Season Preview

By john smyth

Here is this season's Preview lovingly prepared by our band of experts. Have your say on the Chat Forum as to what you think will happen.

Premier Division

Carterton A
Players In: Chris Bowles & Steve Godfrey
Players Out: Jason Trinder, Richie Proctor
One to Watch: Mike Duerden
Last Year: 7th
Prediction: 5th

Last years Wychwood team have upped sticks and have moved to Carterton (where most of them live anyway). A good first season in the Premier Division saw them finish a credible 7th. The majority of last seasons squad have remained and new manager Toby Longman has made a couple of excellent signings.
Mike Duerden was the division’s leading scorer last year and he scored over half his team’s goal last year, so they need someone else to assist with this. If they can find this person they may well challenge for honours.

Charlbury
Players In: None
Players Out: None
One to Watch: Shaun Gilbert
Last Year: 4th
Prediction: 9th

With no info coming out of Nine Acres it is pretty much guess work on Charlbury. For long periods last season they flirted with relegation but then were only defeated once in their final 12 games to finish 4th. There is plenty of experience throughout the squad and they should enjoy another season of relative success.

Combe
Players In: None
Players Out:
One to Watch: Robbie Nicholson
Last Year: 5th
Prediction: 10th

Combe were the surprise package of the league last year. They lead the table for a couple of months and despite tailing off finished a very credible 5th and got to the Senior Cup Final.
Manager Sam Hibberd has pretty much an unchanged squad from last season, with a few of last seasons youngsters hoping to push on. If they are to challenge again they may have to rely on the keeping skills of Robbie Nicholson, however I think this year will be a big struggle for them.

Ducklington
Players In: None
Players Out: Frank Clarke, Ben Morrish: In Gary Brooks, Craig Mays, Ben Hutter, James Fleming,
One to Watch: Ian Peedle
Last Year: 2nd
Prediction: 3rd

3 former Duck sons return after spells in the Hellenic and Senior League. The problem for manager Martin Ferreira could be keeping all the squad happy. Craig Mays will add firepower and the feeling in the camp that with another striker to partner Ian Peedle they would have won the league last season. Whether the team can gel quickly may decide whether they are in the shake up come the end of the season.

FC Chequers
Players In: Jason Blackman, Josh Russell, Dave Cooper
Players Out: Shaun Evans, Nathan Beckett, Not Paul Read.
One to Watch: Danny Harwood
Last Year: Runners up in division 1
Prediction: 8th

After narrowly missing out the season before Chequers gained their Premier Division promotion last season as runners up in division 1. Manager Adrian Foggett has retained the majority of last season’s squad and has made a couple of astute signings to add depth to the squad.
Danny Harwood has scored goals for fun in Division 1 and it will be interesting to see if he can continue this form? Defensively they look sound and whilst the league is probably beyond them, they could be a good bet for a cup.

Hailey
Players In: Dean Mays, Shaun Evans
Players Out: James Fleming, Perry Tinson.
One to Watch: Joey King
Last Year: 8th
Prediction: 4th

Last year would have been a huge disappointment for the reigning champions, but it was a season blighted by injury and they still managed to left the Senior Cup. The return of Dean Mays will undoubtedly strengthen the midfield but if Sean King continues in goal they have lost a huge influence on the team. The younger guys who came in last season will all be that much more experienced so expect a major challenge this season.

Hanborough
Players In: In Dan Cox (possibly)
Players Out: Richard Rouse, Tom Lewis
One to Watch : Dan Haggie
Last Year: Champions
Prediction: Champions

I think most people were surprised by Hanborough’s success last season, but they were worthy winners only losing once all season.
Manager Paul Townsend has sought to plug the major area of weakness by signing Dan Cox{1} to play in goal and this should help the meanest defence in the league. With the young side gaining another years experience they should once again be the side to beat.

Kingham
Players In: Ben Tew, Lee Haynes.
Players Out: Gareth Price.
One to Watch: Matt Smith
Last Year: 9th
Prediction: 11th

Tony Smith and Martin Pratley take over the show at Kingham and there is a general sense of optimism at the club. They had a decent campaign last year and finished well clear of the bottom 2 sides. Ben Tew will add to the striking options although he has limited availability and Sam Philpotts should give able support to last seasons top scorer Matt Smith.
They will be looking to push on this year and will be hopeful of a mid table spot, but in an ultra competitive division this may be beyond them.

North Leigh A
Players In: Dan Stanley, Jamie Timms
Players Out: None
One to Watch: Lee Mosely
Last Year: Champions in Division 1
Prediction: 6th

Last years Division one champions played some pleasing football and added a number of notable scalps in lifting the Fred Ford Cup. New manager Paul Lewis will be more than confident of them holding their own this season. They have players across the team who can score goals and I wouldn’t be surprised if they manage a finish in the top half.

