Well boys and girls, now that was big. Think New Years is all about fireworks? The second-round of the FFUK Cup and the first-round of the Challenge Cup were all about fireworks. Some were big, massive, like the last judgement meets psychedelic trance, and some, were not big, were not massive, the fireworks floated up and then came back to down to earth at the speed of, well, gravity. Thud.
Now there is a lot to go through and it is important to mention some of the ties in both the FFUK Cup and the Challenge Cup. We’ll start with the FFUK Cup. All cup matches have now been updated on the appropriate tabs and fixtures are out for the next round.
The second-round of the cup was slightly different to the first, as a lot of ‘lucky’ teams who had scraped through the first-round are now extinct as far as the cup goes. That is no longer the case as all the teams through to the third-round are quite rightly, showing success in the league also. Of the 16 teams left, 6 are in the Top Ten, and only 2 are not in the Top 50. In one sense this shows that playing in the Cup doesn’t need to match the league performance, success in one does not necessarily mean success in the other. But there will come a time when quality shines through, and the third-round is going to be bad boy. 1st place Mark Turnbull plays 3rd place Toby Glicher for one.
Firstly I’m going to spare a thought for my compatriot Chris Galloway. We rib each other a lot and he has endured a lot of my banging on about my own cup draw this last week. He is a more humble man than I, as on checking the cup scores I have seen that a mere 12 points was all that separated him and Paul Baker. Obviously I backed Paul all the way through the Cup as he is a stylish player and obviously I didn’t want Chris to succeed. But now I feel sort of sad for Chris… Hmm, not that sad though. Moving on swiftly.
The match of the round has to be Andy Faulkner v Tom Wollin, a classy tie. Both scored 300+ points for December and yet their cup fixture came down to just 4 points. I had checked the scores just before the City v City game and I couldn’t pick a winner here, or at least I thought Andy had it but I held back from overstating it. In fact, the tie came down to the slightest of decisions for Andy and a clean sheet from Kolarov v Leicester saw Tom through with his Bench Boost in play. A sporting match for sure, fair play to both of you.
Elsewhere, Matthew Cox beat James Page-Chatton by 81 points. I’m sure like me JPC is in the throes of his resurrection right now.
There were respectable wins throughout the second-round, Euan Philips got a high-scoring win against Loz Kelly with 357 points to 343. Mark Turnbull cleaned up as did Yabah Turnbull both with solid wins. Donald Macauley had a good win with 355 points to ex-player Jim Whitley’s 303, and Toby Glicher did the job on Vivaek Venkat with a 27 point lead.
That said, the top three points scorers for December were not in the FFUK Cup at all but in the Challenge Cup, where the points were all over the place!
A quick note on the cups overall. I don’t need to explain the beauty of Cups in football to anyone here but our own cups have demonstrated the chance element throughout both fixture lists. In the Challenge Cup in particular, some ties have been played between two very successful teams while other ties are between two teams that are, not so successful, or a mix of the two. Those in the middle rely on skill, luck, a twist of fate or sometimes even a chip. Either way, it allows both kudos and cash prizes to players from the bottom end of the league to out-perform those who started well, it’s all to play for, never give up! Apologies to the players affected by my clerical errors, these will be avoided in the future, it’s tricky getting everything spot on with all this excitement! Further, big apologies to those of you on the whatsapp group who had to endure my ‘passion’ last week…
As I said, the highest scorers for December were all in the Challenge Cup. Richard Harrison topped the month with 373 which with December’s extra fixtures should ensure he stays at the top of the MOTM scores for the season. Richard won his cup match to Darren Webb 373 to 286 points. Jimmy Prebble was the second highest scorer with 369 points which didn’t make life easy for Duncan Hannigan, who played well achieving 339 points, by far the highest scoring cup tie. Likewise, Lawrie Smith earned a win with 360 points to 312 for Lee Macnamara. And I felt bad losing out with 300 for the month! Commiserations to Duncan and Lee.
Conversely, and to give that some perspective, the lowest scoring win was from Paul Monger 265 versus my uncle Tim Fitzgerald who has undoubtedly stopped playing with his 133 points. As twists go, Paul was highest scoring for November but then didn’t have a great month in December. Maybe that’s justice then, he’s through in the Cup.
Two fixtures share the tightest wins by just 3 points, Glenn Macnamara 316 v 319 Dan McBrearty, and James Coffen 277 v Nick Page-Chatton 280 both shared very slim scorelines.
The biggest win was by James Macnamara v Rob Harding. We’ll have to have a word with Rob who lost his tie by some 153 points. James finished December with 328 points which would have seen him through most of the ties. The biggest loss then falls to Sean Colohan who with 196 points for December, allowed Robert Browne an easy ride as he swooped to 354 points for the month, a win by 158 points. As I have told myself, there’s always next season.
And I should mention my own tie finally, which I lost to Matt Packham by 7 points, well done Matt! I have decided not to go through the various scenarios which would have seen me through any more, shoulda woulda coulda and all that. Instead, being out of the cup allows me to re-focus on the league and recognise the improvement I have had since last term. Sitting on New Years Eve looking through all the cup draws I smiled to myself as in or out, through or not, the cup was a real buzz, a load of fun, and many ties like mine came down to a single decision, a captain choice, a defensive pick or a cheeky chip. My thoughts go out to all that were unlucky this time, as we go in to January with 16 players in the FFUK Cup and 32 in the Challenge Cup. January means FFUK Cup players will be playing for a place in the Quarter Final while for the Challenge Cup, the last 16. Best of luck to all, it’s gonna be a ride!