I must admit, I knew very little about the Reg Davis Memorial Charity Cup, so many thanks to Gloucestershire Northern Senior League Secretary John Green for his quick and concise response to my enquiry. The Cup was created as a mark of respect for former President and Chairman Reg Davis, who had also been associated with the league through Frampton United for many years, when he passed away in 2004. It is effectively the GNSL League Cup competition, but was renamed in Reg's honour. Sharpness were the inaugural winners. Since then (and I may have some missing information, so please excuse any incorrect presumptions here), three teams share the most number of wins, two. They are Gala Wilton, Newent Town and current holders Chalford, who beat Cheltenham Civil Service 4-3 in last season's Final.
The competition is played on a pre-drawn knock-out basis, and in the first three rounds no extra -time is played with any drawn game being decided on kicks from the penalty mark after 90 minutes, in the Semi-Final and Final ties extra time is played and then kicks from the penalty mark are taken if the scores are level. The final tie is always played on a neutral ground. It is a Charity Competition with donations being made to various deserving causes, in the past donations have been made to such organisations as the Air Ambulance and Cheltenham Hospital Oncology Unit, among others.
The small town of Berkeley is most famous for Its castle and for being the birthplace of Edward Jenner, pioneer of the world's first vaccine. Topically, the vaccine in question was for Smallpox, quite relevant today with the current rise of Monkeypox across the globe.
Berkeley Town, The Hunters, play their home games at Canon Park, just to the North of the town centre just off the main road to Sharpness, the first winners of the Reg Davis Cup. Although there is a small car park at Canon Park, the majority of the available space is in the surrounding streets, Canon Park and The Leys (always be mindful of access for locals). There is a good sized club house with a few outside tables next to the car park, a kids play area and a small-sided 3G surface. The main pitch is situated sideways on to the clubhouse, towards the Station Road end of the park. The playing surface is surrounded by a low metal fence and, quite unusually for this level, there is a small stand on the Station Road side. This incorporates covered standing for supporters as well as a small seating area either side used by each team, with a technical area marked out towards the edge of the pitch. There is a slight slope on the pitch but, all in all, it looked in good nick especially taking into account the recent hot weather. It's a pretty good facility all round and well worth a visit if you haven't been before (or even if you have).
As stated, this was a an early season league Cup game, Reg Davis Memorial Charity Cup to be exact, between Berkeley Town of the Gloucestershire Northern Senior League Division One and Tredworth Tigers of Division Two. Tredworth gained promotion from the Stroud league last season and this would be their first venture into the Reg Davis Cup.
Berkeley Town have been in the GNSL Division One since dropping down from the Gloucestershire Senior League in 2015. The won this division in 2005-06 but, as far as I can see, have not the League Cup (happy to correct this if I am wrong). Visitors Tredworth Tigers hail from what was once the village of Tredworth but is now a fully fledged suburb of Gloucester to the South of the City centre. The area around Tredworth is a bit of a non-league football hot spot with Step 5 Tuffley Rovers and County sides Quedgeley Wanderers and Hardwicke all within a hoofed clearance of Tigers.
Before we get into the game, a big thank you to Tredworth's co-manager Adam Dix for helping me get both team sheets. It's a great help when tweeting and writing these blogs.
Unsurprisingly, there was a fair bit of sparring from both sides at the start of the match, but the game soon started to open up a little. With only 5 minutes on the clock Berkeley earned themselves a corner out on the right. the ball was swung in and met with some force by the head of Tom Waterman but, sadly for the home side, his direction did not match the power. It was again the home side who forced the next decent opportunity five minutes later, Kyle Head getting a strike on target only to see Adam Fenner get down well to scoop the ball away to safety.
After those initial chance for Town, Tredworth starting to hit their stride and it was no great surprise when they took the lead on 19 minutes. Thierry Shitto was the first to react when the ball ran loose inside the Town 18 yard area, firing the ball hard and low past Peter Sykes. 0-1.
Six minutes later, with the visitors now on top, they almost made it two but this time Dykes made a good save with his feet to foil a goal bound effort. It wasn't all Tredworth though. With 20 minutes left before half-time Berkeley created an opening for Tom Bidder who saw his fizzing effort go narrowly wide of the target.
Just past the half hour mark, Tigers co-manager Lee Smith lined up a free-kick from just outside the area. His curling shot looked to be just dipping in under the bar before Sykes got across his goal well to palm it away. Then, with seven minutes left on the first-half clock and, somewhat against the run of play, Berkeley got themselves back on level terms. Jake Haynes was the scorer latching onto a ball parried away by Fenner before firing it back past the stopper into the far corner. 1-1
The first half action was not yet over. Three minutes after being pegged back (not a Royal reference) Tigers came mightily close to getting their noses back in front. Once again they were denied by the fingertips of goalkeeper Peter Sykes, stretching to turn a goal bound header onto the bar and away. A superb save from The Hunter's keeper.
HT Berkeley Town 1 Tredworth Tigers 1. Tredworth had the lion's share of possession and looked the more dangerous side. However, all square at the break and all to play for. It was great to meet photographer Pete Kinsella (@PeteKinsella69) during the break too. Check out Pete's timeline for some great shots of the match action.
The goal gave Tredworth their impetus back. Despite Berkeley pushing for an equaliser, Tigers were more than holding their own, much like in the first half. On 78 minutes the visitors made sure of their progression to the next round. A delightful series of one-twos down their left flank culminated in the ball arriving at the feet of Lee Dyer who made no mistake, firing low past Dykes. 1-3
There was nothing Berkeley could do to redress a two goal deficit at this stage. They continued to push forward in search but, in reality, the third goal for Tigers had killed off the game.
FT Berkeley Town 1 Tredworth Tigers 3. A great game to start the season. It was fantastic to be back out there watching live football. Many thanks to two fully committed sides, neither of whom looked at all rusty given the fact that it is still very early August. Tredworth showed that they intend to shake up Division Two this season and looked to be a side well worth keeping an eye on, especially going forward. They have pace down both flanks through Shitto and Rodgers, the guile of Lee Smith leading the line and the buzzing Corey Hill who caused untold problems to the Berkeley back line on the night.
You can catch Tredworth in action as early as Saturday afternoon when they travel to Tewkesbury Town, also in the Reg Davis Cup. You'll have to wait a little longer to see Berkeley Town play though. They host Stonehouse Town Reserves in the league on Saturday 13th August.
Berkeley Town: Dykes, Sumner, Watmough, Nelson(c), Dwyer, Haynes, Skuse, B.Gillison, Head, Bidder, Waterman. Subs: Griffiths, Jones, Martin, Bond, F.Gillison
Tredworth Tigers: Fenner, Morgan, Foster, Whereat, Rich, Hamilton(c), Shitto, James, Rodgers, L.Smith, Hill. Subs: Manners, S.Smith, Adams, Drame, Dyer
Ground Number: 319