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SSMFL; Ampthill Town FC join Sports Shots

Sports Shots are delighted to announce that Ampthill Town FC are to join our list of clubs that we cover with immediate effect. The Spartan South Midlands Division One club have this summer recruited Paul Toms as their new manager for the season ahead, and the new man brought with him John Phillips as first team coach and one of their first calls was to Sports Shots to see if we’d add them to our portfolio of non-league clubs. After a brief conversation with both men and club chairman Gary Maidment it was agreed, and we welcome Ampthill Town on board, and wish them every success for the season ahead.

There have been several big changes at Ampthill Town over the past few years, the most notable being the new clubhouse that proudly stands behind the park end goal. To read the full story on the new and improved facilities from last year click here:

The club were formed back in 1881 but it wasn’t until the early 1950’s that they joined the South Midlands League where they  were relatively successful culminating in winning the league title in the 1959/60 season and finishing runners-up the following year. Just four years later the club finished bottom of the South Midlands Premier and moved over to the United Counties League where they remained for twenty-six seasons in various divisions before returning to the South Midlands in time for the 1991/92 season, where they have remained ever since.

New club facilities

In the eighteen seasons since the turn of the century, Ampthill have spent all bar four in the second tier (division one in today’s money), their most recent success being in 2011/12 where they finished runners-up to London Colney and were promoted to the premier division. Their first season saw them finish fifth, and the following year they claimed the runners-up spot to Hanwell Town, but the success was to be short lived as the following year a bottom two place finish saw ‘The Amps’ relegated back to division one, where they have finished in fourteenth position for each of the last three seasons.

FA Cup runs have eluded the club, not since 1986 have they progressed to the first qualifying round, but they have seen more recent success in the FA Vase. Having reached the third round previously in 1976/77, 1981/82, 1983/84 & 2007/08, they finally went one further in 2011/12 before going out in the fourth round and that run granted them entry into the competition much later the following year. Entering at the second-round stage, Town got as far as the fifth round before Hadleigh beat them by the odd goal in three at Ampthill Park. The following season saw the furthest the club have reached when a run to the quarter-finals eventually saw them knocked out at Eastbourne United.

After the opening of the new clubhouse last season, the club have again been busy this summer with the completion of a new barrier that runs around the perimeter of the playing area meaning the pitch is now fully enclosed. Images for the new barrier can be viewed here:

For anyone unfamiliar with the Spartan South Midlands League, Ampthill will this season be facing thirty-eight league games home & away, two separate South Midlands cup competitions, the FA Vase, and two separate Bedfordshire cup competitions. To keep up to date with Town’s progress and fixture list, use this link:;jsessionid=FC0D7153A16310DF92A9184A040B9F2D?divisionseason=288088660&teamID=352163946

Anyone looking for their football fix in Ampthill can take out an ATFC clubhouse membership, and for just £4.99 per month you receive free admission to every home game, a fully licenced bar at clubhouse prices, live TV sports nights, and the bar also has BT Sports. The perfect opportunity for the people of Ampthill to get behind their football club.

The club are looking for helpers to get involved behind the scenes if anyone has some spare time to volunteer. General committee members are required for match day duties, as well as a secretary & an assistant child welfare officer for the youth section. For any businesses looking to advertise, there are some very competitive packages available, and the clubhouse is always available for hire for parties or meetings. Anyone interested in any of the positions or hiring the club should contact Gary on 07450 018848.

Sports Shots went to meet new 1st team manager Paul Toms and spoke about his thoughts on joining the club, and his vision for the future. The whole interview can be viewed here:

Anyone tuning into Sports Shots for the first time, to follow any news on your club scroll down our page to the index of categories and click on your team as shown below (click on image):

Sports Shots would like to thank everyone for their time at Ampthill Town FC, and we look forward to working with them this forthcoming season!

