Archive for Berks & Bucks Senior Trophy

Berks & Bucks FA release provisional county cup fixture dates

The Berks & Bucks FA have released a string of dates provisionally booked for all their senior & youth county cup competitions for the 2019/20 season.

Four new cup competitions are also revealed, as well as provisional dates for all the cup finals.

The full announcement can be viewed here:

Click on either image below for larger view:

Adult competitions

Youth competitions

Sports Shots last season covered a number of BBFA county cup finals, images can be viewed here:

BBFA ST; Marlow United 0-0 Old Bradwell United (4-5 pens)

Marlow United – 0
Old Bradwell United – 0

(Old Bradwell win 5-4 on pens)


For their second successive cup final this season Old Bradwell United fought out a goalless draw to take the game to penalties & ultimately triumph in dramatic style to take the silverware back to Milton Keynes, this time against Marlow United who were left to wonder just what it takes to win this competition as they were handed silver medals for the third consecutive season. Strong winds did little to help on the pitch as the two sides slugged it out to a stalemate, going straight to penalties both sides scored their first attempts however it was Bradwell who were first to have one saved, their opponents then suffered the same fate but the black & white cheers were silenced as their third spot kick was blocked by the keeper once more, from there no one missed and skipper Alex Sethi stepped up to win the cup for the team in blue but could only blaze over the top and sudden death prevailed, the first two scored saw Jakk Pursey then put David Keene’s men ahead leaving it to Liam Jahn to save from James Hardie to spark wild celebrations from their players and supporters alike.

The opening ten minutes or so saw both defences coping with anything thrown at them and neither keeper really warmed up, Ben Green found space down the Bradwell left but as he went to supply he slipped and dragged wide of the target whilst at the other end Jordan Gumbs put a decent ball into the six-yard area where a slight deflection took it into the path of Liam Bushay who drove past the post from close range. Scott Valentine slipped a pass inside the blue backline for Peter Maxey to flash across goal, a slight deflection along the way won a corner from which Dan Smith headed over, a corner to their opponents curled in by Joshua Fox found Ollie Flint at the front of the six-yard box and his glancing header flew wide of the far upright.

Own goal disallowed for offside

A free kick taken quickly saw Toby Cribb inside the area hit first time but again a defender on hand to block for a corner, Gumbs ventured forward from defensive duties but from twenty-five yards drove straight at Jahn before a free kick to his side saw the wind take over and the Bradwell custodian had to push away using both hands, their next move saw a cross from their right take both keeper and defence out of the game and running in Bushay had the whole goal to aim at but seemed to get caught in two minds and ended up chipping up into waiting gloves, there was still time for Flint to curl a free kick around the wall but straight at the shot stopper. H/T: 0-0

An early Marlow corner found Hurst at the back post whose header was blocked on the line with a follow up somehow diverted over the bar, Gumbs got down the flank to the byline before pulling back inside to Bushay who drove over the top, and a fifty-fifth minute free kick into the Bradwell box saw Smith divert past his own keeper but a raised flag saved his blushes. Green attempted to bend inside the top corner from eighteen yards however a slight touch earnt him a corner, Felix Prudden then powered his way into the penalty area to see an initial shot blocked, he followed that up by flashing across goal and wide and with ten minutes left Green from distance forced Marlow shot stopper Matthew Cannings to his right to gather, the final chance fell to Hurst whose over the shoulder attempt had Jahn using both hands to push away. F/T: 0-0

Both keepers prepare for penalty shoot-out


  • OBUFC – Jamie Cox scores 1-0
  • MUFC – Chris Hurst scores 1-1
  • OBUFC – Tommy Cooke saved 1-1
  • MUFC – Ollie Flint saved 1-1
  • OBUFC – Dale Collins saved 1-1
  • MUFC – Qwam Thomas scores 1-2
  • OBUFC – Ross Butler scores 2-2
  • MUFC – Adam Harman scores 2-3
  • OBUFC – Peter Maxey scores 3-3
  • MUFC – Alex Sethi misses 3-3

Sudden death:

  • OBUFC – Dan Smith scores 4-3
  • MUFC – James Namyslak scores 4-4
  • OBUFC – Jakk Pursey scores 5-4
  • MUFC – James Hardie saved 5-4

Attendance: 280

Please Note: If you use any of our material or images, please ensure you credit

For 2 pages (137 images) of matchday photography please click here:

BBFA; Sports Shots capture cup final places

Sports Shots are delighted to confirm our partnership this season with The Berks & Bucks FA to cover the photography for as many of their County Cup Finals as we can.

We started last weekend where we covered the Sunday Intermediate Cup Final in which Aylesbury Flooring beat FC Beaconsfield 3-0, and one of our images is already being used as their header on their cup finals page.

