17 March 2023
West London Vets’ League Review/Preview
WLR and Whippet Wanders come through in League Cup SFs
Both Ascot United Vets’ sides were in action over the weekend of 10/11 March. However, one side will definitely have been happier than the other with the results that they came away with.
The firsts travelled to Leatherhead to play West London Rams (WLR) in the League Cup semi-final. The game was pretty even steven for an hour, but as the second half drew on the Rams’ touch of class shone through (see here for a fuller match report). Rob Wollaston oozed style in the middle of the park and he was at the centre of much that the Rams did well. The 6-1 scoreline was ultimately a little harsh on Ascot, but no one could deny that the Rams were worthy winners.
The seconds, meanwhile, welcomed Latimer Road Vets to the Racecourse for some Friday football under the lights. Latimer Road gave a good account of themselves. Ascot nonetheless ultimately came through (3-1), Ben Spence bagging a brace for the Yellas (see here for the match report).
The fact that Latimer Road came off second best had consequences for another side in the league. HershamSouthside are now 14 points ahead of Latimer. Given Latimer have four games left that means they can’t catch them. Indeed, only Ascot United can – and even that’s looking decidedly unlikely. Hersham are therefore the first side in the league to be mathematically promoted. Well done to Gene Shafique and his team.
Around the grounds
Elsewhere there were five other games taking place. With Sporting Kitz having been disqualified (for fielding an unregistered player) it was Wandsworth Borough who ended up taking on Whippet Wanderers in what was an all Division One league cup semi-final.
Details of the game are a little sketchy, but what is clear is that the Whippets came through 3-1. Gary Stenton’s side are having a great season; second in Division One and now a cup final to look forward to. Impressive stuff.
There was one game in the Premier Division. Chelsea beat Kew Park Rangers 2-0. The win sees Chelsea stretch their lead at the top to six points. Second placed WLR do have a game in hand, and they play that this coming weekend (see below). The defeat leaves KPR very much in the relegation dog-fight. In truth, the game against Chelsea was something of a free hit for them, they’ll be hoping that they can move on and pick up points elsewhere.
Laleham & Kempton won a nine-goal thriller in Division One, coming out on top against Jamrock Steppa (5-4). The three points sees L & K jump from 7th to 4th in what is a pretty congested middle of the table. Jamrock, meanwhile, look like they are in trouble; they’ve five games left and, being realistic, they probably need to win four of them to stay up. A tough ask.
There were two games in Division Two on 11 March. Army Crusaders continued their decent form of late, defeating promotion-chasing Double H 3-2. Double H took an early lead and Army then went and missed a penalty, but goals from Tony Innes, Ali Beard and Seif Nabil saw them home.
Old Meadonians were the day’s other winners; they beat a luckless MMB 2-1. Indeed, you know it’s not your day when you score all three goals in a game and yet still lose. Dave Sewell bagged at the right end for MMB, then poor old Dave Matthews and John McCue ended up putting the ball in their own net. Allegations of irregular betting patterns in the Far-East on this game are currently being investigated…..
Big games at top and bottom in the Prem
13 games are scheduled to be played on 17/18 March. And,there are quite a few interesting contests out there.
In the top flight WLR will be hoping to cut the gap on Chelsea (who don’t play this weekend) to just three points when they visit Ascot United. That game, as usual, will be a Friday night affair, kick off 19h45.
Elsewhere sides towards the bottom of the prem will be hoping to gain a few points and begin heading north up the table. 9th placed Poly travel to 6th placed Croxley knowing not only that a win would do plenty for their survival hopes but it would also drag Croxley into what’s becoming a congested lower half of the table.
Nottsborough and Bank of England meet in the division’s other game. If Nottsborough win they will potentially leap from 8th to 5th. If the Bank lose they could find themselves right back in it down there. Intriguing stuff.
Old As on the charge?
There’s also plenty of interesting fair on offer in Division One. Claygate Royals’ Hares are top of the table, but they will be looking to get back on the horse after a heavy defeat last time out. They host fellow promotion-chasers Old Actonians. With the second placed Whippets having a week off Old As will be looking to close the gap on them to what would be just the one point.
At the bottom Old Tiffs will be looking to salvage something from what’s been a pretty dismal campaign. They welcome Civil Service whilst Jamrock have a tricky looking trip to Wandsworth Borough to look forward to. The final game in the division sees Laleham and Kempton travel to West Kensington Kings.
Battle royale at the bottom of Div 2
If there’s one team that going to be looking forward to this weekend then it’s Hillingdon Abbots. They are three points clear at the top of Division Two, but don’t seem to have played for what feels like an eternity. Indeed, they’ve still got eight games left – the most of any side in the league.
They start working through that backlog on Saturday when they travel to a much-improved Old Meadonians. Meads have gone from worrying about relegation to promotion contenders. A win here and they may well be up and into the promotion play off spot.
The reason for that is that second placed Double H are playing third placed Old Lyonians. Looks like it’ll be an interesting encounter; both sides are on 19 points. Double H have played a game more but Lyonians’ game in hand is against Hillingdon. Could be a game to keep an eye on.
The battle at the bottom will also continue. MMB travel to the green, green grass of the Bank of England whilst Old Tenisonians play Lighthouse Molesey. With the bottom four all playing each other the table could quite plausibly look very different come Saturday evening.
Hersham Southside eye up the title
Division Three is quiet this week with just the two games on the agenda.
The top two meet at Spelthorne Sports with HershamSouthside hosting Ascot United’s second XI. Southside currently sit seven points clear and a win over their nearest rivals would see them crowned champions.
The final game of the weekend sees AFC Hampton hit the road to visit Clapham Old Xaverians. Clapham have had a decent first season in the league and a win at the weekend will see them move into the play off zone. Hampton may be propping up the table but the game earlier in the campaignbetween these sides ended goalless. Xavs won’t be taking anything for granted.
Go well everyone.