National cup game ‘will go ahead’

The Battle Baptists team which will face Kings Sports in the National Christian Cup on Saturday
The Battle Baptists team which will face Kings Sports in the National Christian Cup on Saturday

Battle Baptists say their scheduled match in a national knockout football competition will go ahead on Saturday.

Baptists have already postponed their National Christian Cup third round tie at home to Kings Sports once last month due to a waterlogged Battle Recreation Ground pitch.

And they are determined to get the game played at the second time of asking, even if it means playing it at an alternative venue if their own ground is again unfit.

Baptists manager Gary Walsh said: “We’re making alternative arrangements to make sure we do get it on. We’re pretty certain it will go ahead one way or the other.”

If Battle Rec isn’t playable, Baptists plan to switch the game to Tilekiln or Bexhill Road in St Leonards. And in case neither of those venues are fit, the club has booked the artificial 3G surface at Eastbourne Sports Park.

Given that the opposition will be travelling down from St Albans, a decision over where the match will be played is due to be made by tonight (Thursday). Kick-off is due to be 1.30pm.

Walsh has a full squad available and is in positive mood about Battle’s prospects in a competition where they reached the semi-finals last season.

“We’re really optimistic,” he continued. “It’s the only fixture in the whole of the competition that we’ve been drawn at home for and home advantage is always really big. It’s the one everybody wants to play in and with good reason because it’s always a fantastic game.

“Kings Sports play a similar level of football to us, they’ve got a good reputation within the competition and so I would expect them to come with quite a strong line-up. It will be a fascinating tactical game.”

Baptists have played just twice since the turn of the year and have lost on both occasions to drop into the Macron East Sussex Football League Premier Division’s bottom two. But Walsh has seen plenty of positives in the 2-1 loss to Sedlescombe Rangers and 2-0 defeat to unbeaten champions St Leonards Social.

“We played really well against Sedlescombe and the way we lost in the last minute was just devastating,” he added. “Against St Leonards we put up a really good show.”