IRATE boss Karl Gormley argued Raiders had "made more of an effort" than City to prevent the permanent cancellation of the first competitive Worcester derby. 

Gormley confirmed Raiders had been informed today (Tuesday) that the much-anticipated Smedley Crooke Memorial Charity Cup first round tie would not be going ahead with City not "able to fulfil the fixture".

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The original date was set for November 6 and the closest it came to going ahead was on January 8 when both teams were warming up at City's Bromsgrove base only for torrential downpours preventing any action in the hour before kick-off.

The city rivals had been due to lock horns for the first time in a competitive fixture but the match has been postponed a number of times due to league and FA competitions taking priority.

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Worcester News understands competition bosses this week set a deadline of Friday, March 13 to finally get the last-32 clash decided after a series of postponements in order to ensure the competition stands a chance of finishing on time.

That came on the back of the latest date – Tuesday, March 3 – being wiped out with Raiders' West Midlands (Regional) League (WMRL) Premier Division fixture with Shifnal Town taking priority 24 hours later.

Both teams now have league matches on Saturday, March 7 and Tuesday, March 10 but Gormley said Raiders had provided alternatives and offered to host at Claines Lane, now reopen with temporary facilities. 

“As far as we know they are not going to be able to fulfil the fixture, not surprisingly,” said Gormley.  

“They (City) are saying they cannot fit in the game in and I think they have withdrawn from the cup.

“As everyone knows we have been really looking forward to it and feel we have made more of an effort to get the game on than they have.

“They have a bigger squad, reserve and youth players they could use, surely they could have called on some of them.

“We even offered to play the game at Claines Lane on a Monday or Thursday night and split the gate but we had no joy.

“It is very frustrating.”

Should City withdraw from the competition, Raiders, who withdrew from last season's competition to grant a quarter-final bye to Lye Town, would receive a walkover into a last-16 clash at home to Stourport Swifts. 

Raiders return to WMRL action at home to Shawbury United tomorrow (Wednesday, 7.45) with Gormley set to have a full squad to choose from.

“We are fully fit and good to go, we are itching to play to be honest,” he added.

“I think it is the same for a lot of teams, we are desperate to play anyone with the weather as it has been.

“Hopefully the day brings a bit of dry weather and we can go from there.

“There is not a lot more we can do, we went over to the ground at the weekend to do some extra work on the drainage and that seems to be working but whether it will be enough to get this one on I don’t know.”