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Improbability... & the Mason/Feenyin in the Blazer

By alan ainsworth (legacy user)30/10/2014 13:54Thu Oct 30 13:54:02 2014In response to Even more unbalanced

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As with the FA Cup draw, the geographical basis of the draw for the FA Trophy can vary.
For this round, it's normally conducted on a "four hat" basis.
That's how it was done this year.
Four sections: North, Midlands, Southeast, Southwest.
The Southeast section always has the most clubs - even if the FA splits things further and has an East hat as well.
Of the 144 balls in the hats for this draw, 64 were in the Southeast hat.
All surviving Ryman League clubs were in that hat - including Bognor, who often go in the Southwest hat, Guernsey, which is in France, and Dereham, which is in darkest Norfolk, well past Narruch, and even less civilised than the aforementioned Gallic Socialist Republic.
There were 40 non-Ryman Premier balls in the Southeast hat. So Hendon had a 63.5% chance of not drawing a fellow Ryman Premier team... and a 36.5% chance of coming out against a Ryman Premier team.
As Mr. B. says, it's simply freakish.

In days of yore, Scottish football fans, who are ever so slightly prone to conspiracy theories, had to endure two decades of mathematical improbability when it came to cup semi-final draws.
At the end of February 1970, Rangers & Celtic came out of the hat against each other in the quarter-final draw for the Scottish Cup - a tournament memorably won by the Sheep, who beat Rangers in a final played in front of 108,000 at Hampden.
Over the next two decades, Rangers and Celtic went into the hat for semi-final draws on 18 occasions. (SFA Cup 1971, 1972, 1973, 1977, 1980, 1981, 1983, 1989; League Cup in seasons ending 1971, 1973, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1983, 1984, 1987, 1990.)
On only one of those 18 occasions were they drawn against each other. That was in the 1978/79 League Cup - a tournament memorably won by Rangers, who beat Alex Ferguson's Sheep, in front of 54,000, in a Hampden final notable for a suspiciously "Mason in the Black" refereeing display: Derek Johnstone "doing" Steve Archibald early doors, Doug Rougvie being sent off for exacting retribution and Rangers nicking a late winner. Many Sheep date their considerable hatred of Rangers to this game.
At no other time during this 20-year period were Rangers & Celtic drawn against each other at any knock-out stage of a domestic cup - though they were twice in the same section when the League Cup was played in groups in early August.
Probability evens itself out, though.
The Auld Firm came out of the hat together in the last-16 of the 1990 SFA Cup, in the QFs in 1991 and in the semis in 1992.
So, Hendon can look forward to an FA Trophy trip to somewhere quaint in about 2025.

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