It’s turned out to be a season with a silver lining for Chichester City and Bosham.
Miles Rutherford’ City won the Principal RUR Charity Cup by hammering neighbours and rivals Pagham 4-0 – then 24 hours later Gary Lines’ Bosham team lifted the SCFL Division 2 Cup for the third time in four seasons.
Both victories are great reward for fine seasons enjoyed by the players and management at Oaklands Park and Walton Lane.
Chi City were first to bring home the silverware, sweeping aside the Lions in the RUR final at Sussex FA HQ at Lancing thanks to two goals apiece by Jimmy Wild and Dave Herbert.
Rutherford said it was satisfying to beat Pagham after they had won 5-0 at Oaklands Park on Boxing Day.
He reflected on a league season which had promised a top-two finish and possible promotion to the Bostik League before going off the rails amid concern over the club’s future as problems with their lease from Chichester District Council came to light.
Rutherford said the cup triumph could be a stepping stone to a successful 2018-19 season.
He said: “It’s extra special to win the cup this way because Pagham beat us 5-0 on Boxing Day. In a way, that (the big home defeat in the league) worked to our advantage before this game.
“Of course you mention that before a game but the bigger thing for me was that we had to play them again at Pagham after the final.
“The worst thing in the world for me would have been to have to go to Pagham having lost 5-0 to them and having lost the cup final.
It’s extra special to win the cup this way because Pagham beat us 5-0 on Boxing Day. In a way, that (the big home defeat in the league) worked to our advantage before this game.Miles Rutherford
“There couldn’t have been anything worse. I think the players felt the same.
“As I said to the players, they’re a lot better than they showed Boxing Day and they proved that in the final.
“On their day, they’re a good side but we’ve had a lot of ups and downs recently as a club. We’ve had turmoil behind the scenes which we’re trying to sort out.
“If we can sort that, which we will, and come through that, if we can keep the players together and add two or three, I’ll be excited about next year, like I was this year.
“I’m looking forward to it and the players are as well. Hopefully it will be a good season next year.”
Reflecting on City’s sixth-placed finish in the SCFL premier, which could have been higher but for erratic form at the end of the campaign, Rutherford said: “We were right in among everyone but our season fell apart when we got beaten to Littlehampton. They knocked everything out of us and we were very, very poor on the day. We’ve had other results in the past month the same.
“Whether what’s going on behind the scenes is part of that ... the players know what’s going on because we’ve spoken to them about it. I’m not blaming the players for that. It’s something we’ve got to deal with and get on with. Hopefully we can turn the corner.
“Winning the cup is a great start towards turning it round. All credit to Pagham – the first game we played against them, they were far better than us. They’ve had a great season too. They’re a great club to have around, they’ve got lots of good people involved.”
Like Chichester, Bosham had a bit of an up-and-down league season. They finished fifth in division two, having threatened a push for the title earlier in the campaign. Their cup final was settled by a single goal, scored by sub Matt Andrews in the 87th minute.
Manager Lines, marking the end of his first year at Walton Lane, was delighted by the cup win and said: “We weren’t at our best, but Matty popped up late on and got us over the line against a very resilient side.
“We’ve got a very good record in this competition, and I’m delighted we’ve been able to bring the cup back to Bosham again – it’s a proud night for the club and for myself.
“I can’t fault the boys for their effort and attitude – full credit to them for producing the run we’ve had (12 straight wins in all competitions). We’ve fallen a bit short in the league overall, but we’ll go again next season and am confident we can challenge.”