To view all the #BBFACountyCups for this season visit the BBFA website here:



Last weeks final action can be viewed here:

BBFA ST; Aston striker on a Staple diet of goals, goals, and goals

Saturday 10th November 2018

Didcot Town Development v Aston Clinton

Berks & Bucks Senior Trophy 3rd Round

Loop Meadow Stadium

K.O. 2.00pm

Aston Clinton travel to Hellenic League Division One East side Didcot Town Development on Saturday in Berks & Bucks Senior Trophy action, and whilst facing a side from a higher level Clinton know they are more than a match for anyone on their day following last seasons successes. Didcot will be a tough place to go despite their lowly league position, they’ve won their last four matches which were all cup fixtures, however Clinton have only lost once in their previous seven games in all competition and knocked out a step six side in the previous round when they beat Risborough Rangers from their own South Midlands league.

Chris Stapleton

Ahead of the game Sports Shots caught up with recent new signing Chris Stapleton who joined from Buckingham Athletic just a few weeks ago, and asked how he’d settled into his new club:

Aston Clinton is where I played all my youth football and I’m familiar with the club as a whole, which has enabled me to settle in really quickly. The lads have been great and its nice to see some familiar faces

Was the move an easy choice & how did it all come about?

Leaving Buckingham was such a hard decision for me and not one I took lightly. After one of my best seasons last year being top goal scorer & receiving players player, I was looking to continue into the new season. After a good start to the campaign I went on a family holiday but when I came back, I struggled to get back into the team, I had many conversations with the manager and he was aware I was unhappy, but he also had three other strikers to keep happy which isn’t easy I know. I just needed to get back playing again, scoring goals and enjoying my football, I knew I would get this at Clinton so dropping down a division wasn’t the hardest part of the decision for me

Chris has been scoring since joining, how has he found the standard of football?

I’ve started well and getting a few goals always helps with the confidence, to be honest the standard of football is very similar. All the teams in this league are strong and they all have their own qualities

The club sit mid table and are still in a couple of cup competitions, how well can the club do this term?

It’s still early days yet, the table is very tight but if we can get on a winning run, we could be right up there by time the Christmas period comes around, and then we could push on for the rest of the season. It’s good to be involved in any cup competitions and I’d like to see us go all the way, with the quality we have in the team there is no reason we can’t

We asked Chris how good he thinks the squad is at Aston, and if they could play at a higher level:

All the lads are playing well at the moment and there is a real togetherness about us, I personally have played with and against several of the squad at higher levels which is why I know just what we could be capable of. We have depth in the squad with real quality all over the pitch

Does Chris ever think that a South Midlands Division Two side could ever reach the Berks & Bucks final?

Football is a funny game, with the luck of the draw you just never know. There’s a first time for everything so fingers crossed, we just need to take each game as it comes and make sure we stay focused to give ourselves any chance of progressing

How will the squad be preparing for the game on Saturday?

I personally don’t know much about them, I’m not too sure if any of the other lads do either but we have to approach this game like any other. I’m sure they will be a decent side so we just need to prepare ourselves, work hard and look to come away with the win

Finally, how important is the Berks & Bucks cup for Chris?

I’ve played in this cup many times for a few different teams, it’s one of my favourite competitions and it would be great to win it with Aston. Hopefully this will be our year!

Thank you to Sports Shots for all your support and coverage, you all do a great job!

Sports Shots would like to thank Chris for his time this week

BBFA ST; Buckingham Athletic 2-1 Winslow United

Buckingham Athletic – 2

Winslow United – 1


Buckingham Athletic progressed in the Berks & Bucks Senior Trophy on Saturday at the expense of their closest rivals Winslow United to win a place in the fourth round and to also bag the local bragging rights for the second time this season after their league win back in August. United manager Paul Alleyne admitted afterwards that his side didn’t turn up, missing several regulars the Ploughmen were behind in the fifth minute to an early penalty, the lead doubled by half time although in truth it could have been many more had the hosts taken their chances. But when Winslow pulled a goal back half way through the second half the expected onslaught wasn’t as vociferous as many expected, the backline of blue shirts repelled everything thrown at them, and the final whistle saw last season’s semi-finalists bow out.

Athletic were gifted the chance to open the scoring after just five minutes when hesitation in the Winslow defence allowed Jack Menday to steal possession and drive into the box where a lunging tackle saw him floored and the referee point to the spot, Neil King making no mistake from twelve yards. Within moments of the goal the hosts won a corner on their right, Nick Bines curled it right into the middle of the goal where despite several bodies fighting to get a touch, Boateng claimed in mid-air and held on to deny any further damage, before a cross reached Robbie Carter in behind Alex McGowan but the Winslow centre half had done enough to distract the Athletic front man who could only glance his header wide.

