Saturday 3rd November 2018
Buckingham Athletic v Winslow United
Berks & Bucks Senior Trophy Third Round
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
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
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.