TVPL Division Two 18/19 – Season Review

Division Two. Aaah. Division Two. The division that trips us up every year, our predictions being barely better than the Game of Thrones ending (for those that don’t know, SPOILER alert…the Dragon did it, in the hallway, with the lead piping). You know the drill now; we check our pre-season tips vs our mid-season thoughts, before agreeing we know nothing about football.

We’ll begin our non-sensical ramblings with a few snippets from said articles;

“Mortimer Reserves are the side to watch for us… we think the Villagers will start strong”

Clever eh? Pat on our muscular backs…

But then we said this in January; “Division 2 is over. Welcome Mortimer Village Ressies to the winners parade as their strikeforce is blowing teams away”.

Our winners in D2 this term were 2017/18 D3 Champs Wargrave! Now while we did call a “consistent term” for our hot-dog munching Gravers, a run of 12 wins in 13 games since November (just wow) with 59 goals scored is incredible. I mean, incredible. A couple of games weren’t contests – a 13-0 in there, along with a 9-1 – but most were simply astonishing displays vs good D2 teams…8-2 vs Goring, Marlow and latterly Mortimer, the game that swung the balance for the league.

With Sam Wild’s 28 goals in 15 games -earning him the Golden Boot this term – along with Stuart Moss’ goal a game from 16, The Sausagers had the top two hitmen in the Division, along with the most overall firepower – 15 goals more than 2nd place Mortimer!

To cap off a superb season, their run to the Intermediate League Cup double saw them fire 28 in 4 games and beat a strong D1 side, Westwood Reserves, in the final.

Those dogs were hot; what a season, well done gentlemen! And yes, we do recall your message to us, reminding us of our ‘mid-term prediction’. So here’s our formal apology. Borry.

The long-time leaders and pace-setters Mortimer Reserves will feel they let the trophy slip. After a hot start, it was ultimately the two losses vs Wargrave that did for them, along with drawn games; Wargrave lost double the games this term, but only drew once! Mortimer struggled to break down sides after Xmas, and they would have seen ties vs Phoenix and Goring as dropped points.

Still, an incredible season with promotion to D1 meaning they join Cookham and Westwood as having sides in the Top two TVPL tiers, testament to, er, triffic times? With 3 players in the top 10 scorers, led by Jordan Sawyer (14 in 10, 3rd spot), Mortimer blew teams away early doors, just lost that huff and puff from Feb. well done chaps, great season!

Woodcote Stoke Row Ressies also started superbly but ran out of steam. Unbeaten in their first 7, it was the loss to Mortimer in November that started a poor spell of form, 8 without a win and losses to sides around them. The title slipped there, but a 7-0 March win vs Marlow gave them impetus and they finished well to see off the late challenge from Maidenhead Town Reserves to end 3rd and give them a shout for promotion.

A tremendous opening day for MTFC Reserves – 1-0 down at HT before a 4-1 win over Goring – quickly soured with a horrific run that saw Town pick up just 2 points from their opening 7 games, as well as a broken leg and broken nose (hope ya man gets playing again soon). Yet it was their cup form that gave hope; progression in the Maidenhead Norfolkian Cup along with the County competition. Bottom at Xmas. Then, a remarkable league run, kick-started by an excellent 5-1 vs Richings Park in January, saw 7 wins from 8 to move up the table. Two losses to Champs Wargrave stunted any top 3 hopes, but it was the Junior County Cup win that made this season special, a rare trophy for any TVPL team and a first for Maidenhead Town. Top scorer Darryl Wearn set up the win and ended 4th in the Golden Boot race, the same spot Town ended in D2. Well done fellas, County Cup wins are huge.

We did fancy Richings Park but they never quite got going this term; some splashes of brilliance in the league, along with their continued excellence in the Slough Town Cup – now finalists for 3 years on the spin, but missing out this time around – shows they are a force.

Hurst Ressies too have moments of wonder, but seem to lack consistency for a promotion challenge. Good strike-force though, know their onions. Middle Earth for both.

