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  • Writer's pictureRob Stevens

Sandhurst F.C. Royals have improved to become serious Division One title contenders this season

PICTURE: South Reading have stormed into the Berks & Bucks F.A. David Grange Junior Trophy Final this season after a 5-0 win against Marsh Gibbon in the Semi Finals on Saturday.

Sandhurst Royals manager Adam Shakran has explained that his team has already exceeded expectations in their debut season in the East Berkshire Football League.

The Royals have previously played together, but joined the League last summer with little knowledge on what to expect.

That has not stopped them one bit however, and the team now stands a great chance of being crowned Division One champions this season.

Sandhurst have been in incredible form winning in their last eight league matches, a run that dates back to mid-October, and arrive at this Showcase Match event with a clear three points lead at the top of the table.

Shakran explained: “Coming into the League as a new team, we didn’t have any expectations, whether that be for the teams that we would be playing, or how we would play. Most of us used to play together, so that has helped when setting the team up and preparing for the season. It was very much a ‘take every game as it comes’ approach and see how we got on.

“Having now played 14 League games, we now have a new target of being promoted to the Premier Division. We have the highest goals tally in the whole League (86) and one of the lowest goals conceded (22). This shows how well we have settled into the League.

“Scoring 19 goals in our last three games will give us confidence going into this Showcase Match event.”

Sandhurst will look towards their main talisman, Thomas Nower, to fire them to a ninth consecutive League win on Saturday night. Nower has bagged 17 goals in just 14 appearances so far this season. Only Sean Blandford at Old Windsor Reserves has scored more - 27 goals in 18 matches.

PICTURE: Sandhurst Royals take on South Reading in a Division One Showcase Match at The Racecourse Ground in Ascot on Saturday night (7.30pm kick off). Tickets are available for a limited time only at the discounted price of just £4. To order, click here:

Nower is not the only man that could cause problems for the South Reading defence however, as recent Royals signing Harry Winkley has found the back of the net 11 times already in just five games for the Club including a hat-trick in the win at Berks Elite last weekend. Louis Coute is another notable danger and has nine goals in 14 matches this term.

Sandhurst will not lack for confidence either having taken current Premier Division leaders, Frontline, to a penalties shoot-out following a high-scoring 4-4 draw in the Quarter Finals of the League Cup competition four weeks ago.

Shakran however, is fully aware that a clash with South Reading represents one of their toughest tests of the season so far. Their opponents are currently four positions and eight points behind them in the table but, with three matches in hand on the current leaders.

The West Berkshire side are currently on a five-match winning streak in all competitions including a victory last weekend to reach the Final in the Berks & Bucks F.A. David Grange Junior Trophy.

South Reading are unbeaten in their last 12 games dating back to early October. The run includes a 5-2 success over Sandhurst Royals in the First Round of the Presidents Cup competition back on 28th October.

Shakran speculated: “We played South Reading earlier on in the season and unfortunately came away second best. They proved to be the toughest opponents so far this season, with a mixture of talented and experienced players proving the difference. If we can stop the service into their front three, it will put is in a good position to win the game.”

The Royals boss added: “I think that all of the players have enjoyed our first season in the East Berkshire League, from exceeding our initial expectations to now having the opportunity to play in a Showcase Match event.

“The game on Saturday should be a great occasion for both Clubs with, hopefully, a large crowd watching. Both sets of players will be up for it, and even though it’s a League game, there’s a lot on the line in terms of promotion hopes.”

To enter the East Berkshire Football League ahead of the 2024/25 season, or for further information about the league, or an entry form for the upcoming season, please email the team at


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