Atrocious weather conditions were not to dampen (in the main anyway!) the opening day of the Bracknell & District Sunday League’s 2020/21 campaign. All but eight league fixtures were played and credit to all teams in turning out in such awful weather.
In contrast, the Reading Sunday League saw only eight fixtures played.
We start this round-up with the League Junior Cup Final played at Bracknell Town FC between last season’s winners AFC Dukes and Bearwood Wanderers. Bearwood shaded a tight first half and led at half-time through a goal by substitute Lloyd Twyman. Momentum was to shift to the younger Dukes team in the second half who deservedly equalised through Alex Bennett.
The experienced Bearwood seemed to run out of legs in the final quarter of the game and Dukes looked the most likely of the two to win it in this period but the game finished all square at 1-1 after 90 minutes play. AFC Dukes won the penalty shoot-out by 4-2 to make it back-to-back Junior Cup wins. Man of the Match was awarded to Charlie Craske of Bearwood Wanderers for a solid display at right-back.
The Senior Cup was played later in the afternoon, again at Bracknell Town in torrential rain. Strong favourites FC Fernhill were rarely troubled by Loveman United throughout and led 1-0 at half-time through a penalty by Charlie Evanson. As much as Loveman tried to find an equaliser, Fernhill defended solidly and always looked the team most likely to score again.
It wasn’t until the 89th minute though that Fernhill sealed their victory (2-0) through a deflected shot by Liam Hatt that beat an otherwise excellent Josh Woodley in goal for Loveman. Man of the match was awarded to Tom McGuire of Loveman United for his defensive effort particularly in the second half.
In the Premier Division Finchampstead Athletic, returning to the League after a year’s break, upset the apple cart by defeating Bracknell Rangers 5-2. On the scoresheet for Rangers were Ollie Noyes and Tom Smith. Elsewhere newly promoted Woodley Saints beat Raglan 3-2 whilst the game between Crowthorne Inn and Berks finished in an entertaining 4-4 draw, Tom Peterson and Bradley Hoy on the scoresheet for County.
In Division 1 newcomers Bigshot got their campaign off to a flying start with an impressive 3-1 win away at Athletico Forest. There were also wins for Crowthorne and Athletico Ascot whilst the game at Sandhurst (against Wokingham & Emmbrook TMW) fell to the wet weather.
A wonder strike from Lewis Lancaster gave Bracknell Athletic an early lead at home to Winnersh Rangers at Ringmead before succumbing to an equaliser to a determined Rangers side before half-time. Athletic lost their way a little in the second half and the experience of Rangers came to the fore scoring twice more in the second half to win 3-1. Newcomers to the League Freeman Royals won the only other fixture played in Division 2, winning 5-2 away at Bracknell Corinthians.
Bracknell Spartans Vets won the top game in Division 3 beating fancied Bracknell Royals 6-3. Spartans led 3-0 at half time before Royals stormed back in the second half to draw level 3-3. Superior experience told in the end though with Spartans scoring three more to win it. Spartans goal scorers were Jim Mulholland (2), Andre Jardim (2), Dean Sharp and an own goal. Ashridge Park were the other winners, 3-1 against Harts of Bracknell. The other two games in the Division between Bracknell Cavaliers Reserves-Bracknell Saint Germain and Woodley Saints Reserves-FC Showcase finished all square.
In Division 4 there were wins for newcomers Harts of Bracknell Reserves and Bracknell Athletic Reserves.
Look out for more cup final photo’s on our Bracknell Sunday League Facebook page on Monday afternoon.