Finchampstead and Burghfield in the TVPL. Photos by Andrew Batt.
Finchampstead and Burghfield in the TVPL. Photos by Andrew Batt.

Thames Valley Premier League preview: Burghfield and Finchampstead first up

Steve Gabb previews the TVPL season with Burghfield vs Finchampstead up first as well as the return of YMCA and Yateley United added
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Finchampstead and Burghfield in the TVPL. Photos by Andrew Batt.
Finchampstead and Burghfield in the TVPL. Photos by Andrew Batt.

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It doesn’t feel like it was that long that Finchampstead were lifting the Thames Valley Premier League trophy at the end of the 2020/2021 season.

That’s because it wasn’t.

An extended season that ended in late June allowing for the TVPL to become one of very few leagues to complete their season means it’s been a short summer for many of our Berkshire clubs. The big kick-off takes place this Saturday 4th September.

See the full Premier Division weekend fixture list here.

Finchampstead FC win the Thames Valley Premier League. Photo: Andrew Batt.
Finchampstead FC win the Thames Valley Premier League. Photo: Andrew Batt.

What’s changed?

Yateley United added to the fold

Yateley United have made the switch from Hellenic League football into the Thames Valley League. An ambitious club with plans for a new clubhouse and floodlights at their Sean Devereux Park home mean they could be a team to watch this season. Despite being located a couple of miles over the Berkshire border in Hampshire, they are a team we’re likely to keep a close eye on at FiB over the coming months.

The return of Reading YMCA

Reading YMCA under the lights. Photo: Andy Awbery.
Reading YMCA under the lights. Photo: Andy Awbery.

Multiple time champions of the Thames Valley Premier League Reading YMCA are making a triumphant return to Step 7 after winning the Division One title in 2020/2021 losing a solitary game. It’s likely that their superbly named “The Cauldron” home in Padworth will be a cliched “difficult place to go” for many clubs this coming season.

New home for Wraysbury

In recent years Wraysbury games had taken place at the Memorial Ground in the village. However this season the club will be playing their games at the impressive location of Wheatsheaf Park, the ground of Isthmian League club Staines Town.

What to look out for?

1st vs 2nd on the Opening Day

Sam Kalius and Adam Telford challenge for the ball in the Mortimer vs Burghfield tie. Photo: Andrew Batt.
Sam Kalius and Adam Telford challenge for the ball in the Mortimer vs Burghfield tie. Photo: Andrew Batt.

A crackerjack of an opening day tie for Burghfield who host Finchampstead. Burghfield finished just behind Finchampstead in the title race last season so it’s likely to be a tightly contested game at Burghfield Rec on Saturday. The west Berkshire club also face local rivals, Mortimer, on the 18th September so they’ll be relishing their start to the season.

The return of Cup competitions

Last season a whole host of cup competitions were cancelled due to the difficulties of arranging fixtures during Covid-19. This season it is hoped the Berks & Bucks Cup, as well as the Reading SeniorCup, will be able to take place, giving clubs an additional chance of glory with the Final of the latter at the Madejski Stadium.

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