Prior delighted to be in the title picture going into Brimscombe’s penultimate fixture

Brimscombe & Thrupp manager Sam Prior has told Severn Sport that he is delighted to still be in the title picture in the Hellenic Premier, despite being knocked off top spot by Wantage Town on Tuesday night. 

The Lilywhites had been top of the table for a number of weeks but with both Wantage Town and Bishops Cleeve having games in hand, it felt like a matter of time before they were over taken. Prior though, remains positive despite the state of the title race.

“We’re delighted to be still be involved in such a tight and close run title race. It’s a new situation for us as a club to be in, with out highest finish at this level of 5th, we have never been amongst the top sides with two games to play. 

Obviously the cynic in me feels we should have even more points than we currently have, but every team could say the same. 

We didn’t set any targets at the start of the season and the lads deserve all the credit for putting us in the privileged position we are in. I can’t praise them highly enough for their efforts this season and whatever happens over the next two games, it has been a wonderful season for us a strong building block for next season.” Prior added.

Brimscombe were knocked off the top spot by Wantage Town’s 96th minute winner over Longlevens on Tuesday night with 3rd placed Bishops Cleeve also in action against Flackwell Heath, but Prior admits that regardless of Tuesday’s results his side knew it would be a tough test to win the league title having played more games.

“There’s no denying that we were gutted when we saw Wantage scored the winner so late. We were all Longlevens and Flackwell Heath fans for the night, but I don’t think the results change our mentality to be honest. 

We were aware before the games on Tuesday that we would need to win both our remaining games and hope for favours elsewhere and I don’t think there is any difference now. 

The next two results won’t be what defines our season, regardless of what happens. The results that been and gone, good and bad, are the reasons we find ourselves where we are.” 

This weekend Prior’s men head to Brackley Town Saints who have an outside chance of winning the league themselves. With a fixture against Wantage Town next weekend, Brackley could be in line for the title if Wantage were to lose at Flackwell Heath this weekend.

Brimscombe play their first league fixture for 3 weeks, with their last fixture not taking place until the Sunday evening of the Hellenic League Easter Weekend Groundhop next week. Prior though was quick to acknowledge that whilst having such a long break between games isn’t ideal, he doesn’t want to use it as an excuse come the end of the season.

“The break hasn’t been ideal in the slightest to be honest. But in previous seasons we’ve ended up playing three or four times a week for the last four weeks at the end of the season. With no cup runs or anything this time around, we’ve found ourselves ahead in games played and have had to sit and watch as the other sides around us close the gap. 

I’m not sure many other leagues would have a side in the top 2, having had a 3 week break just one week before the end of the season. But we can’t use it as an excuse, we need to be ready to go at 3pm on Saturday and after a positive training session last night, I am confident the boys will be ready to give their all and fight for the cause.” 

If the Lilywhites can win on Saturday they won’t know until next weekend whether their fixture with Abingdon United on the final weekend could be for the title or not, as if Wantage win at Flackwell on Saturday and beat Brackley Town Saints next weekend – then they will be crowned Hellenic Premier Champions.

Brimscombe & Thrupp’s all important fixture at Brackley Town Saints takes place on Saturday 13th April; 15:00 kick off

Check out the full list of fixtures in and around the county this weekend right here.