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Griffin have got the gift of the Gabby

PUBLISHED: 12:19 17 March 2010 | UPDATED: 08:56 02 July 2010

Milton Lindsay

Local football's ageing warriors are gearing up for the battle royal which will determine who lifts the first-ever Norfolk Veterans Cup. Two city pub sides will clash in a spicy-looking April 25, Plantation Park encounter, which has its fair share of intrigue.

Local football's ageing warriors are gearing up for the battle royal which will determine who lifts the first-ever Norfolk Veterans Cup.

Two city pub sides will clash in a spicy-looking April 25, Plantation Park encounter, which has its fair share of intrigue.

Gabby Evbota, manager of the Griffin, is looking forward to facing his old team the Trafford Vets and will be making sure he is suitably attired for the occasion. “I am really looking forward to the final - I'm looking on eBay for a Ron Atkinson-type coat or maybe a Roberto Mancini scarf for the occasion.”

Evbota, who left the Trafford to set up the Griffin team three years ago, added: “The Trafford are a quality side but that will give us the incentive to try and beat them. I know half of their team, in fact I took three players from them for the Griffin and I would like to steal a few more,” he laughed.

Currently recovering after keyhole knee surgery, Gabby chainsmoked his way through a tense semi-final which saw Griffin beat the Beehive 4-3 with goals from Richard Nicholls (2), Ian Whalebelly and Colin Ncube.

“We seemed to be in charge of the game but they would have 10- minute spurts when they came at us and we were struggling again,” said Evbota, 44, who hopes to resume his playing career next season.

But Trafford goalkeeper Alan Arber will have to settle for watching from the sidelines after being advised recently never to play again.

The much-travelled Arber, a top operator at ECL level in his prime, suffered a knee injury in Trafford's 6-0 Veterans Cup round two win over Poringland in November. “I have had a call from Tim Sheppard telling me not to play again,” he said.

But despite the shattering news he is not moping around. “You just have to get on with it. I have had a decent career so there's no panic about it,” said the 51-year-old, former Norfolk, Suffolk, and England Non League stopper. Looking ahead to the final, Arber, who is secretary for the Trafford team managed by Kevin North, said: “It will be a tough game. They have done well to get there, the same as we have.” Trafford, who are unbeaten this season, booked their place in the final with a 2-0 win over Aylsham Black Boys with goals from Mark Jones and Mark Andrews.

t A grand “soccer leg ends” summer reunion for people who have played or supported local football is being planned. “Many ex players/supporters stay in touch but the common theme for us all is, 'do you ever see...?”, said Glenn Hoy, who is helping to organise the reunion with John Linford.

“John and I thought we'd try and bridge that gap with a BBQ/dinner.” The event is on Friday, July 16, 7pm for 7.30pm at the Unthank Arms in Newmarket Street, Norwich. Tickets, costing £12 and restricted to 100, will be allocated on a 'first to pay' basis. Contact Glenn 07766 542513 or 01603 224880.

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