United try to get back in the game when a ball down the right channel looked a lost cause until Jack Bowers chased it down and pulled back across the eighteen yard area, with the defence caught out the ball rolled on to Tom Brindley but he miskicked, looping the ball up in the air and the chance was gone. The next Ploughmen attack saw Bowers hit a fierce drive towards goal which saw a great block, the follow up by Marcus Hussey hitting a defender before spiralling out for a corner, the set piece was headed clear where from twenty yards Simon King lifted high over the crossbar. Just as the visitors looked to be getting a foothold in the game, the home side scored again on twenty-seven minutes thanks mainly to some great work by Sam Olawale.

Neil King opens scoring from the spot

Chasing down a long lost cause on their right he not only retrieved but kept the ball in play, on the byline he jinked past his marker before crossing and quickest to react was Rob MacDonald who met the cross at the near post to flick across goal and in the far corner. Winslow were on the attack from the restart, a long range effort from Simon King was charged down inside the penalty area before Harry Dalton faced a one on one with Buckingham custodian Josh McAdoo who dived bravely at the strikers feet, the ball rebounding towards the empty goal but the keeper was up in a flash to throw himself on the ball, at the opposite end a Neil King free kick was met by the head of Carter but under pressure from McGowan it was a regulatory save for Boateng.

The Ploughmen almost gifted a third to their hosts when Boateng failed to hold a header back from a colleague in his six-yard box, MacDonald was on it in a flash but an awkward bounce meant he didn’t connect and the keeper was able to recover and smoother. Another Athletic corner swung right into the six yard line saw Menday climb highest to head over, and in the final minute Dalton received a ball to the left of goal where he advanced towards the near post before firing across the goal face and wide of the back post. H/T: 2-0

It took less than thirty seconds of the second half for the home side to try and extend their lead, Menday exploring the space in midfield before driving over the top from twenty-five yards, before Carter got away down the right and from a tight angle flashed the ball towards the near post where Boateng had to get down well to stop with both hands. At the other end a Winslow corner saw Dan Parsons go up against Ryan Marsden at the far post, the United man heading back across goal where Ryan Kelsey was on hand to clear off the line.

Buckingham then could and probably should have put the game to bed when a United attack broke down and with Olawale fed inside the opposite half a break away saw three blue shirts attacking two yellow shirts, but the Ath youngster opted to pass early and it didn’t reach its target & the chance was gone in a flash. Chances still came their way as the game wore on, moving the ball from their right touchline across the eighteen yard line, Olawale onto MacDonald who rolled on towards Carter who left it purposely for Menday who lifted over the top.

Ryan Kelsey clears off the line

Winslow were then awarded a penalty on sixty-seven minutes when Ryan Coyle brought a premature end to a promising attack, Ryan Freshwater duly despatched to half the arrears and set up a thrilling final quarter to the tie. However, it wasn’t the end of the home side’s intent as both substitutes Kevin Owusu and new signing Immanuel Soetan combined well which resulted in the latter firing over the top from distance, moments later Carter was fed through and faced Boateng one on one, as the keeper came out to meet the striker he knocked the ball past him but too far to reach and a defender was close enough to smash to safety.

Winslow won a throw on their right which saw Simon King fed on the eighteen yard line with his back to goal, he turned his marker but could only drag his shot wide of the target, Dalton then had a double chance inside the box, his initial shot blocked the rebound fell nicely for him to try again but McAdoo got down well to his right to save the second effort. Soetan then enjoyed some space to the left of the United goal, twisting and turning three separate challenges he fired into the side netting, at the other end Parsons fizzed a low cross into the six-yard box where McAdoo dived bravely at the feet of Rondell Joe to smoother.

In added time Soetan drove at the United backline switching from one foot to the other and back again before blazing high over the top, and the final action saw a Dalton cross take a flick on inside the area that came back off the post and as bodies clambered to regain possession a raised flag halted play, with the whistle sounding just seconds later. F/T: 2-1

Attendance: 124

Please Note: If you use any of our material or images, please ensure you credit

After the game Sports Shots spoke with Athletic manager Neil Griffiths: 
And also with Winslow boss Paul Alleyne: 

For D James photography click here:

For A Bone photography click here:

BBST; Winslow team mates United in search of cup progress and league revenge

Saturday 3rd November 2018

Buckingham Athletic v Winslow United

Berks & Bucks Senior Trophy Third Round

Stratford Fields

K.O. 3.00pm

Stratford Fields

Winslow United face a trip for the second time this season to Stratford Fields where they square up to the old enemy in the Berks & Berks Senior Trophy and will be looking to avenge their defeat in the league fixture back in August. That evening a late Ash Farmer strike settled an end-to-end tussle between the local rivals, this time progression in the County Cup is at stake and with both squads having numerous changes since that early fixture a competitive cup tie is expected, Athletic have already warned that parking will be restricted and that car parks in the town should be used as a bumper crowd will be expected.

