Ascot United’s 2nd string go into the 2022-23 campaign in quietly confident mood
2021-22 was the Vets’ 2nd XI’s debut season in Division Three of the West London Vets’ League (WLVL). Fourth position represented a perfectly respectable finish. Will 2022-23 offer the chance to push for one of the two promotion spots? Very possibly.
Dodging the injuries, keeping availability strong
Given that Ascot United have around 50 players on their books, gaffer Martin Kay has plenty of reason to think that his starting XI will be (possibly considerably) stronger than it was in 2021-22.
“Through the summer Ascot United Vets have expanded the playing squad and a number of those players will definitely gostraight into the 1st XI. That can only help the twos moving forward” mused Kay earlier this week to a choc-a-bloc press conference before the world’s media. “Furthermore, there seems to be a misconception that Erling Haaland has signed for Manchester City. It’s all nonsense. He’ll be leading the line for our 2s. We’ve cleverly registered him under the name ‘Jez Myhan’, but, take it from me, it’s simply Erling keeping a low profile”.
The acquisition of Haaland to one side, the twos will also be looking forward to Abbas Hussain making a long overdue return in the new year and the new faces bedding in quickly. The experienced trio of Jad Sidhu, Dave Porter and Stu Flurry will also no doubt be on hand to keep the ship steady.
As ever, the twin issues of availability and injury-avoidance will be key to the twos doing well. Injuries are an occupational hazard, and Martin Kay will be hoping his players stay lucky in that department. Availability rarely tends to be an issue for the Friday night home games, it’s the Saturday treks to the likes of Croxley (29 October), Hampton (17 December) and Clapham (18 February) that could prove crucial.
Keep an eye on Hersham Southside
In terms of the rest of the division, well, there are some familiar names around but also one or two unknown quantities.
Hersham Southside are definitely one of those, and they are the 2s’ first opponents on 10 September. In 2021-22 HershamSports and Social were in Division 1 of the WLVFL before dropping out of the league in December. The rump of that Hersham side has joined together with Southside, a Sunday Vets XI now looking to play Saturday football. The quiet money is on Hersham Southside to be one of the better sides about.
Clapham Old Xaverians are a long standing club who are entering a vets’ side into the league for the first time. What sort of challenge will they pose? Who knows. Latimer Road Vets are the only side coming down from Division Two; they won one game last year so, well, they will certainly be looking to do better than that in 2022-23. Furthermore, all three of the sides who finished above Ascot United last season have been promoted; if the Yellamen can get their own house in order there’s plenty of reason to be confident moving forward.
“I’ve begun taking inspiration from Marcelo Bielsa” commented Kay at the end of the aforementioned pressconference. “Before the end of September we’re going to have Ascot United branded buckets in the club shop and the players will all be primed to run 12km a game”. Fingers crossed that the local emergency services are aware of the standards Kay is setting.