With the TVPL season nigh, we thought we’d take a look at each division’s runners and riders, try to pick out the teams to look for and any big players to keep eyes on.
We start with Division Four and, as always in this tier, it’s completely un-predictable! With a couple of new teams, the ‘third’ teams of several big clubs and some re-naming going on, Div 4 will be more competitive than last, when a rampant South Reading (reformed from a successful squad the year before) ran riot, winning 18 of the 22 games and staying un-beaten.
(has to be said, an incredible acheivement irrespective of players perhaps playing a level below themselves, but how else do clubs build and progress?)
We’ll start with the 3 clubs that finished 3rd, 4th and 5th as there was little to separate Hurst A, Twyford & Ruscombe and Berks County Rovers…
What did separate those teams were goals. Hurst A actually matched South Reading’s ‘for’ tally, smashing 88 goals in their 22 games (our maths is rubbish, but 4 per game is hot). With Charlie Scope hammering 18 in just 9 games and Blake Brown-Koroma, Peter Jones & Aaron Birch all firing double figures, the Hurst Hotshots will begin as favourites for this year’s title.
Twyford, spearheaded by Mikey Jones who bagged 31 in just 23 games last term, had a good cup run last term, losing to the Reading Runaways in the Junior League Cup final and perhaps were a little inconsistent at the end of the season, winning just 2 of their last 11 games (one of which a walkover). To find silverware this term the Ruskies must improve a 50% win record, but will challenge, perhaps setting the pace?
Due to the club’s development, we think Berks County Rovers could be very strong this season. With excellent management, the teams work as a trio and with the Reserves strolling D3 last term, the summer should have seen plenty looking to join the club. Richard Cumner will need to keep his 1 in 1 goal ratio going and the Rovers will need to stop losing games (they just don’t draw!) to mount a challenge.
White Eagles Reserves fell to the drop last term and will fancy the challenge of heading straight back up, but will need to plug a very leaky defence that shipped 81 goals last term…with the firepower of other teams, we can’t see a title charge, but with a good start and a following wind (along with the excellent recordings of games, edited with Eastern European dance music), the Eagles could fly high at the top end.
Another attractive side is AFC Corinthians A who play nice stuff, but are more like a Roberto Martinez Wigan side than a Winning side…depends on recruitment and whether they’ve kept goal machine Ashraf Ali from last term.
With Goring & Woodley B’s struggles last term, we can’t see a promotion bid from either side unless a Man Utd-esque transfer window. Perhaps cup success on the cards for both as can beat anyone on their day, just need consistency.
After a successful debut term in the TVPL, Maidenhead Town have created a development side, packed with last year’s U18s side, new faces and some older heads with older legs…impossible to say how this bunch will do but could surprise if the team blend quickly enough. Perhaps too early for a promotion bid but will definately mix up the hierarchy, one to watch.
Harchy Hawks are the same…a very good first side secured D3 promotion last term and the club have brought in Youth to add zest to a side in much need. We think this could be the dark horse, the Leicester of the Division…you heard it here first.
So, a mixed bag and impossible to predict. We’ll stick neck out and offer up 3 teams for promotion; Hurst A, Twyford Ruskies & Harchy Hawks (last year’s bottom club). But it will be more competitive than last term with a spread of results. A very interesting season ahead!
Do you agree? Not happy with our version of events? Want to challenge us to a dual at sunset to administer revenge? Let us know on Twitter #TVPL Twitter . Or via a pigeon. We have an aviary at TVPL Towers…