FA Vase countdown - Rugby Town will travel to Tyneside on Friday
With Rugby Town’s fifth round Buildbase FA Vase game at North Shields just over a week away, here’s a few more of Jon Venner’s interesting facts and figures about the competition.
* Mirroring the last Valley squad that competed in the last 16 of the competition at Brantham back in 1983, Rugby’s squad will enhance their readiness for the game by travelling to Tyneside the day before the Vase fixture.
The squad will be accommodated in a hotel nearby to North Shields, and will have access to excellent fitness, sporting and other pre-match preparation facilities during their stay there.
* North Shields’ own preparations for the game took a hit over the past week with the postponement of both of their scheduled Northern League matches due to the strong winds in the area.
Firstly their home outing against Newcastle Benfield was called off at the weekend after Storm Malik struck their Ralph Gardner Park ground - destroying perimeter fencing and also affecting power supplies. The Robins’ Tuesday evening visit to West Allotment Celtic also fell foul of the after effects of the major weather front.
* Rugby and North Shields are two of the 14 teams still left in the competition that play their football at Step 5 of the non-league pyramid.
The only two outliers from this are Step 6 clubs Abbey Hey (North West D1) and Stansfield (Southern Counties East D1).
* Valley’s United Counties Premier South Division provides the most teams of all in Vase Round 5, with Coventry Sphinx and Newport Pagnell joining them at this stage.
Elsewhere, two further UCL Premier (North) sides - Anstey and Loughborough - will also compete for a Quarter-Final spot, whilst North Shields are the only remaining representative from their Northern League.