Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Red Kites on their travels

HENLEY TOWN are now well into a taxing run of fixtures in which they have to

HENLEY TOWN are now well into a taxing run of fixtures in which they have to play twice a week for a long period, writes John Bailey.

This week they are away in the Premier Division of the Uhlsport Hellenic League both tomorrow (Saturday) and on Tuesday.

Tomorrow, which was originally shown as a blank date on the fixture list, sees Henley travel to Thatcham Town for a 3pm kick-off. Thatcham were last season’s runners-up, finishing comfortably above third-placed Flackwell Heath, but they lost by the odd goal at home in both their opening league match of the current term and their subsequent FA Cup tie, following which one of their joint managers resigned. They had no game last Saturday.

Over the years, there have been 26 meetings in which both clubs fielded their first teams, the first being as long ago as the 1897/98 season. Thatcham have won 12 of these games to Henley’s nine, with five being drawn. Rivalry was particularly strong in 1958/59, when Thatcham won the Hellenic Division 1, with Henley three points behind in third place. Each beat the other 2-1 at home.

Four seasons ago, Thatcham Reserves were by then in Division 1 East, and Henley, who had not won in the league all season, conquered them by scoring in injury time.

Oxford City Nomads are the Town’s hosts on Tuesday, kicking off at 7.45pm. Finishing in the top half last season, they met with mixed fortunes at the start of the new campaign, losing 4-1 at home to Bracknell but drawing away to the strong Longlevens side. Nomads, though now under the wing of Oxford City, emerged from the old Quarry Nomads club.

On the injury front Ben Clark will be sidelined for several months following his broken leg on Tuesday night and captain Warren Baxter could be out for a month following his injury at Brimscombe, while, as it is almost impossible to appeal against red cards nowadays, the Town look like being some way short of full strength following last weekend’s controversial contest. Fortunately, some players then absent are expected to make a quick return.

The Red Kites were boosted this week with the news that Richard Bennett, the club’s top scorer for the last two seasons, has rejoined the club after briefly moving to Binfield earlier in the summer.

Henley Town Reserves resumed league football after an 18-month gap last weekend, visiting Lynchpin and going down 6-2, Ben Bedgord scoring both their goals. Lynchpin won the Premier Division of the East Berks League last season before moving up into Division 2 East of the Hellenic.

Tomorrow, the reserves entertain Chalfont Wasps Reserves in a league fixture, kick-off 3pm. On Thursday, the youth team begin their Allied Counties League campaign with a home fixture against Wantage Town Youth, kick-off 7.45pm.

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