Spartan Rangers
Players In: Andy Shaw, Frank Clarke
Players Out: None
One to Watch: Dave Cross
Last Year: 3rd
Prediction: 2nd

After 20 odd seasons in charge, Alf Saunders has stood down from the first team to concentrate on scouting and helping within the background of the club and has been replaced by Jason King. Jason has started well as manager bringing in 2 or 3 new faces to the first team with the pick of the crop being Andy Shaw.
Dave Cross and Matt Townsend formed an effective strike duo last season and will continue to trouble defences, but it remains to be seen how the club will cope without the influential manager.

Witney Royals
Players In: None
Players Out, Neil Barratt
One to Watch: Steve Brasier
Last Year: 6th
Prediction: 7th

Royals were another side whose season was mixed last year, struggling at the start before improving then fading, it was probably not helped by around 13 changes of management.
Steve Brasier and club legend Ian Hayes take charge for the start at the season at least. There is plenty of talent in the club not least the boys Kennedy although Jack may be spending some time in the Bristol area if rumours are to be believed.

{1} Say Whaaaaaaaaaaaat? ~Ant

**************************************************
Division 1

AC Finstock
Players In: Darren Tasker, Danny King
Players Out: Ashley Overton, Jason Blackman, Joshua Russell
One to Watch: Danny King
Last Year: 10th in Premier Division
Prediction: 5th

It was a season blighted by injury for Finstock last season. Star striker, Chris Thomas and midfielder Gary MacKinnon both missed huge chunks of the season and maybe if both had been fit they would have stayed up? Both hope to be able to play a substantial part this year, with MacKinnon also taking over as manager.
Danny King looks to be a very good signing and they would hope that they will be in the shake up come the end of the season.

Aston
Players In: None
Players Out: None
One to Watch: Kevin Alcraft
Last Year: 8th
Prediction: 9th

Aston showed great inconsistency last season, taking points off teams who challenged for promotion one week then losing to teams who finished in the bottom third the following week.
With no news coming form the club, you have to assume a similar line up in place, so expect a similar season and a few struggles.

Brize Norton
Players In: Tom Ebberley, Dan Hill, Lloyd Reade and Paul Coppock
Players Out: Nathan Allum, Craig Sallis, Mark Jewell.
One to Watch: Rob Hook
Last Year: 4th
Prediction: 6th

Mark Hedges and Simon Cook remain in charge at Brize. There are large doubts about ageing star Chris Hunt signing on due to injury. Steve Morgan is currently on the treatment table until at least Christmas and Matty Townsend suspended until Christmas as well. Jewellers goals (top scorer last season) will be badly missed.
It is hoped that Rob Hook will make the step up from the Res to bolster the strike force.

Chad Park
Players In: None
Players Out: None
One to Watch: George Slatter
Last Year 3rd
Prediction: 3rd

Chad only missed out on promotion last season by one win and they will probably feel that they should have gained this.
This year they up sticks and move from their home for 3 seasons at Wootton to their home of Chadlington. With their landlords now in the intermediate stage of the Senior League it may be possible that players will be able to swap between the 2 clubs.
Expect another season when they will be right up amongst the title contenders.

Chipping Norton Town
Players In: James Harri, Simon Protheroe, Gareth Price
Players Out: None
One to Watch:
Last Year: 5th
Prediction: Champions

Chippy have a new member on the management team in Mark Moss, ex manager of Enstone. Worked at Man Utd and now on Oxfords books as a youth/kids coach, so training is very inpressive.
He has brought in 2 new faces in James Harri and Simon Protheroe both of which are very good players. Gareth Price as returned from Kingham which will help as he is as fast as Billy Whizz (younger readers please google him) at the back. They have been very impressive in pre-season and will start the season as strong favourites.

Ducklington Res
Players In: Ben Reynolds
Players Out: Non
One to Watch: Lee Beer
Last Year: 9th
Prediction: 8th

As is there want Duck Res flirted with relegation for long periods of the season last year, but ultimately pulled clear with a good end of season push. Some old git has taken over as manager and he hopes that the influx of players into the first team will have a positive knock on effect. Stuart Cutts will miss the early part of the season recovering from a broken leg and they will miss his goals. Lee Beer should be available for the full season and a couple of younger lads should boost the defence.

FC Mills
Players In: None
Players Out: None
One to Watch: Simon Grove-White
Last Year: 10th
Prediction: 12th

Another side who were in the relegation battle all of the season last year, ultimately only escaping on the final day. There season kicked in when a few younger players were promoted from the Res.
Simon Grove-White was a revelation scoring 3 hat tricks for the team, if they have retained his services they may just about stay up. Expect the usual slow start and an improvement after Santa has emptied his sacks.

FC Nomads
Players In: None
Players Out: None
One to Watch: Steve Bircher
Last Year: 6th
Prediction: 10th

Pretty much an unchanged squad for Nomads, with no major player movement either way. They finished comfortably in mid table last season which probably exceeded all their expectations. May find this year harder as the core of the side gain a year and a few pounds.

