Northern Alliance Preview

FIRST round ties in the Bosch Power Tools Challenge Cup take pride of place this weekend and there’s only one League game in the Premier Division.

FIRST round ties in the Bosch Power Tools Challenge Cup take pride of place this weekend and there’s only one League game in the Premier Division. Heddon and Blyth Town are in mid-table opposition at Bullocksteads.

Alnwick Town entertain powerful opponents Gillford Park. Alnwick passed up a chance to dethrone current leaders Walker Central in midweek. They needed to beat Ponteland United at St James’ Park on Wednesday night but the outcome was a 2-2 draw that wasn’t quite enough for the Northumbrians.

The first round Challenge Cup draw has brought together the competition’s two most successful sides in the historical sense. Carlisle City have won the cup on six occasions while today’s visitors Seaton Delaval have claimed the silverware three times.

Another four previous winners – Northbank, Shankhouse, Heaton Stannington and Gateshead Leam Rangers – are also in today’s first round. Northbank, already beaten twice in the league by cup hosts Ashington Colliers, will be hoping to make it third time lucky, while Heaton Stannington have a testing home tie against Harraby Catholic Club.

Gateshead Leam lifted the cup last term under their previous Wallsend banner and their defence of the trophy kicks off with a daunting challenge at Walker Central.

Shankhouse entertain last season’s losing finalists Ponteland United while the remaining Challenge Cup tie features hosts Cramlington Town against Newcastle University.

BILL GARDNER

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