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 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 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…

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