Football: Non-League Notebook: Pride of Suffolk on Vase quest

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The Independent Online
THE LAST Suffolk club to play at Wembley was not Ipswich Town but Sudbury Town, who reached the FA Vase final in 1989.

Sudbury Town drew 1-1 with Tamworth in front of a crowd of 26,487, the biggest ever for a Vase final, before losing the replay 3-0 at Peterborough. In subsequent years the Priory Stadium club rose as high as the Premier Division of the Dr Martens League, and two seasons ago they beat Brighton and Hove Albion in the first round of the FA Cup.

At the end of that 1996-97 campaign, though, Sudbury Town resigned from the Dr Martens for financial reasons, and returned to the Jewson Eastern League. Once they were unquestionably the top non-League club in Suffolk, now they may not even be the top side in Sudbury.

A mile up the River Stour from the Priory is Brundon Lane, the home of Town's Jewson League rivals Sudbury Wanderers. Tomorrow, while Town battle for Premier Division points against Diss Town (a Norfolk team who won the Vase in 1994), Wanderers will be on the Cumbrian coast taking on Workington in the last 16 of the Vase.

Sudbury Town fell at the fourth-round stage of the Vase, losing to an extra-time goal at home to Northwood, but there is another Suffolk side in the fifth round. Woodbridge Town entertain Camberley Town, from Surrey, at their Notcutts Park ground tomorrow.

Woodbridge have several links to the Sudbury Town side which reached the 1989 Vase final. Their manager is Dave Hubbick, who scored six goals in 26 League games for Wimbledon in the early 80s and also hit Sudbury Town's Wembley goal against Tamworth.

Hubbick's assistant is Gary Barker, who captained the 1989 Sudbury Town side. Three other Priory team-mates then were Dean Garnham, who now keeps goal for Woodbridge, plus Marty Thorpe and Craig Oldfield, who are both squad players at Notcutts Park. They all share the same dream - marking the 10th anniversary of their first Wembley visit with a return trip.

There will be a reunion prior to the Vase tie at Dunston Federation Brewery tomorrow. The Tyneside club's manager, Bobby Scaife, appeared in the same Middlesbrough youth and reserve teams as David Armstrong, who went on to play for England and is now the commercial manager of Lymington & New Milton, Dunston's opponents from Hampshire.

Two clubs known as the Motormen have reached the last 16 of the Vase. Vauxhall GM, from Ellesmere Port, travel to Oxfordshire to take on Thame United, while Ford United, from Romford, entertain Bedlington Terriers. Both sides reached the first round of the FA Cup this term: Ford lost at Preston North End while Bedlington thrashed Colchester United.

The Vase holders, Tiverton Town, visit Bedford Town, while Taunton Town, along with "Tivvy" the other West Country Vase contenders, entertain Northwood.