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FCCL; Horwood face Olney side they know little about

Great Horwood CC travel to Olney Town on Saturday in a game that will see two form teams go head to head, the hosts have won their last three matches whilst Horwood have triumphed in three of their last four.

Josh Nix

Sports Shots caught up with captain Stuart Parker ahead of the game:

We travel to Olney off the back of last weeks good win at Thurleigh, the reverse fixture was the one fixture to fall victim to rain this season, so we know very little about them.

We have lots of changes again with Glyn Davies, Dom Pritchard, Simon Ridgway & Billy Harper all unavailable. Josh Nix plays only his second game of the season with spin duo Haydon Morrison & Olly Prendergast both returning along with Ken Cronshaw & Sam Krajnyk


S Parker
A Armitage
D Armitage
K Cronshaw
S Krajnyk
C McStraw
H Morrison
J Nix
O Prendergast
R Taylor
S Willett

The match starts at 1.30pm

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Hellenic League News: New rules & balls come in for 2018/19

Three pieces of news to come from the Hellenic League in the past few days.

The Hellenic Football League have announced their division two & veterans league were in support of introducing the FA trial for ‘sin bins’ for the 2018/19 season. Taken from the Hellenic league website:

As advised at the Uhlsport Hellenic League Seminar/AGM yesterday the Football Association is extending trial of ‘sin bins’ in the lower leagues of English football next season with a full implementation from season 2019-2020.

The FA plans to introduce what it calls “temporary dismissals” in England’s step seven and the leagues below. They will only apply to yellow cards shown for dissent, and will see players leave the field for 10 minutes. Clubs are normally charged a £10 administration charge for each yellow card but the CFA’s will not be issuing this administration fee for those that participate and will be recompensed financially by the FA.

Representatives of Uhlsport Hellenic League clubs at yesterday’s AGM, took a ‘straw poll’ on introducing this as a trial for the Uhlsport Hellenic League Division Two and Veterans League this season – 2018-2019. The project was warmly received and the vote on the 18/19 introduction was supported by the majority of Division TWO clubs

In other Hellenic news our friends over at Football in Bracknell this week revealed the new match ball to be used for the forthcoming season:

And finally, with the recent sad news that Oxford City Nomads have folded, the Hellenic League have confirmed to Sports Shots that as a result, the Premier Division would run for this season with nineteen teams and would not be adding another team.

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CCLD1; Town downed by Oxford

Buckingham Town II’s – 152 all out off 41.5 overs (4 points)

Oxford Downs – 154-2 off 26.5 overs (25 points)

Buckingham Town II’s got off to the perfect start when Alex O’Dell & Alistair Martin opened the match with an unbeaten 101, but once the partnership was broken Oxford seized the initiative all bar brief resistance from Sam Younghusband who hit 28. After his dismissal the final five Buckingham wickets fell for just 9 runs, & Oxford in return saw openers Adam Beck & Alex Ling make 67 before a wicket fell, but Downs showed why they are top of the table on a long unbeaten run by powering home to win the game before the England v Sweden World Cup quarter-final kicked off.

Town lost the toss and were put into bat by their guests where the openers put on a great opening partnership, O’Dell reached his half century in the twenty-second over and went on to make 56 off just 77 balls before being caught with the score on 101, Martin was then run out just two runs later after making 34. Mike Taylor and Sam Younghusband put on a further 13 before the former was caught, Callum Cater made 9 before being bowled & Younghusband made 28 off 36 balls but once he was caught the score suddenly read 143-5.

Alex O’Dell reaches 50

Tom Buggey was then run out and skipper Steve Beck was bowled on his first ball without Town adding any further runs, Ryan Freshwater added a single before being caught, James Gear faced three balls before being caught, the final partnership of Jason Ell & Wasim Fayyaz saw Ell make 8 before his wicket fell, and from 101-1 then 143-5 Town ended 152 all out. Oxford had been patient waiting for the first wicket to fall but once it came they dominated their hosts to claim the remaining nine wickets for just fifty one runs, George Sandbach the best of the Oxford bowlers taking 4 wickets for just 22 runs off 5.5 overs, Jonathan Meardon taking 3-31 off 10 overs.

