The Pub Cup is back and two teams have secured their places at Wembley
After a two-year pandemic-enforced absence the Pub Cup was back with a bang at Bisham Abbey National Sports Centre.
A total of 40 teams representing pubs from the south headed to Berkshire for the seven-a-side event.
The men kicked things off on Saturday July 24 with 32 teams contesting eight groups of four.
Many had hired coaches and travelled hundreds of miles, bringing with them the kits, polo shirts and ‘LVP’ bucket hats that were provided in their BT Sport Pub Cup packs – along with some personalised bottles of beer courtesy of Budweiser Brewing Group.
The Blake Arms from Bridgwater in Somerset, Frosty’s from Harrow, and The Three Blackbirds from Bexley all got through to the knockouts with maximum points.
However, only the Three Blackbirds progressed any further, winning 3-0 in both their quarter final and their semi-final to glide serenely through to the showpiece event.
It was far harder work for Brighton’s Victoria pub who lost a game in their group and only scraped through to the quarters on goal difference.
In the semis, they needed the drama of a sudden death penalty shootout to get past Woodford Green’s Horse & Well, in an evenly contested match.
It meant that The Three Blackbirds were the favourites in the 16-minute final, but, as was proved, finals do not always follow form.
It was The Victoria who took the lead when Oliver Welbourne’s fast break and clever pass set up Farrall Ryder with a tap in. And despite the Blackbird’s best efforts, there was no way past goalkeeper Gregor Shaw.
The Brighton side held firm to book their place at Wembley.
A day later and it was time for the women to take centre stage, with eight teams contesting two groups.
Our beaten finalists from two years ago, The Golden Hind, looked like they were in trouble after only scoring one goal in their three group games but the four points they amassed were enough to sneak into the semis. A 1-0 win then saw them to another final.
On the other side of the draw Suffolk and Norfolk provided the strongest teams in the form of The Ingate Freehouse and the Railway Tavern. It was ultimately the former who won through after a penalty shootout victory.
Alas, their race was run, and The Golden Hind saved their best performance for the final, scoring early and eventually beating the Ingate 3-0.
It meant they had another chance to win the Pub Cup after a narrow defeat in the final two years ago – and this time they’d be going for it on the biggest stage of all.
The Pub Cup continues with seven-a-side tournament this Sunday August 1 at Manchester City Etihad Campus.
The winning teams in each event will progress to an 11-a-side final at Wembley on Sunday August 8.
We’ll keep you posted with live updates from the events on our Twitter feed and with stories here at