Hanborough Res
Players In: Matty Ellis
Players Out: None
One to Watch: Rob Keylock
Last Year: 11th
Prediction: 13th

Following his injury last season veteran Mickey Keylock has taken over as manager of the side this season. His loss will be a big blow to the side who will also miss Duncan Griffin for the majority of games following the birth of a child.
Matty Ellis has signed but again will not commit fully.
The side only stayed up last season because or league reorganisations and the younger players in the squad will need to step up if they are not to suffer a similar fate.

Minster Lovell
Players In: Arron Mullis, Charlie Collins, Craig Sallis.
Players Out: Josh Bishop, Chris Smith, Tom Moreby, Jason Smith.
One to Watch: Eddie Dunn
Last Year: Bottom in Premier Division
Prediction: 7th

To say that last year was a disappointment for Minster would probably be an understatement. It was a tough baptism of fire for manager Eddie Dunn who scored nearly half of his teams goals last season as they only picked up 3 draws all year.
I don’t expect them to bounce straight back and whilst Perry Tinson appears to be a good signing the signs suggest mid-table at best.

Stanton Harcourt
Players In: Andy Jackson, Wes Dymond, Lewis Hooper.
Players Out: None
One to Watch: George Woodcock
Last Year: Champions in Division 2
Prediction: 4th

Stanton are full of confidence entering the season as they aim for back to back promotions. There should be goals throughout the team and the brothers Woodcock are a handful. Tom Bennington comes out of goal to play on the field.
Whilst promotion is likely and they will certainly be thereabouts I feel they may just be pipped in a very competitive league.
As an added bonus the club have not got their own bar, happy days!!!!

West Witney
Players In: Karl Dodds, Tom Perry, Chris Hirons, Ian Sparks, Wayne Mosscrop
Players Out: Jon Smith, Andy Salked.
One to Watch: Karl Dodds
Last Year: 7th
Prediction: Runners up

West Witney started last year in fine form and were promotion contenders before falling away alarmingly at the end of the season. Manager Tony McLeman has seemingly worked magic with his signings, with a couple of players dropping down the divisions. Dodds has been a stalwart at North Leigh and should prove a class above this division. A couple of last seasons successful reserve team notably Adam Bolley and Josh Solomon will hopefully make the step up.
Sure to be live title contenders if all the players remain on board and interested.

Witney Royals Res
Players In: Tom West
Players Out: None
One to Watch: Mikey Piper
Last Year: Runners Up in Division 2
Prediction: 11th

Wondy again takes the reigns and the pressure will be on him to have another successful season after 2 consecutive promotions and guiding Royals to Victory in the Eynsham Summer Shield. However Division 1 is a tough nut and the club will be happy just to consolidate in the division. The jury is out on whether Tom West will be able to lose 4 stone in time for the season to begin...come on Westy you can do it.

**************************************************
Division Two

Bampton Town
Players In: Unknown
Players Out: Unknown
One to Watch: Unknown
Prediction: 1st

You may have picked up that not a lot is known about the returning Bampton side, who found it difficult to attract players in the North Berks league. Now only entering one side, expect their team to be stronger than most in Div 2 as their pool of players and catchment area is large. That said, this division is extremely competitive and they may experience one or two surprises along the way.

Brize Norton Reserves
Players In: Lloyd Reade
Players Out: Lee Scoles
One to Watch: Olly Puddle
Prediction: 5th

Chris Cope and Chris King will be taking the reins for Brize Reserves this year, although the former’s ban means he won’t be involved at all on match days until October. Last term’s top scorer Lee Scoles has left the club but Olly Puddle has apparently been on fire in pre-season. They predict a mid-table finish.

Charlbury Town Reserves
Players In: Unknown
Players Out: Unknown
One to Watch: Sam Cleaver
Prediction: 9th

Not much coming out of Charlbury in the way of transfer news but it seems things may be quite similar to last year. A couple of new signings have been rumoured but otherwise the old guard will probably make up the spine of the team. Expect to see Mark Deller, Gary Jones, Carl Siford, Andy Bedwell and the industrious Sam Cleaver amongst the scorers as usual.

Ducklington A
Players In: Shane Imms, Gary Williams, Danny Collins, Tom Graham
Players Out: Ross Clarkson
One to Watch: Will Graham
Prediction: 3rd

Interesting additions to the Duck A squad mean they could be a surprise package for the Division this year. Collins, Williams and Imms were three of the now-defunct Southrop’s key players and will only add to the ability already present in Will Graham and Jason Hirshfield among others.

FC Chequers Reserves
Players In: Anthony Barlow, Davy Cooper, Phil Mills.
Players Out: Tom Gonzales
One to Watch: Ben Davies
Prediction: 6th

Rumours abound that a number of players have exited Chequers Reserves despite their promotion, although it is unclear whether this is linked to the musical entertainment provided at the end of season do. Returning hero Anthony Barlow will now doubt have tapped up as many kids as possible in the transfer window, and may even have looked for some new players. Sub remains the man at the helm, with no-nonsense ‘Bear’ alongside him.

