Burnham Ramblers face a fixture crunch

First published in Sport

BURNHAM Ramblers are facing a monumental week that could make or break their season.

The Leslie Field side could be about to play an energy-sapping four games in six days, having also played on Saturday and Monday.

And no less than three of those matches could be against Essex Senior League champions-elect Witham Town.

Keith Wilson’s side are steeling themselves for a congested spell of fixtures, starting with tonight’s Tolleshunt D’Arcy Memorial Cup final at Witham (kick-off 7.30pm).

They then go to Clapton on Saturday before potentially playing their Gordon Brasted Memorial Cup semi-final against Witham on Monday night.

Neither club are happy about the fixture being squeezed in but, as things stand, that is when the league want the game to be played.

Bizarrely, Ramblers would then visit Witham again next Wednesday in an Essex Senior League showdown.

“It’s laughable,” said Wilson.

“We’re preparing for a very tough, busy period and it’s going to be hard keeping everyone fit, especially given that a lot of my boys have to juggle their football with manual jobs.

“Witham are the best team in our league and we’re looking forward to testing ourselves against them, but it’s hardly ideal playing them three times in six days.

“I’m sure both sides would like a gap between the fixtures, so we have a fair crack at each other.

“But in these circumstances, I’m sure a couple of the games will lose a bit of edge and that’s unfortunate.”

Wilson was preparing for three games in six days, before receiving a phone call on Tuesday morning telling him that the league’s intention is to squeeze in the Gordon Brasted semi-final on Monday.

“Neither side are happy about it but I’m not sure if there’s anything we can do,” he said.

“And if the game’s got to be played, it’s got to be played.

“I’ve got a lot of time for (Witham boss) Garry Kimble, but I’m not sure if I want to see him three times in six days!

“Now I’ve got a bit of a conundrum, in terms of my selections, because I’ve got to decide whether I prioritise and put all my eggs in one basket.

“Finishing in the top four is very important and that’s our top priority, especially as it means we’d come in at a later stage in next season’s FA Vase.

“But I want to win something this year, so the cups are also very important. It’s a bit of a dilemma.”

Burnham set up the Gordon Brasted Memorial Cup semi-final date with Witham after beating Hullbridge Sports 2-1 on Monday night.

They came back from behind thanks to goals from Brad Warner and Martin Llewellyn.

On Saturday, Ramblers drew 2-2 at home to Barking, in the Essex Senior League.

Stuart Judd and Charlie Kirby scored their goals, but the visitors equalised with five minutes left.

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