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Hurlford look to add to the family silver

HURLFORD is not one of those Ayrshire villages with a distinguished football pedigree.

It doesn't have a history to rival that of Auchinleck or Glenbuck but, should Hurlford United live up to expectations by winning the Scottish Junior Cup final at Rugby Park tomorrow, then the club will be able to stake a claim as Scotland's premier community in grass-roots football.

At the same ground two weeks ago Hurlford Thistle lifted the Scottish Amateur Cup and, should their junior neighbours triumph tomorrow, the village will secure an unprecedented double.

"Aye, it would be nice to see both trophies sitting side-by-side on Sunday night", said Darren Henderson, the Hurlford manager.

In a playing and coaching career lasting nearly three decades, Henderson served many clubs, including tomorrow's opponents Glenafton Athletic. It was his controversial close-season switch from the Glen to home-town team Hurlford which has added further intrigue to what is certain to be another feisty Ayrshire derby with Glenafton.

Not only did Henderson quit New Cumnock, he took half a dozen players with him, a move which has made him a highly unpopular figure among supporters of his former club.

However, his current side would seem to justify their status as pre-match favourites. They have won the two league meetings between the sides this season and finished above the Glen in the league. They also possess a reliable goal threat in the form of former Ayr United, St Mirren and Queen of the South striker Stewart Kean.

Following Henderson's decision to quit, Tommy Bryce has been left to pick up the pieces at Glenafton. A 7-1 loss to lowly Lugar was hardly the best of starts but the coach has since got the team playing attractive football. Reaching the final has punctuated a terrific turnaround in form but Bryce has been loathe to get ahead of himself. "We've won nothing yet," he added.

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