A RECORD crowd at Hart Field cheered Rugby & East Warwickshire’s veterans on to the final of the Over-40s National Cup.
Goals from David Odwell, Alex Watkins, Chris Graham and Dave Manning secured a comfortable 4-1 victory over East Grinstead in the semi-final and now Rugby will face Robinson’s at the Lea Valley Stadium on May 1.
Goalkeeper Danny Bell was called into action in the first minute with a stick save to his bottom right before from a swift counter Rugby took the lead when Odwell fired home from open play.
On eight minutes there was confusion in the visitor’s team as they stopped expecting a whistle but Rugby played on and Alex Watkins was able to run the length of the pitch to round the keeper for goal number two.
East Grinstead responded well and were soon able to convert a penalty stroke after the ball hit Giles Morrison’s foot on the line.
But Chris Graham was enjoying a fantastic game in midfield and he scored Rugby’s third shortly before the half-hour mark when the ball came to him from a short corner and he beat the keeper with a hard low shot.
The game settled down after this but Rugby did well to defend a barrage of East Grinstead short corners, while Russ Watling defended most things that came his way and he was backed up by Bell in goal.
And on 63 minutes Rugby sealed the win when Dave Manning finished at the back post after Dave Odwell had delivered the ball into the area.
Elsewhere, the men’s first team came out on top after an enthralling battles against Bournville with Szymon Oszyjczyk bagging no fewer than five goals in an 8-6 win.
Rugby failed to cope with Bournville in the opening period but they twice pegged their opponents back to go in 4-4 at half-time.
Bournville only had 11 men for the match and it was no surprise to see them tire after the break and Rugby took full advantage by pulling 8-4 in front with Chris Graham and Sam Barker also getting on the scoresheet.
To their credit Bournville did manage to pull two goals back late on but by then the game was safe. Next up for Rugby is a must win match against West Bridgford.
Early lapses in defence cost Rugby’s second team against Nottingham University after they lost out 4-3 and the third team also lost by the same scoreline to Loughborough Students.
The fourth team had taken 15 points from their last six games but they found themselves on the wrong end of a 6-0 thumping at Nottingham University but there was better news for the fifth team who beat Leek 2-1 thanks to goals from Gregory Sinnett and Craig Hughes.
In the ladies section, Wariwick proved why they were recently crowned league champions after beating Birmingham University 5-1.
The second team earned a hard-fought point against league leaders Atherstrone after drawing 1-1 and the third team tasted a narrow 1-0 defeat against Warwick University.