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TVPL Division Three 2018/19 Preview!!!

Yes. We’re late with this. Borry. We would like to bore you as to why but we’d get told off by the league for using bad language. Needless to say we WANTED to do this last night but SOMEONE booked dinner with the mother-in-law and SOMEONE made the table reservation BEFORE I was due home from work. SOMEONE got told about themselves (the last someone was me after I dared to say something to the missus. Got an earful).

So, as per Mourinho’s pending sacking from United, we’re better late than never.

Division Three is always a weird one. It’s either i) as tight as an oppo sub’s offside call (never off) or ii) as tight as Daniel Levy in the summer. What shall transpire this season? We’ve no idea but will type words that make it look like we have a clue.

Let’s start with those team that dropped down from D2 last term (and 16/17 D3 Champs), Berks County Ressies. A woeful term for the BC Boys last term as a club reshuffle left the Reserves without a core of the Champ winning side. Adrift at the foot of D2 last term with just 4 wins, the lads will need good mental strength to make a go of it this term. A lot of change in their Senior side could mean some new faces, but we’ve not heard big news. Could be a challenger, could sit middle earth. At least it will be an improved term.

There are 5 newly promoted sides in this term’s division to balance out the league. The steam-away Champs Twyford Ruskies have goals and experience in their ranks and players that are comfortable playing higher than D3 so we expect a strong season. With Jones & Reibero battling for goal supremacy, we’re tipping back-to-back promotions for the Ruskies. And now on Twitter as well…follow this lot closely.

Taplow A had a good season; another side with experience and players able to stroll around the lower Divisions. Able to steam some younger sides last term, perhaps those big wins may disappear, but again, expect goals, wins and controlled football from Murtagh’s Mob; another we tip to push Champs League places.

Maidenhead Town A had the youngest team in D4 last term and developed well through the season after an inconsistent start. Bar the top 2, post-Xmas not many sides played as well as Town and we see club strengthening across all 3 teams. We know the plan is to stay ‘young’ but will a little extra experience be needed against stronger teams? Middle earth will be a good season. Will the Bigger Boys bully Beck’s Kids?

Goring Reserves are a good team on their day, but inconsistency let them down. Started very well last term but fell away in losing to all those challenging sides around them. Another side with goals in them and a good pattern of play, but another where Bigger Boys may influence games. Another side that should see survival in middle earth a good season.

Cintra basically become Wright Unity Reserves in November and results drastically improved after an opening day 9-0 hammering. Experience and domination of teams earns points at Cintra Park; will there be some fresh faces to add pace? Expect a good season with some early results here.

Hambleden and Pangbourne join the TVPL so represent unknown quantities. Hambleden suffered in the Wycombe League last season but a division of only 8 teams sadly shows the decline of that area’s football (we wish the league well). Hopefully a new league will offer some excitement for the lads to begin enjoying their football again and with very little Wycombe/TVPL recent Cup history to draw on, we can’t offer much of an indication! But, to come straight into D3 shows they have something about them!

We know even less about Pangbourne, our ill-fated attempt to contact them failed (messenger pigeon, got caught in the overhead BT pylon. Shame. Lovely bird) so we’ll have to pass on offering indication of strength. Again, we hope they enjoy the TVPL and we’ll be profiling our new clubs very soon so watch this space.

We then have last season’s D3 veterans, Henley Town & Woodley A.

Henley have big designs to build again and have brought in numerous strong players, several from higher levels and several from Youth set-ups. We see a strong season from the Kites this term and are posting them as pre-season favourites for this Division!

Woodley ‘A’ always flatter to deceive. An incredibly well-run club, the two sides outside the Senior & Reserves tend to struggle and whilst the A boys sat comfortably in middle-earth, there needs to be a push to push on. A level side (a +1 goal difference reflects that), steady and good discipline. But need that star quality to compete this term vs some strong experienced side.

This D3 is strong, perhaps nearly at D2 level. Great for the league, tough to win it.

So, our Top 3 – We’re calling Henley as winners, with Twyford Ruskies and Berks Ressies with Taplow A pushing Champs League spot. But this is wiiiiiide open so keep watching, it could be entertaining!!!

TVPL

 

TVPL Division Two 18/19 Preview!!!

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

#TVPL

 

TVPL Division One 18/19 Preview!!!

Division One. It’s like the Championship. The hardest division to win. The most level playing field (excluding Rotherfield’s pitch). And we kick it all off tomorrow.

It’s like the Grand National. Anyone could win this. Pick the one with the best name (we’d go with the team with the word Lions innit). Runners and riders? Let’s go…

We start with the side that’s dropped down; Newbury FC. Wow. After a crazy summer, Langford’s Lads have had to drop down after finishing 5th in the Premier due to ground issues (we’ve been asked to leave this topic alone, but as this is ‘unofficial’, we really feel for these boys!), they enter the pit of D1. Full of TVPL Rep stars, including Langers himself, the Newbury crew will start as comfortable favourites for the title, a status they seem quite happy with. Could this be a cakewalk? We hope not, but feel for the lads that may feel they are beneath themselves for the season…

And so to the 1 side promoted, White Eagles. With last term’s top 2 falling away from the TVPL, the Eagles are the sole D2 rep side and will need to defend solidly this term against some very attacking sides. Last term’s record of only 2 goals per game will only be good enough if they can keep sides out. Staying up will be a good season for the Eagles.

