LEADING Isle of Wight football clubs Newport, Cowes Sports and East Cowes Vics have all been handed tough draws in the first round proper of the Buildbase FA Vase today (Monday).

The draw — which saw the Island's 'big three' appear together in the first round for the first time ever— was made at Wembley Stadium this morning. 

Cowes Sports have had the most success of any Island club in the FA Vase — reaching the fifth round, eventually losing to Taunton, in the 1999-2000 season.

The last time Vics made it to the first round proper was in 1988, handed a bye into the second round, while Newport did not enter the competition until the 1994-95 season.

Sydenhams Wessex Premier outfit, Cowes Sports, who hammered Verwood Town, in the league below them, 7-3, on Saturday, have a long trip away at Longlevens, of Gloucestershire, who play in the Hellenic League Premier and who are currently eighth.

Isle of Wight County Press: Cowes Sports boss Steve Rutter: "A challenge".Cowes Sports boss Steve Rutter: "A challenge".

Yachtsmen boss, Steve Rutter, will need to do some research after admitting he had never heard of his opponents, but is relishing the challenge ahead.

He told the County Press: "Gloucestershire will be a bit of a journey and once you reach this stage of the Vase, it is a real challenge.

"But when we turn up, we can give anyone a run for their money. I'm looking forward to it — especially after our performance in the Vase on Saturday."  

Sydenhams Wessex Division 1 sides Newport and East Cowes Vics, have similarly tough ties.

Struggling East Cowes Vics, who pulled off a mini giant-killing act against Fareham Town, a league above them, have been drawn away at Warminster Town, Wiltshire, who sit mid-table in Division 1 of the Toolstation Western League.

Vics boss, Steve Brougham, described his side's win over Fareham as his best since he took over the hot seat at the club.

Isle of Wight County Press: East Cowes Vics boss, Steve Brougham: "We have potential".East Cowes Vics boss, Steve Brougham: "We have potential".

"If we have the players available and we can put in a performance like we did on Saturday, we can beat Warminster," said Brougham.

"It could be a good draw. Warminster play in a similar standard league and we have the potential to win, but its all down to our circumstances on the day."

Newport, who groundshare with East Cowes, will host Bridgewater Town at Beatrice Avenue.

Bridgewater Town sit fifth in the Toolstation Western Premier Division and will be a tough nut to crack for Port.

Newport boss, Andy Sampson, was delighted with the draw, but was under no illusions as to the task ahead.

Isle of Wight County Press: Newport manager, Andy Sampson: "Home advantage important."Newport manager, Andy Sampson: "Home advantage important."

"We've got home advantage, which is good, but there are no easy games in the Vase. Teams around the top end in their division are usually very good," said Sampson.

"But if we can turn up and play to the best of our ability, we're in with a shout."   

All three ties will be played on Saturday, October 12.

After 169 ties took place in the second round qualifying over the weekend, a further 35 clubs entered the competition at this stage, meaning there will be 102 ties in the first round.

Winning clubs will receive £825 and losing clubs £275 from the FA prize fund pot.