Back in the summer I wrote a fairly speculative piece suggesting that any one of Ascot United, Bracknell Town and Binfield could win the Uhlsport Hellenic Premier League this season.
It was based on a couple of factors.
- One of the clubs keeping hold of and adding to their impressive squads
- An impressive finish to the 2015/16 season
- A complete guess without out any prior knowledge of who each side might sign
And it’s that last bit which was the thing the made it a speculative piece. You never know who’s got who until the season starts, and even then you can still add a Swindon based goal machine prepared to complete a 100 mile round trip to play for you.
No transfer windows here!
The thing is, given the fact Binfield are top and Bracknell have the aforementioned ‘goal machine’ plus the not to be sniffed at onion bag botherer Adam Cornell there is every chance both sides will be involved come the inevitable fixture pile up at the end of the season.
That’s without even mentioning Ascot – who I shamefully wrote off at the start of the season due to a perceived exodus of players and lack of information on who was coming in.
But they seem to be motoring on just nicely thank you very much and were within a penalty kick of making the FA Cup Second Qualifying Round this season – the furthest any of our featured clubs made it.
Want to see how the land lies? Here’s the latest Hellenic Premier Division table
Bracknell Town have several things in their favour. They’ve only not scored in one game this season, a 2-0 defeat to Highmoor-IBIS.
The partnership between Bohane and Cornell is clearly working and they are being fed a regular supply of chances while Joe Grant is chipping in with goals and the defence appears to have tightened up with the addition of Alex Rodrigues.
However, it is the defence that remains a concern with Mark Tallentires side yet to keep a clean sheet in any competition while their temporary home at Sandhurst Town is yet to yield a win in the two games played there.
Binfield are top and will be hoping to keep things that way. They’ve proved their mettle with an impressive win over early season favourites Thatcham Town and have ex-Ascot forward Matt Jones available following the end of the cricket season while Liam Ferdinand is continuing where he left off last season and Bracknell full back George Lock has added tenacity to a defence that has conceded the lowest of any team that has played over 5 league games.
As a former youth team manager, Roger Herridge has put his faith in youngsters and has been repaid particularly by Luke Hayden who has scored twice in three games.
Concerns for the Moles – if you can have any when you are top of the league – will be the two games in hand Thame United have over them. A win for Herridge’s side when they meet on 22nd October would go some way to increasing that gap.
The meeting between Bracknell and Binfield in the FA Vase on Friday night will be a real indication of where the opportunities lie for both sides this season.
Which leads us to Ascot United. The Yellamen haven’t let the heavy FA Cup First Qualifying Round replay defeat bother them. In fact they appear to have taken the form from the original tie against Tonbridge Angels at Ascot Racecourse where they were a penalty away from advancing in a 2-2 draw.
18 goals in their last three games – all victories – has quickly put to bed any notion of a ‘hangover’ with Ben Knight in particular very impressive with seven of those 18 to himself.
A 5-2 win at Henley on Tuesday night moved Paul McGrotty’s side up to eighth and you wouldn’t bet against them having having a run, and it is probably a good time to play Thatcham Town who visit on Saturday.
We’re still in the early stages of the season with sides barely hitting double figures in terms of games played, but it would be no surprise to us if East Berkshire had a significant role to play in the location of the Hellenic Premier League trophy this season.
Agree with Tom? Will a side from East Berkshire win the Hellenic Premier League? Let us know in the comments below.
Main image by Colin Byers.