Next up on our poorly worded assault on several TVPL teams is the TVPL2. Notoriously a division where there is a strong title race – bar last year’s FC Woodley parade. Who can forget the YMCA Rapids v Westwood Ressie tussle from 2014/15 or the Burghfield v Westwood Ressie battle in 16/17? Actually, Westwood lost both so they probably want to?
So, lets take a peek at who could raise the bar this term, team by team. Most of this is made up, but go with it anyway…we start with the promoted sides looking to make an impact.
Wargrave are the D2 Champs and offer solid football based around experience. They know what they’re up to but perhaps lack a little pace; an ingredient more key as you go up the leagues. The boys were the 2nd highest scorers last term but a leaky backline conceded 34 in just 15 games (played)…that’s too high for D2 so defensive drills needed. But we expect a consistent season this term and there’s rumour of a few new faces from their disbanded chums at Braybrooke…
Maidenhead Town Reserves fluffed their lines in their title bid last term; just one win away from securing the title, it ended with squeaky bum time before they were confirmed runners up. Another side that offer consistency, their goals ‘for’ is ok but a solid defence gave them a good GD and the chance to grind out results, perhaps without free-flowing football of say, a Goring. But, big changes at the club have seen new faces join all squads at MTFC so will some talen trickle down from firsts, or indeed come from their Yoof ranks? Time will tell. Middle earth this season.
Goring offer biscuits at haftime and score bucket loads of goals, 56 in just 16 games last term and with Sam Fuller banging in 21 in just 12, they’ll need him all season. On their day, these boys can beat anyone in this division, but they’ll need a consistent side this season as the challenge is sterner than 3rd place in D3…
AFC Corinthians were best of the rest in D2 last term and John Smith’s goal a game went a way to that. But given the parade of Woodley & SRCC, a goal difference of -9 perhaps was reflective that it was a league within a league last term. But, they can play, nice passing football that earns nice-looking wins, but can be ‘beaten up’ a little by bigger boys. Should be targeting promotion this term given no D1 sides came down.
Mortimer Reserves are the side to watch for us. While only 5th last term, there have been new faces at the Aidy Keep Rec for both sides and we see a title bid this year after a decent pre-season. Andy Johnson-Archer’s goals will be needed and the 55 ‘against’ needs to be lower this term, but with perhaps a more level playing field this season, we think the Villagers will start strong.
Harchester Hawks are new two twitter but not TVPL2…midtable last year but we know Berry’s Bunch are bringing in new faces including keeper and defensive options. Tidy on the ball and strongest through midfield, they have a fast and lively number 9 to boot. We see better football this term, but think another season in mid-table beckons unless they can bring in a little more pace, perhaps out wide.
Woodcote Stoke Row will also be looking for the ‘dribble down’ effect from a strong first team. A spurt last term near the end of the season averted worries of relegation, but it was too little too late by way of a promotion challenge. Question for the Cote; do you train?
Marlow are also much-changed from last term with an influx of Penn & Tylers Green players into the first team group; how will this affect their Reserves? They could be uber-strong, blending last season’s youthful side with experience and Prem quality. Mark our words…watch for the United…
Hurst Reserves. One of our favourites. Despite #jacketgate a few years back, they haven’t puched on as they would have liked and the end of season form last term shows they have the talent, they just perhaps can’t be bothered some weeks. Who knows? Doubt they’ll be adrift but not sure they have the firepower to break into Top 4.
We welcome two new sides to this years TVPL from the East Berks League; Richings Park Reserves and Phoenix Old Boys.
Richings Park Reserves had an excellent season last year, winning the EBFL Division One by a landslide and also winning the Norfolkian Junior Cup, beating our YMCA Vets side in the final. Following the excellent debut of their Senior side last year, we expect big things from the RP lads. Also worth noting their facilities are excellent and they offer a decent chicken wing post-match. Keep watching here, we sniff success…
Phoenix OB also had a title winning season, winning EBFL D2 after a long battle; shows they have staying power. Solid across the side, the lads will need a few new faces to cope with some of the fire power such as Goring and Richings Park, but we know these guys well and expect great attitudes and some battling football.
So there. Not sure if anyone still reading this but we expect a 2-way tussle this season (hence the picture…some thought goes into all this y’know.
Top 2 – Richings Park Reserves and Mortimer, the former nicking a debut title. Minus the moaning. We also expect Marlow to be pushing high, perhaps Corinthians taking the final Champs League spot.
But we don’t know. We’ve played the lottery for 16 years and won £30. So don’t listen to us.
Keep watching on http://www.twitter.com/thamesvalleyPL