Ahead of the fixture Sports Shots caught up with long serving midfielder Grant Karwacinski, and defender Alex McGowan who joined from Aston Clinton earlier in the season, and we asked Alex first how he’s found life at Winslow since his move:

I’ve really enjoyed my time so far, the atmosphere around the team is great, and the support we get from the fans home & away, week in week out is second to none. I’ve tried to settle in as quickly as possible, and knowing some of the lads here was really helpful, overall I think it’s going really well

Grant has been at Winslow for a few seasons now, how does this squad compare to previous years?

This is definitely the best squad since my time at Winslow United! There is a lot of quality through out the team and that brings us a level of consistency each week

During his years at the club, there have been numerous changes of personal so just what has kept the midfielder at Elmfield Gate?

I enjoy being at the club on and off the field, it’s a very well run club with great support which I like. I’m not really one to keep changing teams regardless of the situation but this has fallen in my favour as Winslow have progressed massively over the past year or so. Obviously, age isn’t on my side anymore but I feel I can still contribute each week and I’m fortunate to have a good level of fitness so I’ll be about for a while yet

We asked Alex what he has found to be the main differences he’s found since the step up in divisions:

The organisation of sides & fitness levels would be the biggest differences in my opinion, every team is on the ball not just three quarters of them. The travelling isn’t too bad as we are all chipping in with sharing lifts etc, and with the momentum we have at the moment, the heavy schedule of matches is a bonus. Some of the strikers are harder to face though, being quicker & more intelligent with their movement and how they play

How did the defenders move come about & how difficult a decision was it?

It was a really difficult decision to make but I’ve known Paul (Alleyne) for a long time and I couldn’t turn down playing under him with the calibre of players at Winslow. I felt it was a good time to challenge myself at a higher level especially after having such a great season at Aston Clinton last year. It’s a great club and no doubt I’ll play there again at some stage in my career

Grant Karwacinski

We asked Grant which players this season have stood out?

There is an abundance of talent within our squad like D (Dan Parsons), Kingy (Simon King) & Freshie (Ryan Freshwater) but for me AK (Alex Kedzierski) stands out, he’s just a quality player. Good work rate, great passer of the ball, scores goals and keeps things ticking over

Have any players or opposition teams impressed Alex?

It’s easy to say but the whole squad has really impressed me, when you play & train with them you realise how good they actually are, some of the skill and fitness is quality. The only team I’ve faced that I was impressed with would be Harefield, but there is obviously a number of other sides which I haven’t played against yet that look good on paper

How does Grant see his role in the squad now, and are there any plans to go into coaching?

At the moment there is plenty of competition to get into the starting eleven, I’m not guaranteed a starting place like previous seasons but I just want to play as much as possible. It’s important that I take my chance when I do play but as long as the team is winning then that’s the most important thing. With regards to coaching, in all honesty it hasn’t crossed my mind!

And so to Saturday, how does Grant view the game?

It’s a huge game Saturday, not much introduction needed! We all know the importance of the game; a chance to put things right. We were poor in that last visit to The Ath so we owe them one, we owe it to our supporters for the bragging rights. We don’t really go into too much detail about players to watch because we know if we play to our abilities & our potential with our high tempo ethic then we are more than confident of winning, regardless of who we are playing

This is the first Ath v Winslow derby for Alex, has he had any warnings of what to expect?

I’ve played in derbies before but this seems to be different, the squad has been focusing on our midweek game but at the back of our minds Saturday’s game is there. We owe them after losing at the start of the season, I haven’t been made aware of anyone to look out for in particular, I’ll just focus on doing my job

Alex McGowan

Winslow are on a fine run of form of late which includes two wins against top of the table Harefield, and a mauling of Enfield last weekend, how did Alex rate those games:

I felt we expected more from Enfield to be honest, but we still did well not to slip up and we beat them comfortably. Harefield midweek was tough but the way we played for each other and battled we thoroughly deserved the win there too

Grant thought along the similar lines:

Definitely two superb wins & solid performances on both games. We played well with a good tempo and the hard work paid off, they were both very tough games against decent sides but we certainly deserved the win for both games. Onwards & upwards!

The Berks & Bucks Senior Trophy saw Winslow do well last season reaching the semi-finals, yet to have a home draw this term does Grant worry about away games, and how important is the competition?

This is a very decent cup to be in, we did really well last year but we want to go one better this season, it’d be great to go all the way this time out and yes it would be nice to get a home draw but it is what it is. I’d love a decent **** up after winning a trophy

Alex had cup success last year at his former club, he’d prefer a home draw at some point:

I think the team doesn’t mind too much about the draws but ideally it would be better to play at home where we know the pitch, and to have the full force of the fans behind us. This competition is at the top of the priority list, but then they all are! We want to win everything we take part in

Rounding up, we asked Alex to forward think to next May and to think about what would be a successful season for Winslow United:

The general gist around the club is that we want to gain promotion after coming so close last year, and obviously perform week in week out and to win some silverware. I want to play as much as possible and to win as much as possible

And Grant echoes the sentiment of promotion being the aim:

Ideally the target is getting out this division and pushing on to a higher standard, it’s a tough ask but it’s certainly achievable. If we can go and win a cup then that’d be great, but the league is our priority. Promotion would be a brilliant success story for us

Sports Shots would like to thank both Alex & Grant for their time this week.