Freeland FC A
Players In: Unknown
Players Out: Paul Mills
One to Watch: Adi Williams
Prediction: 2nd

A very strong side in Division 3 last year, Freeland will be expecting to compete with the very best in Div 2 also. There is some suggestion that they have improved their team again and, if true, this could mean they will be in the promotion mix. Last years all conquering Manager Paul Mills’ has stepped aside and in his place will be stalwart Rob ‘Always’ Panting…

Hailey Reserves
Players In: Unknown
Players Out: Unknown
One to Watch: Unknown
Prediction: 7th

It’s been said that Hailey Reserves boast a number of good young players and are capable of beating most sides on their day, but I honestly haven’t got a clue how good they are. One other side in the division has tipped them to win the league however, which must be based on something one would think…..

Middle Barton
Players In: Unknown
Players Out: Unknown
One to Watch: Jack Eaglestone
Prediction: 4th

Expectations are no higher than in previous season, at Middle Barton, who are looking to continue as top half challengers in Div 2. Often under the radar (as they’re so bloody far away and nobody knows any of their players), they will surely give the top sides a run for their money and I wouldn’t bet against a promotion challenge. The Kay brothers will apparently keep the OFA happy with their anticipated total fine payments.

Milton
Players In: Harry Lake, Rob James
Players Out: Jason Bufton, Tom Parsons, Neil Mustoe
One to Watch: James Littlewood
Prediction: 11th

A mixture of youth an experience this year for Milton, who barely avoided the drop due to post-season league reshuffles. This could be a tough year for the villagers, especially with the division arguably stronger than last year. Pat King is in charge again and will be hoping his team can fend off the threat of relegation and finish closer to mid-table.

Witney Wanderers
Players In: Roger Pereira plus unnamed others.
Players Out: Unknown
One to Watch: Roger Pereira
Prediction: 8th

After their fairly emphatic relegation from Division One, Kim Phillips’ Wanderers side have taken the opportunity to rebuild. Several new faces have joined and injured key players from last season have regained fitness. Kim will be hoping for a promotion push but may find Division Two life tough.

Wootton Sports
Players In: Unknown
Players Out: Unknown
One to watch: Lewis Hooper
Prediction: 10th

Very little is coming out of Burditch Hall this pre-season, possibly because very little is happening. Like a few teams this year they seem to be struggling for numbers, and this could prove fatal for them in the battle against relegation. They are capable of beating the better teams though, so shouldn’t be written off altogether.

**************************************************

Division Three

AFC Marlborough
Players In: Olli Nelson, Sam Bodinham, Andy Gillespie, James Butler
Players Out: Tim Dorsett
One to watch: Ollie Nelson
Last Season: 3rd, Division Four
Prediction: 3rd

AFC Marlborough found themselves promoted courtesy of a league re-structure. With Captain Tim Dorsett leaving this season to pursue a career in acting, and Mark Luke looking like he will leave at the end of September, Manager Bruce Wilson has bought in an old friend in Olli Nelson, who will not only steady the ship on the pitch, but will play his part off it too, as Assistant Manager.

They will both be relying on 16 year olds from the clubs youth side to come and step straight in to first team action. Striker James Buller also returns to the club after a year out last season. A steady mid table finish in a tougher division 3 would delight the youngsters from Woodstock.

Carterton Pumas have to be the favourites to not only win back to back promotions, but to win the league by a large margin once again.

Aston Reserves
Players In: None
Players Out: None
One to watch: : Alex Allinson (Yes I said it)
Last Season: 8th
Prediction: 11th

Another of the Witney & District’s black holes when it comes to information is Aston. Not quite as void of normal human life as Bampton, and not quite as backward as Leafield, but still, you wouldn’t really want to run out of petrol there. Quite what this has to do with the football club I don’t know, however, it IS the place to go if you want to play real-life Whack-A-Mole.

As no-one from Aston can be bothered to provide any information about their club, I will instead let you know about the best goal I ever scored there. It was only my second game for Alvescot (yes, they had a team too), and I had just picked up a loose back pass in our own half. I skipped the challenge of one 4-fingered yokel, and rounded another to get to the by-line. With my team mates lining up on the back post, I decided to ignore them and smash the ball straight up into the near corner, for what was probably the best goal ever scored on that pitch.

I also looked at buying a house in Aston once. It was owned by two lesbians (Not the good kind either). I chose not to move there in the end as apparently, they didn’t get running water until last year.

Carterton Pumas
Players In: Colonel Gadaffi (Libya)
Players Out: 2 or 3 nameless players who have gone overseas.
One to watch: Gadaffi (wherever he may be)
Last Season: Champions, Division Four
Prediction: Champions

Having dropped only 2 points over the entire season last time around, and if they are able to retain the momentum, Pumas should be a tough side to beat. However, losing several key players won’t have helped. Seemingly, everyone elses tip for the title.

