Football College Cup Sport

College Cup Semi Finals Preview

Dan Holland and Luke Gardener look ahead to this week's two heavyweight College Cup semi final matches (Thumbnail credit Image: Philippa Grafton)

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Derwent vs Vanbrugh

The first of this week's semi finals sees Derwent take on Vanbrugh, a match that many will consider too close to call.

Despite being one of the pretournament favourites, Derwent have looked out of sorts for the majority of the competition so far, with the ability to keep a clean sheet and grab a scrappy goal proving essential to their group stage success. But against Alcuin in the quarters, they finally found the form that saw them romp to victory in the Winter League; if their attackers can match their usually unbreachable defence then David Kirk's men will be difficult to beat.

Vanbrugh, by contrast, are the tournament's top scorers and, with the exception of a slip up against Halifax seconds, won their group at a canter. Phil Taylor, in particular, has been in good form, but they will surely miss the influential presence of Jon Gill, who will again be missing from action this week. Vanbrugh fell at this stage last year and will be looking to go one better, but their hopes will rest heavily on the ability of Elliot Rous-Ross to take whatever chances he is presented with.

Vanbrugh will probably be seen as slight underdogs, but with Derwent struggling for goals throughout the competition this one is sure to be a tight contest and could even come down to the dreaded penalty shoot-out.

Nouse prediction: Derwent 1-0 Vanbrugh

James vs Halifax

James firsts meet Halifax firsts in the second semi final of the College Cup 2012 in what promises to be an enthralling battle. The winners from last year will be out to defend their title, while James will be looking to live up to their billing as favourites by reaching the final.

With the teams evenly matched, the decisive factor could be a moment of brilliance from any one of the 22 players on the pitch and this perhaps gives James the edge. Forward James Offord perhaps holds the key as Tom Clarke is unavailable while attacking midfielder James Davies is potent from midfield, scoring six times and providing many assists for his teammates. Having said that, James' attack has been misfiring somewhat of late, as they scraped through the end of the group stage and their quarter final.

Halifax, meanwhile, have not been at their best throughout the tournament but the one off semi final against James could prove to be the perfect time for the 'Fax to finally make an impact. With the talented Tom Day in attack and the pace of Jack Beadle on the wing, James will be certain to face their stiffest defensive test to date.

My prediction is that James will have the extra quality needed to see off the challenge of the men in white, winning 3-1 and booking their place in the final.

Nouse Prediction: James 3-1 Halifax

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