The last of our ill-advised and politically incorrect divisional reviews sees us tackle Division Two, a much changed line-up from the AGM all those weeks ago.
(we’re doing this early as we cannot WAIT to watch England win 2-0 away at Malta, a mind-numbing experience where our football will surely be tepid, slow, lethargic and, like Wayne Rooney, end with 3 points).
So, to the real football. The night after the Transfer window slammed shut (no one should ever slam shut a window. Shattered glass. Did it once at a local charity event at a golf club. Lots of injured kids and several parents weren’t happy at the fact I legged it, blaming fat Roger. Awful name for a 3 year old.) we see our TVPL heroes begin their campaigns.
You know the drill. Each team, quick gloat over their progress then some more words. However we should explain the much changed line-up…
So, Newbury Town Ressies & Barkham bailed early, and Wargrave requested to drop down due to lost players. However, we kept 11 teams due to the bravado and brilliant Brimpton & Hurst Reserves who took the step up from D3 to take on the challenge, along with FC Woodley who have joined. Thanks and welcome to all clubs.
So, lets start with those that dropped down..
On paper, AFC Corinthians had the worst season ever seen in the TVPL, finishing the season with -1 points. Quite unbelievable. We’ve seen these boys first hand taking D1 teams apart for periods last term. We mean they play very good football at times. However, last term proved confidence is everything and these lads needs their star players to compete as the squad depth just isn’t there. We’ve no doubt they will win games this term, but perhaps a regroup and an aim of midtable is wise.
Mortimer Reserves are another who simply found D1 too tough last term, not a bad reflection. A dogged side, ever-willing and defensively pretty good, these lads need a goalscorer to cope with some other free-scoring sides this term. They won’t slide down and know how to play the big Ade Keep pitch over at the Rec. We see top half but with some additions and strong home form, could return first time around.
White Eagles were a bit like an unprepared drug dealer. They simply ran out of puff. Spent a long time topping the D2 table last year but while they, in particularly Lukasz Hryniewicz (an amazing 21 in 18), steamrollered teams below them, they lost almost every game to those above. A true midtable performance. However, with all those sides going up, these lads take a mental advantage into the season & we think will set pace & contend.
Woodcote Reserves are in the mix as well as all the team below them went down! Another strong club with an excellent first team, the Ressies should benefit from the depth and quality to chose from. They need to improve a 50% loss record this season but we see that happening, although with not quite enough to challenge. Topping the bottom half…
So to those coming up. Berks County Ressies cake-walked D3 last term and now find themselves with a rep and being a team to beat. Another well-run club, there have been murmurs this summer of lots of those successful Ressies taking the step up to the Prem. But, we see a free-scoring tight-knit bunch here and will take up the term as one of the favourites to climb again.
South Reading. Just the name reeks of titles. We’re still not sure why they ended up in D4 last season as it wasn’t cricket. Now they’re at the level they need to be at to prove themselves. And, simply, they are the favourites this season without doubt. In Jordan Sawyer they have the best striker outside the Premier Divison and a small, close squad will surely have too much firepower and bite for this year’s D2. Need to keep a handle on defensive shape as they’re not used to stronger sides, but after a month or so, this lot will be lurking near the top, fo’sure.
We’ve already previewed Brimpton who are the ‘Entertainers’. We think Kevin Keegan manages this lot. They score but they concede. If they can plug that leaky defence, they might stand a chance but need to set up with more ‘cleverness’ to stand a chance vs some of these free-scoring sides. Will be great to watch.
Woodley FC are unknown. We just don’t know! Can’t make it up so we just won’t. Welcome to the league and enjoy your opener away at Brimpton.
Hurst Ressies are a joy. Not sure how they’ll fare with the step up, but, like Brimpton, should be commended for the decision. Another side that need defensive shape before they can challenge, but yet another that can score and play neat, passing football. Also have lovely kit. It’s a nice journey to their patch, but we think they might be travelling home without wins more often than not…
(someone will save this and send it to us in May when we’re completely wrong, Woodley have romped it and Reading have asked to drop back to D4…)
Last up we have Marlow Reserves. With a tradition of youth, the Premier machine have dedicated a coach to a young group of talent that will be groomed for the first team. The mere fact these guys have joined D2 rather than D4 shows they must believe in their own ability, but we don’t have an idea as to how they will fare. They need to be technically sound and play well as they will be pushed and shoved about by a few physical teams, but they could be the ones to watch…
Right, top 3. Hard one as a few new sides and a few making a leap of faith. We’ll have South Reading as favourites, with White Eagles & Berks County as those competing. But watch out for Marlow as they could be the surprise bunch.
Now. England. Urgh. Need a few beers before this…
Follow TVPL on twitter @readingleague and give us your thoughts and opinions!!!