Chipping Norton Town Reserves
Players In: None
Players Out: None
One to watch: No-One
Last Season: 9th
Prediction: 5th

I’m pretty sure that last time I was at Chippy, which was only a few weeks ago, they had Sky TV. If they have Sky TV, then it means they have a broadband connection, and if they have that then it means they have the internet. In which case there is no reason why they can’t reply to a FKING message and send some into about their club!

Last time I was there, I was interested to see the local lads of Chippy, not wanting to get left behind in the Village Idiot Olympics. Seeing them set up the goals for the match was truly mind boggling. They seemed to take one set of posts, from one end of the pitch, to the other, to replace them with a set that were already set up, only to take those back to the other end, to replace the ones they had originally moved because apparently, they were “The wrong way round”!!! The fact that they were just facing the opposite direction didn’t seem to dawn on them. However, it made for good viewing whilst me and a friend tried to break our heading the ball to each other record of 6.

We didn’t do it.

Which reminds me of my best goal at Chippy which, was two years ago. Even better than Colin Morris' 35 yard strike last season. Yet again, with lightening pace, I pounced on a misplaced pass from a defender along the edge of the ‘D’; side footed the ball first time to see it dip, over the keeper and go in off the underside of the bar.

Eynsham Sports and Social Club
Players In: Jonathan Hall (Eynsham), Tom Bryant (Return from Injury), Stuart Fathers (Freeland)
Players Out: None
One to watch: John Ayres (Who else)
Last Season: 5th
Prediction: 4th

George Roberts retains the reins for one final season before taking a well-earned retirement. Promotion would be a parting gift that his side are well equipped to deliver. Having has their best season to date last time round, Eynsham will hope to improve once again, but much of this depends the strength of team they field each week. Expect John Ayres to be amongst the goals yet again, however, how long he can keep them in contention for is anyone’s guess.

On Oxford Road, they’re heroes four (plus 5), in this day and age who can ask for more.
The crime wave is high with muggings mysterious
All police and detectives are furious

Cause they can´t find the source
Of this lethally evil force
This is serious so give me a 5 pence

I’m off to the toll bridge, not paying is an OFF-Fence
Call Ashley Bowerman in on this case and you better hurry up
There´s no time to waste
We need help like quick on the double
Have pity on the village, man its in trouble
We need heroes like the Lone Ranger when Tonto came pronto
When there was danger
They didn´t say We´ll be there in half an hour
Cause they displayed
Eynsham Power!

E-Y-N-S-H-A-M-power
E-Y-N-S-H-A-M-power
E-Y-N-S-H-A-M-power
They displayed… Eynsham Power

Now our ace goal keeper was hot on the trail
Determined to put these crooks in jail
He spied the bad guys and saw what happened
But before he knew it she fell in the trap and got caught
Yeah he was all alone
With no friends and no phone
Now this was beyond his WORST dreams
Cause he was cornered by some wayward fiends (From Freeland)
Headed by Millsy they were anything but good
Misguided, unloved, they called them FFC
They could terrorize and be angry youth and
They loved the people who needed proof

Then from outta the dark came an awesome sound
Shouted ON ME ‘EAD SON as they hit the ground
From the field the weeds the heroes rescued the flower
Cause they possessed
EYNSHAM Power

E-Y-N-S-H-A-M-power
E-Y-N-S-H-A-M-power
E-Y-N-S-H-A-M-power
They displayed… Eynsham Power

When you stand for what you believe in
And find the strength to nod it in at the far post
That´s Eynsham Power

Heroes on a half shell they´re on a mission
When there´s a battle got the enemy wishin'
That they stayed at home instead of fightin'
These football Masters with moves like lightnin'

They were once normal but now they´re mutants
George is the teacher so they are the students
Bowerman, Clarke, and Matty Walker
Make up the team with one other fellow
Johnny Ayres

He´s the leader of the group transformed from the norm
By some nuclear poop
Pizza´s the food that´s sure to please
These lads are into pepperoni and cheese

Back to the story it´s not hard to find
Footballers not just of the body but of the mind
Those were the words that the Master instructed

But a letter from Millsy has George Roberts abducted
That was the last straw spring into action
Step on the Foot now they´re gonna lose traction

Now this is for real so you fight for justice
Your shell is hard so you shout They cant dust us off
Like some old coffee table
Since you were born you been willing and able

To defeat the sneak, protect the weak
Fight for rights and your freedom to speak

Now the villain is chillin' so you make a stand
Back to the wall put your sword in your hand
Remember the words of your teacher your master
Millsy moves fast but Ayresey moves faster
Than light

Shining from your illumination
Eynsham versus Freeland equals confrontation
So when you´re in trouble don´t give in and go sour
Try to rely on your
Eynsham Power

FC Hollybush
Players In: Darren Aston (West Witney), Mark Defreitas (FC Chequers), Dean Spivey (Brize Norton), James Morcambe (Milton)
Players Out: Ben Reynolds (Ducklington), Dan Smith (Carterton Rangers), Dan Knight (Retired)
One to watch:
Last Season: Runners-Up, Division Four
Prediction: 7th

Having gained promotion at the second attempt last season, FC Hollybush have seemingly recruited well over the summer. A couple of quality signings should see their squad improve as a whole, with Mark Defreitas making the controversial switch, 200 yards down the road from FC Chequers. The signing of experienced W&D striker and local ginger stationery supplier Darren Aston is a bit if a coup and indicates Hollybush’s intent for the forthcoming season.