BBST; Great Horwood 1-7 Winslow United

Great Horwood – 1

Winslow United – 7

Great Horwood were torn apart by their higher level guests on Saturday in this Berks & Bucks Senior Trophy second round tie, in persistent rain the goals flowed early on for United as they powered into a three goal lead inside the opening ten minutes that left the home side floored and no answer to the relentless waves of attacks that Winslow threw at them, a change of shape at the break stemmed the flow, however the completion of a hatrick for Harry Dalton saw the end scoreline reflect what had been a fairly comfortable afternoon for the Ploughmen.

The visiting side took the lead in the third minute when a free kick on the edge of the penalty arc saw Alex Kedzierski drill low into the bottom corner despite Horwood keeper Colin Solomon getting a hand to it, just a minute later a clearance off the line from a King shot after good work from Grant Karwacinski saw Winslow win a corner. From the set piece the ball was rolled along the eighteen yard line where King had time to look up before driving into the top corner to open his account for the afternoon.

King then threaded a ball through the home defence for Jack Bowers to chase after, shoulder to shoulder with defender Dale Armitage the pair tussled into the area where the Ploughman went down but the referee waved away the appeals, but Bowers got his goal when a long range effort from Marcus Hussey saw Solomon go down to his left to save but quickest to react was Bowers who tapped into the unguarded net.

Alex Kedzierski opens the scoring

It took until the eighteenth minute before the hosts had their first effort at goal, a throw worked across the box to Adam Dixon who fired wide, whilst a free kick a yard outside the corner of the box was curled over by Kedzierski at the opposite end. Winslow bagged their fourth on twenty-two minutes when a King free kick just outside the area on the right was curled around everyone including the flailing hand of Solomon and inside the far post.

Winslow looked like scoring every time they broke forward, a move that released King down the right saw him collect & drive into the box and hammer the ball across the goal face and wide just as Bowers was sliding in, but with eleven minutes of the half left the home side grabbed a lifeline when a ball over the yellow backline saw Dixon slot into the bottom corner. Any thoughts of a comeback were soon dashed as just three minutes later Dalton was fed eighteen yards out and escaping the attention of Adam Armitage he fired low into the bottom corner.

Horwood were almost punished further when Solomon rolled out from the back to Ryan Tappin who tried to break but Kedzierski was on him in a flash, sliding in he took possession from the winger and went for goal only to shoot straight at Solomon, before Anthony Ball strode forward from his defensive duties and forced the home keeper down to his left to deny any further damage ahead of the break. H/T: 1-5

Harry Dalton scores first of his treble

A change of formation at the break saw a much better start for the home side after the break, although they had much more possession they still couldn’t break down the United defence, one attack did see a cross headed clear and from just inside the box Dale Armitage, who was always leaning back lifted over Owusu Boateng in the Winslow goal, before a twenty yard free kick saw skipper Sam Archer curl over the top.

The visitors weathered the storm and duly scored again on sixty-five minutes when Dalton was fed down the left channel where he fired across Solomon and in off the far post, and he completed his hatrick moments later when again fed inside the area his shot deflected off a defender to loop over Solomon and in. Bowers then had a run at the home defence from deep in midfield, evading several challenges he worked himself into the box but just as he seemed destined to score he dragged his shot wide.

Dixon received the ball out on the left late on and his cross found substitute Gary Ridgway in front of goal whose excellent first touch deserved more but he turned to fire into the waiting gloves of Boateng, before the same pairing worked well again but Ridgway sliced his effort wide. F/T: 1-7

Please Note: If you use any of our material or images, please ensure you credit

After the match Sports Shots spoke to Horwood captain Sam Archer: 
And also former Winslow captain Nick Farrow: 
Finally we caught up with Winslow manager Paul Alleyne: 

For match photography click here:

BBFA ST; Defender hopes to sweep up whilst midfielder looks to Nick a win against former club

Saturday 6th October 2018

Great Horwood v Winslow United

Berks & Bucks Senior Trophy 2nd Round

Castle Fields

K.O. 3.00pm

Great Horwood take a break from recent league action this week-end as they take on neighbours Winslow United in the Berks & Bucks senior trophy, and face the side that are two levels higher, have only lost one of their last eight games & have scored thirteen goals in their last three games! But as this year’s competition has already shown league status counts for nothing, and a local derby throws form and expectations out the window, therefore any result is possible.

