PSF: Chris Ruff Memorial Cup – AFC Rushden & Diamonds 5 Rushden & Higham Utd 1

Three goals for Diamonds in a blistering opening 15 minutes effectively won the Chris Ruff Memorial Cup on Tuesday night. Diamonds went on to beat ground share partners Rushden & Higham Utd 5-1 to take the trophy for the 7th straight time.

Tom Lorraine opened the scoring in just the 2nd minute slotting home after running through the Rushden & Higham defence and then saw his acute angle cross-shot squirm home off a Lankies defender on 5 minutes. Trialist (no.7) then volleyed home to make it 3 in just 15 minutes. Rushden & Higham pulled a goal back just on half-time before the three goal lead was restored on 55 minutes by Trialist (no.6) placing a neat shot in the bottom corner. Youngster Bailey Weatherly prodded home another rebound to complete the scoring on 80 minutes.

Manager Andy Peaks selected 3 trialists in a his starting line-up along with Luke Munro (U18s) in goal, Zack Reynolds, Patrick Casey, Liam Dolman, Nat Gosnal-Tyler, Matt Slinn, Fernando Bell-Toxtle and Tom Lorraine. Richard Walton, Alex Collard, and Jesse Akubuine were joined on the bench by youngsters Bailey Weatherly (U18s), Tom Simmons (U18s), Ted Walton (U21s) and two further trialists.

Diamonds came flying out of the blocks driven very much by the dynamic Tom Lorraine. On just 2 minutes he jinked through the Lankies defence and slotted home a superb opener. Just 3 minutes later he drove deep into the Lankies box and hit a cross-shot from an acute angle that caused panic and squirmed into the net off a Lankies defender. It was all Diamonds at this stage as you’d imagine and the third goal duly came on 15 minutes. Rushden & Higham cleared a deep Diamonds attack but the ball fell to Trialist (no.7) to control and volley home.

The game quietened as the half progressed with a shell shocked Rushden & Higham gradually getting into the game. Their enterprise was rewarded just on half-time with neat finish from a goal mouth rebound to make it 3-1 at half-time.

Jesse Akubuine came on at half-time with one of the trialists and he was involved in much driving forward play for Diamonds. The three goal lead was restored on 55 minutes after another rebound from a corner was prodded home by Trialist (no.6).

Further substitutions saw Alex Collard get 30 minutes action, Will Jones get another promising run out and youngsters Bailey Weatherly, Tom Simmons and Ted Walton all getting game time. And it was Bailey Weatherly who would complete the scoring on 80 minutes as another goal mouth drama was tidied up with a neat finish.

Diamonds duly collected the Chris Ruff Memorial Cup for the 7th straight time after Rushden & Higham had won the very first contest.

Diamonds will have got a real boost from the night’s action as they returned to goal scoring ways after two close fought home defeats against strong opposition. As Joseph mentioned on Radio Diamonds it was their first win at Hayden Road since 1st February so had a good feeling at the final whistle.

Next up a trip to Daventry Town for what should be a competitive outing. Radio Diamonds will be there again if you can’t make it. Look out for details of the arrangements for the Daventry game which should be on the website shortly.

Attendance: 174

Match Report: Paul Judd