FA competition draws announced

Friday 07 July 2017 - by Stuart Smedley (Updated on 07 July 2017 at 19:02)

Draws for the opening rounds of the 2017-18 Emirates FA Cup and Buildbase FA Vase have been announced, with Royal Wootton Bassett Town handed home advantage in both competitions.

And exciting ties await Rich Hunter's side, with new opposition to face in the FA Cup and a local derby to savour in the FA Vase.

Emirates FA Cup

In the FA Cup extra preliminary round, Bassett have been paired with Bedfordshire outfit Crawley Green.

It will be only the second time in their history that Bassett face a side from the Spartan South Midlands League, with their only previous encounter resulting in a dramatic 5-3 victory after extra time in the FA Vase against Buckingham Athletic in September 2008.

Bassett will be hoping for a similar outcome against Crawley Green as they search for a first win in three seasons in the world's oldest cup competition.

Crawley Green are coming off a season in which they finished eleventh in the Spartan South Midlands League Premier Division, having achieved promotion to step five for the first time the year before.

This coming season will be their ninth participation in the FA Cup. Last year they were knocked out at the preliminary round stage by Southern League Uxbridge, having defeated Rothwell Corinthians 2-1 in the extra preliminary round. Meanwhile, they reached the first round of the FA Vase, losing narrowly to Basildon United. Their best performance in the FA Cup came in 2010-11 when they reached the first qualifying round, losing in a replay to Romford.

The extra preliminary round tie will take place at the New Gerard Buxton Sports Ground on Saturday 5th August.

The winners will then host either Stotfold or Berkhamsted, Crawley Green's league rivals.

Stotfold were 13th in the league last season – their fifth consecutive bottom half finish. They did reach the FA Cup first qualifying round, before falling to Waltham Forest, while they were eliminated in the FA Vase first qualifying round. The Eagles' best FA Cup run took them to the third qualifying round in 2007-08 – the year they finished as United Counties League champions, and they have reached the second qualifying round on a further three occasions.

Berkahmstead, meanwhile, finished eighth in the league in 2016-17. Although they were knocked out in the extra preliminary round of the FA Cup, the Hertfordshire side did reach the FA Vase fourth round. That followed a journey to the fifth round a season before. Their best FA Cup run came in 2012-13 when they reached the second qualifying round where they were eliminated by Isthmian League Metropolitan Police.

Should Bassett defeat Crawley Green, their preliminary round tie will take place on Saturday 19th August.

FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round – Royal Wootton Bassett Town v Crawley Green (Saturday 5th August)
FA Cup Preliminary Round – Royal Wootton Bassett Town or Crawley Green v Stotfold or Berkhamsted (Saturday 19th August)

Buildbase FA Vase

A fascinating local derby awaits Bassett as they enter the FA Vase for the seventeenth time. It's the third season in a row where they will begin their journey in the competition against Hellenic League opposition, with Fairford Town the visitors to the Gerard Buxton Sports Ground in the first qualifying round.

It promises to be one of the ties of the round locally, with Fairford coming into this campaign full of momentum after romping to the Division One West title and reaching the final of the Gloucestershire FA Trophy in 2016-17.

Last season also saw them win two games in the Vase before being defeated by the odd goal in three against Andover Town in the first round. Like Bassett, they didn't fare well in the FA Cup though, losing heavily in the extra preliminary round.

The Cinder Lane outfit have a long history in the Vase, having made their debut in the competition back in 1976. However, they have never made it further than the second round, reaching that stage most recently in 2003-04.

Bassett's best performance is the second round too, and they will be hoping that a home derby day triumph on Saturday 9th September can help ignite a first venture outside of the qualifying rounds since 2010-11.

Two victories will be required to do that. And, should they get past Fairford, Codicote would be the visitors to the Gerard Buxton Sports Ground in the second qualifying round.

Members of the Spartan South Midlands League since 2012, the Cod finished thirteenth in Division One last season. They made their Vase debut in 2008-09, when they reached the first round, a feat which was repeated in 2012-13. Codicote, managed by former Watford, Stoke City and Burnley striker Gifton Noel-Williams, have failed to win in the Vase in the past three seasons though.

The second qualifying round tie is due to take place on Saturday 29th September.

FA Vase First Qualifying Round - Royal Wootton Bassett Town v Fairford Town (Saturday 9th September)
FA Vase Second Qualifying Round - Royal Wootton Bassett Town or Fairford Town v Codicote (Saturday 23rd September)

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