A freak injury will deny ultra long-serving local footballer Paul Sturgeon a dream appearance at the John Smith’s Stadium – at the age
His Sovereign Sports side will take in AFC Craven in the Huddersfield Works League’s Hoyle Cup final on Thursday, April 10 (7.00).
But Sturgeon, who has made a string of appearances this season, will miss the big match after damaging his thigh and back ... lifting grandson Kieran (one) off a miniature railway!
“It’s unbelievable, really,” said the proprietor of the Sovereign Sports shop in Marsh, who has run and played for his team for almost three decades.
“I’d ridden on the train with Kieran, and as I got off and passed him to my daughter Zoey, I just felt a twang at the top of my leg.
“I thought I could walk it off, but now I’m walking with a crutch until it settles down and the physio can get to work.
“People assume I did it playing. They can’t believe it when I tell them how it really happened, and I’m gutted to be missing the final.
“I might not have started the game, but I would certainly haven come on at some stage. Now the lads are saying they’ve got a better chance of winning!”
The Sovereign squad certainly know each other’s games well, with seven of the players pushing for a place in the team for the final over 40,and one of them, Mick Pollock, 54.
“They’re a great bunch of lads and basically, we just enjoy playing football,” added Sturgeon, who played in the District League’s Groom Cup final with Sovereign in 1995.
“This is our 29th season, and we were thinking about calling it a day, but now I think we’ll go for a 30th and see if we can reach the final again, then I can finally play at the stadium!
“But being serious, I think we have punched above our weight to get there this time, because we have beaten both Yetton Cask and Lindley Saddle, who are first and second in Division I.
“Craven are going well in Division II and they beat us 4-1 in an inter-sectional match earlier in the season, so you have to say we are underdogs.”
While Sovereign, who play in all red, had a bye in round one, Division II leaders Craven (dark blue and light blue shirts) beat Marsden before defeating Railway Berry Brow and Golcar United.
Neither team have won the Hoyle Cup before, so a new name will go on the trophy.
AFC Craven: (from) S Kelly, J Lay, D Smith, G Dawson (capt), N Stansfield, R Gibson, L Beaumont, P Maylett, T Williams, M Williams, A Bedeau, J Proctor, K Sharif, J Rayner, R Dolan.
Sovereign Sports: (from) A Crowther, D Whiteley, J Hamilton, P Stead, A Willox, I Chamal, A Toner, L Armstrong, B Jackson, A Wadsworth, D St Louis, P Krol, S Armstrong, M Pollock, M Humphreys, H Said, P Sturgeon.