Phoenix joined the TVPL this term and despite a tough season, a great April run of just 1 loss in 8, including a fantastic win at Mortimer, saw them safe, ending 7th.

Another side to hit form at the death was Harchester Hawks. Staring relegation in the face, from the 2nd March they amassed 14 points from their last 8 games to move away from danger into Middle Earth. Close though, won’t want that again…

It was a close fight to avoid the drop, but it was Goring & Marlow United Ressies ending the term at the foot, with a disasterous run from AFC Corinthians dragged them down into 3rd bottom. Seasons to forget, but there’s always next term chaps…

So there we go. Nicely wrapped up like a Donald Trump lie. Division Two everyone. Well done you. Now, some soppy awards. And please remember, this is all for fun (fun for us, not those we take the mickey from…). Please don’t pinch us when you see us though, we’re sensitive.

Team of the Season

Has to be those hot-dog munching, sausage- scoffing, banger-b….you get the idea. It’s Wargrave. Back to back titles and a League Cup double with a +52 goal difference? Mustard (see what we’ve done there?).

Overachievers

Tricky this as most sides ended where they felt they would do. In the league, we have to say Wargrave again; to achieve the title after being promoted is a superb effort. But a shout here to Maidenhead Town Ressies, whose County Cup win is a superb reflection on the TVPL and a brilliant effort, clap clap, hats off both.

Underachievers

Very tricky but following a 4th place last term, to have such a dismal end sees AFC Corinthians pick this one up. Marlow will feel they didn’t fare as well as they could, but a young side will only learn. AFC, sorry chaps…its yours this term.

Fair Play to Fair Play

While they may have traded a few more £10 for survival, big kudos to Goring whose disciplinary record was strong. They also offered tea and biscuits to oppo, so, for the love of jammy dodgers, the crown is yours.

Best Game

Phoenix’s opening day win over the Champs looks good now, and the Wargrave 3-2 away win at Mortimer in Feb looks like it swayed the title race.

In January, Hurst Ressies and Marlow shared 8 with a late Noah Hodge grabbing a Hurst point; normally this kind of game would win this award!

But on 10th November, an absolute belter takes the crown. Already a contender for game of year, Woodcote led bottom side Goring 5-4 at home, yet a 90th min strike from Daniel Houseman, levelled at 5-5 and secured a great point vs an in-form Cote crew. Wow. Well done chaps, great advert for TVPL here!

‘What You Up To’ of the Year

This term has seen us look at those clubs whose late push has us asking, what you been up to? So Harchester and Phoenix, how come the March-push? Get those skates on earlier chaps as you both showed promotion form, just two late! Share this one please, and get going earlier next term.

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)

Both Soulja Boy and Sean Paul made songs, inviting their impressionable (and clearly tone deaf) fans to ‘follow them on Twitter’. We won’t take to YouTube to ask, but we would advise you hunt these feeds down and keep posted. They’re peng.

Wargrave – in a marvellous season for the Gravers, they are very funny online. So much so, we’d like to award them the TVPL Twitter Feed 18/19 Trophy*. The sausage gorging cracks us up…nice work guys!

Harchy Hawks – some good stuff from these chaps, always messaging win, lose or draw. Good work boys.

Mortimer Ressies – always equal coverage of First & Ressie sides and with @withy10 adding good input, good one to follow. Also offers more about local area work that most, nicely done chaps.

(and yes, we know we haven’t mentioned some sides here, most do handsome work, well done).

After all this daft TVPL commentary, felt it a good time to thank you all. The players, coaches, managers, officials, fans, whoever you are…plenty of people volunteer a huge amount of time (sometimes money!) and effort to enjoy local football. YOU guys are what makes this league and YOU guys are the ones we look up to. So thanks.

No, we’re not crying. We got some frankfurter juice in our eye, celebrating Wargrave’s season.

So that’s Division Two. Good work all. On to next term. And remember, this is all unofficial. *No awards will actually be handed out so maybe print this off and stick it on your wall.

Stay tuned @thamesvalleypl for more reviews. Bye.

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 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