Beck & Ling made quick work of making their 50 partnership before Ling fell to Fayyaz with the score on 67, Beck went on to make 71 off just 66 balls before being bowled by Younghusband, his partnership with George Sandbach made 73. With minutes left before the football started, Oxford knocked off the remaining 13 they needed to win with ease, Younghusband taking 1-11 off one over, Fayyaz with the other wicket for 42 runs off 8 overs.

Match scorecard:

League table:

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FCCL; Great Horwood claim win at 2nd place Thurleigh

Thurleigh – 218-9 off 40 overs (8 points)

Great Horwood – 244-7 off 40 overs (25 points)

Great Horwood bounced back after last week’s disappointing defeat to bottom of the table New City by travelling to second place Thurleigh and claiming the win by 26 runs, with both Sam Willett & Glyn Davies both making half centuries as they made 244-7 off their allotted overs before Robby Taylor, Adam Armitage, Dom Pritchard and Simon Ridgway all took a brace of wickets each with the latter taking three, to reduce their hosts 218-9 at the end of their 40 overs, despite Martin Bennett making 90 for the home side.

With an early start time of 9.00am to allow the game to be played before England’s World Cup quarter-final, Thurleigh won the toss and put Horwood into bat which the visitor’s made the most of; Stuart Parker fell for 22 with the score on 32, but Willett dug in with Dale Armitage to form a partnership worth 91 before Armitage was trapped LBW after making 35.

Glyn Davies

Davies & Willett then made 77 between them before Willett was caught having made seventy-seven and just sixteen runs later Davies was run out having made 51. Two further quick wickets saw Dan Willett & Dom Pritchard fall before Chris McStraw & Ridgway made 25 between them until Ridgway was caught, Horwood ending on 244 after an excellent batting innings. Brody Willerton for Thurleigh took 3 wickets for 68 runs off his 9 overs, closely followed by Ricky Milne who took 2-64 off his 9 overs.

Thurleigh lost two early wickets leaving them 19-2 but Bennett came to the crease and saw five different partners on his way to his 90 before caught off the bowling of Taylor, his third wicket partnership with Robert Stean made 91 runs until Pritchard bowled Stean with his score on 35. Bennett & Ricky Milne added 28; Gary Armstrong partnered Bennett to a further 25 but Horwood continued to take wickets steadily, Clive Franklin was Bennett’s partner when the latter fell, they had added 35 between them but their overs ran out with them 26 short of their target and just a single wicket remaining.

Simon Ridgway

Ridgway took 3 wickets for 57 runs off his 9 overs, Pritchard took 2-52 off his 9, Adam Armitage took 2-40 off 8 overs and Robby Taylor took 2-34 off his 9, and this victory see’s Great Horwood now boasting three wins from their last four games as they continue to improve and adjust to life in the Four Counties Cricket League Division One.

Match scorecard:

League table:

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CCL; Town 2’s host top of table in early kick off

Buckingham Town II’s host top of the league Oxford Downs on Saturday at Bourton Road, and the game has been brought forward to allow the England v Sweden World cup quarter-final to be viewed by both side with an extended tea from 3.00pm.

Sports Shots caught up with Town skipper Steve Beck ahead of the game:

We have an early start due to the football, people can come to watch the cricket first and then the football when it starts, the cricket will recommence once the England game has concluded.

As far as the game, we have a tough test on Saturday as they are the league leaders who are on a very long unbeaten run, the strongest all-round side in the league. It will be tough but if we can bat first and get a decent score on the board we have some good spinners who can build some pressure and make it hard for them on a used spinning wicket.

It’s coming home!