And so to last term’s contenders;

Cookham Dean & Imaan were basically one win away from the promised land. Burrows Boys are now Webb’s Warriors as Ollie Webb takes full control this term, ably assisted by JB. With an influx of players into the club, could the First team’s excellence result in a drip-down effect into the Ressies; an already strong competitive side bolstered by a couple of experienced First teamers? Hopes are high, bar staff are willing and club ambassadors vocal. If they can just add a few more goals, Webb’s Warriors could take the extra step…(and not get promoted).

Imaan are this close (say it with your eyes squinted, makes it work). The goals of Aqeel Butt (2nd in the charts last term) almost nailed the dream ticket, but a little choke at the finale – just 2 wins from the last 6 games – dealt the horrible hand of 4th place. It’s safe to say these boys are the most attractive to watch, if a little nausy sometimes, but technically, they are Premier League all over. No doubt. Add the discipline and ‘game management’ in the mix and we have a side worthy of top half Prem. Can they….???

Eldon Celtic disappointed last term. Whilst ending 5th, the Celtic spent most of the season near the foot of the table after an awful start. Another technically superb side, it’s defensive and vocal discipline that have let them down. In 16/17 they were so close, we can’t see another start like last term. But have they lost the goals….????

We tipped up Finchampstead last term and now, an experienced manager ahead, they could challenge. Another side with technical players, they need to find consistency and add goals to challenge but there is a big points gap between them and the sides above…if they have new faces, they could challenge. If not, middle earth beckons…

Hurst are another side that came back from a poor start to find consistency and after relegation the year before, perhaps have found their level for this team. Led by Townson in midfield, Hurst can beat anyone on their day, but we can’t see more than middle earth again without new player investment. And a proper net for that damn river at the back of the pitch…how many lost balls?

Westwood Reserves really picked themselves off the floor. With 5 wins from their last 6 games, these lads showed they had bottle and moved from the foot to the middle with aplomb. Danny Nicholson is key to this side – the Division’s Golden Boot with 19 in 24 – so if they’ve kept their talisman and invested time in defensive drills, these boys could be one to watch this season…

(is this mention ok lads?)

YMCA Rapids. So much has been said about this club, they really are TVPL Legends. The sheer amount of games put pay to title challenges last term but we’ve no idea how the Firsts have strengthened yet, and how this trickles down to the Padworth Mob. Solid, hard to beat and a nous on how to play on a MASSIVE pitch, Lemm’s Reserve batch will always put up a fight and can beat anyone. Is this the year? Just don’t enter cups and you’ll be alright lads!

Somehow, Rotherfield escaped. It was like Panic Room. They got out somehow, perhaps more down to their rivals collapse. But it didn’t matter. They survived. And now they go again. We feel these boys are like Stoke…don’t really fit in, scrape some games, then blitz a little run together with some amazing football and get themselves safe. But is this the year? These boys really make us scratch our heads but we LOVE how they LOVE proving us wrong! You keep going boys…

A dismal season for Maidenhead Town last term. Changes have been big. The Firsts have signed up to play on #thecarpet at Bisham Abbey, swooping on the Magpies old nest, and with several new faces, we don’t see relegation this term and a solid build on last term. Perhaps too far for a Champions League place, but middle earth looks a safe bet.

 

So there we are. A review with no basis, little information, only social media (and Fake News) as our guide and a slightly wine-eyed view. Shall we go Top Three???

Newbury Champions. Anything else would be failure. But it won’t be easy as they are the team to beat.

Imaan & Cookham Dean as Top 3. Dark horses of Finch and Westwood Ressies for Top 5. Mark our words. Or don’t and spit at your screens. Your choice. But PC World charge £150 to clean fluid on laptops. Believe us.

Agree? Disagree? Think we’re amazing? Want to buy us a present? An expensive one? Perhaps take us out for dinner? We like Gauchos. No, we love Gauchos. And Malbec. Please, someone take us for dinner. Let us know…

www.twitter.com/thamesvalleyPL

#TVPL1

TVPL Division Two Season 17/18 Review!

The last of our 17/18 season reviews before we move to a couple of season previews!

Division Two.

In truth, it ended prematurely! None of the excitement of the D1 or D3 race. We had a runaway twosome, a side left adrift by Feb and 7 teams – from 4th to 10th – split by just 6 points. We did have a great escape however, more on that later…

First, lets check on our prediction…we called South Reading as Champs with White Eagles pulling up in the Top 3. We also did our reviews before we knew FC Woodley were entering, so we like to think we were rather successful (ok, we also called Berks Ressies in Top 3 and they ended bottom, but I’m sure they would be happy to forget that bit).

The Champs, FC Woodley, only lost one of their 20 games in a campaign that the “newcomers” romped. Leading from the front, a title race effectively ended with South Reading’s sticky spell over Xmas where 2 straight losses handed control to the Woodley boys. Yet, games still were won, 99 league goals were scored in just 20 games (averages 5 a game!!!) and it started with a 10-0 back on the opening day! Yup, firepower.

