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Newent and Old Centralians pull out of end-of-season cups

By The Citizen  |  Posted: April 02, 2014

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As Newent enter the most significant period in the club’s history, the club have decided to withdraw from the Forest of Dean Combination Cup in their centenary year.

The club have both promotion and a spot in the Senior Vase final up for grabs.

Newent host Bristol Saracens on April 12 and the winner of this clash will take the Gloucester Premier title and secure promotion to Western Counties North.

And on April 19, they face Harrow in the semi-final of the RFU Senior Vase.

The winner will play in the final at Twickenham on May 4.

The club felt that committing to a first-round tie against Berry Hill in the Combination Senior Cup yesterday would distract from these vital fixtures.

Club secretary John Moore said: “We have a significant injury crisis at the moment and we just had to prioritise.

“If we had played Berry Hill in the cup and had any more injuries, we would have ruined any chances we had of success in other competitions.

“We fully support the Combination Cup and it was a very difficult decision to make, but this is the most important period in club history.

“We apologised to Berry Hill and the Combination for any inconvenience but they were both very understanding.”

Relegation-threatened Old Centralians are experiencing a similar crisis and have had to withdraw from the North Gloucestershire Combination Cup.

Cents are fighting for their lives in National Three South West and have a fixture backlog that will see them play two games in three days.

The Painswick Road men are second from bottom in the league and 10 points from safety, but they have two games in hand.

However, this means Cents will have to play Old Redcliffians at home on Saturday, April 19, before taking on relegation rivals Worcester Wanderers on April 21.

To play a Combination Cup fixture on April 22 was “madness” according to Cents captain Pete Willetts, and the team were withdrawn.

Willetts said: “The cup is a great tradition to be a part of, but last year we decided not to play a league game because of the cup and that gave us a five-point deduction going into this season, which we are now paying for.

“We know what those five points could mean. We paid the ultimate price and we can’t afford to do that again.

“We had no option but to withdraw the firsts, and that meant the seconds and the thirds had to pull out too, which is a big shame.”

Forest of Dean Combination Cup Secretary John Wood is currently dealing with the fixture headache that the

withdrawals and league commitments are causing.

He said: “We are working hard to arrange games around league fixtures.

"We need to find a place for the Combination Cups.

“It has been played for 100 years and we cannot just let it fall by the wayside.

“But it is currently playing second or even third fiddle to the league.”

Forest of Dean Combination Cup fixtures: Minor Cup – Drybrook III v Cinderford IV - April 5.

Forest of Dean Combination cup results: Junior Cup – Drybrook United 16 Westbury

14.

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