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Rivals going for glory in cup final showdown

Arch rivals Stamford Lions and Stamford Bels are set for an eagerly-anticipated end-of-season cup final showdown.

The two sides will meet on Monday night in the final of the Ancaster Cup at Bourne Town’s Abbey Lawn ground (kick-off 7pm).

Premier Division Lions booked their place in the final on Tuesday night after beating Deeping Rangers Reserves while Bels defeated Cottesmore Amateurs on penalties the previous week.

Lions manager James Sheehan is a former Bels boss and each side will include players who have previously had links to both clubs.

Sheehan has guided his side to their best-ever Premier Division finish with Lions landing fourth spot despite a disappointing end to their league campaign which saw them lose three games on the bounce.

Sheehan said: “To be honest, we limped over the line. Injuries and unavailability meant we played three of the last five games with bare the 11 players. We literally had nine fully fit players for Saturday’s trip to Moulton.

“It was disappointing end to an otherwise decent league campaign, but I was delighted the lads brushed that disappointment off to put in an excellent second half performance on Tuesday and secure the season with a cup final, especially with it being against my old club.”

Bels boss Lewis Morley is hoping the match will provide his Division One side with the chance to test their credentials against a higher level outfit with a view to next season’s promotion push.

Morley has led Bels to two cup finals in his maiden season at the helm after solid start league campaign.

He said: “Promotion is definitely an aim of ours for next season so it will be nice to see how we compare against a top side in the Premier.

“Lions have had a superb season competing with the likes of Moulton Harrox and Netherton for the league title. I feel like with the quality we have we will soon be or may already be at that level.

“It was the cup final we were all rooting for. There will always be a rivalry, but at the same time both sides have a mutual respect.

“I feel like the match will be heavily in the balance and the team who is more up for the game will come out victorious.

“After watching Lions previously I know they have lots of quality throughout their squad, but we will set out to stop their key players and allow ours to play freely. That will be my job to ensure that Bels are prepared for the game and are ready to battle.

“It will be a huge chance to show how far we have come as a club and a squad and for the players to show the quality which they have.”

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