Mike Taylor

Alex O’Dell

Sam Younghusband

Tom Buggy

Callum Cater

Steve Beck

Jason Ell

Ryan Freshwater

Ali Martin

James Gear

Wasim Fayyaz

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CCLD6; Town III’s will be Twying to build on success this weekend

Buckingham Town III’s host Twyford II’s this Saturday, a local derby that see’s Town who are 5th in the Cherwell Cricket League Division Six table take on 3rd placed Twyford, and Sports Shots caught up with skipper Brij Valambhia ahead of the fixture:

After bouncing back last week with a good all-round bowling performance, and a great knock from Anant Peshawaria which helped us secure a good total on the board, we will be looking to push on and build upon that success. We want to finish the second half of our season stronger than the first and we will be working hard each week, as we have been doing so far

Anant Peshavaria made 65 last week


Joe Clark

Brij Valambhia

Vish Valambhia

Anant Peshawaria

Ryan Spragg

Matt Dipple

Andy Humphries

Ernie McDade

Luke Tory

Aidan Ennis

Ade Johnson

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FCCL; Great Horwood face Ear-leigh start this week

Great Horwood Cricket Club face a trip to second place Thurleigh on Saturday, and Sports Shots caught up with skipper Stuart Parker this week who explained facing the side that are second in the Four Counties Cricket League division one table will be even harder this week with a start time change due to England’s quarter-final match in the World Cup that afternoon, and multiple changes to the side from last week:

Due to the football we have arranged for a 9am start on Saturday as we travel to 2nd placed Thurleigh, so the lads will all need to be in bed early Friday night!

We have six changes from last week’s team as Dale & Adam Armitage both return, along with Glyn Davies, Billy Harper, Chris McStraw and Dan Willett, who is promoted from the 2nds after scoring some runs recently.

Leading wicket taker Olly Prendergast is unavailable along with spin partner Haydon Morrison and last week’s joint top scorer Ken Cronshaw

Chris McStraw returns


S Parker

A Armitage

D Armitage

G Davies

B Harper

C McStraw

D Pritchard

S Ridgway

R Taylor

D Willett

S Willett

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SL; Banbury Utd appeal rejected & Carnell moves on

Back in June when the FA released their allocations for the restructured non-league pyramid, Banbury United were placed in the Southern League South division, but then on 8th June it was announced due to Shaw Lane folding and the leagues having to restructure again, Banbury had been laterally moved to the South League central division.

The club immediately announced it’s plan to appeal the decision, and that appeal was heard on Monday where it was confirmed that United would indeed be playing in the Central division for the forthcoming season.

The club released the following statement:

The Board of Directors is disappointed by the outcome of yesterday’s (Monday 2nd July) FA appeal hearing relating to the lateral movement of the club’s league allocation for 2018-19 on 8th June.

Our appeal was not motivated by being placed in the Southern League Premier Central Division, but the timing of the decision.

The FA Appeal Panel judged that the original decision of the FA Leagues Management Committee (LMC) was reasonable.

We had argued, as did the other affected clubs, Hednesford and Fleet, that the decision was not reasonable given the late notification of the change. This has seriously impacted our planning for the 2018-19 season and meant that that we were not being treated equably compared to other unaffected teams. We gave detailed information relating to this.

We argued that the impact of the demise of Shaw Lane could have been managed in other ways, including within the Northern Premier Division and its feeder leagues. The confirmation of league line ups comes far later than the relevant league AGMs, something which the FA strive to achieve.

We also showed that there was a lack of clarity relating to the regulations which govern the lateral movement of clubs and that the FA LMC had not actually applied one of the regulations. In terms of governance it is difficult to understand how decisions can be made when the relevant regulations are not actually followed.

The matter is now closed. The club is fully focused on planning to compete in the Southern League Premier Division Central Division for the 2018-19 season

Within hours of the announcement the club then revealed that defender Luke Carnell is to leave the club due to the travelling involved with their placement in the central division.