Manager Pete Aldous (who I hope has calmed down now. This refers to the fact that when I refereed Hollybush and Freeland ‘Poster Boys’ B last season, I failed to send off one of the twins for running the length of the pitch to grab a Hollybush defender around the throat. Yes…. In hindsight, I should have sent him off…. Not least just because he plays for Freeland, but mainly for the throat grabbing. In my defense though, he WAS one of two twins playing that day, the other one being much closer, confusing me when they stood next to each other, and I thought the defender ((who was three times his size)) could smash him if he wanted to. I PERHAPS, allowed the game to flow a little more than I should. For that, I apologise. Anyway, your defender didn’t die, and now everyone hates Freeland just that little bit more, so it’s not ALL bad) leads his boys into pastures new, but the Bush have enough skill and experience to see them safe in this Division.

P.s. if you find Matt Hardy’s missing teeth at any point this season he’d like them back.

With Club secretary Eddie Brookes working on yet MORE big name signings, the new Manchester City of the W & D will be in a good position come the start of the season. Brookes earmarks Carterton Pumas to take the title this season.

Kingham All Black Reserves
Players In: None
Players Out: None
One to watch: Alex James’ Sheep
Last Season: 6th
Prediction: 8th

What is it with teams north of Minster Lovell? Just because you don’t have a 15 minute bus service like normal villages it doesn’t mean you don’t have to supply us information for the season preview. Therefore, I have taken this information from Wikipedia. Strangely, there is no mention of the football club.

Kingham is a village and civil parish in the Cotswolds about 4 miles (6.4 km) southwest of Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire.
The village has two public houses: The Plough[5] which is beside one of the village greens and The Tollgate[6] which was built in 1720 as a farmhouse. The village has one hotel: The Mill House[7]
The village has a county primary school.[8] The private Kingham Hill School is 1.5 miles (2.4 km) north of the village.[9]
Kingham has a village shop and post office, a Royal British Legion club, a village hall, two village greens, a children's play park and a football field.
Kingham is twinned with the village of Pont-à-Marcq near Lille in France.[citation needed]
In 2004 a Country Life panel judged Kingham to be "England's Favourite Village".[10]
Blur bass-player Alex James lives on a sheep and dairy farm outside the village and chronicles the experience in his column in The Independent.[11]
I scored a great goal at Kingham once, but it’s too amazing to write about here.

Minster Lovell Reserves
Players In: Chris Montgomery, Tom Katch, Tony Hanley, David Souch, Ryan Penn, Silas Gray
Players Out: Ryan Maskery (Witney Town), Stephen Burke (University)
One to watch: Michael Ryan
Last Season: 10th
Prediction: 12th Relegated

After avoiding relegation in the last game of last season, Minster will look to put previous frustrations behind them and build their squad to consolidate their presence in Division Three. Manager Cody Davies, has ignored all calls for his resignation and remains at the helm this season.

Pre-season has shown hope for Minster, who’s unveiled the talents of youngster Courage Nyena who looked promising. Alongside the signature of Chequers and Hailey reject, Chris Montgomery further re-signings of club legends, Malcolm and John Forteath may also be on the horizon.

Davies lauds retaining the services of two inspirational players; Daniel Beaver’ Oakey and Adam ‘Badger’ Bennett as being as good as a new signing. So, watch out for last minute moves for David ‘Bear’ Webb, from Chequers and Bryan ‘Bumblebee’ Moore from Royals to complete his collection of defenders who’s nicknames are animals beginning with B.

One-to Watch, Mykel Ryan is a valid choice as he bagged a few goals last season, however, an anonymous source from within the club said “da 1 2 watch iz me…errr….Chris Montgomery ent it boiiiiiiiiiiiii”, whilst shaving another 6 lines through his eyebrow and attaching another 8 loops to his gypsy earring.

North Leigh B
Players In: Pavel Bronic, Bartek Lachwicz, Lech Walenza,Darren Tasker
Players Out: None
One to watch: Nick Hunt
Last Season: 4th
Prediction: 9th

The ‘Cut and paste’ Brigade have left the now-folded, Two Rivers to join North Leigh. They have a nice pitch. You can see Eynsham Hall and some sheep from there.

I don’t think I’ve ever scored at North Leigh.

