This season’s Division Three will be like a Stag Do paintball war in November…muddy, some will take some painful beatings, it will leave battle scars but it could be thoroughly enjoyable. Oh, and it costs about the same (are getting old, paintball is damn expensive!).
Here we go with a thinly veiled attempt to offer some insight in to Div Three, or, as it was called last season, the Berks County Parade. A couple of new teams coming from afar, a rename, some media darlings and teams much changed from last season. Let’s take a look at the runners and riders.
We’ll start with the teams that fell to relegation from D3 last term; Goring United, Highmoor Ibis Athletic (much required name change) and Taplow Reserves.
Taplow endured a miserable season last time around, winning just once in D2. But Billy’s Boys never stay low for long and several new faces into the club will give Taplow hope of a stronger term. They need goals, much like Highmoor, as just 20 and 21 respectively isn’t anywhere near enough to keep mid-table let alone challenging. But, we see Taplow dusting down for a mid table season. Highmoor are another club that simply won’t accept another poor term. If they can bring youth into the mix, we see a better term, but another perched mid-table come April.
Goring are much loved among the TVPL but perhaps a little too nice…more oompft needed this term to peg back the 12 losses from last year. We think these three sides have found a competitive level and their records will read better than last term.
Wargrave’s loss of players means they too fall a division, but if they keep Stuart Moss (10 in 15 in a faltering side) and maintain 14 players each week, they could pose a threat to European places.
Onto the team promoted, Braybrooke. An exceptional debut term matched only by their Twitter account, the Reds are one of our tips this term. They score. They defend. They perform well in the cups so we expect them to be playing catch up after Xmas, but an excellent run last term saw them through, we see a promotion spot for these lads again this term. James Gregory took their Golden Boot last term but with goals spread over the team, we reckon they may need a true hitman to notch 25+ in order to really put champagne on ice.
Another strong favourite will be Finchampstead Reserves. With the club going through huge changes & the previous Senior Saturday side now deceased, there is a uncertainty about the immediate future. But if they have players from the previous Senior regime, these two sides could really put their mark on the TVPL. A lovely pitch to visit, Finch could do bits this term…
Onto last season’s D3 teams…Maidenhead Town Reserves could be one to keep close with…after the acquisition of an actual keeper at Xmas last season, les blue (and they will play in blue this season) went for just 2 losses in their last 10 league games. A heavy recruitment drive this summer has seen new faces join all 3 teams and as long as Town replace the firepower of now First team Chip Duncan, they could pose a threat.
We’re picking Brimpton to build on last year’s debut as well…much like a late night curry’s aftermath, they were simply inconsistent last term. Andy Miller was the goal king but double figures from 3 other players and plenty of high scoring games means these boys are the Entertainers of the Division. If they can tighten up at the back, they could do damage to some teams (remember the paintball stuff? These lads are the loveable rogues of the Stag Do, drinking at 7am but falling just short of the young’uns at the kebab hut).
Woodley A are another like Ibis that will either soar this term or struggle with fielding the same XI each week. In Asa Povey, they have the flattrack bully of the league (30 in just 16 last term proves that) but can they develop into a side for the title? They need a few new faces & while they have strong management & a big club rep, we’re still not sure.
After their new tracksuits last term, Hurst Ressies picked up. But much like the zip on a dodgy NaffNaff jacket at school, they soon tightened up and broke (that doesn’t work but you get the point). They may have won as many as they lost last term, but we see middle earth beckoning again for the cleverly funny Twitter brigade (follow, good value).
So after all that, we’ve no idea what’ll happen this term. Not a jot. We’ll pick three as we did for D4 but it would be wild to place money on it at Ladbrokes (we did ask, they don’t have a TVPL book. Good. Betting is irresponsible*).
We’ll go Braybrooke, Finch Ressies & Brimpton this term to fight out promotion with Maidenhead Town Ressies & Woodley to pose a threat. Probably wrong. Deal with it.
Ha’way we go…
*if any national betting companies are indeed interested in sponsoring our league, or just me as an individual, we (I) are (am) very very open. Very.
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