Tuesday, 18 December 2018

Royal Wootton Bassett next up for Kites

AFTER their excursion into the FA Cup last Saturday, Henley Town return to their league programme

AFTER their excursion into the FA Cup last Saturday, Henley Town return to their league programme this week with two home games, writes John Bailey.

Tomorrow (Saturday) Royal Wootton Bassett Town are the visitors for a 3pm kick-off, followed on Tuesday by Brackley Town Saints, when the kick-off is at 7.45pm.

Though there will be precious few easy games for newly promoted Henley in the Premier Division of the Uhlsport Hellenic League, they do seem to have a fair chance of picking up points this week as their two opponents finished 15th and 16th respectively last season.

Five years ago, Wootton Bassett became only the third town in the country to be allowed a royal prefix, most of Henley’s games against them having taken place when the football club’s name was shorter.

Of the 10 previous meetings between the sides, the first eight occurred on one of the Town’s previous sojourns in the Premier Division, with Henley winning four and drawing two of them. Subsequently, the sides have clashed twice in cup-ties, when Bassett have made up lost ground with two victories, the most recent being two years ago in the Hellenic Challenge Cup, when the Red Kites went down 3-2 at home. In the present season, like Henley, Bassett began with a home defeat in the league and followed this by losing away in the FA Cup.

Brackley Town Saints are one of several teams now in the Hellenic League who, though officially a separate club, function largely as a reserve side for a more senior body. Two seasons ago, when they were still officially Brackley Town’s development side and named as such, they were promoted to the top level after finishing second in Division 1 (East), but the Red Kites took four points from their two games.

Saints have had a successful pre-season but have yet to play a competitive fixture.

Two more members of last season’s squad, Andrew Nunn and Matthew Godwin, have now re-signed for Henley but Asa Povey has left the club to join Binfield while Richard Thomas has announced his retirement.

The Town’s reserve team begin their league fixtures tomorrow, travelling to Lynchpin. Lynchpin are one of five first teams now competing in Division 2 (East), hitherto largely composed of reserve sides. Last Saturday’s reserve team friendly was called off, but a trial game between the reserves and the Sunday team was organised for Wednesday evening, which was expected to be very helpful for both sides.

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