DREAMS of Wembley glory were reignited last week as the draws for the early rounds of two national cup competitions were made.
Clubs across the county learned on Tuesday who they will face in the opening rounds of both the FA Cup and FA Vase.
The former is set to kick-off the new season for some sides when Extra Preliminary Round ties are played out on Tuesday evening [September 1].
As well as being the first step on the long road to the home of English football, there is also a financial incentive for cash-strapped clubs hit by the COVID-19 pandemic – with £1,125 in prize money on offer for the winning sides.
That’s considerably less than last season’s monetary reward, but the competition remains the most lucrative of them all for non-league clubs.
Bovey Tracey, who enter the country’s oldest football competition for the first time in their history, face a trip to Western League Division One outfit Wells City.
The Somerset side were fourth in the table and pushing for promotion last season before coronavirus hit.
The prize for the winners is a trip to North Devon to play Southern League South side Bideford in the Preliminary Round, scheduled for Saturday, September 12.
Colin Stanbridge, Bovey’s chairman, said: ‘Those lads who represent Bovey Tracey on Tuesday night will be making history.
‘We’re one of a handful of clubs making FA Cup debuts this season, so it’s putting the town on the map as well as the football club.
‘The match itself is going to be hard, but everyone at the club is very much looking forward to it.’
Newton Abbot Spurs, who were in the hat for the first time since 1964, will have home advantage as they welcome St Austell to The Rec.
The Cornish side were sitting second in the Peninsula Premier West division last season before play was halted.
The winners of that one will face a tough tie at home to Southern League South side Larkhall Athletic in the Preliminary Round.
Ross Bellotti, the Spurs’ joint chairman, said that while it will be a huge occasion for the club, the current circumstances have put a dampener on things.
‘Obviously it is a really exciting time,’ he said. ‘But in normal times it probably would’ve been a Saturday game and we could’ve marked it in a much bigger way.
‘It is amazing to be back in the competition, but it’s just disappointing that we can’t make more of it.’
On his side’s chances in the competition, Bellotti is realistic about what may lie ahead should they come through Tuesday’s clash.
‘The club would just be over the moon if we could win,’ he added. ‘But then we’d face Larkhall in the second round and that would be a completely different kettle of fish.
‘Either way, these are very exciting times for the club.’
Western League side Buckland Athletic will face opposition from their own division – welcoming Bitton to Homers Heath.
A trip to Millbrook or Bridgwater Town in the next round awaits the Bucks if they are victorious.
The other big-name cup competition, the FA Vase, is set to get underway on Saturday, September 19 – a week after the Preliminary Round of the FA Cup.
In the cup’s First Qualifying Round, Newton Spurs will make the trip to competition first-timers Brixham. Crediton United await the winners in the Second Qualifying Round in October.
Bovey Tracey, who received a first round bye, take on the winners of Radstock Town and Longwell Green Sports in the Second Qualifying Round.
Buckland, whose win over Tavistock meant they reached the Fourth Round Proper last season, are already in the hat for the Second Round Proper.