Spartan Rangers Reserves
Players In: Iain Harris (Manager)
Players Out: oooooh a loads
One to watch: No-one
Last Season: 12th Relegated from Division 2.
Prediction: 10th

The W&D’s very own Arthur Daley, Iain Harris returns from his world wide tour, selling dodgy motors to take the reins of Spartan Ressies; and once the ‘Travelling Folk’ have vacated the Leys with their annual scheister-fest, Harris looks to strengthen a much depleted squad. Don’t let the wooden leg and the Nigerian accent fool you, this manager knows his onions and if he can resist the pull of ACTUALLY playing, Spartan could look to bounce straight back up.

I NEARLY scored at Spartan once. I struck a sweet volley which clipped the crossbar and ended up in the forecourt at Mick Partlett’s.

Tackley
Players In: None
Players Out: None
One to watch: No-one
Last Season: 11th – relegated , sort of.
Prediction: 13th Relegated

Aaaah Feckit. Another village team who couldn’t be bothered to send any info. Feck em… they’ll finish bottom.

West Witney Reserves
Players In: Karl Dodds, Tom Perry, Chris Hirons, Ian Sparks, Wayne Mosscrop
Players Out: Jon Smith, Andy Salked.
One to Watch: Karl Dodds (I copied and pasted all of this from the first team)
Last Season: 3rd
Prediction: Runners-Up - Promoted

West Witney Reserves… West Witney Reserves. You’d think that with a site-admin, who helped to co-write this season preview, one MIGHT get a smidgen of information from him about his team (for whom he is the secretary). But NO, it seems not. It would be easy for me to sit here and roll off a few jokes about him………about how he looks like Roland from Grange Hill… but I won’t do that.

They missed out on promotion by a point last season. A point of two they WOULD have gained were it not for my pin-point free kick (Dan Tidman take note) which set up Royals’ equaliser in the 4-4 draw last season. Lets just not talk about me gifting them all THREE points, by conceding an injury time penalty in the return leg.

Witney Royals A
Players In: Gary Nicholson, James Bruce, Craig Greenhalgh, Tom West (again), Brian Moore
Players Out: Neil Barratt, Neil Pickering, Steve ‘Mad Dog’ Mullins
One to watch: Dan Tidman
Last Season: 7th
Prediction: 6th

Royals finish of 7th last season typifies their form; ie Beating top of the league and losing to bottom. This season they’ll be hoping to find a more consistent run of form in order to challenge for promotion; but a top 5 finish would not be unexpected. Having lost their best player over the summer, Royals A will have to make do with what’s left. This includes free-kick and ankle biting specialist Dan Tidman. His diminutive stature belies his grand opinion of himself, and what he thinks he can do with a dead ball isn’t worth knowing. I’m listening to ‘Duelling Banjos’ at the moment, which kinda reminds me of him.

At the back, Luke Chadwick (The one that looks like Neil from the Inbetweeners … yeah, YOU know… the one in the Petr Cech Helmet) and Dan Harflett saved Royals many a time last season and with Loyd Edwards, Joe Crosbie (when he’s not playing doctors and nurses) and Ali Dorward in the side, don’t expect this depleted Royals side to be a push over.

**************************************
Division Four

Bampton Town Reserves
Players In: None
Players Out: None
One to watch: Liam Neeson
Last Season: They didn’t exist, or rather they DID, but in the Banbury League. However, they’re bored of that now and have decided to come back. WELL… thank You VERY much Bampton, for gracing us with your presence once again. We ARE honoured.
Prediction: They’ll have probably re-joined the Banbury league by February. If not 4th

Burford FC
Players In: Cooooorrrr, loads!
Players Out: None
One to watch: Jason Bufton, as he’s the only players name I know.
Last Season: They didn’t exist.
Prediction: 13th Bottom

Burford are back … REYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY, but WHAT ? They’re playing at Leafield??!! Why aren’t they playing at Burford?
Having be royaly thrashed in every pre-season game so far, I can’t see these lads getting any better much before the season starts. I hope they do and make it through the first season without folding, because it’s hard enough as it is RUNNING a club, let alone setting up new one. I just wish someone would have told them that you can’t play in a black kit BEFORE they went out and bought a brand new one.

Carterton FC B
Players In: Scott Walters, Chris Jordan, Dave Lewis
Players Out: None
One to watch: Chris Jordan , he’ll have the tyres off your car quicker than you can say “Lets fold and re-join as a new team so we can win another league title”
Last Season: N/A
Prediction: Champions

As part of the Wychwood Forest to Carterton FC merge, manager Nigel Jones takes on the role of Reserve team manager.

The wealth of skill and experience at his disposal should see Carterton finish in the top two. Anything less will be seen as a disappointment. Equally, Jones sees his “strongest side yet” as challengers for the title now that they have the regular services of Olly Bush, Chris McNeill and Craig Isle. Retaining the services of John Smailes, Chris Jones and Adam Harris is also a massive boost. However, Jones isn’t getting ahead of himself, pin-pointing Carterton Rangers as the team to beat.