Berks & Bucks FA Senior Trophy

This week Sports Shots caught up with Horwood defender Ben Thickbroom, and first of all recent signing & former Winslow United captain Nick Farrow to ask how his summer move came about:

It was all due to unfortunate circumstances with Winslow having to fold their development team, which was for the benefit of the club for this season. It was an extremely hard decision to leave Winslow after twelve years there, but all good things must come to an end I guess, and who knows what will happen in the future. I had a few options & offers at the beginning of the season but I’ve always admired Great Horwood and the quality they have in their side for such a small village, I knew a few players here already which obviously helps when moving clubs, and I’ve received a great welcome from everyone I’ve met so far so I am very happy to have come here to play

How does Ben think his side have started their season?

We had a difficult start to our season with some poor results, and a lack of squad numbers due to other commitments. Thankfully the results have improved of late with a more settled team which is a positive. The league position doesn’t lie however and we know that to compete in this division you need to have depth and consistency, so we will take each game as it comes and see where we finish come the end of the season

Nick agreed that the confidence is growing:

We had a difficult start similar to Winslow, with players missing it just took us a few games to find our feet. We have played some very attractive football and have gone four games unbeaten in all competitions so confidence is high amongst the squad. We have climbed the table after some decent wins recently and I’m sure I can speak for everyone when I say we are only looking to improve on this over the next few games and keep this winning run going

How has the season started for Ben Thickbroom, and where does he see his best position being?

It was a difficult start for me having come back from injury which meant I didn’t have a proper pre-season, although my form & fitness have picked up recently with more game time. My best position is where ever the gaffer puts me, which usually is either as a right back in a four man defence, or wing back if we play as a five

Nick Farrow scores during Winslow days

Nick also feels his start has been hampered:

I would have to say that I had a bit of a slow start, with a limited pre-season and not having played in any friendlies it has taken me a while to play at a level that I am happy with. But after getting some games under my belt I’m starting to feel I can run for more than ten minutes now! I’ve been playing in a new position so it has taken me a bit of time to adapt, but I’m starting to feel a lot happier with my contribution to the team, and finally got myself on the score sheet in my last game. I’m not sure if I have a best position to be honest, I’m happy to play wherever the gaffer tells me to and as long as we win it doesn’t bother me

We asked Ben how he feels the Horwood squad has shaped up this season:

We have managed to keep hold of the squad from last season and build on that with the return of Dale Armitage, the signing of Nick from Winslow and more recently Gary Ridgway who played most recently at Kempston Rovers, all of which provide a competitive edge and are good quality additions. On top of these Andrew Brunning has been coming back from a serious injury and will be a welcome addition when he is fully fit

With their recent success, what does Ben think the secret to success in the NBDL league is?

That’s a difficult question, typically the teams that have performed well in this league have been physical, and control games from start to finish. As a team Horwood have always played a passing style of football but have lacked physical strength, we have however tried to improve this in recent years with the player additions across the team

Which players have impressed Nick so far in his new club, and what differences are there compared to his former club?

Well first of all I’ve been impressed with the style of football Great Horwood want to play as a whole club, we are always being encouraged to play short & simple football which has been very pleasing to be a part of. From what I have seen so far, we play the best football in the league although I haven’t played against Duston yet, and we always try to play the game the right way! In terms of players that have impressed there are many, but I must say that Dale Armitage & Brandon Bowes have impressed with their energy and hard work out on the wings, they have both been pivotal in getting our season up and running

And what differences are there compared to the South Midlands League?

The North Bucks league is a whole different game compared to the South Midlands, as most teams in that league attempt to play football whilst the NBDL is more physical and direct. I think this will be a great game on Saturday as I know both teams will be getting the ball down and playing good football

Ben Thickbroom

We asked Ben how he feels his side can do against higher level Winslow this weekend?

We are in good form of late and are looking to keep that run going, so will look to play our football and give a good account of ourselves. In more recent years Horwood have had a love affair with the County Cup and love pulling off a giant killing or two against teams from, on paper, higher levels! The gaffer and his management team watched Winslow in their midweek hammering of Buckingham Town and will be looking to take his analysis of that game to formulate a game plan

If Horwood are to progress in the competition, where does he think they need to better than Winslow?

From speaking with the gaffer, Winslow play a quick & direct game, so to counter this we will need to reduce their ability to play direct and cut out their channel balls. As a team we like to play in a similar fashion, so on paper this game looks to be a good attacking game

Nick knows what his side need to do:

I think it’s key to be better than Winslow from front to back, side to side and all over the pitch for ninety plus minutes! We know the quality they have in their side, but we are certainly not lacking in our own players who can change things and win games. Horwood have previously knocked out Buckingham Athletic in this competition, so playing against a slightly better South Midlands team won’t be anything new to this squad. On paper we are underdogs going into the game, but I haven’t spoken to one player who is not confident of progressing into the next round

Does Nick see himself managing in future at senior level, and what would his dream job be?

