The ADL’s plans for the season took another hit as the rain yet again wiped out all but eight games at the weekend.
In the Tom Sparkes League Cup, New Zealand and Bucks CC battled it out once more in a game sensibly switched from a flooded Lower Road.
Bucks faced an awkward tie against their league rivals New Zealand in the last 16 of the tie.
From a neutral point of view the game was fantastic and had everything, Bucks took the lead just before the break when a Mark Swierzynski shot was turned in by Ray Long.
However, just at the start of the second half the New Zealand came back to make it 1-1,.
Lee Benton wound back to years to prove he does have a left foot with a worldy. Musa Schmidt and Sam Robertson goals were not enough for New Zealand, though.
Bucks once again took the lead through captain Ian Pearce however the Kiwis once again hit back with a screamer to make it 2-2 and send the game into extra-time.
Both sets of players were beginning to look tired so Bucks brought on the talented Vinny Greco and it didn’t take long for the debutante to score a long range effort to put Bucks 3-2 up.
Once again, though, the New Zealand came fighting back to make it 3-3 and at that stage it looked like penalties would decide the tie.
Bucks had different ideas, though, and a late header from Swierzynski sent Bucks through.
It was a game full of incidents and unfortunately Bucks skipper Pearce saw red at the final whistle for what Bucks CC described ‘a lot of confusion over nothing’.
Bucks now find themselves in all major ADL cups and facing a great league title battle.
Man of the match was, not for not the first time, Rikki Sinfield. The forward knew Tom Sparkes, the former ADL footballer to whom the competition is dedicated.
A Bucks CC spokesman paid tribute to Sinfield’s performance, saying: “We all know Tom would have been proud of Rikki’s man of the match performance today.”
Elsewhere in the cups, Aylesbury Dynamos were made to work by APR in the Dayla Sponsored Thomas Field Shield, eventually winning a five-goal thriller 3-2 despite being two divisions apart.
Steve Lindsey (2) and Darren Woolard scored for the victors, Mike Brown and Gary Rymer for APR.
In the other game, two goals from Mike Little helped Downley Albion knock out old foes Berko Sports 2-1 for whom Adrian Duncan scored.
In the Sheffield Jackman Cup, Elmhurst beat Pond Park Rangers 2-0, Akeel Khan and Ibra Mohammed scoring.
In the league, the ADL was restricted to just four games across all five divisions.
In the Premier Division, Walton Court Wanderers scraped to a 3-2 win over battling bottom side Bedgrove Dynamos, Wayne Lightfoot, Sajid Ashraf and Lewis Roots goals cancelled out those from Matt Fellows and Nick Gibbons to move Walton Court seven points clear as Dynamos now only have five games to save themselves.
In Division One, Ludgershall won their third game in a row to move into sixth and must be ruing an awful start to the season after a 3-0 away victory at Rivets FC. Danny Salim, Ben Miles and Jamie Bayliss scoring.
Division Two was a complete wipeout.
In Division Three Ludgershall Reserves won 4-2 over bottom side Aylesbury Wanderers, Simon Takiete’s double, Scott Hawkes and Howard Holmes netting to pull them away from the relegation zone.
The relegation candidates will be far clearer when the recent withdrawal of a club is ratified and their record is expunged.
In Division Four in another game was sensibly moved as AC Meadowcroft faced leaders P&IC United, the title chasers winning 6-2, braces for Joe Henley, Paul Foley and one each for Paul Caviell and Sean O’Donnell. Vinny McGovern and Tim Flew for AC.
With possible fixture backlogs, clubs are asked to seek alternative pitches to avoid midweek games and the ADL insists all clubs must try and switch game to your opposition’s pitch if possible.
Meanwhile, the league raised the matter of issues over players/coaches helping officiate matches in the ADL.
In a statement from the league committee’s January meeting, an ADL spokesman said: “When it comes to players/coaches/managers volunteering as assistant referees, as assistants they must remain neutral and follow the instructions and the laws of the game as directed by the referee.”
The meeting also saw the draw for the Oving Village Cup semi-final.
The cup, believed to be the second oldest football cup competition in the world behind the FA Cup, is on schedule and almost down to the last four sides despite the recent glut of postponements due to the wet wintry weather.
Haddenham will entertain Wingrave while Stewkley will welcome the winners Oving or Oakley.
Log on to the ADL website at www.adl-football.couk for more information.