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