I would have thought so. I had a brilliant time being player manager at Winslow last season, it was a great insight and learning curve for myself as I’ve only been coaching at junior level previously. It’s also made me realise how tough a job it is at non-league level & I have massive respect for anyone who is in charge of a team involved in non-league football. I’m thoroughly enjoying playing at Great Horwood and don’t have any plans to manage until I retire from playing. In terms of a dream job at this level, if you find it let me know where it is!

We asked Ben for his opinions on what Nick has brought to the club, and how he thinks the game will be against his former team mates:

Nick is a Winslow lad so I’m sure there will be a strange feel to the game for him, however he has settled in really well since joining and has slotted straight into the team. He is a box to box midfielder who gives one hundred percent and also has an eye for goal, I am sure he will be looking to put in a decent performance against his former club and help us to get to the next round

Rounding up with Ben, we asked if he has any friends there he would like to get one over:

No, I don’t really know any of the Winslow squad but I know the proximity of the two clubs will add spice to the game, hopefully it will be a competitive & good quality game which the spectators will enjoy. Everyone at Great Horwood FC would like to thank Sports Shots once again for the opportunity to preview our game & look forward to talking to you again soon, keep up the good work!

Finally, we asked Nick to predict who gets the first yellow card on Saturday:

The first name that comes into my head would by Kingy (Simon) for historical reasons! But he’s too busy banging in free kicks and thirty-yard screamers to worry about bookings, and I haven’t been booked yet this year so maybe I’m overdue? Lastly, I just want to say a massive thank you to Sports Shots for all the hard work you guys put into the local non-league football scene. It’s been great sitting back and seeing all the fantastic content you bring to the game

Sports Shots would like to thank both Ben & Nick for their time this week

BBFA ST; Winslow keeper confident his side have fully risen from the Ash-es

Saturday 6th October 2018

Great Horwood v Winslow United

Berks & Bucks Senior Trophy 2nd Round

Castle Fields

K.O. 3.00pm

Winslow United are back in cup action this week with two games in four days in trophy competitions, beginning on Saturday with another local trip in the Berks & Bucks senior trophy as they visit Great Horwood in the second round. After winning at Mursley in the previous round, Paul Alleyne’s men face North Bucks & District League side Horwood who are second in their division and have won their last four league games, so again another tricky obstacle for last season’s semi-finalists awaits.

Sam Ashmead

This week Sports Shots caught up with United keeper Sam Ashmead to ask how he feels his side have started the season:

I feel after a shaky start we have now begun to show more of the good dominant football from last season, we are a very good footballing side with lots of ability. I personally believe it was just the confidence in the side that was the issue to start with, we had lost two players who over last season had scored over seventy goals between them, but spirit is up now and our performances are back up

How does Sam feel he has started the season?

In terms of my personal fitness I have lost over four stone since the end of last season and have put a lot of work into getting fit and up for this season. I feel I have had a good start with some good performances, making some crucial saves, I had a run of six games with clean sheets at the end of last season so it would be nice to start pulling some more from our performances

Just how much did the upheaval at the start of the season affect the squad, and are things more settled now?

As I mentioned earlier, the loss of two players who had scored so many goals last season disrupted us all, mixed with a couple of defeats at the start of the season our morale wasn’t great. But we’ve started scoring goals again, and some crucial players are back and performing, also the return of Peck (Sean Coles) will make a huge difference

We asked if there had been any stand out players so far this term:

Personally I wouldn’t say there has been any one stand out player, as a team we have all stepped up from the start of the season & pulled together. Alex (McGowan) has been a great addition to our back four, with Peck returning now and Tom (Brindley) back & scoring goals things are definitely looking up

How were the last two away games for Winslow which saw defeat in the FA Vase and a last gasp draw at Wodson Park?

The Bedfont game we didn’t show up collectively and with the chances they had I think we were lucky to come away with just a two goal defeat. The match then at Wodson was just bad game management, we have addressed the issues from those performances and corrected things as you can see from our last result

How was the game midweek at Buckingham Town?

We started very well with Peck scoring after about nineteen seconds and then going two up within five minutes or so. Once those goals went in it made the evening a lot easier for us as it took most of the fight out of them, they managed to claw a goal back which I was personally very disappointed with after a string of saves, but a very good performance managing this game as we reduced them to one shot on goal in the second half

How difficult will this week be against a side from a lower level?

These cup games are more difficult than any, we as a team know how we feel when we are playing levels above us, it put’s that extra buzz through you and the fight & determination seems to step up with that. So we will not be expecting an easy game as they will be looking for the scalp

Finally, does Sam have any former team mates to look forward to playing against?

