18 January 2023
Goals galore for the Ascot sides, tighter affairs elsewhere
Rain put pay to a significant number of fixtures in the West London Vets’ League (WLVFL) on 14 January, but the two Ascot sides did still manage to get their respective games played.
The twos set the ball rolling on Friday 13th when they welcomed Claygate Royals’ Hounds to the Racecourse Ground. Martin Kay’s side started brightly and finished like a veritable juggernaut, scoring ten second half goals in their 14-2 triumph (see here for the match report). Phil White, Berkshire’s version of Matt Le Tissier, helped himself to fourwhilst Jez Myhan bagged a brace. Plenty of others chipped in.
The ones then bought in to the goalscoring mantra, bagging eight in their win on Saturday 14th January at Croxley. Croxley is never an easy place to go, and with the hosts sitting third Dave Good’s men knew that the game would be anything but a walk in the park. And, goals though the ones scored, Croxley fought back and never lay down. 8-4 to the Yellamenit ultimately ended.
Tight affairs in the rest of the Prem
Two other games took place in the Prem on Saturday, Bank of England (BoE) travelled to Poly and West London Rams (WLR) welcomed Kew Park Rangers (KPR).
BoE were on the front foot for much of their game at the University of Westminster sports ground so they were disappointed when Poly grabbed their first point of the season via a 2-2 draw. The Bank took the lead thanks to a Dan Cale strike but the hosts managed to pull level soon after. Andy Taylor’s side then hammered ever louder on the Polytechnic door, and it came as no surprise when Dan Ball put them ahead. Poly again fought back though, equalising and ultimately managing to cling on to a valuable point.
West London Rams (WLR) and Kew Park Rangers (KPR) also served up a close affair, WLR eventually sneaking it 4-3. When KPR have been at full strength this season they’ve been competitive; the issue is always whether they can get all their troops out on to the field at the same time. The score on Saturday would suggest KPR had one of their better availability days.
The fact that the game between Sporting Kitz and Chelsea Vets was postponed means that Ascot United are able to sneak above Chelsea and into the top slot. The Yellamen are three points clear, although they’ve also played two games more. Points in the bag better than games in hand? Time will tell.
Poly’s draw sees them move off the bottom, whilst WLR’s win keeps them very much in the fight for Champions League places.
Claygate bounce back
There were also three games in Division One at the weekend and they all went pretty much to form.
Claygate Royals’ Hares bounced back from their league cup exit with a resounding 8-2 win over Jamrock Steppa. Jamrockare never the most predictable of opponents, but Claygate used the 3G surface to ping the ball about and ease to a comfortable win.
Whippet Wanderers kept the gap between first and second place at four points. They travelled to Laleham & Kempton and won by eight goals to nil. Shaun Lydon started the scoring off, before Victor Badu piled in and scored four of the next five. Jamie Grainger-Smith, Mark Dolan and Elts Charles then rounded proceedings off.
Old Actonians were the third victors in this division on Saturday, gaining revenge for their pre-Christmas defeat by Civil Service. They won the re-match 3-0. Actonians certainly adapted better to the conditions, although good finishing plus just a touch of calamitous defending helped them on their way. Civils fought back in the second half and two Rob Hodgson goals kept them in it, but that wasn’t enough to prevent Actonians winning 5-2.
The win keeps Actonians in third, a point behind the Whippets and four ahead of Wandsworth Borough and Civils in fourth and fifth.
The perils of sodden sherbets
With everything being off in Division Two that just left one Saturday game in Division Three to round things off.
Ascot’s second string went goal-bonkers on Friday night but AFC Hampton and Clapham Old Xaverians were having none of that nonsense in their game. 0-0 draw incoming. It was not, however, a game without incident; every vets’ footballer who has ever played will have been in a situation where folks ask who has the kit …. only to then realise that a player not available that weekend had it in his front room. This was afate that befell Clapham Old Xaverians when they got to Hampton’s Sunbury ground on Saturday.
Once that nightmare had been resolved Clapham took control of proceedings. But, they couldn’t score. They looked like it might change when they won a penalty. No such luck, Gordon McCarthy blasted the ball straight at the home keeper who duly kept it out. Clapham continued to dominate but, in the words of Xaverians’ guru, Gordon McCarthy, “the game fizzled out like a bag of sherbet sodden by a sudden downpour”. Goalless it ended.
Hersham Southside didn’t play but they still remain top. They are three points ahead of Ascot United and seven ahead of third place Croxley. Xaverians are fast becoming the division’s draw kings; they’ve now had three of those and sit fifth. Hampton, meanwhile, are now up and running in terms of points, although they are still five behind Claygate 2s and Old Tiffs 2s.
The great British weather may well have a role to play in affecting how many games get played this coming weekend, but in theory there’s a full programme planned.
The game of the day in the Prem looks like it’ll be between two title contenders, West London Rams and Sporting Kitz. Ascot are in action on Friday night; they welcome an improving Bank of England. The bottom two are also playing; Nottsborough welcome Croxley, Poly travel to reigning champions, Chelsea Veterans.
There are just the two games in Division One this weekend. Bottom of the table Jamrock Steppa welcome promotion-chasing Old Actonians whilst second from bottom Old Tiffs host top of the table Claygate. Tough challenges for both hosts there.
Fixtures in Division One might be a bit thin on the ground, but there’s a full house of four games planned in Division Two. Old Lyonians will look to cement their place in the promotion frame when they visit the league leaders, Hillingdon Abbots. Second placed Double H are in action, they hit the road to play MMB. Struggling Old Meadoniansare at home to Lighthouse Molesey Vets whilst Bank of England’s 2nd XI meet Army Crusaders in a middle of the table showdown.
Finally, there’ll be three games in Division Three on Saturday. Top dogs Hersham Southside will be venturing round the M25 to face Croxley. Ascot United 2nds are also on their travels; they face off against Latimer Road Vets. Claygate and AFC Hampton also got toe-to-toe in what promises to be an interesting showdown. Both teams have had tough seasons thus far but they’ll definitely think that three points are up for grabs there.
Go well everyone