RECAP: TOO MANY DIKOS

For many teams in the league, cup campaigns are a distant blip on the calendar with those in the upper echelons of DoWo and DoBo not set for any knockout action until GW27. But with a third of the season already done and dusted, eight lower league sides have been battling it out in their respective quests for DiKo glory since GW3. Now nine brutal fixtures in, the race for a Top 4 finish, and a place in the semi-finals, is reaching the sharp point with just five games to go—here’s how the table stacks up.

Northern Borras
Michael Jones side are notably strong starters with a tendency to fall away as the season progresses. There’s been no indication of that so far and with eight wins out of nine games, that early season form has translated into a dominant DiKo campaign. In terms of stats, Jones’ team have 24 points out of 27, hold a 6-point lead over 2nd & 3rd, and a 12-point lead over 4th in the final qualifying place. They’ve also scored the most GW points, conceded the least and that surprise home defeat to Cacos aside, have never looked like slipping. A home game against Dewi Rhys Evans’ Colonel Getafe IV this week should see Northern Borras claim the win that will confirm their place in the semi-finals with four games still left to play.

Eh Puis Merce
Mehdi Daoudi’s up-and-down season in FT B has rarely affected his side’s strong DiKo performance this season. The qualifying leader for much of the season, defeats to Cacos in Round 7 and to Northern Borras in Round 9 has seen his side slip a little but they still sit on a commanding 18 points—a 6-point gap to 4th place and the final qualifying place. A tough fixture against Jake Evans’ Die Lawro Die awaits this week but a win against the 6th-place hopefuls should be enough for Daoudi’s side to book their place.

Cacos
Reef Younis Cacos’ side will be happy enough with their 18-point haul and third place so far but will look to the double defeats against Dewi Rhys Jones’ Colonel Getafe IV as a frustration. With just 4 points collectively separating the two sides games, it’s the fine margins that have characterised Younis’ side’s solid form, notably a single point win against DTA in Round 8. A routine win against the struggling Westicles await in the next fixture should await, but as Daniel Paul Huxley has demonstrated in recent seasons, they’re no strangers to a cupset.

DTA
Stephen Davies’ side complete the qualifying spots but not with too much authority. Six points adrift of 2nd and 3rd but ahead of Dewi Rhys Jones on GW points difference, the race for fourth spot could go to the wire. A welcome fixture against bottom-side, Paulisa Fekir would have been a given a few rounds ago but the once winless Jolley has two in the last three, and with Getafe facing Northern Borras, it could be a pivotal weekend for DTA’s DiKo hopes.

Colonel Getafe IV
After that morale-boosting 1-point win over Cacos last week, Dewi Rhys Jones’ side are breathing down the neck of DTA as we head into Round 10. It’s been a Jekyll & Hyde campaign from Rhys Jones’ team with wins over Cacos tempered by defeats to Paulisa Fekir. With five games to play, they’re still in it, but defeat this week could make their Round 12 showdown with DTA a must-win.

Die Lawro Die
It started so well for Jake Evans. Two wins from the opening two rounds looked to be setting his side on their way to the knockout rounds but as his DoDi form has slipped, so did his DiKo campaign as Eh Puis Merce, Colonel Getafe, Northern Borras and Cacos kicked the life out of his team over the next four games. The next three games should have been the rallying call but a narrow win over DTA was followed by a surprise draw with The Westicles and an unedifying defeat to Jon Jolley’s Paulisa Fekir. On 10 points and 2 behind both DTA and Colonel Getafe, their DiKo future is out of their own hands—what a week it would be to turn over Eh Puis Merce and put the pressure on.

The Westicles
Just 7 points from nine games has left Daniel Paul Huxley’s side needing a mathematical miracle to qualify but stranger things have happened. Out of form and seemingly out of the qualification running, it’s a bad week to be facing a strong-looking Cacos side but this is precisely where The Westicles are at their best. With a strong tradition of beating Younis cup sides, they’ve done it once already this campaign—why not again?

Paulisa Fekir
Whisper it but Jon Jolley could be preparing for a miracle. Winless for the majority of the campaign, two wins from their last three games have seen Paulisa Fekir move to within six points of the qualifying places. Like The Westicles just above them on 7 points, it would take a gargantuan run of luck to shift the table their way but with DTA under pressure and the Fekir with nothing to lose, their fixture this week could have ramifications at the top and bottom—just how Jon likes it.