“Only now do you realise how much it means to the lower level league clubs like ourselves and C.A.”
Those are the words of our manager Gary Pearson, as we prepare for the first Ryhope Derby of the season, in the FA Cup extra preliminary round.
Waiting for the winners of the derby is an away day at Clitheroe F.C., of the Evo-Stik League Division One West, in the preliminary round on the 25th of August.
Colliery Welfare have had bad luck in games against neighbours RCA, availability issues hitting us in both games last season as RCA did the double over us, beating us 3-1 at Recreation Park and 4-1 at Meadow Park.
The lads will hope for a little bit of the magic of the FA Cup as they look to end a run of four winless Ryhope derbies since promotion to Division One of the Northern League.
FA Cup extra preliminary round
Venue: Meadow Park, Ryhope, Sunderland, SR2 0NZ
Date: Saturday, August 11
Speaking ahead of the derby, Pearson said: “Growing up I didn’t realise the FA Cup started at this level. I’ve had a taste of the magic on numerous occasions at various levels as a player, all very enjoyable (apart from the defeats).”
“But only now as a non-league manager do you realise how much it means to the lower level league clubs like ourselves and the C.A.”
On the importance of the FA Cup to our season, Pearson added: “The progressive prize funding can really make a difference to the rest of your season, helping the financial burden on owners/chairmen/committee/fans etc.”
“All the best to all involved, enjoy the game and may the best team win (hopefully us),” the gaffer finished.
RCA took a narrow away defeat to Newcastle Benfield in their opening game of the season.
However, they followed that up with a midweek win over Whickham to get their first 3 points of the season, and in emphatic fashion with a 3-0 overhaul of the newly-promoted side.
Mixed signs from a side that had a very good campaign last time out where they finished 4th in Division One on 79 points.
Despite the lack of competitive Ryhope derbies, there’s plenty of history between the two sides.
RCA are managed by Martin Swales, who had a long spell in charge of Colliery Welfare, while their captain Greg Swansbury also had a successful spell with us.
Other former CW players on the books at the C.A. include forward Nathan O’Neill and midfielders Clayton and Jonathan Davis.
Meanwhile our squad also boasts former RCA players in Joey Melvin, Danni Lay and Josh Home-Jackson.
Views from the lads:
Captain Ben Riding is relishing the chance to play in the FA Cup, saying: “It’s a massive privilege to be involved in a massive competition like the FA Cup.”
“As a kid growing up watching the competition, to be playing in it is kind of a dream come true.”
“Let’s just hope we can have a good little run this year as it’s massive for the club as well as the players.”
Goalkeeper Jonny Ball is also looking forward to the competition, particularly with the added incentive of the Ryhope Derby: “There’s something special about playing in the FA Cup”
“It’s a great derby to be involved in, and even more so as it’s the FA Cup.”