D id you know that there was less than a four-week gap between Germany beating Argentina in the World Cup Final and Blackburn playing Cardiff to kick-start the football league?
Supporters of the Thames Valley Churches Football League may believe that our players enjoyed a three-month gap between the end of the season and the September start of the 2014/15 season, but that’s far from the case.
For many players and mangers, this summer may have been even busier than the normal weekly commitment. So what have our clubs been up to over the last few months?
TVCFL Summer Tournament
Ten teams entered the TVCFL Fly Sports Summer Tournament at Goals Soccer Centre in Woodley on Saturday, July 5.
The League has been looking to develop ties with Fly Sports Ministry over the past few years, following a visit to Reading by founder Manny Sharland. Manny played in the TVCFL for Greyfriars FC and Lifespring in the late 1990s, winning the golden boot and player of the season awards.
In 2004, he returned to South Sudan to set up Fly Sports with the vision, through sport and particularly football, to impact the youth of this war-torn country with the Gospel.
The 10 teams were split into two groups, and assigned a team name from the Fly Sports league in Mundri.
In Division 1, Brookside St Laurence-Matara were unbeaten, finishing ahead of More-South Ealing. Greyfriars-Sata recovered from losing their first three games to come third, closely followed by Janga-Saints and Zal Zal-Bethel, who were eliminated having finished bottom.
Division 2 was incredibly tight with only two points separating first from fifth. Norreys-Hai Baraka came out on top, while Tilehurst Albion-Leopards, Wycliffe Wanderers-Mirimjo and Bethel-Nasir all managed to qualify for the Quarter-Finals on the same number of points. Brentford-Scorpions were unfortunate to finish bottom, knocked out by a last-minute Norreys-Hai Baraka goal in the last group stage game.
In a strange twist, all four teams from Division 1 beat their opponents from Division 2 in the Quarter Finals. The results of the semi-finals mirrored the group stages as Brookside St Laurence-Matara beat Greyfriars-Sata and More-South Ealing overcame Janga-Saints.
The final was a battle of attrition, as both sides dragged their weary bodies around the five-a-side pitch. More-South Ealing proved to be the fresher side, managing a 4-0 victory over a tired looking Brookside St Laurence-Matara.
Janga-Saints secured third place with a tight 1-0 victory over Greyfriars-Sata.
West Reading CFC Isle of Wight Tour
On the weekend of July 18-20, West Reading CFC and West Reading Reserves embarked on a team building tour to the Isle of Wight for the sixth successive year.
Upon their arrival on the Isle, the team headed to Ventnor Football Club and set up their campsite on the pitch. On Saturday a six-a-side football tournament was held which included teams from West Reading, Ventnor FC and a local Ventnor church.
The West Reading team’s performances were very different… West Reading 2 crashed out of the tournament early on, winning one of their group games.
Despite losing their first group match and being on the verge of elimination, West Reading 1 made it to the final, defeating Ventnor 1 on penalties after the match finished 1-1 after extra time.
After receiving the trophy, the whole West Reading squad headed out into the evening to celebrate and sample the best night life that the Isle of Wight has to offer.
The team returned home late Sunday evening, tired, victorious and already looking forward to next year’s trip.
National Christian Football Festival
In July, Newbury Churches entered a team in the National Christian Football Festival run by Ambassadors in Sport. This annual two-day event took place in Loughborough, and teams from all different parts of the country took part.
On the first day, a new-look Newbury team struggled for form and lost their opening three games 3-2, 5-1, and 1-0. Day two was a new day though, and the arrival of Matt Bullock spurred the team on to better things.
The team now had a better shape and Newbury grabbed their first point in a 1-1 draw against a side that had won all their games on the first day. Newbury then went on to win their next game 5-1, and their final game 2-0, to remain unbeaten on the second day.
Newbury finished a respectable fourth out of seven in their event. Hopefully next year the team can push for the title.
Many thanks to Joel Gregory from the Glendale Church for organising the team’s participation in this event.
Newbury YMCA have entered the TVCFL this year, with the team being made up from members of churches across Newbury.
We’re very excited to have a new team in the league and wish them all the best in their maiden season.
Wycliffe Invitational Trophy
For most players, the summer offers an ideal opportunity to maintain and better fitness levels for the forthcoming season, with pre-season friendlies being an ideal opportunity to impress managers.
Wycliffe Wanderers added a twist to their pre-season by arranging a tournament with fellow TVCFL teams Brookside St Laurence, Kerith FC and Greyfriars FC with each team playing each other once over three weeks.
With all games taking place at Wycliffe’s home ground at Bishopswood, near Peppard, there was a relaxed and enjoyable atmosphere, as teams were able to build friendships formed over the past few seasons. Kerith FC proved to be on top form as they came from behind to beat Brookside St Laurence in the first week.
They held off a late Wycliffe Wanderers fight back in their second game and secured the Wycliffe Invitational Trophy with a final win against Greyfriars FC.
With only a few weeks to go before the start of the 2014/15 season, the committee and managers are in the final stages of preparation.
We are always on the look out for new teams and referees, so if you would like to find out more, contact the league secretary, James, via email.