Those SRCC lads had a great term, securing back to back promotions after their previous D4 cakewalk. With Jordan Sawyer & Liam Lewendon 2nd and 3rd in the goal scoring charts – behind a wonderful display from Stefan Allen at Mortimer, 23 goals in 19 game??? – these boys took apart some teams (inc Woodley) but defensive discipline let them down on the big nights – Woodcote & AFC Corinthians away. Still, promotion, hats off.

White Eagles were a way off in 3rd but 3rd it was, losing just 6 games in the process, also earning them promotion (following both other clubs’ demise this summer). A sterling effort given the level playing field in the league, the Eagles will look to build as a tough D1 campaign starts on September 1st!

The rest of the sides just about all beat each other. A little run here and there – notably Woodcote Ressies’ 5 straight wins during April to lift relegation fears and Hurst Ressies winning 5 of their last 7 to avoid the drop, a dramatic escape – there was little to write home about. Some memorable ties perhaps. But no team offering the consistency to join White Eagles on a promotion push.

So, to the awards…

Team of the Season

We’re finding it hard NOT to pick the title winners here this season. It has to be a side that only lost 1 and average 5 goals a game! Yup, FC Woodley.

Overachievers

FC Woodley & South Reading had very good sides, we knew that. So we’re going with White Eagles, who at times in the season, struggled to field teams. On several dates, they played with a bare XI so given they were level with the field, to finish 8 points ahead of that field was a great achievement. Well played.

Underachievers

We liked the look of Marlow Reserves but they really went with Youth, so we can’t say ‘under-performed’ as it’s a learning curve. Great development for the club.

It has to be the D3 Champs Berks County Reserves. So much promise pre-season, to have such a great term, then finish 9 adrift of a pack of teams that weren’t 9 points better than them has to be an under-achievement. We know there were changes at the club, so this is no dig, just a nod to a disappointing season. They’ll be back…this summer has seen big things!

Best Game

Any 10-0 is WOW but shows oppo had issues so we’ll discount the opening day drubbing by FC Woodley. We have to take notice of the Champs’ only loss…a 5-1 hammering by SRCC and our Entertainers Brimpton (sadly now left the TVPL) didn’t disappoint, a 4-4 draw with Woodley in September was a corker!

Mortimer Reserves’ 6-4 over Hurst was clearly action-packed, and part of Hurst’ revival was a 7-3 belter over those Brimpton Boys, a wonderful achievement.

But we’re going back to October and a classic where one player bagged 4 and another 3…a 6-5 super-game at Cantley between AFC Corinthians & Mortimer, the hosts coming out on top. How can that NOT win???

Sportsmen of the Year

Some gentlemanly teams in this Division but we’re plumping for Mortimer Reserves, who hosting skills and fair play efforts shone through. Thanks chaps!

Moaners of the Season

Not really one to label here, but SRCC did kick up a right stink when they got drawn vs Woodcote on a school night (and got beaten). It wasn’t funny.

What You Up To Award

Berks County. Easy one.

The ‘Aly Us’ Follow Me Award

(this one is getting a bit tedious)

Hurst Reserves – just funny. And their season finale snippets were wonderful. As Pele says, keep it up chaps.

Brimpton – no longer part of our league but offer good fun on social media. Good luck for the season boys, we’ll keep any eye out.

Harchy Hawks – new to Twitter, The Berry Brigade will be much more social after crawling from their cave. Welcome.

 

So. Done. Sorry it was all 2 months too late. We aimed for the suspense angle but just forgot. Then went away. Sardinia. Lovely it was. Wonderful fish.

http://www.twitter.com/thamesvalleyPL

 

TVPL Division One 17/18 Season Review!

My gosh we’re tired. This whole newborn baby lark…why didn’t the midwife tell me about the SLEEP. THE SLEEP!!!!! Gave some shpeil about bottles and nappies (and I definitely heard something about the fact they cry?) but WHY NOT TALK ABOUT THE LACK OF SLEEP!

Anyway, our TVPL (p)review continues with Division One and my goodnesss giddy me, what a 2017/18 season it was!

We’ll start by reviewing our predictions from last summer, before going on to accurately predict exactly what will happen this term in probably the most exciting division of all…

And the season just gone was a belter. Wow. And, we called it;

This division will have all the teams beating each other all season. There will not be a runaway leader and the drop will be until the final few games.

The league was one by Richings Park on the last day of the season after a hard-fought 2-0 win…on goal difference! The race was like those daft cyclists…they go for ages then one makes a sprint at the end to win it. May as well just do 100m rather than 568 miles around some mountains.

An incredible season for the TVPL debutants whose structured play and experience ground out wins over more flamboyant sides such as Eldon and Imaan, but controlled games when needed. It’s delightfully rare to have a league winner lose 6 games – 2 more than 3rd place this time round – but it made for a brilliant climax…huge contrats to the Champs. And we know…we got this wrong!

It was Burghfield that made the running all season with a superb term…pipped to the title on goal difference! Another side that had real cohesion to their play, Burghfield were unbeaten until late-November and will surely lament the fact they only picked up 1 point from their last 3 games as they slipped at the last. Still, promotion achieved, something only dreamt about back in August. Superb.

