'It's a disadvantage to Baffins and an advantage to everyone who's playing in the league' - Boss Shaun Wilkinson angered by decision to switch Amesbury Wessex League fixture

Baffins Milton Rovers manager Shaun Wilkinson hit out at the Wessex League after his side were ordered to play a League Cup quarter-final at Folland Sports on Saturday.

By Lewis Mason
Thursday, 18th November 2021, 10:05 am
Baffins boss Shaun Wilkinson. Picture: Chris Moorhouse (jpns 180821-32)
Baffins boss Shaun Wilkinson. Picture: Chris Moorhouse (jpns 180821-32)

It represents a change in fixture for Baffins, who were initially due to be in league action at home to Amesbury.

However, in order to ensure all clubs in the Wessex League were playing this weekend, Baffins' home fixture against Amesbury will now be rearranged and instead Wilkinson's men will make the trip to division-lower Wessex Division One Folland for a last-eight cup tie.

Meanwhile, leaders Horndean, who were due to be without a match this weekend, will now make the trip to second-bottom Amesbury.

But Wilkinson has been left angered by the decision, claiming it offers an 'advantage' to the table-topping Deans while leaving his men at a 'disadvantage' in the league.

The Baffins boss fumed: ‘It’s not really a game I can get excited about, to be honest, it’s no disrespect to the competition or disrespect to Folland as they’re a good side.

‘I’m still annoyed with the league for taking away a league fixture from me on a Saturday - I just can’t get my head around it.

‘We were due to play Amesbury (in the league) and then last week the league took Amesbury off us, swapped it for a Wessex Cup game on a Saturday and gave Amesbury to Horndean. They’ve given Horndean an advantage, who are top of the league, playing second from bottom.

‘We were playing Amesbury at home and unbeknown to us, they swapped Amesbury and gave us Folland.

‘It’s a disadvantage to Baffins and an advantage to Horndean - and everyone else who’s playing a league fixture.

‘It’s a midweek cup competition and how can that take precedent over a league fixture on a Saturday? I’m absolutely gobsmacked, to be honest.

‘It’s messed with out prep, it’s messed with our plans, there a no gimmes in football but a league fixture at home after a defeat on the road - that’s what you want.’

Wilkinson says he'll use the quarter-final tie to hand minutes to those in his squad who need them most.

Star striker Jason Parish will make his first start since recovering from a hamstring injury while Josh Warren, Billy Connor and Oscar Johnston are all likely to feature.

And Wilkinson will make a decision on which of his promising under-18 club contingent to include in his squad.

Wessex League secretary Steve Smith confirmed the decision to switch Baffins' league meeting with Amesbury was done solely to provide football for every team across the division this weekend.

With FA Vase fixtures also being staged this weekend, Horndean were originally not due to be in action.

Secretary Smith said: ‘It’s so that every team gets a game this Saturday and there would be no spare teams not playing football.

‘I don’t do the fixtures, but I believe that’s why it was changed. Obviously there have been some changes because it’s an FA Vase week and our job as a league is to provide football for people. By switching that one fixture every single team has now got a game so that’s why they did it - end of story.’