With a little over a month to go to the start of the new Bracknell Town & District Sunday League season on 8th September, Football in Berkshire takes a look forward at how the season might go.
Teams have left and more have joined for this coming season making it the biggest competition in recent times that sees an entry of 51 teams across the five divisions, up from 49 last season.
We start with the Premier Division with FC Fernhill bidding to win their 7th title. Crowthorne Inn, finishing runners-up in consecutive seasons, may yet again challenge whilst promoted Loveman United (Div 1 Champions and County Junior Cup winners) and Berks County (Div 1 runners-up) will look to start this season as strongly as they finished last and themselves make a real challenge.
“New team” Bracknell Rangers (were WAB) finished the season strongly with an impressive unbeaten run of 6 games. FC Fernhill will start the season as favourites.
Teams: FC Fernhill, Crowthorne Inn, Morale Madrid, Raglan, Finchampstead Athletic, Bracknell Rangers (new), Panthers, Loveman United (promoted) and Berks County (promoted)
While you were on your summer holidays
A quick update from the Bracknell Football Awards held in June. Two Bracknell Town & District Sunday League referees picked up awards on the night with James Knight earning the Referee of the Season gong and Neville Batt earning the Darrell Freeland award for services to the grassroots game.
Full details on both awards here. Meanwhile, on to..
Division 1 might very well be as closely contested as last season’s competition. Woodley Saints, in only their 3rd season in the league, will look to add to their honours (that includes a Div 3 title and league Junior Cup winners as well as their runners-up finish in Div 2) whilst last seasons Div 2 Champions Sandhurst FFC could also be strong.
Relegated Athletico Forest, who struggled to find their feet in the Prem last season, may challenge, as could Finchampstead Athletic Reserves and Wokingham & Emmbrook TMW. No clear favourites for this Division.
Teams: Athletico Forest (relegated), Wokingham & Emmbrook TMW, Winkfield, Bracknell Athletic, Finchampstead Athletic Reserves, Athletico Ascot, Woodley United, Sandhurst FFC (promoted), Woodley Saints (promoted) and Golden Farmer Rangers (promoted).
Division 2 sees the return of a familiar name in William Twigg who return to the league after a two-year absence. Bearwood Wanderers will look to continue with their meteoric progress.
Having entered the League just 3 seasons ago they have gone on to win titles in Divisions 4 and, last season, Division 3, won the League Junior Cup (in 2017-18) and last season lifted the County Junior Trophy.
Rightly so, their manager Andy White was nominated for FiB’s Manager of the Season award this year. Bearwood will start the season as favourites though will have stiff competition from Twigg and another new team, Cricketers, who have amongst their ranks players that have tasted success in this League before.
Having slipped from the division above following their first season in the league, Panthers Reserves may be one to watch!
Teams: Panthers Reserves (relegated), Newbold (were Moore Close Manor), Ashridge Park Royals, Bracknell Corinthians, Winnersh Rangers, Bearwood Wanderers (promoted), Bracknell Cavaliers (promoted), Braybrooke Athletic (promoted), William Twigg (new) and Cricketers (new)
Division 3 is another tough one to call at this stage! AFC Dukes, following their name change and lifting both the Div 4 title and Subsidiary Cup in their finest season to date, will look to make a strong start, as will Hope & Anchor, narrowly missing out on promotion last season. The Division has two new teams in Crowthorne FC and Bracknell Spartans.
Teams: 3M (relegated, Ashridge Park (relegated), Hope & Anchor, Winnersh town, Bracknell Saint Germain, Silver Birch 1st, Running Horse, AFC Dukes (promoted, were Crownwood Dukes), FC Harmanswater (promoted), Crowthorne FC (new) and Bracknell Spartans (new).
The key feature of Division 4 this coming season is that it will made up of a full compliment of teams requiring home and away fixtures only rather than teams requiring to play a third round of fixtures as was the case in the past two seasons.
The Division sees no less than 6 new teams joining the league. Relegated Finchampstead Athletic A and Bracknell Royals will look to jump straight back up at the first time of asking. The new teams are somewhat of an unknown quantity. Bracknell Athletic and Bracknell Spartans, both under 21’s teams will be full of youth and vigour whilst FC Showcase move across from the Reading Sunday League where last season they finished 8th (of 11) in division 3.
Teams: Finchampstead Athletic A(relegated), Bracknell Royals (relegated), Silver Birch A, Bracknell Cavaliers Reserves, Bracknell Titans, Bracknell Athletic U21’s (new), Crowthorne FC Vets (new), Bracknell Spartans U21’s (new), FC Showcase (new), AFC Dukes Reserves (new), Harts of Bracknell (new)
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