The draw for the extra preliminary round, preliminary round and first qualifying round for this year’s Budweiser FA Cup competition has taken place with some interesting ties for Gloucestershire’s non league clubs, writes Richard Joyce.
Uhlsport Hellenic Premier Division outfit Slimbridge face a trip to Combined Counties League outfit Cove in the extra preliminary round due to take place on Saturday 11 of August with Fairford Town facing an away tie against Abingdon Town.
If either Slimbridge or Fairford are successful they will progress in to the preliminary round which will see the Swans take on Southern League opposition Thatcham Town whilst Fairford would face a trip to the Forest of Dean to take on Cinderford Town, also of the Southern League.
Also in the preliminary round, Bishop’s Cleeve have been drawn at home to either Hellenic League side Ascot United or Berkshire based Sandhurst Town from the Combined Counties League.
Last season Cleeve were knocked out of the cup at the first attempt by lower league opposition Wells City so will be hoping to make some progress in the world’s most famous cup competition this time around.
Newly promoted Shortwood United will face an away trip to either Highworth Town or Corsham Town in the preliminary round with Cirencester Town, who would no doubt find the money from a successful cup run useful, drawn against Welsh opposition in the shape of Merthyr Town at home.
If Alex Sykes’s Bishop’s Cleeve team are successful in their preliminary round tie then a place in the first round of qualifying would hand them an all Hellenic League affair with Bracknell Town, Binfield, Kidlington or Shrivenham as potential opponents.
If Shortwood United get in to the first round of qualifying then Nailsworth’s second biggest club can expect an away challenge at either Wotton Basset Town, Calne Town, Bermerton Heath Harlequins or Hamworthy United.
For Cirencester Town meanwhile it could be a match up with Cinderford, Fairford or Abingdon Town and that depends who wins the earlier ties between that trio of clubs.
If Slimbridge manage to battle their way through in to first round qualifying they will be away at either Marlow, Witney Town or Fleet Town – the first two of those sides will be Hellenic Premier rivals for the village club this coming season.
Extra Preliminary Round (11 August)
Cove v Slimbridge
Abingdon Town v Fairford Town
Preliminary Round (25 August)
Highworth Town/Corsham Town v Shortwood United
Bishop’s Cleeve v Ascot United/Sandford Town
Cove/Slimbridge v Thatcham Town
Cirencester Town v Merthyr Town
Cinderford Town v Fairford Town/Abingdon Town
First Round qualifying (8 September)
Fleet Town/WitneyTown/Marlow v Slimbridge/Cove/Thatcham Town
Cinderford Town/Fairford Town/Abingdon Town v Cirencester Town/Merthyr Town
Bishop’s Cleeve/Ascot United/Sandhurst Town v Binfield/Kidlington/Shrivenham/Bracknell Town
Wotton Basset Town/Calne Town/Bermerton Heath Harlequins/Hamworthy United v Shortwood United/Highworth Town/Corsham Town