19 April 2023
West London Vets’ League Review/Preview
Only one of the two Ascot Vets’ sides was in action on Saturday 15 April. The side in question was the twos. Martin Kay’s side hit the road to take on AFC Hampton. The Yellasfelt that they did more than enough to win the game, but ultimately they had to settle for a 1-1 draw.
Whilst there was definitely a feeling of ‘what might have been’ over in Sunbury, the bigger picture was much more positive. Latimer Road’s 3-1 win against Croxley in the division’s other game ensured that Ascot’s second string are now mathematically assured of Division Two football in 2023-24.
The race for the Division Three promotion play-off place, however, remains far from settled. Three sides are very much in the hunt for that. Latimer Road, Croxley and Clapham Old Xaverians all have one game left and only one point separates the three. None of them appear to be playing this week, so it’ll all come down to what happens in the games that one assumes will be taking place the week after. Intriguing stuff.
Chelsea and WLR continue to march on
In the Prem there’s still very little to choose between Chelsea Vets and West London Rams (WLR). Both played last weekand both won. Chelsea ran out 8-4 winners at Croxley, WLR won 5-2 at Nottsborough. That leaves both with three games to play and Chelsea three goals better off. The race for the titlestill has a way to go yet.
Nottsborough’s defeat leaves them perilously close to being relegated. They are now five points behind Kew Park Rangers (KPR) and they only have two games left. Croxley, meanwhile, slip to 6th. That puts them just above the relegation play off place. KPR occupy that, and although they have games in hand their 7-1 defeat against Bank of England last week doesn’t bode well.
Bank of England are not out of relegation trouble themselves, but three wins on the bounce has done their survival chances no harm at all. Farouk Ampou El Ela, the WLVFL’s version of Mo Salah, continued his impressive form with a hat-trick at the weekend, although James O’Brien matched that by also notching three. Ben Pierre got the seventh.
The one side that probably are resigned to their fate are Polytechnic. They lost 5-0 at Sporting Kitz. That sees Kitz move into third, one point ahead of Ascot United. Those two sides (Kitz and Ascot) meet at Tolworth on Wednesday evening ( late result Kitz 4 Ascot 2 )
Claygate Royals are promoted from Div 1
The big news in Division One has been very much on the cards for a while, but it was finally confirmed on Saturday. Claygate Royals’ Hares have been promoted.
The Hares won 2-0 at Wandsworth and that sees them 10 points ahead of third placed Whippet Wanderers (who have three games left). The Whippets themselves had a decent day, hammering Old Tiffs. That one ended 11-0.
The Whippets’ bombastic win keeps them a couple of points off second. Actonians currently occupy that berth. They won 2-0 at West Kensington Kings on Saturday.
Elsewhere, Civil Service managed to break a rather unwelcome duck. Up until Saturday, of only Civils and Poly (in the Prem) were yet to pick up a point on the road. Civils changed that with a 4-3 at Laleham & Kempton.
A buccaneering performance over the first hour of the game saw the visitors cruise into a 4-0 lead, Luis Rodriquez and man of the match Jimmy Bean both bagging braces. An attack of the collywobbles then set in, and by the end Civils were hanging on as Laleham pegged it back to 4-3. The win sees Civil Service edge clear of the other relegation-threatened sides, although Laleham and Kempton remain very much stuck in the battle to avoid landing in the relegation play off.
Double H go top of Div 2
Hillingdon Abbots have led the way in Division Two more or less all season and indeed they may well end up getting promoted as champions. But, for now, they are in second place. Why? As they lost a top-of-the-table humdinger with Double H, 2-1.
The Abbots were the better side in the first half, but the game was nonetheless goalless at the break. Double H then came on much stronger in the second half and went two up. Hillingdon decided to unwrap the kitchen sink and hurl it at their opponents, and that did see them pull a goal back. Still, Double H remained dangerous on the counter and both sides had chances to win it. The score nonetheless remained 2-1.
That puts Double H top, although only on goal difference. The Abbots also have the small matter of four games in hand.
Elsewhere, Old Tens did their survival chances a world of good by claiming a win against Lyonians and the Army Crusaders came out 1-0 in what sounds like it was a war of attrition against MMB. Poor old MMB won’t be wanting to see the positively calamitous Crusaders’ goal again either; a defensive disaster of epic proportions. All I’ll say is that there is indeed video evidence…..
There are games galore taking place this week. Indeed, we are in the realms of midweek matches finding their way onto the fixture list.
Chelsea and WLR will look continue their title shoot out on Saturday; Chelsea travel (one presumes not far as both sides use the 3G at King’s House) to KPR whilst WLR are off to Croxley. Ascot United are fitting in three games this week; they travel to Sporting Kitz on Wednesday night and then have a double-header against Poly at the weekend. If Ascot win both of the games at Poly, then their hosts will be mathematically down.
The final game of the weekend in the Prem sees Kitz host Bank of England.
Royals to be champions?
Claygate Royals Hares host cup finalists Whippet Wanderers in what looks like it’ll be an interesting encounter in Division One. If Claygate win then they’ll be crowned champions.
Actonians will be hoping Claygate do precisely that. Actonians aren’t playing, but a Whippets’ defeat would offer them a clear advantage in the battle for second place.
Elsewhere, Wandsworth will be keen to get three points against bottom of the table Old Tiffs. The Borough arecurrently in the relegation play-off spot, but a couple of wins and that will soon see them shoot into mid-table.
Jamrock are between Wandsworth and Tiffs and their need for points is now getting urgent. They host Laleham and Kempton. A win for Jamrock, and Laleham will be right back in the relegation mash up.
The final game of the day in this division sees Civils looking to develop their newly discovered away prowess. They are off to West Kensington Kings in a battle between the sides who are currently 4th and 5th.
Abbots to bounce back?
With just the one game in Division Three this week – Hersham host Ascot’s second string in a more or less meaningless rubber – attention will be on what’s happening in Division Two.
Double H are not playing so Hillingdon have a chance to bounce back to the top of the table. They have a double-header on the radar against Lighthouse Molesey Vets. Lighthouse also have plenty to play for; they are currently second bottom and after Saturday they will have just one game left. Indeed, lose both games against the Abbots and they could be mathematically down by 17h.
MMB may well be in the same position as Lighthouse by Saturday evening. They need to win against Meadoniansotherwise they will indeed be relegated.
Elsewhere, Bank of England’s second-string host Old Tens. The outcome of this one is likely to have a significant impact on who finishes third bottom. Tens have games in hand, but if BoE win they’ll be four points ahead.
The final game of the weekend involves third placed Lyonianstravelling to fourth placed Army Crusaders. Crusaders will know that a win will see them leapfrog Lyonians into third, and that with three games in hand.
So, plenty to play for all round. Go well everyone.