Village team take on full-time academy in "David versus Goliath" Youth Cup Final

FINAL BOUND: The Walsham-le-Willows Thurlow Nunn u18 team after their 3-0 Suffolk FA Youth Cup semi-final win over Mildenhall town.
FINAL BOUND: The Walsham-le-Willows Thurlow Nunn u18 team after their 3-0 Suffolk FA Youth Cup semi-final win over Mildenhall town.

Walsham-le-Willows' best youth team in living memory are due to contest the Suffolk FA Midweek Youth Cup final on Monday, as they try to halt AFC Sudbury's treble dash.

The match has been described by the youth team secretary, Martin Hogg, as a "classic David versus Goliath contest" due to the difference in size and resources of the two teams.

But he also said the youth team, captained by Sam Waterson and vice-captained by Freddie Hogg, are the best in living memory and go into the final with the full belief and support of the club.

Walsham Youth will play the match (7.45pm) at the home of Colchester United, the Weston Homes Community Stadium, against the 55-man, full-time Academy squad of AFC Sudbury.

AFC are targeting a trophy treble to cap their memorable season - with Walsham one of the teams they need to overhaul to succeed.

It won't be easy though as this season Walsham have reached the semi-final of the Thurlow Nunn Eastern Counties Youth Cup for the second successive year as well as missing out on the Thurlow Nunn Central Youth League championship title by just two points.

The tiny village sports club of Walsham has spent hundreds of thousands of pounds in recent years on developing facilities under the leadership of Keith Mills and Mike Powles.

They now have outstanding facilities, including a 3G training pitch, which helped the club attract bushels of young players that are now feeding through, organised by youth secretary Rob Stiff.

More than half a dozen current members of the under-18 squad - managed by Alan Harris and assisted by Nigel Brame - have represented the first team this year and two youths, Ryan Gibbs and Kehan Whitby, have played for the Suffolk Under-18 representative team.

Ryan Gibbs was also Walsham first team's Player's Player of the Year and Tristin Reyes, the son of an American serviceman, was Manager's Youth Player of the Season.