Next stop Wembley for Wroxham
Paddy Davitt SLIDESHOW: Wroxham boss David Batch is urging his Yachtsmen to cap the club's history-making FA Vase run with a fairytale Wembley ending. Batch will lead the Norfolk heroes out at the world famous venue on May 9 after a 4-1 semi-final aggregate win over Whitehawk.
Wroxham boss David Batch is urging his Yachtsmen to cap the club's history-making FA Vase run with a fairytale Wembley ending.
Batch will lead the Norfolk heroes out at the world famous venue on May 9 after a 4-1 semi-final aggregate win over Whitehawk.
Wroxham can expect huge backing from Norfolk football followers on a potential landmark weekend for the county as they look to emulate Diss Town, who triumphed in 1994.
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Table-topping neighbours Norwich City - currently nine points clear ahead of Stockport's Carrow Road visit today - could be presented with the League One trophy just 24 hours earlier after their scheduled league finale against Carlisle.
Wroxham duo Steve Spriggs and Shaun Howes struck within the opening seven minutes in front of 1,262 at Trafford Park to effectively settle the tie, before Josh Jones pulled one back for the Sussex visitors.
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Batch now wants his men to clear one final hurdle against the double FA Vase winners just six days before the FA Cup final on the hallowed turf.
“They have the experience, they've been in and around it loads of times and I'm sure there'll be saying it's about dealing with the occasion and all that sort of stuff,” he said. “But, hand on heart, I would say probably from the Armthorpe tie onwards - who, let me tell you, were the best side we have played this season by a long stretch - we've been really, really good dealing with the football match. We've embraced these occasions, yes, but haven't let them affect the football match and I think on a couple of occasions so far in this run it has been the difference between winning and not.”
Batch insists his underdogs will relish facing the north easterners who needed a stoppage time winner to beat Barwell 6-5 on aggregate in the other semi-final.
“I'm really pleased it's them actually because Barwell are a really good side and were well fancied,” he said. “One of the people who works for me is an assistant manager at a more senior team in that area, at Nuneaton, and he told me that they are a really good team.
“They went in for four or five of the Barwell players and just couldn't afford them and they're two or three leagues higher so I knew they must be a bit special. I was crossing my fingers Whitley Bay might do us a favour and knock them out if we could win our tie. Does it make it any easier? No. It's a completely different game, but what it does do is mentally we will go into the game having nothing to lose.”
Batch took a back seat for the jubilant celebrations on the final whistle at Trafford Park after winning the biggest game in the Norfolk club's long history.
“I had to leave the players to it because it hadn't sunk in,” he said, “It's their victory. I felt I should be on my own. I can't quite get my head around the fact I'll be leading a side out at Wembley because as I say it was so far away but in the last week, occasionally, it had been hard to stop little flashes of thinking what it would be like after this game, but not necessarily Wembley.
“It's great for Norfolk and for the club. People like Kenny Cooke and Pat Penn have been here 50 years. You think of all those on the committee who are always in and around the club for first team games, then there'll be back here for reserve team games and then back again for youth team games. Those people invest a massive amount of time in their lives for no reward - other than to push Wroxham football club forward. I feel really, really pleased for them.”