Written by Scott W [Twitter: @ScottMHC14]
Hello and welcome to the third blog in my ‘Club In-Focus’ series. In this piece, I’m pleaed to welcome Buckhurst Hill Reserves, who played in Essex Olympian League Division Three in 2019-20. Manager Jason Murray (JM) & player Rhys Davies (RD) represent the team, looking back on their season in their own words.
My thanks to Jason & Rhys for their time and thanks for reading. You can find the team on Twitter: @bhfcReserves
Going into the Essex Olympian League season at Division Three level after promotion from Div Four the previous season, how did you feel the side would cope with the opposition?
JM: This season was my first campaign with this team, and we quickly overhauled the existing squad. We gambled on bringing in a group of young players who had never played men’s football before. In truth, I had no idea if they would cope, the plan was to try and adapt as we we went along.
What was the favourite match of the season and why?
JM: There was some fantastic performances along the way but a favourite of mine has to be the 1 – 0 cup win against Aveley u23s. They came with a decent reputation and certainly didn’t disappoint, we had to be very good without the ball that day. I saw something new from this young group, the boys were disciplined whilst always carrying a real threat at the other end.
RD: I’d say the Essex Cup win over Aveley under 23s. They are a very good, young talented side and I think it really showed what we are capable of as a team.
What was your best performance away from Roding Lane this season?
JM: The best away performance would be the 3 – 2 win at Corinthians Reserves, we couldn’t have had a worse start. We only had 11 players through injury and working commitments, our Coach/Centre-Back Phillip Ferris had to stand in between the sticks Again. We also had one of our players who was giving two more a lift, stopped by the police on route! So we had 8 players with about 5 minutes before kick off. The lads were brilliant that day and stuck to the game plan, and we beat a very good side more convincingly than the 3 – 2 scoreline would suggest. I’d also like to mention the nice gesture from their manager who praised our lads in the changing room after the game.
RD: I would say our first game of the season (at Hullbridge Sports ‘A’). We won 3 – 2 and I think we came from behind to win. It was good for me personally as I managed to grab two goals myself, one of them being the winner. There has been some good performances all season but I think that one will stick as it was our first competitive game as a team.
What was your best performance at Roding Lane this season?
JM: I wouldn’t say it was our best performance but the 5-3 win against Leigh Town Reserves was well overdue. We felt we owed them one, after crashing out the cup via a goalkeeping error and a very dubious late winner. We were also well beat, in the league at their place to be fair, our encounters tend to be a little more vocal than any of the other fixtures in the league.
RD: Will have to say Vs Aveley U23 again. It was just a solid and hard earned win.
On or off-the-pitch, what was your most memorable moment from this season?
JM: There has been lots of memorable moments from the matches we played and the performances the boys have put in. Still I can’t help but to laugh when I recall the Lakeside Goalkeeper sledging our coach Philip Ferris for his long coat the “Onesie” Comment was a real highlight for me.
RD: Scoring a 35-yard belter with my weaker foot. Lobbed the keeper into the top bins(top corner of the net). I’ll be honest – I didn’t aim for top bins though ha! (Modest! – Ed)
What was the low point of the campaign for you?
JM: It would have to be our Cup exit’s away at Leigh Town Reserves and Wakering Sports reserves I really fancied us in both competitions to go a lot further.
RD: For me personally getting knocked out of the Essex cup after doing so well in that competition. Against a team we really should of beaten. One of those games where nothing went right for us.
Besides yourselves, which team do you believe played the best Football in your division this season?
JM: Toby were excellent against us in the first half but I’d have to say it was ACD United that played the most effective brand of football in the division. Our boys really looked their age against them and the 3 – 0 defeat in truth flattered us.
RD: I would probably say Collier Row or ACD. Both teams you can tell been playing together for a while. Both teams deserved to be at the top to be honest.
Which players (outside of your own club) stood out for you this season?
JM: Collier Row forward Ed Hart was first class in both games we played, he’s a real handful. The little fella at Toby, Marc Porter-Brown was also excellent against us and likes to play in those dangerous little pockets.
RD: Ed Hart (Eddie the Eagle) for Collier Row. Class player and I’m lucky enough to be playing with him on Sundays next season.
How important is it that the EOFL matches are covered by amateur media, particularly with focus elsewhere on other divisions higher up the Non-League pyramid?
JM: I think the amateur media coverage Is a very important part of the grass roots game. It highlights all the good work that’s going on lower down the football pyramid. I look forward to the match reports and divisional round-ups and try to get a feel of how the other teams are playing.
RD: I think it’s great giving coverage as there are some truly talented players at this level that really could play in higher divisions and get paid to do so… I believe it could help players with their careers and development.
In your opinion Jason, what is the most important thing about managing a Reserve side?
JM: The role of a reserve team, must be to ultimately support the First team, however as in our case our young squad is some way off at present. This season we were introducing 16 -17 year old’s into the men’s game therefore I see the role slightly differently. We are developing a team to compete at our level, with the long-term goal to create players that will push for a first-team place.
Finally, any other exciting news for the future you’d like to share?
JM: This coming season I have added to the coaching team, bringing in some top coaches i have worked with over the last few years. I feel this is going to allow me to concentrate on the management side of things and help us be much better prepared for the next campaign. I also feel last season was a coming of age for most of the squad, and I am expecting even more from them this time around. We even have a few of them driving now!
If your club (at Essex Olympian, Essex Senior or Eastern Senior League South levels) would be interested in sharing your thoughts on your 2019/20 season then please DM me on Twitter by June 7th 2020. Thank you