Our call of Magpies as favourites fell part much like they did as they left the league in November after difficulties. We see many of their players are back this season with different sides, hope most enjoy their football this term. So that bet was void.

We also called YMCA Rapids out…until March this looked rosy as they battled on all fronts, reaching – and winning – the League Cup and several other semi-finals. Sadly, playing catch-up ruined their record of 14 unbeaten and a big title shot as they fell away, losing players to injury and multiple midweek ko’s putting pay to any glory.

Finchampstead were another side we called but they failed to make an impact, inconsistent results leaving them in middle earth.

Imaan had a great term with some brilliant football, but not enough experience to make that final push. To finish just 3 points of the title was an incredible achievement and they will no doubt want to step up this term.

Cookham Dean Res will also lament their term as finishing 3rd, just 1 win away from that title shows promise with Burrows Boys (now under the stewardship of Ollie Webb). A brilliant season, making for a superb title race.

We also have to mention Rotherfield here…from seeming doom of relegation, the United pulled 7 points from the last 9 to pull out of trouble, a superb end of term. That form is championship winning stuff…where were those results in October??? Hats off lads, wonderful end to the season.

So, let’s run our ‘Awards’ and see who moans…

Team of the Season

It’s the title winners, no doubt. To come to a new league and win the hardest one to win takes some going. A close runner is Burghfield but no one can dispute this one.

Overachievers

Tough. Could be the Champs but we’re going with Burghfield here…they won D2, sure. But to back to back promotions is something outstanding. We knew Park had some starlets but the B’s were perhaps an even more compact side. Yup, made our choice. Burghfield.

Underachievers

Close call between two…

We called Finchampstead at the start of the term and they will feel 6th place isn’t good enough. It’s always hard rebuilding a side but Finch will look for more this term, no doubt.

But our ‘winners’ here are Maidenhead Town. From a promising 5th place in 16/17 and a hint of promotion, our Boys in Blue fell to a miserable term, finishing 2nd bottom, only escaping relegation by default. We know they hurt and doubt this season will be the same…

Best Game

Rotherfield’s late 3-2 win over Frilsham effectively relegated Frils and kept Rotherfield alive yet it was Frilsham that provided the other 2 ‘best games’!

A wonderful 5-4 classic with Westwood in March would normally win hands down, especially as this at time of need for both sides. But a 6-4 win over Eldon Celtic? A game with 2 hatricks, one for each side? A win from the bottom club over a mid-table side?

Take a Bow Frilsham…sadly no longer with us but your glory will always* be remembered…

*for a week or so anyway.

Sportsmen of the Year

Brilliant hosting from Richings Park and Burghfield this term never goes un-noticed. But the YMCA Rapids take this one from us as a great attitude week in, week out should be applauded.

Moaners of the Season

A no-brainer…sadly it was those pesky Magpies that self-imploded after such promise pre-season. After that point, it was probably Eldon Celtic. Every. Single. Game…

What You Up To Award

Kind of already covered this…Burghfield let the title slip but MTFC had a fall from grace. Town win.

The ‘Aly Us’ Follow Me Award

(this one is getting a bit tedious)

Richings Park – always lively on social media with some ‘real’ messages with humour.

Burghfield – they have the goal flash thingy. That’s wicked!

Imaan Lions – an account to stir debate, they’re also really nice to everyone! We reckon it’s mind games….

 

So there. Review done…we’ll take a little look at the up-coming season later today as Division One kicks off tomorrow!!!

Check us out on www.twitter.com/ThamesValleyPL . Agree with us. Or don’t follow. Fact.

TVPL Premier Division – 17/18 Season Review

With the new season kicking off TOMORROW we thought we had better pull our socks up (note, remember to use the right colour tape) and get this review out there.

And what a season 2017/18 was. It was dominated by an enthralling two-horse title race, emerging forces, fading forces and some familiar nausey behavour from some (you know who you are…). So, bite your tongue, excuse the guaranteed errors and maybe just laugh if we call your team ‘underachievers’ or ‘D1 fodder’. It’s a joke.

So, lets start with the story of the Champions, Reading YMCA. Wow. An unbeaten league campaign with 24 wins out of 26 games. Just re-read that a moment. Yes, there were 3 league walkovers there but two were from the bottom two clubs, where wins probably would have been expected. But to acheive that level of consistency over a whole season – a season where both the League Cup AND the Norfolkian Senior Cup were also won over a 39-game season is simply incredible.

In fact, over 90-mins, YMCA didn’t lose a game all season as their only defeat was on penalties to the EBFL force Langley in the B&B cups, 19-20 on pens (who was that player that missed, hang him!!!).

There were some huge wins as well; a 7-0 demolition of Wokey Sumas, a title-ending put-down to Marlow with a 4-0 away hammering in January along with several 6-1 beatings, leaving a GF of 97 and a GD of +85.

These boys are now unbeaten in the TVPL since March 2016, a marvellous record for a grassroots side that don’t even train. When you throw in their Reserve team also won a League Cup and had a big run in all comps, these really are the boys to beat. Congratulations to Karl Curtis the Gaffa, but as well all know, it’s all those behind the scenes whose hardwork makes this all happen. Clap Clap.

