Diamonds to compete for Supporters Direct Shield

AFC Rushden & Diamonds celebrated promotion from UCL Division One in their first ever season as a senior club. They will compete for the Supporters Direct Shield on Saturday

AFC Rushden & Diamonds celebrated promotion from UCL Division One in their first ever season as a senior club. They will compete for the Supporters Direct Shield on Saturday

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AFC Rushden & Diamonds will have an extra incentive when they head to 1874 Northwich FC for a pre-season friendly tomorrow (Saturday).

The two clubs will compete for the Supporters Direct Shield at rugby league club Widnes Vikings’ Select Security Stadium (5.15pm).

It is the third time that the shield has been competed for, Scarborough Athletic beating Merthyr Town in the inaugural fixture in 2010, with Lewes defeating Fisher in last year’s match.

Since their respective inceptions, 1874 Northwich and AFC Rushden & Diamonds have built up excellent relationships with both each other and the progress made by each club is testament to both the advice and guidance provided by Supporters Direct and the ownership model they promote and support.

Diamonds are preparing for a ChromaSport & Trophies United Counties League Premier Division campaign having won promotion from Division One in their first-ever season as a senior side.

Mark Starmer’s team opened their pre-season with a 1-0 defeat at Rushden & Higham United last night (Thursday) as Tyler Merries’ goal earned the Lankies the Chris Ruff Memorial Cup.

Diamonds chairman Ralph Burditt said: “Since Supporters Direct first put us in touch with the 1874 Northwich guys they have been a pleasure to know and it was only natural that we would end up having a pre-season friendly.

“For Supporters Direct to acknowledge the game by offering the Shield to the winner is fantastic and re-enforces their commitment to facilitating and encouraging co-operative working between community-owned clubs.”

A Supporters Direct spokesman added: “We’re delighted at the progress of AFC Rushden & Diamonds since they reformed and finally took up their place in the senior pyramid last season.

“We’re also pleased to see the fans of Northwich bouncing back in the form of 1874 Northwich FC. The cooperation between the two clubs is the kind of relationship that shows the world the type of game that we want to see.”

Elsewhere last night, Burton Park Wanderers claimed a fine 4-2 friendly win over a Histon XI thanks to a hat-trick from Deven Ellwood and Cavell Jarvis’ strike. Raunds Town, meanwhile, suffered an 8-0 defeat at Huntingdon.