Tavistock go in search of a place in Devon Bowl final Tavi head to Tivi in the semi-finals

TAVISTOCK will be chasing a place in the final of the Devon St Luke’s Challenge Cup tomorrow evening when they visit Tiverton from the division above.

The Lambs are in terrific form right now, having beaten promotion rivals Sholing and Bashley in their last two games, but with several players unavailable for the trip across Devon, manager Stuart Henderson will have to rotate his squad, which will mean more opportunities for some of Tavi’s development players.

“It’s a competition that all three pro clubs go into at the start and some clubs dismiss it a little bit by using fringe players which, to a degree, we have as well,” Henderson said. “Five of our Development team boys have played in the competition. The priority is the league and after our last two results, we have put ourselves into a really good position with seven games to go. We have one eye on that but, at the same time, this is a semi-final and we want to win it. It would be nice for the club to get to a final, but we will be rotating the squad. We don’t actually have any other option because we have several players who are unavailable and both Joe (O’Connor) and Brandon (Pursall) are ineligible.”

“I know Scott and Martyn at Tivi, they are both great guys and good football people. Martyn has been in the game for a long, long time and is always a good one to go to if you need to pick his brains on anything. Clearly, they are going to be the favourites, as they are the league above and it is going to be difficult and we will have to rotate our squad. But, we don’t feel we are a million miles away from being able to compete at the level above and we will look forward to going to a good venue and seeing how we do.”

Tavistock’s development team, run and coached by Dave Ottley, have picked up some decent results this season against clubs in the South West Peninsula League and some of those young players have been given exposure in the first team this season. Noah Maund, Matt Ottley, Sam Rutter and George Beardsmore have all gained form exposure in the competition and the project is working well, according to the Lambs boss.

“The Development team has gone really well this year, I think it’s about ten games we have played in total and there are lads there that I will look to blood into my first team squad over the next 12-18 months so yeah, it’s been a massive success,” Henderson said.

“The thing I would like to see is for them to play in some sort of league because sometimes, their parent club is obviously the priority and Dave Ottley has done a great job with them, but when we train, we don’t always see them because they have other commitments to their parent clubs, so they only come together for games.

“If the club could have a reserve team in something like the Peninsula League, it would be great, although the downside to that is more maintenance work on the pitch and more cost, but I do think it would be the way to go long-term.”

Henderson added: “These Development team players have played in previous rounds against Elburton, Holsworthy and Ilfracombe and they will again tomorrow at Tivi. By their own credit and performances, they have deserved that opportunity and that’s how it has happened.”