So, we’ve heralded the Champs, lets take a look at the best of the rest…

A wonderful season from Woodcote Stoke Row, who really did take the title race to March, an outstanding effort given the YMCA steam train. It was only them (and a rogue Highmoor Ibis team in May) that took league points off the Champs, a 1-1 draw in October when things were ‘real’. Goals came from all round the front players as to score 87 but only have 1 player in the Top 10 goals shows the attacking ‘team’ threat’ these boys pose. Some big wins over Newbury, Berks County and Westwood showed they had the bottle to take on the big boys and to move from 4th to runners up in a season showed they are progressing…can’t wait for this term. Is a Cup win required?

Westwood had an excellent season coming 3rd after (finally) returning to ‘their level’. In fact, think about that for a minute. To finish above sides such as Marlow, Cookham, Newbury, established Premier teams is a brilliant effort from a team with an average age of 36. A GD of only 20 shows they battle, work hard, never demolish sides but know how to win. Another side that need a Cup run this term to show their players they can do well at Wood.

OK. Now, we need to make sure this lot don’t change their name again. Wright & Unity Sports. That’s it now. They have stewardship, good food and (from recent tweets), cash. So let’s wait for our preview, but it;s safe to say this was a strong season. An incredible start – 13 wins from their first 15 games saw them lead the table in January – saw a collapse after Xmas as no wins in 2 months saw them concede places to the big boys. Another side that need a cup run to back up the superb social media effort…

Newbury. God bless Newbury. Talk about a season of two halves. Mr Danny Langford came in to take the reigns after just an opening day win in their first 7 league games. A revival saw them fly up the table with some big wins, but when you’re up against YMCA, you know the league wrapped up with that form. Outstanding effort after October, but way too late. (Good time to say we feel for their ground issue…this is unofficial, from the person typing this…we’ve spoken to DL and he ‘knows’..).

Marlow & Cookham. What the jeez? Not the season either expected nor wanted. While the former had an incredible ride in the Berks & Bucks, reaching the Cup final but falling at the last, and Sinclair’s Army once again graced the Mad Stad in the League Cup Final (losing to those pesky YMCA crew), the league campaign was not ‘on’. We, and they, expect better things.

Mortimer, Wraysbury and Berks County. Middle Earth. We called it. It happened. Some highlights. Some horror shows. Move on.

Wokingham Emmbrook Reserves joined that cotchel of clubs, sitting between Middle Earth and the dreaded drop, but they joined a group that need to think differently this season in order not to become the Southampton (Hughes era) or Stoke (Pulis era) of the league. They play better football than those boys. But don’t win enough.

The bottom three faced challenges all season and it was clear from the off that Taplow, Woodley Royals & Highmoor Ibis United all faced a tough term. And they did. Some points were picked up when they had the combination of a) full sides with all players available and b) extra help from club players, but all three will be disappointed with the final standings. With all three clubs under-going surgery akin to Michael Jackson in his heyday, we doubt Woodley & Highmoor aka Reading City will be sitting here come May 2019 (and good luck to Taplow in their Hellenic adventure, a brave move, all the best).

So, lets return to our predictions this time last year. We called YMCA champs (it was like calling Man City in truth). We also called Woodcote as the ‘dark horses’ (we’ve just drunk half a pint of wine to congratulate ourselves. A nice Chablis, not any old tat. Feel a bit sick actually). We also called Cookham as our Top Three so annoyed at them for letting us down. Personally. We’ll hold this against you. We also said Marlow Top 5 (with Wraysbury so screw you too) so overall did ok.

But not as well as YOU. It’s the clubs, players and fans that make this league* so thank you for making the Premier League an enjoyable season.

*it’s normally here referees moan about ‘why not thank us too’…we see you as the waiter at a restaurant…we expect you to be good. And you normally are. But don’t leave a hair/obvious penalty claim in our burger/oppo pen area as that’s what we’ll remember.

Unofficial Award Time…

Team of the Season

We’ve done it. YMCA. Move on.

Overachievers

Given we expected YMCA to be brilliant, we’re going with Wright & Unity Sports. Like Woy Hodgson saving Palace, we did not see that coming. To go from 10th to real title contenders, whlist merging young talent, is a feat, so hats off. Special mention to Westwood here as well.

Underachievers

This could be several clubs. Marlow & Cookham were disappointing in the league but played well in the Cups; anyone with something to play for in the last game has done well. Taplow were a strange one, with excellent players romping things in D4, surely a shuffle around could have given their flagship team a helping hand? Also, the resource of Woodley, Wokingham Emmbrook and Highmoor means they shouldn’t be scrabbling about at the foot of our divisions.

But our ‘winners’ here are Berks County. So much effort and time has been put into building this excellent club, to finish 11th after a mid-table effort isn’t conducive to ‘achieving’. Players leaving, management changes and some bad injury luck led to a term that surely won’t be seen again…

Best Game

Marlow teaching Westwood a 6-3 Premier lesson in August was a big one and the 89th minute equaliser for Westwood over Wright Unity in a 3-3 thriller in early Feb ranks high. We’re gonna go with the Sargent trio inspired Westwood 7-3 win over Wrasbury, just because the goals were meant to be decent and 10-goals is a decent return!

