Norfolk no show gives Deans spot in quarters

Deans head coach Nasser Ssemuwemba. Picture: Sarah Standing (113933-7770)
Deans head coach Nasser Ssemuwemba. Picture: Sarah Standing (113933-7770)
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Horndean have stormed to the quarter-finals of the men’s national shield competition without serving a ball.

The Deans booked their place in the last eight of the knockout event after their opponents from Norfolk failed to raise a full team.

Only five players from the third division outfit managed to make the long trip to Highbury College.

Their sixth team-mate was not as successful as his car broke down while on his way to the match.

‘We were a bit gutted when the referee told us during warm up the game was not going to happen because Norfolk did not have a complete team,’ said Horndean captain Stuart McCulley.

‘It was our first fixture of the new year and all the lads were geared up for it despite looking a bit heavy – thanks to the Christmas break.

‘But a win is a win and we had a good training session instead.’

Horndean find out on Thursday who their quarter-final opponents will be.

They will face old nemesis Guildford International or Loughborough Students on February 5.

‘If Guildford go through it will mean we shall be facing them four times this season,’ said Horndean head coach Nasser Ssemuwemba.

‘We shall just hate the sight of each other by the end of March.

‘But for now, all I can hope is we get a decent shield competition run alongside the National League.’

The Deans will have to be at their very best this Saturday.

They play host to the National League division two south runaway leaders Brentwood Boswells Academy at Highbury College.

‘It is going to be a massive game for us,’ added Ssemuwemba.

‘We lost to them 3-1 in our first game of the season and they have proved invincible ever since.

‘No team has managed to beat them so far. They just cannot stop winning.

‘We’ve got a different team since when we last met, though.

‘We’ve recently lost three players as well but are more than pleased to have big Marcus Russell back.

‘Our main target now is to fight and make sure we can stay in the league.

‘Anything better than that will be a bonus.’