The final Pub Cup places at Wembley are booked in our Northern semi-finals
It’s not often you get the chance to play at the home of the champions of England, but that was the prize for our lucky men’s and women’s Pub Cup Northern semi-finalists.
A total of 32 men’s and eight women’s teams made it to the draw to compete for a place at Wembley in the Pub Cup final.
Our defending men’s champions CJ’s from Nuneaton triumphed in the semis at Manchester City two years ago, but this time they were unable to hit the ground running.
Two draws in their opening group games meant they missed out on qualifying for the knockout stages to the lively Observatory, who made it all the way to the semi-finals.
However, that proved to be a step too far for the Blackburn side as they lost 2-0 to The New Line from Bradford. In the other semi, The Sun Inn – who won an epic penalty shootout against a talented The Temple team – didn’t have enough left in the tank to get past Stafford’s The Holmcroft.
A very evenly contested final ended scoreless, meaning penalties would decide who would go on to Wembley.
By the barest of margins, it was The New Line from Bradford who ultimately won 6-5 to book their place in the final.
Former Manchester City and England star Joleon Lescott was on hand to offer advice to those heading to the national stadium.
“What an opportunity to play at Wembley with your mates! Try and enjoy the occasion and not get carried away with the stadium itself. Take your time, stay calm, absorb it in and use it to your advantage.
In the women’s Pub Cup, defending champions Shifnal Town Sports Bar progressed comfortably from their group, without conceding. They were joined by The Whitemoor from Nottingham.
In the other half of the draw it was The Two Boats, from Long Itchington, and the Havelock from Blackburn who made it to the semis.
But Shifnal proved too strong for both, beating the latter 2-0 in the semis before holding out for a 1-0 win against the Two Boats, to make it two Pub Cup finals and a chance to defend their title against old rivals The Golden Hind.
BT Sport pundit Robbie Savage, who was at Manchester City and has been involved in previous Pub Cup finals, explains what makes the tournament so special. He said:
“What I love about the Pub Cup is the opportunity it gives to friends from a pub to get together and form a team and play at amazing facilities like Manchester City and Wembley.
The 11-a-side finals will take place at Wembley this Sunday August 8.
Women's Final - Golden Hind vs Shifnal Town Sports Bar
Mens Final - The Victoria vs The New Line