Underdogs aiming to bring trophy home - EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEWS
The mood in the Tunbridge Wells camp during Friday night’s training session under the floodlights at Culverden Stadium was buoyant, writes Stephen McCartney.
There is a sense within the team that they’re going to end their club’s 18-year wait for a trophy on Sunday, but they know it’s going to be tough against a VCD Athletic side that’s aiming for a cup double and a strong final position in the Kent League.
VCD, who reached the fifth round of the FA Vase, which was their last defeat in February, stand in their way but two Wells players that we interviewed are relishing tomorrow’s showpiece final at Welling United’s Park View Road.
“To be honest mate, this is the biggest game that I’ve ever played in,” said 31-year-old Adrian Hatcher.
“I suppose we need a bit of experience as I know their team’s has a lot of experience. Hopefully we’ll do allrght.” His prediction? “We’ll win!” he replied.
With a crowd of at least 500 attending tomorrow’s final, Hatcher hopes nerves won’t get the better of him - or his team-mates.
He said: “Hopefully I don’t freeze, I can’t say. Hopefully I’ll be fine. I’m looking forward to it as lots of family and friends are going so it should be cool.”
Fireman Andy Garrett, 29, signed for his home-town club from Southern League Division One East side Chatham Town earlier in the season.
And the former Tonbridge Angels defender/midfielder, whose also played for the England Fire Service and Kent Fire Brigade representative sides will be hoping to extinguish Vickers’ chances.
“Big game. They’ve got an experienced team themselves but we’ve got enough enthusiasm and young legs to run them ragged and enough old heads to settle it down when it’s needed,” he said.
But G Man, as his known by his team-mates, admitted the club’s position in the Kentish Observer League table has to be better.
“Hopefully we’ll come back with a bit of silverware for everyone at Tunbridge Wells for all the loyal supporters that come to us every time we go down to Deal on a Tuesday night.
“It would be nice to do it for them and ourselves and hopefully we’ll progress next year.
“We’ve been too inconsistent really. If we can play week-in, week-out like we have been doing in cup competitions, and strengthen the squad for next year, we’ll definitely make a good go for it next year and see if we can get in that top three or four and get promotion in the next couple of seasons.”
After being told Sunday’s line-up inside the dressing room halfway through their training session, the squad enjoyed a meal, a couple of drinks and exchanged plenty of banter afterwards.
Manager Martin Farnie presented his squad with track suites so they’ll be looking professional as they walk onto the excellent Park View Road playing surface before their warm ups.
But before that they’ll enjoy a breakfast inside the Culverden Stadium clubhouse on the morning of the big match and I’m sure a few butterflies will be flying around some stomachs as they dream about bringing the trophy home.
Tunbridge Wells v VCD Athletic
Kent Senior Trophy Final
Sunday 9th April 2006
Kick Off 3:00pm
at Park View Road, Welling