CUP fever is gripping Shropshire with Brignorth and Cleobury Mortimer just two games away from appearing at Twickenham in RFU Cup competitions.
Bridgnorth, the unbeaten leaders of Midlands Two West (North), are through to the Midlands final of the RFU Intermediate Cup where they will host Northampton Old Scouts on Saturday March 14 while their near-neighbours Cleobury Mortimer face a trip to Rugby Lions in the regional final of the RFU Junior Vase.
Cleobury Mortimer already know what it is like to play at Twickenham having got there in 2006 when they were beaten by Dorking in the Junior Vase final.
They were the first Shropshire club to reach a Twickenham final and are again enjoying the excitement that a good cup run has brought to the area.
“When we got to Twickenham in 2006 it gave a great boost to the area. Quite a few more players came in and it gave us a big lift and more confidence,” said Cleobury Mortimer’s player/coach Tony Heap.
“A lot more people knew who we were and where we were. The town is buzzing again but it’s a but different this time having got this far before.
“Last time we were first club in Shropshire to get to Twickenham, this year we have Bridgnorth who are just down the road, through to the Midlands Intermediate Cup final. It’s great for rugby in the area.”
Although Cleobury Mortimer, who are leaders of Midlands Four West (North), play at the same level as Rugby Lions, the runaway leaders of Midlands Four West (South), Heap accepts that his players have a mountain to climb in Saturday’s final.
Rugby are unbeaten in league rugby since they were re-admitted to the leagues last season following their expulsion from the National Leagues two-and-a-half years ago because after they ran into financial difficulties.
Rugby’s only defeat last season came against Longlevens in the RFU Junior Vase final at Twickenham and this season they reeled off 15 consecutive league wins with a points difference of 608.
“Three years agio they were in the National Leagues so it’s a challenge for us,” Heap said.
“We have to treat it as a normal game. You can’t put too much into it otherwise you start putting pressure on the players and they start thinking too much about it.
“You want them to go and play their normal game. You don’t need to tell them it’s going to be a massively hard game, but we have to do everything as normally as we can.
“Too much information about Rugby can almost off. You start worrying about them too much rather than worrying about ourselves. By playing our normal game hopefully it will pay off.”
Heap is one of four survivors from the 2006 final side in Cleobury Mortimer’s squad for Saturday’s final alongside number eight Paul Hulland, who rejoined from National Two North side Luctonians this season, captain Willie Bache and Colin Todd