Sportsmen of the Year

Berks County picked up the award from the other clubs so well done chaps. Now get nastier and win more.

‘What You Up To’ of the Year

We’re going with Taplow AND Marlow…

Taplow have ballers all over their teams so we can’t understand why they struggle. Guess they suffer from the same issue all clubs do…getting their top players out consistently. Such a good set-up, we don’t get it…what you doing?

Marlow. Oh Marlow. You are YMCA’s ying. Their Barry to Paul. We need you back taking the title charge to May lads. forget the B&B dream now. Go title hunting…

The Aly-Us ‘Follow Me’ Award

(may be lost on some but an American House track that we’ve played 89 times since we remembered it for this posting).

Three Twitter accounts to follow this term in the Premier;

Reading City – so much going on, so many changes, it HAS to be good news for their TVPL campaign. Stay tuned…

Wright Choice Unity – from carribbean food to video training session footage. We can’t wait for these ‘jerks’ to spice up the league this term (those puns were terrible).

Woodcote – no real reason other than they say nice things about us.

 

We’ve got to the point of not really worrying whether people read all this any more. But we will be posting a TVPL Preview late tonight, once we’ve had some fish and chips. Oh. and wine. A lot of wine. We’re on holiday next week so it starts now.

Hit us on @thamesvalleyPL and get on all our clubs!

 

TVPL Division Four 2018/19 Preview!!!

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.

Bye.

TVPL Division Three – 17/18 Season Review

WAR (grave)…HUH…What are they good for?

Winning D3 TITLES!

WAR (grave)… HUH…you get the idea…

(and if you didn’t know, that was the best selling song in 1984 by Frankie Goes To Hollywood. D’uh).

Welcome to the next installment of our pointless (no offence Highmoor IBIS A) review of last season. Tonight (you may see this in the morning, why are you so pendantic?) we’ll cover D3 and to front up, we got this WAAAAYYYY wrong. But hey. We’re human. Not robots. Ever seen Sky’s Westworld? Creepy stuff. Good job we’re not eh?

So, we predicted wrong. It was the Wargrave boys that came up trumps this season, partly due to a contentious season-ender where our Media Darlings Braybooke couldn’t field a side, so 3 points were ‘picked up’, pipping close rivals Maidenhead Town Reserves at the post. Win some, lose some eh?

It was a strange D3 this term with only a 9-team division, where 3 teams really struggled and, until March, all other 6 sides could win it. Noone took charge, perhaps because it was tighter than a nu….(please check rules before posting).

Yet Wargrave ended Champions with a record that included a 10-0 league defeat to Goring, a 9-2 defeat to Woodley A (we suspect some senior players here, Woodley ended 3rd bottom) and a 12-2 cup loss to Mortimer Reserves. How odd.

It was Maidenhead Town Reserves that took them to the last day, even beating them 2-1 with a late winner in April. Yet Town had the chance at Henley Reserves; a win to secure the title, yet failed in the most ‘everyone can beat everyone’ division going!

Goring, the long-term pacesetters ended 3rd – promoted – after losing their way in the last few weeks to the teams above them, but a strong season for G’s nonetheless.

So, to our predictions. We went Braybrooke. A solid bet given they reached cup finals, spanking D1 teams along the way. Yet, on those murky days, a trip to Goring was too far and the Media Darlings seemingly succumbed to the high life; players being courted by others, socials, gym trips (probably ‘leg day’ brigades with a “cheeky” trip to Nandos after, is there anyone worse than those type of people?).

Brimpton went D2 (well done) and Finch Ressies became Finch in D1. So our predictions here were void.

So well done Wargrave. But here’s the bit you ALL want to see. Our awards.

Team of the Season
It has to be the Champs, like last night in D4. Noone else did enough to win this title and for a side to be spanked 10-0 and STILL win the league shows they had issues with team selection and availability, yet still had the footballs to come and keep winning. Well done chaps.

Overachievers
We think we have to go with Wargrave again. Noone stood up this term…MTFC Reserves did well but didn’t take the chance and Goring set the pace for a long time. Perhaps a ‘dud’ choice here, but we’ll go the Champs again!

Underachievers
Braybrooke. Easy. To have a side that can dismantle D1 title chasers Cookham Dean Reserves and batter league oppo 9-1, yet finish 5th in a 9-team Div isn’t right. Oh. They could have been so wonderful. Sad to see the team have also folded for the coming season.

Best Game
To win 13-1 deserves a mention for Woodley A, but it’s clear Highmoor had issues this season, so this won’t win. For Goring to beat the Champs Wargrave 10-0 is rather special, but again, we look at issues on matchday. The winner of this one is Hurst A picking up a 4-4 draw at the Champs in a mesmeric game, when Wargrave where flying high and on form. A top game, well done chaps!

Best Hosts
Goring. Doubling up. Tea and biscuits!!!!

Sportsmen of the Year
MTFC Reserves swept the board on this one, earning the marks from their fellow clubs. Well done gents! Now improve your dissent charges!!!!

