The Buildbase FA Vase is open for business on Saturday 1st September with Berkshire well represented.
Binfield, Woodley United, Eversley & California, Sandhurst Town, Reading City and Ascot United are all in action and hoping to emulate Thatcham Town who brought the trophy to Berkshire for the first time since the competition was first played in 1974.
There are a number of home ties to get your teeth in to but before all that, here’s a few things you need to know about this season’s competition from the extra sub rule to where on earth are Bracknell, Thatcham and Windsor.
The First Qualifying Round draw
- Ardley United vs Holyport
- Binfield vs Frimley Green
- Chertsey Town vs Woodley United
- Eversley & California vs Downton
- Sandhurst Town vs Kensington Borough
- Southall vs Reading City (to be played at Uxbridge)
- Tadley Calleva vs Ascot United
- Wallingford Town vs Abingdon United
Replays aren’t a given
According to the FA Vase competition rules (11a), extra time must be played if the first match between two teams is level after 90 minutes. After 30 minutes of extra time, if agreed by the two competing clubs before the fixture, the match can be decided by penalties without the need for a replay.
‘That’ extra/fourth sub rule
The ruling that allows an extra (fourth) substitute to be used in extra time has been causing a few issues in the FA Cup with referees and clubs appearing at odds with each other.
The FA Vase rules, like those in the Cup allow an additional substitute from the three already used to be made during the 30 minute period of extra time.
Rule 15c states: A maximum of five substitutes may be nominated. Subject to the below a Club may at its discretion use three of those five substitute players at any time in a match. In the event that extra time is played in any match, a Club may at its discretion use one additional substitute player (a fourth in total) from the nominated five substitutes, during such period of extra time. A substitution can only be made when play is stopped for any reason and the Referee has given permission. Prior to the substitution being made the Club must identify to the Match Officials the number of the player out and the player in, in accordance with the Official Team Sheet.
This time around booking accumulated will be competition specific so a yellow picked up in an FA Vase game will no longer count toward the league total.
It will still be a case of five yellow cards in the league before suspension, but in the FA Cup, Trophy and Vase it will be two.
Where are Bracknell Town, Thatcham and Windsor?
The first two are straightforward, the FA Vase is a competition open to clubs at step five of the English Football Pyramid and below.
As Bracknell and Thatcham both won promotion to step four from the Hellenic League Premier Division last season they are no longer eligible, and the Kingfishers will not be able to defend their title.
Windsor is a bit different, because they reached the Quarter Finals of last seasons competition they are exempt until the Second Round Proper.
Virginia Water though have a bye to the Second Qualifying Round.
Who’s got the history?
Locally speaking, it’s Ascot United with the best record in the competition having reached the Quarter Finals in 2012 and 2014 after entering for the first time in 2010/11.
Binfield have not done badly themselves, reaching the Fourth Round in 2011/12 and the third round twice in the proceeding seasons.
Eversley & California have only entered three times since 2014/15 and reached the Second Qualifying Round twice.
It is Reading City’s first attempt at the competition but as Highmoor IBIS they were three time Second Qualifying Round competitors.
Windsor’s best effort was last season when they reached the quarters, but in their previous guise as Windsor & Eton the Royalists reached the Semi Finals in 1980/81 and quarter finals the previous season.
Woodley United’s record since they first entered in the 2015/16 season stands at three first qualifying round defeats. The Kestrels did though reach the Second Qualifying Round in 2014/15 as Woodley Town.
For Virginia Water, it is their first entry in to the competition since the 1977/78 season when they reached the first round, losing to neighbours Egham Town. They competed for four seasons starting in 1974.
You’ll be able to see full details of all the FA Vase results and draws on our Vase page here.