FA Vase: What’s in store for the Berkshire trio if they reach the last 16

Bracknell Town’s Joe Grant takes on Buckingham Athletic in the FA Vase. Photo: Richard Claypole.

It’s the Fourth Round of the FA Vase on Saturday with three Berkshire clubs – Bracknell Town, Windsor and Thatcham Town all vying for a place in the last 16. With that in mind we contacted Craig Kendall, editor of Northern Counties East League magazine The Bootiful Game about what lies in wait once the draw goes national on Monday.

Given we’re still technically regional, who are the Northern clubs you think will go far in the Vase this season? Who should our Berks clubs want to avoid should they make the fifth round?

Pontefract Collieries from the Northern Counties East League (NCEL) Premier Division. They were promoted last season from Step 6 and are a force to be reckoned with. They have gone from strength to strength this season with the strike partnership of Eli Hey and Mitch Dunne having scored 40 goals between them this season.

The winners of the FA Vase usually come from the Northern League so you have to look there for the favourites and the bookies have Marske United, who are currently second in the table. Then you have to look at West Auckland who have had a good run so far and would like to go one better than been runners up twice in the last 7 years.

Lastly, the North West Counties have recently done well in the Vase and 1874 Northwich are the only remaining side and they do indeed have Pontefract in the 4th Round – which should be a cracking tie.

Bracknell Town's Carl Withers takes on the Lordswood defence in the FA Vase Third Round. Photo: Neil Graham.
Bracknell Town’s Carl Withers takes on the Lordswood defence in the FA Vase Third Round. Photo: Neil Graham.

All that being said, which would be the BEST away day for our clubs? Ignoring ability of the side and just looking at location and ground, what would be worth an away day?

Pontefract is well worth an away day – not that far North, easy access, great people at the club and ground has lots of character.

Editors note: Pontefract is around a 30 minute drive South East of Leeds in West Yorkshire. The club has an estimated foundation date on Wikipedia of 1958 and are at the time of writing third in the NCEL Premier.

Northern clubs have been the most successful in the competition, especially in recent years. What’s the secret?

Don’t think it’s a secret that they are some of the biggest spenders – they get big crowds which in turn helps the finances at the club – success brings in more fans so it’s a great circle to be in. Few ex-pros from the North East ply their trade in the league and this helps develop other players

What do you know about the three Berkshire clubs at all?

To be honest don’t know anything about them- just know that the FA Vase is very competitive and every team is there on merit and will be a tough game.

Craig is editor of Northern Counties East League magazine The Bootiful Game. The website is here and you can find them on twitter here. The main image is of Bracknell Town’s Joe Grant against Buckingham Athletic in the Vase by Richard Claypole.

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