‘Massive buzz’ as Battle go in search of national cup glory

Battle Baptists celebrate after winning the National Christian Cup in 2017. Picture by Simon Newstead
Battle Baptists celebrate after winning the National Christian Cup in 2017. Picture by Simon Newstead

Battle Baptists manager Kyle Mann says there’s a ‘massive buzz’ around the football club as it goes in search of national cup glory.

The East Sussex Football League runners-up will face Liverpool-based St Sebastians in the National Christian Cup final at The Valley, home of Charlton Athletic, today (Saturday). Kick-off is 3.30pm.

Mann said: “I am really looking forward to the game. It is going to be a great day out for all the players, supporters and club in general.

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“Whatever happens out there, you don’t often get to take your side to a proper ex-Premier League ground.

“We will work hard on the pitch and haven’t stopped training, with two extra sessions this week to make sure we can be as ready as we can for the game.

“There is a massive buzz around the team and the club in general following on from a decent season and very good end-of-season do a couple of weeks ago with guest Linvoy Primus (the former Portsmouth and Reading defender).”

Battle will be aiming to win the prestigious national knockout competition for the second time in three seasons having previously lifted the trophy at the same ground two years ago.

Standing in their way, however, is the team which beat them 5-1 in the semi-finals last term en route to winning the competition themselves.

The Baptists have come through four rounds to reach the final, defeating St Mary’s West Croydon 3-2 in round two, Newgen (Kent) 4-1 in round three, St Teresa’s Norris Green (Liverpool) 4-2 in the quarter-finals and Bankhall Mission (Liverpool) 2-1 in the semi-finals.

St Sebastians have also won four matches, three of them by a single goal margin. They’ve beaten St Edmunds (Liverpool) 1-0, Kay Street Baptist Rawtenstall (Lancashire) 3-2, North Shields Community (Newcastle) 4-2 and Bethel Church (Liverpool) 2-1.

Mann added: “We have everyone available for the game and it has been very hard to narrow it (the matchday squad) down to 16 players.

“A few second team players from the season have been introduced into the first team fold in recent weeks, which has pushed the players up a gear.

“Like I said to them all, it’s an open playing field for everyone to make the squad. I have had to make some tough decisions this week and really feel sorry for the couple of players that have missed out.

“But everyone knows it’s a squad game and has been the same all the season. I know that no-one selected will take this for granted and will give it their all.”

The coach and minibus for spectators will leave the Market Square car park in Battle between 1.15pm and 1.30pm, so anyone coming along should arrive in good time.