In 2021, the FA Vase and Binfield Football Club gave several members of the Football in Berkshire team some incredible memories.
We reported live from Wembley, we were able to bring colour to games where supporters weren’t able to be and we hopefully did it all justice alongside both the club and our friends at Wokingham Today.
The 2021/22 FA Vase is well and truly underway now with a weekend of Second Qualifying Round action coming up so what better way to get in the mood than with a little preview.
Who could follow in the foot steps of Binfield and Thatcham Town?
It’s going to be a big ask we think this year for any Berkshire side to reach the FA Vase Final as Thatcham Town and Binfield have both done in the last few years.
All the Berkshire sides who qualify for the competition are in the Qualifying Rounds instead of starting later in the competition like Binfield, Bracknell Town and Windsor have benefitted from in recent years after good runs. That means in most cases at least nine matches before Wembley comes in to view.
It doesn’t mean it’s not possible, 2020/21 semi-finalists US Portsmouth started in the Second Qualifying Round and played eight matches up to and including the penalty shoot-out defeat to Binfield.
The caveat there though, and this is probably the crux of the argument that means we won’t see Ascot United, Windsor or perhaps Wokingham & Emmbrook at Wembley, there was no league campaign in the background as a distraction.
Now, go and prove us wrong lads!
Sunday FA Vase football
As with most national FA competitions, due to ground sharing and other scenarios, matches can be spread across the weekend and the Second Qualifying Round is no different with Sandhurst Town playing at home on Sunday 26th and Eversley & California kicking off at 1 pm on the Saturday.
Bracknell Town, who share Sandhurst’s ground, have had their Isthmian League fixture with Marlow at Bottom Meadow moved to the Saturday which is quite likely why Sandhurst will play Longlevens on the Sunday.
Now, this of course means with some careful planning you could quite easily get three Vase games in over the weekend – Eversley & California on the Saturday, then a dash (and we freely admit you’ll probably miss kick-off) to Lowther Road for Wokingham & Emmbrook vs Hallen and of course Sandhurst on the Sunday.
You can see the full list of weekend fixtures from the FA Vase and for all the other Berkshire sides here.
Combined Counties League form out the window
It’s fair to say for a couple of our clubs the seasons haven’t quite started as well as they might have hoped. And it is of course a classic cliche to say ahead of a weekend of knockout cup action, but league form will go out the window.
But wins on Saturday could drastically change the confidence in those sides. Wokingham & Emmbrook earned their first three point of the season on Tuesday against Tadley Calleva, a win at home to the Hellenic League Premier Division’s bottom side Hallen would equal the furthest the Sumas have gone in the competition since they merged up with Embrook Sports in 2004 and suddenly, it’s two wins in two.
Woodley United and AFC Aldermaston both have tough tests at Milton United and Frimley Green respectively but would certainly benefit from making progress in the competition.
Berks County’s 100% record
We couldn’t let this pass by, but Berks County have a 100% record to maintain in the competition. The Swords HAVE NEVER BEEN BEATEN in the FA Vase. Okay it’s a bit silly as it’s their first season in the competition and they’ve only played one game so far, but as someone somewhere may once have said, never let reality get in the way of a good stat.
Buildbase FA Vase Second Qualifying Round for Berkshire clubs
Abingdon United v Berks County
Bishop’s Cleeve vs Wallingford Town
Eversley & California vs Oldland Abbotonians (1 pm)
Frimley Green vs AFC Aldermaston
Milton United vs Woodley United
Sandhurst Town vs Longlevens (Sunday 26th, 3 pm)
Tadley Calleva vs Ascot United
Wellingborough Whitworth vs Windsor
Wokingham & Emmbrook vs or Hallen
When the First Round Proper draw will be released.