Rushden and Diamonds will play, alongside eleven other clubs including FL sides Barnet, Exeter and Luton, in the South West Challenge Cup this pre-season. Rushden took the place of Burton Albion, who conceded their place in the tournament in favour of a friendly with Nottingham Forest .
The cup will be played on the week beginning the 13th July, at the grounds of Appledore, Barnstaple, Bideford, Ilfracombe and Torrington. £15 tickets will be on sale from May onwards, and include access for one adult and two children to any of the preliminary (ie. not including semi-final or final games) games.
It is expected that three groups of four teams will be made. Last season, each team played only two of the three other teams in their groups, due to the short tournament time. Another odd feature of the cup was that teams were awarded points for losing – two points if they lost but still scored. This was to encourage attacking football.
Eastleigh won last years cup, while Torquay, who intitally didn’t qualify for the semi-finals but got to do so anyway after a Crystal Palace XI withdrew, were runners up.
Another strange feature of this English pre-season tournament is the presense of RRFC MONTEGNEE-LIEGE – Royal Racing Football Club Montegnée is a Belgian football club made up of, bemusingly, fifteen Americans, eleven Canadians, two Britons and just five locals.