Carterton Rangers
Players In: None
Players Out: None
One to watch: Pete The Bummer
Last Season:N/A
Prediction: Runners-Up

I used to play for Carterton Rangers as a boy. A guy called Nigel managed. He was ginger and wore glasses. He wasn’t very good. We weren’t very good. I don’t think I ever scored for them as I was played in defence. I THINK they’ll be playing on the Carterton Rec. Should be interesting… especially if Pete the Bummer is still around.

Combe Reserves
Players In: None
Players Out: None
One to watch: Dave Snook (Because it’s funny)
Last Season: 8th
Prediction: 10th

Are they still going? Fair play…. I thought they folded last year. Managers Chris Drinkwater and Dave Snook should hope to improve on respectable 8th position last season. An ambitions top 2 spot is their goal, but would be happy with Mid-table. The Reserves suffer from the same fate as most Reserves side, that is, losing players to the first team. However their young batch of players now have one season under their belts and this will hopefully benefit them this time around.

Corinthians
Players In: Graham Cuidiskis, Danny Collins
Players Out: Dave Meredith (Retired… no, for real this time)
One to watch: Frank Webb
Last Season: 6th
Prediction: 6th

Corinthians have been around long enough now to know how tough getting out of Division 4 is. They have signed well over the summer, taking advantage of the influx of players coming from Southrop. Bobby Truman leads his band of merry men into another season, with confidence after reasonable displays in friendlies pre-season. Expect Corinthians to be up there come the end of the season.

Ducklington B
Players In: None
Players Out: None
One to watch: Gareth Sparrowhawk’s dodgey left eye.
Last Season: 10th
Prediction: 3rd

I have been reliably informed by the clubs secretary that he doesn’t have a clue who’s coming or going these days. In fact, out of a squad of about 16 he could only name two. Quite frankly, I really don’t know how he manages to get himself dressed in the mornings.

That said, of the two that ARE known, Mark Eaton returns to the side which saw the birth of his amazing mullet. Rumour had it that his missus told him to get it cut, but his love for McGiver and everything from the early 80’s was steadfast and the mullet remained intact. Gareth Sparrowhawk is taking a break from his World Poker Tour, and ‘Fraping’ his friends Facebook accounts with libellous messages to play some football. The rest of the side is apparently made up of young lads.

Hopes for the season are that they don’t finish bottom, which should be achieved as long as they “don’t play anyone good”.

Who says pre-season optimism is dead?!

Eynsham Sports and Social Club Reserves
Players In: Daryl Merry
Players Out: Paul Morrill, Ash Skinner,
One to watch: The manager. He’s a nutcase.
Last Season: 11th (bottom)
Prediction: 12th

Paul Meredith and Pete Willis will run the side together this season and hope for a mid-table position after finishing bottom in the previous two seasons.

FC Mills Reserves
Players In: Wesley Schneider, Carlos Tevez, Owen Hargreaves, Cesc Fabregas, Raul Meireles.
Players Out: None
One to watch: Kev Lloyd
Last Season: 12th, Bottom - Relegated
Prediction: 11th

Mills Reserves had a dreadful season last year. Even by their standards. Not through the fault of the players… as by all accounts, apart from being really bad at football, they tried really hard and worked their socks off to stay in the games. However, 1 win and 21 losses speaks for itself. This doesn’t include having points deducted for fielding an illegible player. No idea who’s managing this season. Probably Marc Hyatt.

Freeland B
Players In: None
Players Out: None
One to watch: No-one
Last Season: 7th
Prediction: 5th

Freeland had an indifferent last season, backed up by their 7th place finish. The crop of young lads now have another season under their belts and should benefit from this if they can mature on the pitch as well.

Graystones
Players In: Me Tarzan, You Jane
Players Out: Cheetah
One to watch: Ungawah
Last Season: N/A
Prediction: 7th

Another of the batch of new teams this season. Only time will tell if they’re able to survive the choppy waters of the tricky first season in the W&D. Having been hammered in every pre-season friendly, the signs aren’t good for the boys from Chipping Norton. Rocky Burton heads up this team.

Spartan Rangers A
Players In: None
Players Out: None
One to watch: No-one
Last Season: 9th
Prediction: 9th
Jim Smart is player manager.

Wychwood Foresters FC
Players In: None
Players Out: None
One to watch: No-one
Last Season: N/A
Prediction: 8th

I think Simon Gibbs and Mick Ody are running this side along with what’s left of Wychwood Forest. Need I say more? At least they play in Ascott.

Where next?

Referees This seasons ref's.
Cup Draws Fred Ford and Jack Busby Cup.

Latest photos

First team squad
18 photos
First team squad
1st's Vs Charlbury
6 photos
1st's Vs Charlbury
My Photos
47 photos
My Photos

Witney & District FA newsletter

Keep up-to-date with our exclusive email newsletters.

Subscribe