Hayden class, Bottom Meadow bugs and wizard Hobbs

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Berks County celebrate reaching the final. Photo: Andrew Batt.

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May is a good time for Groundhoppers

With all of the leagues in Steps 3-7 all completed, it left few alternatives for groundhoppers to attend a game on Saturday. All of Berks County’s programmes sold out long before kick-off, the club offering an excellent service in asking if you wanted one posted to you at a later date. There was even the sight of a ground-hopping flag being hung at the back of one of the stands. Everyone at Sandhurst on Saturday certainly got their money’s worth with a couple of very well taken goals and a penalty shoot-out in balmy conditions.

Luke Hayden is a class act

Despite not getting on the score-sheet in the semi-final Luke Hayden was a thorn in British Airways’ side all afternoon. Some intelligent build-up play plus some great footwork showed his undoubted quality. If he showed a little more composure on one or two occasions on Saturday then he may have scored a couple. He ends the season on 32 goals as third top scorer in Combined Counties League Division One, so he’s clearly doing something right!

Sandhurst is still riven with bugs in the summer,

A view of the Tony Dean Stand at Bottom Meadow. Photo: Neil Graham.
A view of the Tony Dean Stand at Bottom Meadow. Photo: Neil Graham.

Despite the undoubted improvements made at Bottom Meadow/The SB Stadium over the past 12 months nothing appears to be able to deter the insects that float around the far touchline. One linesman spent some of the first half using his flag to batter away insects, thankfully no incorrect offsides were given in the process.

Kai Hobbs evokes the wizardry of Ricky Villa

On a day where the FA Cup Final at Wembley offered no goals after 120 minutes of football, Kai Hobbs offered a late goal of the season contender at Bottom Meadow when Hobbs evoked the spirit of Ricky Villa’s goal in the 1982 final. Hobbs cut in from the right wing after beating three or four players in a mazy run he struck the ball wonderfully into the top corner with his left foot, leaving the goalkeeper stranded. A goal befitting any occassion including this Esoteric Records Combined Counties League Cup semi-final. In truth it was a goal that deserved to win the tie, however a late British Airways goal took it to penalties.

London Lions will prove a different test to British Airways

Berks County were the dominant team against British Airways for much of the 90 minutes, yet the game was taken to penalties. I am sure everyone involved at Berks County was worried heading into a penalty shoot-out, knowing that they really should have been out of sight during the 90 minutes. Five excellent taken, composed penalties and a very good save from County keeper Liam Harris were enough to see The Swords over the line. However, Berks County now face London Lions in the final at Windsor FC next Saturday. Lions won Combined Counties Division One and only lost four times in forty league fixtures. Berks County will know they have to be more clinical and tighten up at the back if they want to win some silverware on their maiden season at Step 6.

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