With the TVPL3 & TVPL4 kicking off this Saturday, thought we’d delve into the TVPL basement division and show off the fact that there are some bang tidy teams down here. Historically, some have stayed low to win big, but last year, Twyford Ruscombe did it the right way…4th the year before, build, romp it.
So to this term…let’s ch-ch-check out the players (teams) and their players (players) and see wha’gwannin. Could be exciting. Could be a boring procession. But with so many new and “Development’ sides, lets be cup half full and say it’ll be exciting either way!
We’d like to pick up on the phrase ‘Development Side’. What does this mean? Last year we had half the Taplow Firsts realign to D4 as a 3rd side. At least they didn’t call themselves Dev. We saw Harchy Hawks Dev, but didn’t see too many Yoof faces. Are clubs using this phrase to mask the fact they are just a 3rd team of lads that aren’t getting game-time in their Senior teams? We do see Marlow & Maidenhead Town playing young Reserve or ‘A’ sides, but without the phrase ‘Dev’.
We’d welcome young squads, developing players for Senior football and hope all our clubs are looking to youth to ensure continued numbers and club development. We wait with baited breath as to how young these Dev squads actually are!
Let’s start with those relegated from D3 last term, Taplow Reserves & Reading City Dev.
Taplow find themselves in the odd position that their 3rd team (led by the Mercurial Murtagh) are in the Div above their 2nd team. Work that out. We can’t be bothered so we’ll suggest there’s summat awry here and doubt these chaps will find it easy in D4 this term. But, despite being a young squad, they have experience of playing strong sides so think we’ll see a leveling here after a couple of disappointing seasons.
Reading City are on a high as a club and with relationships and Senior faces seemingly lining up to be involved, we’ve no doubt a young squad will be developing here. We think perhaps too soon for title push, but watch this lot; they could be big soon.
Last season, 5 teams went up so the ‘best of the rest’ and heir to the D4 throne are Berks County Rovers, but with the BC Boss Chris Searle away for a big part of the start, where will the goals come from? Searle’s boys were inconsistent last term but have good players, just lack a stable backline (which plays quite far apart, take this coaching tip for free). Can Rovers Return to glory? Not sure…
AFC Corinthians A are here to enjoy their football. A bunch of gentlemen, Manager Max ensures his ‘boys’ play in the right way. Without sounding harsh, we don’t see glory and titles here, but a well-organised, sporting side that enjoy playing the beautiful game. The passing, positional sense and patterns of play are all there, but perhaps the legs aren’t as forgiving as 20 years ago…;)
Harchester Hawks have had a busy summer and with UEFA coaching badges being sought, we see a side pushing on. With new faces joining the club, the ‘Dev’ side will benefit and Berry’s Boys will have a better term that last season, for sure.
Farnham Mavericks weren’t as maverick as they would have liked, but this really is a ‘Dev’ side with a core of young players fresh from Youth football in Slough. We’ve big admiration for the approach of Mr Maynard and wish his young squad well as they develop into adult football. Again, we don’t see bottom two but new faces are key as several young players have moved on within Slough.
And so to the new sides…in truth, some unknowns here…
Henley are bringing themselves back together and with a new ‘Dev’ side, could prove dangerous this season. We know several high quality players have joined the club in key positions and they have the experience of higher level football, so could be the side to watch this season.
Westwood have pushed on and introduced a Dev side to add to their successful Senior sides. Again, we hope it’s a youthful side as those Westwood lads can’t go on forever! No idea how they will fare but best of luck; we applaud any club with 3+ teams. Superb effort.
Datchet Village Saturdays join us as they venture away from Sunday’s into the real world…again, no idea of strength, but we have a hunch…with the success of Wraysbury and Richings Park into the TVPL, we know there are bucket loads of talented ballers in Slough itching to pass Reading Services West on the M4. Watch. Learn. We say contenders.
Phoenix Old Boys enjoyed a win last term in their introduction to the TVPL and their Ressies look to follow suit. Again, little view on quality but a well-run club that conduct themselves well and will be a welcome addtion to the TVPL.
So, to our predictions. This will be the worst set of the lot as so many news sides and changes to existing ones…
Top Three – Datchet to win it, Henley Dev & Berks County Rovers to make Champs League spots but we have a little hunch on Reading City as well…watch this space.
It’s here we invite you to comment, but don’t push yourselves.