Rainworth Miners’ Welfare are hoping to be able to transfer their cup form of 2014 into Evo-Stik League Division One South action tomorrow when Loughborough Dynamo make their second trip of the season to Kirklington Road.
The first, in December, was the victim of a security alert which saw that match postponed, and for their second try at staging the game the Wrens will be looking for their first league points since New Year’s Day - ironically points they could still lose since they came against troubled Eastwood Town, whose future hangs in the balance.
The last three league matches have all been lost 1-0, but inbetween the Wrens have played two Notts Senior Cup ties in which they won 5-1 at Midland Alliance Dunkirk in the quarter-final and, on Tuesday of this week, 4-0 at NCEL Premier side Retford United.
Both of those results have come despite player availability and eligibility problems, caused in some part by the weather hampering a number of new players from notching up the three appearances needed to qualify for the semi-final.
Tuesday night’s win at Retford catapulted the Wrens into their first Senior Cup final since 1993 when, as still a Notts Alliance club, they lost 3-1 to Arnold Town - they have won the cup just twice before, in successive seasons, in 1981 and 1982.
With recent league results now leaving the Wrens with only the slimmest of play-off chances, club members are eager to get their hands on the grand old trophy presented to the Notts FA Senior Cup winners and put some silverware on the shelf.
Manager Scott Rickards left his depleted squad in no doubt about the expectations prior to the match, and they responded magnificently - in particular the four teenagers in their starting line-up, which included two 18-year-olds and two aged just 17.
These youngsters have had to grow up quickly into the hurly-burly of Evo-Stik League football after some of the senior players were picked off by other clubs in recent weeks, but the tremendous progress they have made gives just cause for optimism for the future.
Rainworth still do not know who their opponents in the final at Hucknall Town’s Watnall Road ground on 29th April will be, for the other semi-final, between Carlton Town and Basford United, was abandoned in extra time because of a floodlight failure on Wednesday night with the score at 1-1.
Meanwhile, looking forward to tomorrow’s match, if Rainworth can pick up the three points they will secure their first league double of the campaign, having won 3-2 at Loughborough on the opening day of the season, although Loughborough did gain their revenge in a Doodson Sport Cup tie, also at the Nanpantan Sports Ground, with a 2-0 win.
If Tommy Brookbanks’ side’s February form is any guide there should be plenty of goals on offer. They go into the weekend on the back of Tuesday night’s 4-3 win over Gresley, last weekend’s conquerors of Rainworth, while earlier February results include a 6-5 defeat at Lincoln United and a 4-0 victory over Kidsgrove Athletic, as well as a 2-1 loss at home to Chasetown.