The two senior football clubs in Bexhill have been accepted into prestigious national competitions for the first time.
Bexhill United will compete in the FA Cup, while neighbours Little Common will make their debut in the FA Vase and FA Youth Cup during the coming season.
Both clubs had applied to enter the respective competitions after achieving the required ground grading, but it was only after the release of the draws last Friday that they realised their applications had been successful.
Bexhill chairman Bill Harrison said: “It’s good news and it’s a big thing for the town. It’s a good competition to be in.”
The criteria to be automatically accepted into the FA Cup, subject to the ground conforming to the minimum standard, includes ‘clubs in step six of the FA National League System finishing in a league position 1-4 of the preceding season’.
Clubs outside the top four can also be accepted ‘subject to available places and subject to the ground conforming to the minimum standard’. Bexhill finished sixth in Macron Store Sussex County Football League Division Two last term and were awarded the ‘G’ ground grading.
It’s good news and it’s a big thing for the town. It’s a good competition to be in.Bill Harrison
Bexhill, who will play in the newly-named Southern Combination Football League Division One in 2015/16, were drawn at home to Premier Division side Loxwood in the extra preliminary round.
That match - for which the winners will receive £1,500 from the FA’s prize fund - is scheduled to take place on Saturday August 15, but The Polegrove will still be in the hands of fellow grounduser Bexhill Cricket Club.
Bexhill United’s committee is set to discuss alternative arrangements, which include switching the match to Loxwood or playing it at a neutral ground.
The same scenario could present itself again if Bexhill win because they would entertain Faversham Town in the preliminary round a fortnight later.
And it will certainly be the case in FA Vase first round qualifying on Saturday September 5 when they are due to host AFC Croydon Athletic. Bexhill made their FA Vase debut last season.
On the same day, Little Common will make their Vase bow away to fellow Southern Combination Football League Division One side Haywards Heath Town.
Despite a tough-looking tie, the club is delighted to be participating in the competition for the first time having successfully achieved the ‘H’ ground grading earlier this year.
Common will also be making their debut in the FA Youth Cup and will begin with a first round qualifying trip to Margate.
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