As a result of yesterday’s FA ruling in respect of our league allocation for 2018-19, Luke Carnell has advised Mike Ford he is leaving the club.

Luke joined Banbury in October 2016 and made 87 appearances and scored 17 goals in his time at the club. He won the Supporters’ Players of the Season, the Players’ Player and the Puritans Radio Player awards last season.

However, living in Didcot, he has decided, for family and work reasons, the travel commitment for matches is too great in the Central Division.

Commenting on the news manager Mike Ford said “I am very disappointed to lose Luke who has been excellent for the club since joining us a couple of months into our first season back at Premier Division level. His commitment has been outstanding and wherever he plays next season, they will be getting a great addition to their team. I fully understand Luke’s reasons for leaving and can only wish him all the best in the future.”

Luke commenting on his decision said “Following yesterday’s failed appeal, having already agreed terms with Mike over the summer to remain a Banbury player, presuming we were in the Southern Premier South, I’ve had to make the hardest decision to leave a club I’ve loved playing for and had a fantastic time at. With the extra travelling from Didcot and the fact my wife and I are expecting our first child in October, I just felt I couldn’t commit to play at Banbury. I’d like to thank everyone at Banbury United from Mike and his staff, the players, all the board members and the fans for all the support they’ve given me and the team during my time at the club. It was everything I was promised when I agreed to sign and more. I’d like to wish you all the best for the season and hope the club goes on to get that desired and deserved promotion.”

We thank Luke for his contributions and commitment during his time with the club and wish him every success in the future.

Luke Carnell

To see the clubs Banbury now face this season follow this link:
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CL; Buckingham Town II’s battle all to no a-Vale

Buckingham Town II’s – 123-8 off 48 overs (6 points)

Abingdon Vale – 198 all out off 51.1 overs (18 points)

Buckingham Town II’s drew with Abingdon Vale on Saturday with both sides were in good positions during the afternoon to win the game but both sides struggled to remove each other’s tail end; Town reduced their visitors from 84-3 to 100-5, but Vale reached 198 before finally being bowled out, in return the hosts slumped from 24-3 to 63-7 but again the tail end dug in, and Matthew Thatcher hit a superb 41 & merged a good partnership with James Gear that saw the pair remain unbeaten and seeing out their allotted overs to tie the game.

Abingdon won the toss and elected to bat, William Barker & Amith Premkumar started well until Jason Ell bowled & caught the former with the score on 27 in the fifth over, with Premkumar run out shortly after. Vale then added a further 46 runs before Simon Myatt making his first start of the season took the third wicket with the score on 84. Myatt struck again and a James Gear LBW reduced Vale to 100-5 and Town looked in control, but in came Paul Butcher who steadied the ship and made 55 before being caught behind by Alex O’Dell off Myatt, Wasim Fayyaz took three wickets but Abingdon tail ender Paul White ended 22 not out as his side reached 198 before their final wicket fell. Myatt & Fayyaz both ended with 3 wickets apiece.

O’Dell & Alistair Martin opened for Town after the break as the scorching hot sunshine bore down, and by the ninth over the home side were 24-3 with O’Dell, Sam Younghusband & Martin all out. Captain Steve Beck came in to partner Thatcher and the pair looked solid until Beck was caught quite brilliantly single handed by William Barker diving away to his right. Vishal Valambhia lasted two balls before falling LBW, and just nine runs later Town were 62-6 when Sam Chapman was bowled by Arthur Chapman. Ell fell LBW in the next over and Myatt made 7 before being caught and then things looked bleak, 78-8 and a further sixteen overs to face with two wickets left.

Matthew Thatcher hit 41 not out

But Thatcher still stood in the middle, and his partnership with Gear saw the remaining overs out, Gear finishing 23 not out and their partnership worth 45 runs. Joe Butcher finished with 4 wickets for 41 runs off 16 overs the highlight for Abingdon.

Match scorecard:

League table:

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