27 April 2023
West London Vets’ League Review/Preview
Busy time for Ascot United’s Vets’ 1st XI
The games are coming thick and fast for sides in the West London Vets’ League (WLVL). Midweek matches are being pencilled into diaries and double-headers are much to the fore. The drive to complete the season on time really is on.
Given that, the two Ascot sides have managed to play four (and maybe five, depending on whether you count the walkover against Kew Park Rangers, KPR) games between them over the last seven days.
The ones started their race for the finish line off with a mid-week clash at Kitz on 19 April. Ascot had come out on top when the two sides met at the Racecourse Ground earlier in the season, but the game was a close one and so it was once again when the sides met for the return fixture in Tolworth.
Ascot were ahead at the break but ultimately Kitz came on strong in the second half and ran out 4-2 winners. Dave Good’s side did nonetheless manage to pick up nine points over the next three days; firstly, three points came their way from a never-to-be-played KPR game and then they played Poly in a double-header.
Whilst the hosts had a mathematical chance of survival at the start it soon became clear that Saturday was going to be the day that they were to be relegated. Ascot won the first game 7-0 and the second 5-2. Ascot United’s ones now find themselves in third place, five points ahead of Sporting Kitz. Kitz, however, do have two games in hand.
Poly drop down, Notts still have hope
Elsewhere, West London Rams (WLR) have also been busy playing catch up. They beat Croxley 4-0 on Saturday 22 Apriland won 8-4 at KPR on Tuesday 25 April. With Chelsea bombasting their way to an 8-1 triumph against KPR last Saturday that now means that WLR are three points ahead of Chelsea but the Rams have played a game more.
WLR’s final game is taking place this weekend. They welcome Ascot United to their Leatherhead home. Chelsea have what looks like a winnable game at home Croxley and then a much more tricky trip to Kitz to look forward to. It really is all going down to the wire there.
At the bottom, Poly are down but Nottsborough remain in with a chance of saving themselves. Indeed, Poly are going to play a significant role in dictating quite how the relegation dogfight plays out. Notts have one game left and they need to win it. That it is against Poly will certainly help. Notts then need to hope that KPR lose against both Sporting Kitz (likely) and Poly (much less likely). The smart money is nonetheless on Notts going and KPR ending up in the relegation play-off spot.
Civils travel well (again) in Div 1
Given that there are still quite a few games that need playing, it was a relatively quiet week in Division One.
Civil Service were arguably the big movers points-wise, although their two wins haven’t actually seen them shift from fourth. A 2-0 walkover win against a now relegated Tiffs provided three points, and three more came from an impressive 5-1 win at West Kensington Kings (WKK).
Civils had much the better of the first half, but it took forty minutes for them to break the deadlock. Whether VAR would have allowed the goal is a moot point, but given VAR’s not yet part of the staple fair of the WLVL we’ll never know.
The second half was a more straightforward affair for the visitors and by full-time two goals from Luis Rodriquez plus efforts from Jimmy Benn, Phil Turner and Adam Jones saw Civils run out 5-1 winners. Three away wins on the bounce now for them; not bad given they’d not won a point on the road before then.
Elsewhere, Jamrock and Laleham & Kempton played out what sounds like it was an entertaining 3-3 draw. The point nonetheless does little for Jamrock’s survival hopes. They are second from bottom and three points behind Wandsworth (who have two games in hand). Jamrock will need to beat Wandsworth and then Old Meadonians and simply hoperesults go for them elsewhere.
Abbots storm to Div 2 title
Division Two is looking all a bit dis-jointed. Old Lyonianshave played all 16 of their games and are now on the metaphorical beach whilst the likes of Old Tens and Army Crusaders still have a number of games left.
Champions-elect Hillingdon Abbots are one side that’ve made good progress in working through their fixture backlog. They drew 2-2 with Meadonians in midweek. Dewayne Carrington-Jones struck twice for the Abbots although the goal of the game came from Meadonians, a top-bins stunner that no one was ever saving.
The Abbots also got six points from a double-header against a relegation-threatened Molesey Lighthouse. Hillingdon won the first game 6-1. Peter Hurwood grabbed a hat-trick, Carrington-Jones was again on the scoresheet as were Darren Chute and Erkan Duran.
The second game was much closer and the Abbots only got their noses in front in the second half. Satz Mistry and AchrafSakri were the men on target. That win seals the Abbots the title. Well done to everyone involved there.
The question of who will be joining Hillingdon in Division One next season remains very much open. Double H have been long-time favourites there, but Army Crusaders have made a late surge up the table and are very much in with a shout of pipping them at the post.
The Crusaders emphatically defeated Lyonians at the weekend. The Army’s Geordie skipper, Jimmy Blair, bagged a first half hat-trick from midfield. Throw in a fourth from Steve Campbell and the Crusaders were on cruise control mode by half-time. Lyons nonetheless fought back, but further goals from Romeo Slater and another for the irrepressible Blair saw things end 6-2.
The Crusaders now know that if they beat bottom of the table MMB on Saturday and take six points from their double-header against third bottom Old Tenisonians then they’ll be up no matter what happens elsewhere.
Tens, meanwhile, are struggling. They had a difficult day at Bank of England on Saturday and things aren’t going to get any easier when Hillingdon roll into town at the weekend. Meadonians will have been pleased with their 2-1 win against a now relegated MMB and they remain one of four teams that could theoretically finish third. Their visit to second placed Double H at the weekend will be one to keep an eye on.
Play off place still up for grabs in Div 3
Two games took place in Division Three at the weekend. First up, Ascot United’s second string travelled to Spelthorne Sports to take on Hersham Southside. A top versus second encounter.
Hersham had won every one of their six home games before Saturday and given that Ascot were a bit under strength the pools panel would almost certainly have gone for a home win. The visitors nonetheless gave a good account of themselves, twice going ahead only to ultimately be reined back in. The game ended 2-2 and a full match report is available here.
Elsewhere, Clapham’s hopes of securing a third placed play off slot went up in smoke when they lost 1-0 at Claygate Royals Hounds. Clapham certainly had their chances, but Chris Price and his side will be quietly chuffed with the victory and indeed the three points that move them up to sixth.
There are now only three games left in Division Three. Hersham will finish their campaign at Claygate, whilst Ascot travel to Latimer Road and Croxley host Old Tiffs. Both Latimer Road and Croxley are in the hunt for a play off place. They are currently on 19 points apiece, so Latimer Road’s much stronger goal difference could come into play. Then again, Old Tiffs are struggling a bit so anything is possible.
Go well everyone.