12:00PM, Friday 10 December 2021
It's been a season of evolution for Holyport FC, as the players try to get to grips with the steep learning curve of playing Combined Counties Premier Division North level football.
Not many of the squad had experience of playing step 5 level football ahead of this season and in the early weeks of the campaign, many of them took a while to adapt.
But lessons are being learned and players are starting to adapt, and, with a little more luck assistant boss Sam Lock feels they could have been much higher in the league.
Successive league wins over Wokingham & Emmbrook, and Spelthorne Sports lifted the league's bottom side back to within touching distance of their relegation rivals.
Saturday's 1-0 defeat to promotion hopefuls Abbey Rangers was a setback but Lock is confident they have the quality and mentality to pull off what looked an impossible task in the early weeks of the season.
“I think it’s finally clicked for us,” said Lock. “This is another level for these boys. Some of them have only ever played step 6 football.
“We are having an evolution of players, a lot of them have come in, a few are moving on, and we’ve had to do what we can do to compete at this level.
“But now things have finally clicked, and we’ve been competitive in probably the last eight games or something like that.
“You look at the Southall game and how we conceded in the 95th minute. Since then, we lost against Tadley and Burnham, they weren’t great performances, but we were in the games, we competed, we just didn’t take our chances and they did.
“We were very good against Wokingham, we were very good against Spelthorne and to be honest with you, we were very good against Abbey Rangers. So, there's no complaints from us in that respect. We went out for a curry after and did all the initiation songs and I’d say for the first time this season, we now have a settled squad. So, we are looking forward to the next game and we haven’t said that too many times this season.”
They may remain bottom of the table, but survival is now very much there for the taking, and they'll be hoping to pick up more precious points when they visit Egham Town on December 18.
League rivals Burnham drew 2-2 at Edgeware Town on Saturday. They host Windsor at The Gore on Saturday.
Burnham Park Academy and a scenic spot near Windsor and Eton Bridge are among the locations to feature in a new romantic drama on Netflix.