Boroughbridge and City set for Whitworth battle royal

hsb   Boroughbridge v Ripon City. Boroughbridge Number 8.  Ripon number 8.    (111231M1c)
hsb Boroughbridge v Ripon City. Boroughbridge Number 8. Ripon number 8. (111231M1c)

THEY both suffered defeat in the league on Saturday, but that will get put to one side on Wednesday night as Ripon City and Boroughbridge do battle in the Whitworth Cup final.

The Harrogate FA showpiece takes place at Harrogate Town’s CNG Stadium, and a battle royal is expected between the fierce derby rivals (7.45pm).

Boroughbridge are the reigning Whitworth champions, having stunned Knaresborough Town 4-1 in last year’s final.

But City are enjoying a belter of a season in the West Yorkshire Premier, holding the Indian sign over ‘Bridge with two league victories so far.

Charlie Brown’s troops are eyeing a hat-trick over the Aldborough Roaders in the ultimate contest to decide local honours, but Boroughbridge chief Daz Ekin is ready for the challenge.

“Whitworth Cup finals are always big games but this is massive,” he said.

“Games between us and Ripon City are always a real battle and usually we’re the favourites but they’ve beaten us twice this year.

“This is probably the first time we’ve played them as underdogs as we’ve normally had the upper hand but in this final, they will be the ones to beat.

“Fair play to Charlie and his lads, they’re having a great season and will be hard to turn over but we’ve got the team that can win the Whitworth Cup.

“I think last year people thought Knaresborough were flying, but then on the night they didn’t perform and we as the underdogs deserved that scoreline.”

City chief Brown isn’t quite so convinced by Boroughbridge’s deference, saying previous results for count for nothing.

“We might have beaten them twice this season but that bears no significance whatsoever now,” he said.

“This is about a cup final, not six points, and over 90 minutes, they’ll be massively up for it and so will we.

“The West Yorkshire Premier is very difficult to get anything out of, and if we get a top four finish we’ll be delighted.

“But the Whitworth Cup is about bringing silverware back to the club, and if we can say we’ve beaten Knaresborough, and Boroughbridge to do it, we’ll have done it the hard way and done ourselves proud.”

Brown expects to name his first-choice side, providing tomorrow’s league encounter at home to Whitkirk throws up no injury problems (2.30pm).

Ripon are targeting three points from the contest, to keep their hopes of a top four finish firmly alive and kicking.

“If we go out and play like we have we’ll pick up the three points,” said Brown.

“But we’ve got to turn up and perform. Whitkirk will try and frustrate us.

“They’re a physical side but if we can play football the way we’re capable of, three points should keep us in contention for a top three or four place.”

City were beaten 4-2 at title rivals Bardsey on Saturday but Brown had few complaints.

“I thought we put in a really good shift against a side who are going to win the league and every competition they’re still in,” he said.

“We were 3-0 down but pulled it back to 3-2, and worked our socks off.”

Ben Cohen and Tom Leeming scored City’s goals, both from open play.

Brown added: “I’ve got no arguments. Bardsey won two penalties and our ‘keeper Mark Rimmer saved one so that was very pleasing.

“Bardsey’s Rob Dickinson was a little bit clever to win it, too clever for referees at this level, but I ‘ve got no arguments.

“Our ‘keeper was the busier of the two in the second half, and Duncan Terry had a shot saved on the line.

“We did well.”

And staying with West Yorkshire Premier matters, Boroughbridge get back to domestic business tomorrow away at Fields (2.30pm).

They were left fuming after a questionable refereeing decision led to Saturday’s 1-0 defeat at Carlton Athletic.

“My throat’s still sore from shouting at the man in black,” said Ekin.

“I’m not normally one who moans at the referee but it was shocking and it cost us.

“A ball came in from a cross, one of our players struck it out and then it hit one of our blokes on the edge of the area.

“The referee then said penalty for a deliberate hand-ball, which was ridiculous as the ball was going away from the goal by one of our players.

“That was half-way through the second half so we had time to get back into it but we just didn’t.

“Now it’s Fields this weekend, they’re the better side on current form so it’ll be tough.

“Every game is tough in this league and we enjoy playing in it but I think we need to be a bit nastier to get results and pick up points.

“We won’t finish any higher than mid-table now.”

Ekin expects to put out a fairly strong side tomorrow, but intends to save a few legs for Wednesday’s final.