Here we are. Division Three. Always a big title race. And so it proved…
Before we go on, we’d like to offer an analogy; You tell your mates that you can go out on a night out, then your missus says you can’t go, but you go anyway. Does that mean you were right in the first place, or that you got it wrong?
We said Henley would win the League in September. Then we retracted it (er, must have mis-typed!). Then they won it. So, we TOLD YOU SO!!!!
Our D3 winners this term were Henley Town after an incredible title race that went to the wire. With 4 straight wins to end the term, including victories over rivals Woodley A and Taplow A, our Kites flew high, led by a superb midfield pairing that dominated the big games. Indeed, 8 wins in the last 9 cemented Henley’s title as they played catch up to Woodley A, who led for a long spell, only to finish runners-up.
It was the Kites’ defence that tipped the balance this term, conceding just 23 in their 18 games. Indeed only Nick Holzer made the Golden Boot Top 12, with 10 in 15, showing how the goals were shared, but the D made the D.
At this point we have to concede D3 wasn’t appropriate this term due to issues with Cintra Park Rovers; they failed to complete their season, withdrawing from the last 4 games of their term. This, by default, handed 3 of the top 4 ‘walkovers’; something we have to mandate as we are governed by the Berks & Bucks rulebook (ultimately the FA).
However, not to shine away from our League Champions, Henley lost the least games in the Division and pressed Woodley until the final day. It actually took 5 games before The Kites secured a win and after a dodgy campaign start, they found their feet, highlights including November’s 5-1 over Twyford and that decisive 3-1 home win over Woodley A. Well done Champs, showed true mettle after a poor start.
Woodley A end second after a much-improved campaign. Having led for long spells, Woodley ended up losing the big games from January onwards; Berks County, Pangbourne and Henley all taking wins. Yet, last gasp winners vs Maidenhead Town A (twice) and big wins before Xmas over Taplow & Berks Ressies earned promotion for Wooders. We called it mid-season; Bulmershe Crowds were NOT disappointed!!!
Twyford ended 3rd and after their D4 title last term, perhaps shows the true level of our Ruskies. A Reading Cup win over Chalvey Sports A means a Cup win/promotion double still ensures a successful season for T&R, despite the last game being PP.
A successful TVPL debut for Hambleden sees them end 4th and with success over established TVPL clubs – including a first game 6-0 highlight, an October 6-0 away win, along with a great 4-1 sign-off to the season – means our delectable Village side could mean bid’ness next term. Please do make your changing rooms walls a little thicker though as one certain ref heard us once…!
Whatever happened to Berks County Ressies? From a commanding Xmas perch, they ended 5th, a rancid run of form similar to the demise of Ant (from Ant & Dec). While we have no questions over their driving, we do worry about what they ate for Xmas dinner – 8 league wins before God’s Birthday, just 2 wins afterwards. We’ve seen some self-sulking since, but know there’s too much talent there to pass over…we feel a big cuddle over the summer is needed before we see our County back next term; Carl Elcombe ended Golden Boot as well with 13 in 10.
Much-fancied Taplow saw the wheels fall off a little after a 9-1 League Cup mauling at Wargave…just 4 points from their last 6 league games saw their promotion challenge fall away like Gemma Collins on ice. Some memorable wins – a 4-0 away battering of Ruskies and a home demolition of MTFC A – were mixed with some below par ties. Next term? Need consistency and Mr Hill to keep rolling defenders to bag…
And if teams weren’t going for promotion, they were fighting the drop. With the demise of Cintra, Goring were left for relegation from March, but both Pangbourne & MTFC battled to avoid that 3rd bottom spot. An incredible run from Pangbourne – 15pts from the last 18 including 4 incredible wins – shows true mettle. Yet it wasn’t enough to overhaul Town, who secured safety with their best performance of the term, a 6-2 over Taplow. With results like these, we wonder how both will fare next term if they add consistency and some defending…?
So we kind of got D3 right, but were shackled somewhat by Cintra’s demise. Still, we applaud our Champs Henley!
Team of the Season
We have to say the Champs as whoever won this wide open title race deserved it! Debutants Hambleden run them a close second, a great opening term in the league.
Woodley A. Not fancied in the summer, a similar record to the Champs means they were just pipped, ultimately in the big games.
Tough but we fancied Taplow A this term and they tailed off after Xmas. Berks County also disappointed from Xmas. But, we have to give this to Cintra Park who didn’t complete a full season.
Fair Play to Fair Play
Having seen several teams first hand this term, Hambleden approached each game in great spirits and we believe they have an excellent disciplinary record with 0 reds. Hats off.
A massive 8-2 win, with 6 first half goals for Berks County Ressies over MTFC A in November showed the strength of BC, but a 5-1 Henley win over Twyford Ruskies in November showed the title intent.
But, to win it, what’s better than a 90th minute winner! Woodley A had a couple vs MTFC, but for sheer drama, a 90th minute Andrew Hodgkins winner gave Berks County a 4-3 win over an in-form Pangbourne…the hosts were 3-1 up on 82mins, yet Pang came back to tie it 3-3 with 2 late goals, before BC notched the winner! Wow.
‘What You Up To’ of the Year
Easy. Cintra. Although, imagine Pangbourne ate their Weetabix EVERY week?
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)
Another division with a couple of good accounts, but too many non-believers here…
MTFC A – their own team account offering details of (plenty of) losses and wins. Ch-dis.
Woodley A – good club feed but need their teams to have their own accounts. SORT IT.
Goring Ressies – another cracking club account, this summer with big news, so get on their case. It’s not stalking if it’s Twitter. That’s right, right?
So there. Another superb season “reviewed”. We appreciate we miss loads of detail and in some cases, just make stuff up. But if you feel aggrieved, put your phone down, pop your shoes on, open the door, go outside, take a walk, find some small twigs, get some vine, take it all to a small stream, build a bridge and GET OVER IT.
Or, just follow @thamesvalleyPL on Twitter and give us some love. Our minions thrive on it.