Most teams in the Uhlsport Hellenic Football League Division 1 East are halfway through their league campaigns already in 2017/18 so it’s time we had a look at how things are going so far.
We’ve spoken to the managers of AFC Aldermaston, Holyport, Sandhurst Town, Virginia Water and Wokingham & Emmbrook to see where they feel their sides are and what they are looking to achieve in the second half of the season.
The reviews are in alphabetical order, so we start with:
‘We’ve not hit the standards consistently that we have expected’
League record: Played 10, Won 4, Drawn 1, Lost 5.
Current position: 10/14
Their season so far: It’s not quite happened yet for Kieran Jennings side after a terrific return to step 6 in 2016/17. The Atom Men lost their opening two games of the season but are just starting to put a run together with maximum points from their last two. The home record in the league is good with three wins and a draw from six games but only two of the West Berks sides last 10 games in all competitions have been at home. Currently missing captain Richard Jones after a recurrence of a knee injury.
Managers view: “It’s been a disappointing season so far as we’ve not hit the standards consistently that we have expected. At times we’ve been excellent but made basic errors that have cost us too many points. We’ve struggled with consistency of selection as we’ve suffered a lot of injuries but we feel we’re beginning to turn a corner and the dressing room is starting to get a good buzz in it once again so we hope to finish 2017 with at least seven points from the three remaining games and reassess from there. Wouldn’t mind a couple of new players for Christmas too as we’ve just lost Joe Cummuskey which is a disappointment as not only is he a very good player but a top lad.” – Kieran Jennings, first team manager
Cup competitions to play for: Hellenic League Supplementary Cup, Maidenhead & Norfolkian Senior Cup
Follow all the AFC Aldermaston news on FiB here.
‘Growing in confidence’
League record: Played 14, Won 5, Drawn 3, Lost 6.
Current position: 5/14
Their season so far: Flying high and picked up an impressive point against league leaders Bicester in the most recent fixture. Will be wary of having played at least two more games than most sides and have the lowest points per game ratio of any side in the top half BUT their home record is good and have scored the most goals (32) of any side outside the top four and have only lost one of their last five league games.
Managers view: We started the season with lots of new, young and hungry players who wanted to make the step up to Step 6 football. After a slow start we are starting to get a good momentum going and all the lads are fighting hard to get more points on the board. They are also fighting for their positions as we have a strong squad of 18 players. Over the Christmas period we’re looking to surpass last season points total and get another nine points on the board. We are slightly disappointed that we are not a few points better off as we have been undone by a few last minutes goals, this just confirms that the group is growing in confidence such is their disappointment.” – Matt Rolfe – Assistant Manager
Cup competitions to play for: Hellenic League Supplementary Cup
Follow all the Holyport news on FiB here.
‘Challenging for the top four’
League record: Played 10, Won 4, Drawn 3, Lost 3.
Current position: 9/14
Their season so far: The early season signing of Charlie Oakley from Woodley United has certainly given the Fizzers goals – 14 to be precise, especially given the longer term injury to Kylo Atkinson but we are expecting them to put a run together. Have conceded the fewest goals of any side in the bottom half of the table and with a couple of games in hand after their FA Vase exertions you would expect them to climb the table
Managers view: “So far the season has started better than this time last year, but still some improvements needed to get us challenging for a top four place.” – Luke Turkington – first team manager
Cup competitions to play for: Hellenic League Supplementary Cup, Aldershot Senior Cup
Follow all the Sandhurst Town news on FiB here.
‘Long may it continue’
League record: Played 13, Won 8, Drawn 4, Lost 1. Second highest goalscorers (38) in the Division after leaders Bicester Town.
Current position: 3/14
Their season so far: Stunning. Coming up from step 7 they raced out the blocks with four wins on the trot and have certainly exceeded our expectations, they currently hold a 100% home record. Should be in the running for promotion come the end of the season challenging Bicester and reigning champions Penn & Tylers Green but much will depend on keeping top scorers Adam McNamara (16) and Josh Guichard (11) fit.
Managers view: “We are delighted with the start to our debut season in Division 1 East. To reach the Christmas break in a strong top three and back to back promotions becoming a possibility, that is what the squad is capable of and deserve. We are also through to the last 16 of both the Challenge Cup and Floodlit Cup. A big thank you goes to Windsor [Virginia Water ground share at Stag Meaadow], coaches (Richard and Matt), the chairman, secretary and all management support in adult and youth sections who make this all possible. Long may it continue.” – Ceri Jones, first team manager
Cup competitions to play for: Hellenic League Challenge Cup, Hellenic League Floodlit Cup
Follow all the Virginia Water news on FiB here.
WOKINGHAM & EMMBROOK
‘Work in progress’
League record: Played 11, Won 5, Drawn 1, Lost 5. Firmly in mid-table.
Current position: 7/14
Their season so far: Like Virginia Water, the Sumas started well winning their first three games but didn’t win a league or cup game in October. Away form is good but manager Dan Bateman will want to see an improvement at Lowther Road. Only have two games left against the current top three of Penn, VW and Bicester.
Managers view: “‘A work in progress’ is probably the most accurate description of us right now. The squad is coming together nicely but we are a little too inconsistent for me. Injuries, suspensions and player availability have all contributed to that but I really like how my squad is looking now and I’m confident we will have a strong finish to the season. It was always going to be difficult to turn things around from the last two seasons but we are getting there.” – Dan Bateman – first team manager
Cup competitions to play for: Reading Senior Cup
Follow all the Wokingham & Emmbrook news on FiB here.
Main image: Virginia Water and Wokingham & Emmbrook clash at Stag Meadow in Division 1 East by Graham Tabor.