Sunday League rivals set for crunch encounterBy Adam Lee
December 05, 2008
Despite the season not even reaching the half-way point, many have already conceded that the Bracknell Sunday League title is on it’s way back to Great Hollands with William Twigg Albion.
However, on Sunday, two of the teams best placed to challenge the former Berks & Bucks Cup winners meet in what is likely to be a highly-charged affair.
Finchampstead Athletic and Wokingham United have dropped just a handful of points between them this season, and although both clubs admit that Twigg are probably the strongest side in the league this year, they will still push the current leaders all the way.
Wokingham manager Mark Ferguson, after seeing his side win four of their opening five league games, is now adamant that they can at least compete for second spot, and knows the winner of Sunday’s game at Finchampstead Memorial Ground (kick off 10.30am) will receive a huge shot in the arm for their challenge.
“We normally make a poor start and come strong as the season wears on, but it’s gone the other way this season,” said Ferguson.
“We’ve only been beaten by the Twigg in the second game of the season, and we were originally thinking about a top-four finish, but now, hopefully, we’re looking at the top two.
“Twigg are very, very difficult side to beat and they win games quite comfortably, and when you’re playing catch up against them you’ve got very little chance.
“We need other teams to do us a favour but there’s still a long way to go.
“This one (against Finch) is a very big game for us because they’re unbeaten all season so I think it’ll be a good game.
“It’s on their pitch which is always nice, so if both teams can play some good football i should be a cracker.
“I want the three points and we’re definitely going out to win it.
“Finch have always got a good young side so it’ll be a tough game and anyone who can do as well as they have against the Twigg has to be pretty useful.”
These are sentiments shared by Finchampstead club secretary and Sunday League Vice President Neville Batt, who believes the side has exceeded all expectations since being elevated from Division 1 last year.
“We’re undefeated and have only lost one game so it should be quite a good one,” he said.
“The team was the Reserve side last year and they’ve done very well so far this season considering they are quite a young team.
“They drew with the Twigg in the league and then dumped them out of the cup as well so they’ve shown they’re not afraid of the big sides.
“I knew they’d hold their own in the Premier Division and now we’re hoping that they can at least make it until Christmas undefeated.
“They are a confident team and I think we could come runners up because it looks like the Twigg are going to win the league.
“They just go out to win every game – they’ll just want to finish as high up the league as they can and maybe win the cup.”
Both sides, however, have been hit by injuries and absentees ahead of the game, although both their top scorers are available.
“There’s a few players out and it’s certainly not their strongest team available,” said Batt.
“There aren’t any prolific dangermen, they just work hard as a team, although Harry Swabey has been the top scorer.”
Ferguson said: “I’ve got a couple missing, including Eddie Lynskey my centre back and Darren Thorne our striker.
“Pat Selby is our match winner though, because he scores week in week out.
“He’s scored about 19 goals in seven games so far this season, and with the goals he’s scored on a Saturday (playing for Wokingham & Emmbrook A) he’s almost at the 50-goal mark and it’s not even Christmas.”
Elsewhere in the league this Sunday, Winkfield can close the gap on leaders Twigg if they beat Crowthorne, while Woodley Hammers travel to Sunninghill Athletic looking to cement their place at the top of Division 1.
First play fourth in Division 2 as Bracknell Galaxy face The Old Manor, while in Division 3, the two teams with unbeaten league records, Keephatch Park and Queen’s Head, square up.
There’s a glut of big games in Division 4 as leaders FC A1 Group take on The Birch, and second placed William Twigg Res take on third placed Loddon Valley Rangers.