Driving over to Evesham on a scorching hot July Thursday evening isn't such a bad thing to do. Sitting in my car, protected by the coolness of the air conditioning, I noticed that my temperature gauge was showing a sweltering 30 degrees outside. I certainly wasn't envying the players when I made my way from the car park to the turnstiles at the Jubilee Stadium. Having said that, unlike the previous few weeks, there was a little breeze in the air and, if the various websites were to be believed, even the threat of a little rain and some thunder & lightning.
The final was to be contested by local and, from this season divisional rivals, Alvechurch and Redditch United. Between them, these sides had won the trophy 9 times since it's inception in the 1893/94 season. Redditch also have the honour of being the inaugural winners, albeit under their original guise of Redditch Town. They had last won the trophy in 2014.
The last of Alvechurch's three wins came in the 1977 season, towards the end of what was a golden period for the club with four successive West Midlands Regional League titles banked between 1973 and 1977. The current Church crop are certainly bringing back these good times. The club has climbed from Step 5 into Step 3 in the past two seasons.
However, Alvechurch continued to be the better side and, on 37 minutes, they took the lead with a nicely worked goal. A defence splitting diagonal pass from Keiron Cook found Josh March in the right, with a clear run on goal. He strode forward and drilled the ball past the Redditch keeper to make it 1-0.
Still having the majority of possession, it looked like only a matter of time until Church increased their lead. However, they were again guilty of some stray final balls and, just before the interval, they were made to pay for their profligacy when Declan Benjamin equalised, against the run of play, with a lovely strike. 1-1
HT Alvechurch 1 Redditch United 1. Church have been dominant but were made to rue too many stray final balls.
On 66 minutes we were treated to the move of the game. Alvechurch attacked fluently down their left flank, Foster got a few yards on his marker and, instead of firing an aimless ball into the box, he cleverly pulled the ball back into the path of March who placed the ball past the keeper from the edge of the box. A really good move and calm finish. 2-1
Alvechurch then put the game to bed on 78 minutes when two-goal March was upended in the penalty area. Turton stepped up and made no mistake from the spot. 3-1
There was nothing that Redditch could do to get back into the game at this point, although they did keep pushing until the end. They had one opportunity to possibly make for an interesting last few minutes, but it was not to be. Church ran out deserved winners on the night and claimed their fourth Worcestershire Senior Cup.
FT Alvechurch 3 Redditch United 1. A good run out for both teams. I must say, I like this idea of playing the cup final as part of the pre-season. It works really well as far as I am concerned.
Best of luck to both sides in the forthcoming season (although, as they are in the same league as Stourbridge, not too much good luck eh?).
Ground Number: Not a new ground