‘What You Up To’ of the Year
Braybrooke again. Had so much promise. So incredible on the media front. God we loved Braybrooke.

The Aly-Us ‘Follow Me’ Award
(this is tenuous, a quality US House track, the ‘Full Intention Club’ mix is the one to search, incredible)

Have you listened to it yet? We told you about it yesterday. Tune bruv. Anyway…

Three clubs to follow on TVPL Twitter;

Reading City Dev – changed their name…does it matter if Reading is a city or not? Is Manchester ‘United’? No. They’re divided. Loads of activity, get on these boys now!

Hurst ‘A’ – funny flickers these guys. Get on them as a self-indulgent loathe is refreshing.

Goring – We’ve a soft spot for these guys. Just liked a Twitter pic of their pitch. Lovely stuff (say that in an Alan Partridge accent, it’s better).

So there. Division Three. Romeo Done. If you hate the above, tell us. We won’t listen. We’ll throw your thoughts into our box of ‘Feedback’ and burn it. Then post it to you (we have your address from the handbook. Screw GDPR. You’re getting your burnt words back punk).

Or just post summat on the Twitter feed. Your choice.

Night.

TVPL

TVPL Division Four – 17/18 Season Review!

Here we go again! After finally remembering our password and finding some free time amidst the Pampers size 3 (who knew there were so many sizes?) and selling things for a (barely minimum) living wage, we’ve finally unshackled ourselves to deliver what we promised 2 months ago…the TVPL Season 17/18 review!

This will be the first of five posts (covering each divisions, just because you’re Premier, you’re not special mate), before Friday’s TVPL Premier Division Preview as they kick off on Saturday 18th August.

Let’s get a couple of things out the way early;

1) Yes, this is late. We’ve had a newborn to deal with which put simply, is more important than describing Berks County Reserves fall from grace. We enjoy being a dad. But now it’s football time so the baby is now locked in the car for a few hours while we type…
2) It’s ALL tongue in cheek. See above. As if we’d lock a 6-month baby in the car! Don’t be daft. We actually couldn’t as the boot didn’t have a lock and it was crying too much to be near it for long!
3) What do we know? Very little. We frequent Cintra Park as much as we do Ewan Mcgregor fight nights (once). Actually saw more punches at Cintra as well…
4) We’ll try to put more on this website this season as AT LEAST 3 people read it. Cost us £30. Still haven’t got my money back from the MC yet. High on my agenda (see first sentence, nappies cost a lot as well!).

So here we go, let’s review last season’s cakewalk D4. We’ll revisit our predictions (and give an overall score on Friday) before offering some pointless awards and tee up the coming season…AAAAAAANNNNNNNDDDD GO!

Our winners were Twyford & Ruscombe, with an incredible season of 19 wins from 20 and a massive 11 points clear of their “rivals” with a +55 goal difference. Wow. The Ruskies ended 4th in 2016/17 and were in pole position to take this division on – and we called it as well so 1/1 for us! – but the boys did it in style, ending the term with two of the top 3 scorers in Mikey Jones (27 in 21) and Jose Ribiero (19 in 19). Only the Berks County Boys took a win from the Ruskies who move into D3 with a real point to prove…we reckon they could do big things!

Our runners up were Taplow United ‘A’ who also had an exceptional season; only dropping 14 points and securing promotion in late March, finishing 13 points ahead of 3rd place. With a cluster of Taplow’s 16/17 Premier side, Taplow stayed consistent through the season and had probably the best player in the Division in Simon Murtagh, whose ability in midfield still shows he could run Premier games, let alone D4 matches! The side enjoyed a Cup win as well, winning the Reading Challenge Cup (after only 2 games!) but we’ve heard these boys will be adding talent to a very sturdy spine – you don’t get change from these centre-backs – so could be another that shine with Ruskies in D3 next term!

A surprise showing from Maidenhead Town’s debutant development side ended with 3rd spot and a hugely entertaining season! With 14 goals in the opening 2 games, including a 5-5 draw with Goring Res, the scene was set that Town would be inconsistent, and so it proved until December when the team settled and offered good form, beating all the teams bar the top 2 to run on the league during Jan-April. The goals of 18-yr old Tom Osborne (14 in 16) earnt him 4th in the charts and with an average age of just 18.5, the side could well further develop this season.

We did get a couple of predictions wrong…we went bold and went for Harchester Hawks as surprise candidates for promotion. They ended 2nd bottom. In our defence, the boys did improve and play some good stuff near the end of the season, but the Hawks will need to feed before they challenge again. Lovely lads through.

And Hurst A never entered the Div as they went big and aimed at D3 success, so that was void.

Farnham Mavericks should not have finished bottom. We saw with our own eyes that a very young squad had real promise and took several teams to close calls with some nice football. Goring Ressies set the pace early but fell away under the pressure of more experienced sides and Cintra – admittedly by taking on a whole new team from Unity 16/17 season – came on leaps and bounds from their opening day 9-0 drubbing to end 5th and secure promotion in D3 this season, along with Goring and the teams above. Well done.

