The 2014/15 FA Vase competition is at it’s quarter final replay stage with Highworth Town still in the hat representing the Uhlsport Hellenic League after Ascot United were knocked out by AFC St Austell.
It is the national tournament for sides at step 5 and below but is usually dominated by sides from the North of England with nine of the past 14 winners hailing from north of Watford.
Locally, well sort of, Didcot Town (2005) and Winchester City (2005) have won the tournament, but no side from Berkshire has ever won the tournament – let alone reached the final.
Didcot are the only side from the Hellenic League to ever win the tournament which started in 1974, they are also the only Hellenic side to reach the final.
Last year, Sholing (formerly VTFC) beat West Auckland Town at Wembley Stadium – full list of finals on Wikipedia here.
But how have our local sides performed down the years?
Ascot United (Quarter-finals twice)
The Yellamen have only competed in the FA Vase since 2010 but have an enviable record having reached the quarter finals on two occasions in 2013 – when they lost 4-1 in a replay to Shildon – and 2015 when they were beaten 3-2 by AFC St. Austell.
Binfield (Fourth round)
Moles have a similarly short history in the Vase to Ascot having first entered in 2008.
Their best run was in 2011/12 when they made the fourth round, only to suffer a 7-1 defeat at now Evo-Stik Northern League side Tividale.
Moles have twice made the third round proper but were beaten in the second qualifying round 4-0 this season by Windsor FC.
Bracknell Town (Fifth round)
The Larges Lane side have the longest history in the competition of the local clubs having entered the first ever FA Vase tournament back in 1974 where they made the third round – a run ended by a 2-0 defeat at home to Marlow.
Bracknell’s best run in the tournament was back during the 1982/83 season when they won through seven games including replays to reach the fifth round, only to be unceremoniously beaten 6-0 at Great Yarmouth Town.
One thing is clear for clubs in the Vase, long distance away ties tend to end in relatively heavy defeats!
Between 2002 and 2010 Robins were entered into the FA Trophy due to their step four status – a tournament that provided no joy whatsoever but a memorable away trip to Hucknall Town near Nottingham.
Reading Town (Fourth round twice)
Town first entered the tournament in 1996 and reached the fourth round where they were stopped in their tracks by Banstead Athletic having beaten the brilliantly named First Tower United in the previous round.
The Scours Lane side also made the fourth round in 2011/12 but were beaten by Larkhall Athletic at home.
Wokingham & Emmbrook (Second round three times)
Up until the end of the 1997/98 season, Wokingham competed as Wokingham Town in the FA Trophy and played their first Vase game the following season.
As Town, they played in the Vase four six seasons, making the second round on no less than three occassions, though their first appearance in 1998/99 saw them go straight in at round two.
As Wokingham & Emmbrook, the Satsumas did not enter until 2010 and reached the first round in 2012/13 when they were beaten 1-0 by Marlow.
Woodley Town (Second qualifying round)
Woodley competed in the FA Vase for the first time ever this season. They beat Badshot Lea 3-0 in the first qualifying round but were beaten 2-0 at home by Knaphill in the second.
Data taken from fchd.info