NBDL; Horwood duo ready to go Inter battle for semi-final place

Saturday 16th March 2019
Potterspury v Great Horwood
North Bucks Interdivisional Trophy Quarter-Final
Castle Fields
K.O. 2.30pm

Great Horwood travel to local rivals Potterspury on Saturday for the quarter-final of the North Bucks & District Football League Inter Divisional Knockout Trophy, and it couldn’t be any tighter as the third & fourth placed side are separated in the league by just a single place and a single point. There has been no love lost between these two sides over the past few seasons, and a place in a cup semi-final for the winners of this will be the last reason either side want to win this fixture, and with both sides only having seven league games left each they still have to do battle at each other’s venues in the Premier Division after this game. Pury have won two cup ties but lost two league games in their last four outings, Horwood have three wins and a draw in theirs in all competition, neither side really mounting a serious threat to league leaders Dunston who look quite comfortable at the top of the table with a fifteen point gap albeit having played more games than all their nearest rivals, this cup is looking the only likelihood for either of these sides of silverware from their NBDL campaign this time around, the winners of this tie will go on to face either Stewkley or Deanshanger in the semi-final.

Frankey Tarrant

This week Sports Shots caught up with Horwood stalwart Andy Brunning and first of all we asked Frankey Tarrant how long he’s been at the club, how it all came about and how much he enjoys it there:

I originally joined Horwood about five years ago before leaving two years later, I quickly realised I’d made a mistake moving on, and re-signed two years ago. I ended up at Horwood mainly due to captain Sam Archer, he would spend his Saturday nights following me round The Junction asking me to join Horwood, at first I was reluctant but after many messages and promises from the captain himself I thought I’d give it a go. Its common knowledge that I have a few teams on my CV but I haven’t enjoyed my football anywhere else as much as Horwood, it’s a passionate club with a fantastic group of people, from the team, to the committee and throughout the village. Being a Horwood player is a decision I will never regret!

Andy has also been here a long time:

I was part of the first under eighteen Horwood team and then played for three years in my first stint and then another seven years on my second

How has Andy found this season in terms of his own fitness?7

I have had a good season fitness wise, having missed the whole of last season due to rupturing my ACL in 2017. I was due to be back to playing around Christmas 2018 but have found myself playing since the third or fourth game of the season, and scoring a few goals on the way

Frankie feels he has missed a lot of pitch time:

My season so far has been a pretty inconsistent one, in terms of health I’m the fittest I have been for a few years. Unfortunately with picking up a regrettable red card at a vital time and the league disappointing with the organisation of games along with not being able to play in the Oving cup competition, I have had to miss more games than I would like to. I feel like I contribute a lot towards the team, on and off the pitch, I know my team can rely on me to put in a shift come three o’clock on a Saturday, however with the inconsistency this year I don’t feel like I’ve been able to give my very best to the team, but there are still plenty of important games between now and the end of the season

How good does Frankie think the Horwood squad is this season, and which players have impressed?

I believe this Horwood team has massively underachieved this year, we have a fantastic team with a lot of really good individual players but despite this we haven’t been able to pick up them important wins that you need if you want to compete for the league title. A player that has impressed me so far is Dale (Armitage), he took a season away from here but like me soon realised that it’s hard to enjoy your football anywhere else after you’ve been a Horwood player. Since his return he is like a different player, so much stronger on the ball and I even witnessed him make a tackle on Saturday, one thing he’s always been good at is going on a little mazy run before going through on goal and missing!

Andy Brunning

Andy picks a couple of different team mates:

 We have a really strong team this year, which is why the results have been disappointing to take, however we are still deep into a few cups and aiming for a good finish in the league. Brandon Bowes has impressed me this year, he just keeps popping up in pockets of space and Gary Ridgeway has been a great addition with that wand of a left foot

What is Andy’s preferred position in the side?

I either play central forward or off the right hand side, for me I’m best centrally but at the moment just happy to be back playing after such a long layoff

Where does Frankey see his best position?

My favoured position is one of two, either central midfield which I am more known for, however I boast a good record at centre back playing there five times this year and not losing a game. The best formation is a four-three-three, this allows me to sit deep in midfield and do the all-important dirty work that other people don’t like doing

The last three Horwood games have seen wins over Silverstone & Towcester sandwiched by a draw at Olney, how did Frankey see these games?

The last three games we have played very well, we were the best team in all three fixtures and should have took the win against Only but as you kindly stated in our previous interview the grass was too long…. We aim to push on from these fixtures and have a really strong finish to the end of the season

Andy feels his team are now gaining some momentum:

The performances in the last three games have been really promising for us, feels like we are getting into the swing of things and playing some good football, it’s always tough to get a win away at Silverstone, the draw at Olney was slightly disappointing as we had the chances to get the victory, then the win against Towcester was one of our best all round performances of the season. The only downside was Stuart Parker getting sent off for having a little too much to say for himself

With Potterspury this week, does Andy enjoy playing these local derbies?

I personally always look forward to the games against Potterspury, over the last few years we have had some great games against them. They are well organised and very direct, with our style of play being very different it always makes for an interesting battle. Normally in this fixture, the team that gets drawn into the others style of football is the team that gets beaten

Frankey feels Horwood just need to concentrate on themselves for this game:

Yes Horwood v Potterspury has always been a fiery affair as late, both teams have been strong for a number of years now, saying this we’ve had some great, exciting games against them, and I know Saturday will be no different. Having not faced them so far this season it’s hard to comment on their main threats as I don’t even know how they have been doing this year. They’re always a strong, physical side, as Horwood we just need to concentrate on ourselves and not get involved in their silly games. Be strong, play our own game and we stand a good chance of winning

What is the target for the remainder of this season in the eyes of Frankey?

Our aim for the rest of the season is almost definitely to win the cups we are still in however we go into every game with the same mindset and that is to win so whilst going for the cups we all aim to finish as high as possible in the league

Andy does not see either league or cup as any more important than the other:

I don’t think we have a priority and there is no reason we can’t do both, obviously it’s always nice to pick up a trophy at the end of the season but we have high expectations and want to finish as high in the table as possible

Finally we asked Andy if he could choose any team mate to go on any TV programme who and what would he choose:

Ryan Lightfoot on Strictly Come Dancing, he has a background in Latin American and ballroom but is an absolute sucker for a samba! I’d just like to also say a big thank you to Andy, Lorna, Dale and the Sports Shots team, what you guys have done over the last few years is amazing and has made following local sport so easy, keep up the good work!

Frankey picks another colleague:

I would choose Sid Hawkins, to go on ultimate fighter, I could see him putting up a good fight against Fedor Emelianenko, Stuart Parker can be his little mascot!

Sports Shots would like to thank both Frankey & Andy for their time this week

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