Berks County A – like Justin Timberlake – never found any rhythm and seemingly struggled with being either a development side or an experienced side…neither happened and bar the goals of Chris Searle – ending 2nd in the scorers charts, an incredible effort for a team finishing 6th – they had a disappointing season. On seeing how the club is restructuring however, we see big things this term. Woodley B are another that on their day can compete with anyone, but can also fall apart under pressure from a strong forward line. AFC Corinthians are the nicest team in the league, but do need some young blood to bring some legs to the team.

So, while the top 2 flew away from the pack, we saw some very good attacking football in this division this season from some exciting and experienced teams. Perhaps the lack of defensive discipline at this level leaves cup runs as most’s best chance of silverware, but we experienced this Division very closely this season and there are some wonderful characters, some excellently run teams and some real players for the future that will end up playing at the top of the TVPL, perhaps further. Lets hope the clubs push them onwards and upwards…NO LOCAL EMPIRES GENTS!!!

So to the (very unofficial) TVPL D4 Awards! These are purely daft so don’t cry about it.

Team of the Season
Twyford & Ruscombe. Easy. With 19 wins from 20 and goals goals goals, these boys deserve all the plaudits. Didn’t even drop divisions to win things, they worked hard and built on 4th place. Hats off.

Overachievers
Tricky as both Taplow A and MTFC A did well this term. But we’ll go with the youth of MTFC A as promotion was not expected this term and to end 3rd with a 16-yr old keeper and the majority of players having never played adult football before, that deserves respec’.

Underachievers
As part of a 3-team club, Berks Co won’t be happy with 6th, spesh as they have the maestro Searle up top. Should be taken as a compliment as we expected big things due to the recent success and club drive…no doubt these boys will be pushing this term.

Best Game
To have a 5-5 draw coming second shows how good this result was; Berks County A beating Tywford (their only loss of the season) 2-0 HAS to be seen as superb. Two goals in the last 15 mins gave BC the win, so hard luck to MTFC A & Goring Res on that 5-5 as that really was incredible!

Best Hosts
Goring. Definitely. Tea and biscuits at half time. A blinking mission to get there but the groundsman was very welcoming, they do sandwiches and they’re just lovely. Cheer chaps!

Sportsmen of the Year
While Berks County earned the sporting marks, we have to mention AFC Corinthians, whose manager (Max) was a true gentleman. A side more concerned with fair play than results, these guys were a dream to play against and played good football, the league position didn’t reflect the ability.

‘What You Up To’ of the Year
We lost what Cintra Park were doing quite early…bringing in a whole new team in November, what happened to all the other players? Guess it worked though.

The Aly-Us ‘Follow Me’ Award
(this is tenuous, a quality US House track, the ‘Full Intention Club’ mix is the one to search, incredible)
With a few clubs not on Twitter (WHY NOT, ITS 2018!), this Division is a little easier. We’re offering 3 sides to follow, based purely on their engagement and ‘funny-ness’…in no order;

Taplow A – while we hate this phrase, they offer ‘banter’ and are online, win, lose or draw. Not many losses either. Follow.
MTFC A – a tongue in cheek account repine’ the roof of today. You might learn some new phrases. Cinnamon. Follow.
Farnham Mavericks – if you need a pick-me-up on a Monday morning, visit this page. Inspirational. We reckon they’re always drunk.

So there we are. A waste of 10 minutes reading no doubt. If you can read that is. We’re quite happy with it. Probably a 7/10 on this division. But we have an insight so this could be the best you get of all the divisions. Deal with it.

We’d love your input. Send us stuff on @thamesvalleyPL and if we’re not taken down by the MC for ‘mild offensiveness’, we’ll reply. Well, we might. Depends if the baby has woken up yet. That’s a point….did we put the handbrake on….????????

*If you want to engage with the TVPL this season, check us out on http://www.twitter.com/thamesvalleyPL or send us a letter. Yup. A letter. We were born in the 80’s so respect the postal service.

FA Inter-League Cup

The TVPL have been drawn to play in the FA Inter League Cup at home against Spartan South Midlands League.

The game will be played on Satuday 14th October at RiverMoor, RG30 6AT, a 3pm kickoff.

This competition features representative sides from across England and our TVPL squad contains several of the two-time Champs Reading YCMA and perennial contenders Marlow United FC. Managed by Karl Curtis and Mark Letts, the squad is as follows;

Michael Rundle, Joe Jarra, Ryan Britnell, Quam Thomas, Liam Bushay, Sudariu Catalin, James Hardie (Marlow United FC)

Mark Froude, Jamie Piercy, Nick Reynolds, Jordan Cox, Kaser Chowdhary, Lorenzo Medford, Dan Donegan (Reading YMCA)

Carl Jenner (Newbury FC)

Frank Dillon (Woodcote Stoke Row)

We wish good luck to the boys this weekend!

Spartan South Midlands League

The Rep side comes from Division Two and features a large number of last years Runners Up Totternhoe and Unite MK who are going well in this year’s competition.

More details can be found at http://full-time.thefa.com/ProcessPublicSelect.do;jsessionid=7F47AA7D2F8F627214FDA0323D928B3C?psSelectedSeason=753916337&psSelectedDivision=799695204&psSelectedCompetition=0&psSelectedLeague=522238936