12 October 2022
The Magic of the Cup
League action in the West London Vets’ League (WLVFL) was put on hold over the weekend 7-8 October as the League Cup rolled into town. Given that there were originally 37 sides in the competition, five ties were necessary in a preliminary round so as to get that number down to a more manageable 32. The first round proper will then swing into action on Saturday 12 November.
Two of the five preliminary round ties involved Ascot United. The ones were drawn at fellow premier league rivals Bank of England whilst the twos made the trek over to visit Croxley Community Vets’ 1st XI – a side three divisions higher in the pyramid.
The ones won and will move on to the next round, but it’s the twos who really deserve the plaudits. Gaffer Martin Kay, himself crocked with an ACL injury, travelled with 12. And that 12 put up one almighty great fight. With just five minutes left the score was 3-3 and it was looking like penalties were going to be the order of the day. Cue cup heartbreak as Croxley managed to sneak home as the clock ran out.
The ones also had their dramas, but they came through 5-4 in Roehampton. Phil White and Garyth Brant scored a brace apiece, with White’s second coming in the dying seconds to see the 1sts into round one and a trip to Kew Park Rangers.
Cup shocks abound
With Sporting Kitz overcoming Lighthouse Molesey without a ball needing to be kicked, that left two other ties to be completed.
League newbees, Clapham Old Xaverians (Div 3), overcame Old Tiffs (Div 1) in one of those two encounters. Tiffs travelled with 12, lost one of their central midfielders ten minutes in and had two others on limp-mode for most of the second half. Such are the challenges that come with Vets’ football.
Xaverians subsequently went 2-0 up and looked good. But, Tiffs, to their credit, kept coming, pulled a goal back and did all they could to try and force a penalty shoot out. Ultimately, it wasn’t meant to be.
There were, however, penalties at AFC Hampton (Div 3) as they welcomed Double H (Div 2). Not many Vets games end goalless, but this one did. No extra-time (too many decrepit bodies around for that to be inflicted on anyone) so a shoot out it was. Hampton came through 5-4.
The stand out game this coming weekend (15 October) looks like it’ll take place in Chiswick when Chelsea Vets welcome Ascot United 1s. Both sides are unbeaten in 2022-23 so far so something will have to give. It’s a 16h kick off on the 3G at King’s House.
Sporting Kitz are currently top of the table on goal differenceand they will look to keep their good early start going when they visit a struggling Nottsborough. West London Rams travel to the green, green grass of the Bank of England whilst Kew Park Rangers entertain Croxley. The final game of the day sees the two sides in the relegation slots, Polytechnic and Spartans, lock horns.
Claygate Royals Hares have now hit the top of Division One, and that’s thanks to a 3-0 win against Civil Service on 8 October. They’ll be looking to build on their played two won two record when they visit Laleham & Kempton.
Old Actonians are second and they host Wandsworth Borough in what looks like it’ll be an intriguing encounter. The Borough have two points from three games and will be looking to start making a bit of progress up the table.
The final game of the weekend in this division sees West Kensington Kings, all conquering in 2021-22, look to get off the mark in terms of wins when they host Old Tiffs. Fingers crossed the latter’s walking wounded are all on the mend in time to take their places in the starting XI.
There are four games scheduled for Division Two on Saturday. The one that catches the eye sees Hillingdon Abbots welcome Army Crusaders.
On their day the Army can be a match for anyone, although they’ve not actually had any of those days yet on account of not having played any games! There are mitigating circumstances (such as a club tour to Canada), but they’ll definitely be looking to get into the points-collecting business pretty quickly.
The Abbots, meanwhile, are played two won two. That leaves them with a nice three point advantage at the top. One of last season’s promoted sides, Old Tens, will fancy chasing that down and they welcome MMB.
Lighthouse Molesey and Double H lock horns at the Hurst Recreation Ground with the fourth and final fixture in this division seeing Old Meadonians travel to Harrow to play Old Lyonians.
Hersham Southside will be looking to stretch ahead of Ascot United’s 2nd XI in Division Three on Saturday. They have a decent chance of doing that, too; Latimer Road Vets haven’t been able to raise a side to travel to Ascot so that game will need to be re-arranged.
Hersham, meanwhile, host Croxley’s 2nd XI. Croxley are won one and lost one so will be no push overs, but Hershamnonetheless start as clear favourites.
Elsewhere, AFC Hampton will be looking to build on their cup success when they travel to Claygate Royals Hounds. The Hounds have had a tough start to the campaign. They’ve played both Hersham and Ascot already, but they’ll be hoping that this weekend offers a chance to get some points on the board.
The final game sees Clapham Old Xaverians, also fresh off the back of a good cup win, entertain Old Tiffs’ second string. Both currently sit on three points and win for either will take them level with Ascot and on the cusp of one of the promotion places.
Go well one and all.