Battle buoyant for big day

Battle Baptists are preparing for a National Christian Cup quarter-final at home to Community Solutions Burnley
Battle Baptists are preparing for a National Christian Cup quarter-final at home to Community Solutions Burnley

Battle Baptists are in confident mood going into the football club’s biggest ever game in its own town.

Baptists are set to host Community Solutions Burnley in a National Christian Cup quarter-final tomorrow (Saturday).

Battle manager Gary Walsh said: “I think most certainly it’s the biggest game to take place in Battle in the club’s history. I can’t really believe it’s happening to us. I thought if we won one game in the cup that would be success, but we just seem to have gone from success to success.”

Baptists were runners-up in the lower level National Christian Trophy last season, and have made the step up admirably this term with wins over the 2012/13 finalists and one of the semi-finalists to reach this stage.

Walsh confesses to knowing very little about Battle’s next opponents other than the fact that Community Solutions play in the South Manchester & Cheshire Christian Football League and will be spending two nights in East Sussex this weekend.

“Everybody in the club is really geed up by it and I think that goes across the church as well,” continued Walsh. “I think there will be quite a lot of people there supporting us on Saturday.

“We’re confident, we’re in fine fettle and we’re looking forward to it. We’ve got a strong squad and it would be absolutely amazing if we do get through.”

ADA East Sussex Football League Division One high-flyers Battle have played just once since January 18 as a result of all the wet weather and Walsh admits their enforced inactivity is a slight concern.

“I think obviously it’s a bit of a worry and fitness is going to be a bit of an issue, especially if it goes to extra-time,” he went on. “Whatever happens it will still be soft and quite heavy, and that’s going to take its toll in terms of fitness.”

Baptists captain Jamie Crouch is the team’s only doubt after taking a knock in training last weekend. The game is due to take place at Battle Recreation Ground with a 2.30pm kick-off, although if the pitch isn’t fit, it will be switched to the 3G surface at Claverham Community College.

“I was there on Wednesday afternoon checking it out and it probably wasn’t playable, but with the weather forecast as it is, it should be okay for Saturday,” Walsh added.