Carterton Town Ladies finished second in the Thames Valley League Division 1 last season. A very creditable league position that came on the back of several successful seasons where the team had slipped below third place since the 2017-18 season's sixth spot. They only lost four in the league, two of which came against runaway champions Badshot Lea. The club had this to say about the new season - "At Carterton we are really looking forward to starting our campaign in the Southern Region Division 1 North. It is great for the club and will be a good challenge for the players. Unfortunately we have had some players depart, however rebuilding is going well and we can’t wait to get started. We are hoping that playing at this level will also attract some local talent and we can progress further in the future."
Caversham United (Thames Valley Counties Division 1 - 6/9)
One of my favourite games of last season was the Women's FA Cup clash between QPR and Caversham United (Blues and Twos). The Goats went down 4-0 in the end but the team, to a woman, gave everything on the day. It was certainly no disgrace to lose to a very well organised and talented side three steps above them in the pyramid.
Goats manager Georgia Graham had this to say about the forthcoming challenge - "The team are really excited at the prospect of playing in the SRWFL Div. One North next season. We’ve been back in training now since the beginning of July and our pre-season is taking shape nicely. We’ve had 3 friendlies so far, all really good workouts for the ladies and some impressive performances. We’ve upped our training regime from last season and everyone is working hard ready for our opening game against Kidlington."
Eversley & California (Southern Region Division 1 South - 10/10)
Eversley & California are another team that came through the Thames Valley League but, unlike this season's other joiners, they entered the Southern Region League last season in Division One South. Last season wasn't their greatest as they struggled a little at this level, finishing bottom of the league with three wins and a draw from their eighteen outings. However, the experience of playing at this level will no doubt stand them in good stead this year.
Kidlington (Thames Valley Counties Division 2 - 1/10)
The Greens are the team making the biggest leap for the new season, having played two divisions below last year. They did, however, win Division Two at the first time of asking having been promoted from the newly created Division 3 West the previous season. They showed their title winning potential in January and, although not the game that actually attained the league for them, the 4-1 win at closest rivals Slough Town was probably the point that Kidlington staked their title claim. The following week BotP had the privilege to see Kidlington play Caversham United in the League Cup (Greens Fed To The Goats). The Goats eventually ran out 4-1 winners but, as I said in the full time round-up, Kidlington really made them work for the win and certainly showed they are capable of competing at this level.
Long Crendon (Thames Valley Counties Division 1 - 3/9)
Long Crendon finished third in the Thames Valley League Division 1, just a point shy of Carterton. However, looking at the current form table for the end of last season, Long Crendon were the team who ended with a flourish, taking 13 points from their last 18 available, scoring 12 and only conceding 3. I'm sure they will be looking to take that sort of form into the new season.
Milton United (Southern Division 1 South - 9/10)
Like Eversley & California, Milton United played in the Division One South last season after joining the league alongside their former Thames Valley league-mates last season. They too struggled a little at this level, finishing second from bottom, a point above Eversley but, as with Eversley, an extra season of experience at this level will have done them no harm whatsoever.
Penn & Tylers Green (Thames Valley Counties Division 1 - 4/9)
Penn & Tylers Green were the only team to beat Badshot Lea in the league last season and also took the Berks & Bucks Trophy with a 3-0 victory over Caversham United, a game that BotP was lucky enough to watch (Merritt Award).
Women's team coach and club Chairman Nigel Miller had this to say - "We have made meteoric progress over the last 2 seasons. Winning Div 3 of the Thames valley , being promoted to Div. 1 and coming 4th. We also won the B and B Women's trophy last year. Being promoted to the Southern League is a great reward for the work of the players and everyone at the club. We will now play at the same level as our men's team (step 6 ) and will play in the FA Cup for the first time. Preseason is going very well and we played Badshot last Sunday running out 4-2 winners in an excellent match. We are very proud of what we have achieved over the last 10 years since I set up the girls and ladies section and the club. Have supported us all the way. We are one of the only clubs in the area which treats the ladies equal to the men, ie no subs, play on the same main pitch etc. We are looking forward to a great season ahead, new challenges new teams to visit and goals to achieve. Player wise we have added 5 of our U18 players from last year plus two 16 year old players into the squad which is excellent for them and the club."
Woodley United (Southern Region Premier - 9/9)
Woodley may well be seen as the pre-season favourites. Having come down from the Premier League last season they have certainly got the edge when it comes to experience at this level of the game.
BotP caught up with United coach Marc Surtees - "Pre-season has gone well for us. Having been relegated last season the aim was to rebuild this season and attract new players. We have been regularly getting 15-16 players at training which is good considering it is holiday season. The ladies have worked hard during training and it’s good to see them smiling at the end of each session. We have managed to attract new players and entice players that left to come back. There are still a couple of signings required but hopefully they will happen soon. We have had 2 pre-season matches so far and it has been good to give everyone good minutes on the pitch. The result don’t matter to me, it’s about getting used to each other and playing again. I have been impressed with what I have seen so far in the matches. The ladies have really taken on board how we want to play.
Objectives for the season, I am sure a lot would say we want to win the league and I would go along with that but my main aim is to be competitive in the league, keep a good team spirit with good competition for places and with that, hopefully we can bring success to the team."
Kidlington v Caversham United
Exeter Park, OX5 1AG
Milton United v Long Crendon
Potash Lane, Milton Heights, OX14 4XB
Penn & Tylers Green v Carterton Town
French School Meadow, Elm Road, Penn, HP10 8LG
Woodley United v Eversley & California
University of Reading Bulmershe Pavilion, Woodlands Avenue, Woodley, RG5 3HE
(please let me know if any of these details are incorrect)
If you wish to follow the teams:
I am hoping to get to see all of the teams in action over the course of the season but the success of this blog will depend upon content coming from the clubs and supporters. If you have anyone who writes match reports for your club or takes photos of matches, I will be more than happy to either reproduce the articles (with full credit of course) or add links to them in the weekly updates.
A big thank you to everyone who contributed to Edition 1.
Let's make this THE weekly blog for Division 1 North. With well over 5,000 Twitter followers BotP can provide a good platform to get the word out. Women's football is the future. Let's #MakeAD1N.