Saturday 31st March 2018
Great Horwood v Towcester Town
North Bucks League Premier Division
The North Bucks League Premier Division title race hots up this week-end with third placed Great Horwood hosting top placed Towcester Town at Castle Fields. Horwood were pushed down to third last week by Hanslope who beat Brackley Spots by the incredible scoreline of eighteen goals to nil, which drew them level with Horwood but the goals difference tally now significantly better. However, Horwood sit just four points off top place Towcester, but with three games in hand are in prime position to mount a serious title push.
Stability has helped the side this season, with nine players having started thirteen or more games, and up front have Adam Dixon who has fifteen goals in sixteen games (FA Full Time), but this is the first meeting of these two sides in the league this term, the reverse fixture set for the season finale in May. Horwood haven’t played a league game since 20th January due to the weather and various cup competitions, in which they have reached the Oving Cup Final on Monday against Long Crendon, reached the inter-divisional cup final where they wait for either Duston, Stony Stratford or Silverstone, and lost in the premier division cup to Duston at the quarter-final stage just two weeks ago.
The hosts have not lost in the league since October, whilst Towcester have lost their last two games one of which was a cup game, their league defeat at home to Deanshanger three weeks ago their first in the league since September. Hopefully the weather will not intervene, and these two title fighting sides can do battle, with the lighter evenings now available the title run in begins here.
Ahead of the game Sports Shots caught up with Horwood keeper Ian McStraw & defender Stuart Parker, and asked Stuart how big the game is for Horwood:
Saturday is a massive game for us, yes we have games in hand, but we need to ensure that we turn them into points. With home advantage we will be looking to close the gap and try to make things a little easier going into April which is going to be a very busy month for us, with plenty of midweek games coming up it won’t be easy. Despite winning plenty of cups over the past few seasons the club have never won the Premier Division title, so this is the one all the lads want to achieve this season
Ian agreed on the magnitude of this fixture:
This week’s game against Towcester is probably our biggest game of the season so far, they have points on the board, but we have the games in hand to catch them and overtake them, and we know the two games against Town are massive for Great Horwood FC
We asked Ian what has been the secret to the success at Horwood this season?
We have had a very consistent team this season, and we are much stronger in depth than previous years, and the spirit within the team is sky high
Stuart agreed their success has been built on the improved squad:
If I’m honest we haven’t played too many league games due to having some good cup runs & also the weather, but we have only lost three games all season so that in itself brings confidence to the squad. We haven’t got the biggest of squads, but we seem to have found a fairly settled formation & spine to the team which really helps. However, this will all be tested going into April with eleven league games still to play. Having good players who have played at a higher level is an added bonus!
What does Stuart expect from Towcester?
The last couple of seasons have all been very close games, so I expect Saturday to be no different, especially with so much at stake for both clubs. They are a physical side but we just have to ensure we continue to play the football that has got us into this position
Horwood haven’t played a league game since the 20th January, and we asked Ian how it affects the squad:
Having not played in the league for so long is frustrating but we have had such success in the cups, mixed with the weather we’ve had it makes it hard to get the consistency needed. But our lads can miss a week then turn up and still manage to play some decent football
How does Ian view Horwood’s leading scorer this season Adam Dixon:
Adam Dixon (Dicko) is in fine form and having played with Dicko for a number of seasons I have seen him score consistently, but he does seem hungrier this season
We asked Stuart how disappointing the Premier Division cup quarter-final defeat to Duston was:
Obviously it was very disappointing, we want to win every game and every competition we are involved in. Conditions and preparation were not ideal and we didn’t play anywhere near the level we have been at for most of the season. However, it may turn out to be a blessing in disguise and help us get a few more league games in on Saturday’s rather than midweek. We are already into the Inter-Divisional final, and also the Oving Cup final on Easter Monday, so we still have plenty of silverware up for grabs, but the league is our priority
Ian looked ahead to the season finale:
The clocks going forward last week bring lighter evenings, and with the amount of games we have left we could see three games a week which isn’t ideal, but I’m sure we can overcome any fixture pile ups and go on to lift the title
Finally, we asked Stuart how he feels his season has been:
It’s been enjoyable thus far, as it tends to be when you’re winning games, & I’m back playing in defence where my career started as a junior, after playing many seasons up front. We have a great bunch of lads here who all get on well off the pitch, which helps us on the pitch. Scoring both goals in the semi-final of the Inter-Divisional cup away at Potterspury was a personal highlight
Sports Shots would like to thank both Ian & Stuart for their time this week.
For more information on The Oving and District Villages’ Cup Competition, one of the oldest cup competition’s in the whole of the country, click here: http://www.ovingvillagecup.com/Pages/History.html
For full list of previous winners click here: http://www.ovingvillagecup.com/Pages/PastFinals.html