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.
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’.
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.
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!
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.