Double sporting glory aim for Lowestoft

SPORTING success in Lowestoft has taken centre stage as two of the town's top team's today stand just one step away from playing in their respective national stadiums.

SPORTING success in Lowestoft has taken centre stage as two of the town's top team's today stand just one step away from playing in their respective national stadiums.

The exploits of Lowestoft Town FC and Lowestoft and Yarmouth RFC have captivated locals as the footballers made it into the semi-finals of the national FA Vase competition once more, and the rugby club joined them by making it through to the last four of the EDF Energy National Junior Vase for the first time in their history.

Both are now within touching distance of realising the dreams of hundreds of football and rugby sides across the country and playing at the pinnacle of all sportsmen - at Wembley and Twickenham stadiums.

Firing in a quick one-two last Saturday, there was double delight as The Blues and L&Y demolished their quarter final opponents. Lowestoft won 4-0 against Bideford AFC in front of more than 1,700 fans at Crown Meadow, while L&Y's long trek to the Midlands was worth it as they crushed Harbury 73-3.

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After starting their journey on the path to Twickenham in October, L&Y are now just 80 minutes away from playing at the national stadium - and they will face another tough trip in the semi-final with a game against Liskeard-Looe from Cornwall on March 21.

Director of Rugby Gary Cooper said: 'It's a marvellous achievement to get this far in such a prestigious competition unfortunately yet again we have been drawn away, they are making us do it the hard way!'

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For Lowestoft Town FC, after last year's Vase Final epic at Wembley, they are now 180 minutes away from a return trip to the capital. And in their way once more for the last four double header on March 28 and April 4 is Whitley Bay - who The Blues beat at the same stage last season.

Town chairman Gary Keyzor said: 'What a sensational week - I am so proud of the players , coaches and management team with this remarkable achievement.

'To be in the semi final of the FA Vase, top of the league and now in the Suffolk Premier Cup Final what more could a football club chairman ask for.'

Waveney MP Bob Blizzard - who is patron of the football club and a life vice president of the rugby club - is now calling on local residents to back both sides on their path to glory.

'The excitement and interest is far greater than last year at Crown Meadow and all around the town, with even bigger crowds and 1,700 fans for the quarter final - it is massive now.

'The rugby team are matching the performances of the football team in being unbeaten this season and I hope that Lowestoft will have two big days out in London this year. The effect of it all is cheering us all up in these tough times.'

Echoing these sentiments, the Mayor of Lowestoft, Frank Mortimer, said: 'Lowestoft Town's achievements in getting to Wembley last season will live long in the memory, but to be on the verge of repeating the feat in such a hugely competitive national competition almost defies belief. Coupled with Lowestoft and Yarmouth's efforts in reaching a national rugby union semi-final, this is a landmark year for sport in the town and I would encourage as many people as possible to show their support for both teams.'

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