Personally I don’t have any no, and even if I did that all goes away when the whistle goes at the start of the game, we look to get the job done regardless of who we are playing

Sports Shots would like to thank Sam for his time this week

BBFA ST; Rangers stalwart confident his team are on upward Slope

Saturday 6th October 2018

Grendon Rangers v Hanslope

Berks & Bucks Senior Trophy 2nd Round

The Village Hall

K.O. 3.00pm

Grendon Rangers under somewhat of a revolution have a great opportunity on Saturday to progress in the Berks & Bucks senior trophy as they host North Bucks & District side Hanslope. Currently enjoying a three game unbeaten run, which includes their penalty shoot-out win at much fancied Pitstone & Ivinghoe in the previous round, Rangers now look ahead to facing a side from a level below and who are yet to win this season but this seasons competition has already thrown a few banana skins meaning Grendon must tread carefully.

Stuart Leonard

This week Sports Shots caught up with defender Stuart Leonard to ask if he feels the club has finally settled down since the new management took over in the summer:

It does, we have gone through a few tough times in recent seasons with managerial changes & player turnover, and managers playing whilst managing, which we did for much of last year which was not ideal! The committee here are great and they work tirelessly to ensure the club continues to move forward, Steve (Jackman) and Alan (Ostler) have come in and have a clear plan for what they want to achieve and already they have the ‘buy in’ from the players, which is half the battle. The players are reacting well and gaining a great deal from Steve’s experiences of higher level football & all of us are learning in training

How does the Grendon legend feel he has started the season?

The gaffer has come in and put his faith in quite a few of the players who have been here for a while, whilst bringing in some positive additions, so it’s nice to get the opportunity. I probably didn’t expect to still be playing at my age, but I still have a drive to improve and help the team, and really enjoy playing and working hard in training, & also helping the younger players if they need it, it seems a long time ago from signing for the club for Scott Reynolds, but it’s still very enjoyable.  We have a fairly settled back four at the moment & Jason Riddell & I have a good understanding, but we need to ensure that continues as competition for places is strong and you’re only as good as your last performance, which defensively against Pitstone was not as good as it should have been

The club suffered three heavy defeats in their first four games of the season, how does Stuart remember those games?

Realistically, like most other sides, early season results can be hit & miss given player availability, holidays and the cricket season. I didn’t play in the games against New Bradwell or Bovingdon, but we learnt a lot from these and have used them to help our recent results. The game against Amersham we went with a bare eleven & battled hard, which is all we could ask for on the night against higher level opponents. The win over Mursley showed us we can compete with good sides in the division and that we can do well this season

Since then the club are unbeaten including two eye catching wins at Pitstone, how were those games?

It was pleasing to go through on penalties in the first game & beating one of the higher placed teams in the division, which gave us confidence for the Tring game where we were well worth the win. Last time out, we went down to ten men on the hour mark and Pitstone scored almost immediately, so we illustrated our team spirit to come back and get the win, where we were under pressure for long periods. The pleasing things from the gaffer’s point of view is that we were able to adapt to the situation and produced quality in the final third of the pitch at the right time. Defensively we have generally been good, but we looked lacklustre at times against Pitstone, so we need to ensure we work hard on that

On to county cup matters this week against a side from a lower league, how dangerous is it to under estimate these fixtures:

All games are the same regardless of what league you’re in or where you are in that league. Hanslope beat a good New Bradwell team to get this far, so we approach the game as any other in terms of attitude & application

Does it feel like the squad is now more settled and the season is properly underway, or are there still areas of caution to be wary of?

Definitely more settled, availability is key to this which dictates the strength of the side and the bench. We have a clear way that Steve & Alan want us to play, and we work on this in each training session. There is much better competition for places this year which is a good thing to have, as this pushes players in both training & during matches to produce their best and not be complacent

Which players have stuck out for Stuart so far?

We have a stronger squad this season with additions from higher levels. Sol Janecki has shone in the centre midfield role so far, giving us added energy and goals, including a great hatrick against Pitstone. Mohammed Adam who was recommended to us by Scott Reynolds from Aylesbury FC is a real livewire with real pace, and with guidance & experience can become a really good goal scorer. Young Jack Bonson in his first introduction to senior football is also another good talented lad and has played well when his opportunities have come along. We have a lot more attacking threats this season with the quality we have brought in, so as defenders it’s down to us to do our basics well & give these boys their chance to shine in the final third

Finally, we asked how important is it to have that local feel to a lower level non-league football club?

It’s not necessarily the way these days and it’s not always essential, but in our case having Steve at the club where he started, and being a Grendon lad had had a hugely positive impact on everyone in and around the club. He has remained true to the ethos of the club and has brought in players who have made a positive impact, as opposed to flooding it with people who move around from club to club. We are a club who try to remain true to our roots of giving all local players the opportunity to play football and this is something that we will continue to do

Sports Shots would like to thank Stuart for his time this week