the game and we have been delighted that we were able to finish the season off and complete the competitions on a high.
It would not have been possible without the help and support of HFA Council Members who helped provide a smooth running of the cup competitions, Hereford FC for their continued assistance allowing events to be held at Edgar Street, match officials for their high standards and enthusiasm for the competitions and, last but certainly not least, the dedication and hard work of volunteers and participants up and down the County. These allowed the competitions to not only get back up and running after the lockdown but also to ensure they were successful. Thank you also to Flooring For Your Home, who has been the sponsor of this year’s HFA County Cups and Your Herefordshire whose platform has allowed our competitions to reach expanding audiences, the support and co-operation from both organisations has been unwavering throughout.
As we look forward and plan for the 2020-21 season the affiliation window is now open for teams to register and secure their place in next season’s competitions. For more information and support, please email Paul.firstname.lastname@example.org