Saturday 6th October 2018
Great Horwood v Winslow United
Berks & Bucks Senior Trophy 2nd Round
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.
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 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
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