Following the club’s unprecedented success over the last few years, the 2019/20 season seemed destined to be one of consolidation for most UBAFC teams. With the 3s, 4s, 5s and 6s all in higher leagues than ever before, general consensus was that it would be a brilliant achievement if these teams maintained their status in their new divisions, alongside some silverware from the 1s or 2s to continue the rich winning heritage of the club.
Judging from these criteria, it is crystal clear that the 2019/20 season qualifies as another hugely successful one for the club. The 1s second consecutive conquering of Western 1A undoubtedly serves as the main highlight but the campaign was littered with momentous days such as the 4s knocking Cardiff 1s out of the cup and the 2s cup final appearance – not to mention the 3s beating the 2s to kick start a highly competitive season-long rivalry.
Below is a short season review by the respective team captains, along with club legend Alan Tyers report of the season’s affairs for the 1s
“Our last league game wrapped up the season in stylish fashion: a dominant 4-1 win over rivals UWE”Alan Tyers, 1s Manager
The 2019/20 season saw UBAFC 1s retain the Western Division 1A by a massive ten-point margin. The league was basically wrapped up by an impressive start to the season as the first three games were won playing an exciting brand of football. We beat Bournemouth away with an impressive 4-0 score-line and then battered Bath at home 6-1. The best performance of the season saw us play a good Marjons side completely off the park, showcasing some scintillating football – they could not cope with the pace, precision and power we displayed and they were swept a-side: 3-0. Southampton came to dingle with a very defensive game plan and left with a 1-1 draw; we failed to find a solution to the problems they posed despite having huge amounts of possession. We then went away to UWE and came away with a 2-0 victory despite a below par performance. We went on to complete the double over Bournemouth (4-1) and then suffered our only league defeat, 3-2, away against Bath. This slight blip in our season continued in the next game with a 1-1 draw against Marjons at Dingle. Normality was restored with a 1-0 win away at Southampton, playing extremely well in the process. Our last league game wrapped up the season in stylish fashion: a dominant 4-1 win over rivals UWE. The cup saw us put in some indifferent performances. We beat Bath 2-0 in the first round and then bested Cambridge 3-2 away in the second round. Possibly our worst performance of the season saw us lose 3-2 at home to St. Mary’s in the quarter finals – a result caused by making wrong decisions at the wrong time and failing to capitalize on goal scoring opportunities. All in all, it was a good season, with Hinks scoring for fun, ably supported with goals-a-plenty from Haire, Toby and Big Bertie. Gale, Pags and Jasper provided the ammunition from the flanks, safe in the knowledge that they were protected by a solid back 5. A huge thank you must go to Gale and Hinks for supporting me enormously as captain and vice-captain. We are losing some big players next season but the breakthrough of Dan Sutton as well as the retention of Anderson, Anton, Cam, Gauts, Gale and Toby mean that the future is certainly looking bright.
Player of the Season: Jack Haire
As previously stated there were a number of players who performed well throughout the season: Hinks was the runaway golden boot winner whilst Nibbs picked up the most MotMs. In general, the defence was solid and the attack was fluid and easy on the eye. It is the middle man connecting the two who gets the award for me. The ever-present Jack Haire in central midfield broke up play, created chances for others and popped up with the occasional goal himself. He leaves Bristol this year and will be sorely missed for the tenacity, experience and flair he brings to the 1s midfield.
“Winning is a habit that is hard to break and when the wins started, they just kept on coming”Adam Blades, 2s Captain
After two games of the season, we were sitting rock bottom of the table with zero points having just been outplayed by the 3s in front of a large club contingent. Under the guidance of gaffer Al Harlington, we slowly but surely started getting better and better, our results on the pitch reflecting this. Winning is a habit that is hard to break and when the wins started, they just kept on coming. Our form wasn’t limited to the league either as huge cup wins over Exeter, Gloucestershire and Solent saw us march on through the rounds. Remarkably, with two games left in the season, we were two wins away from recording a historic league and cup double. Unfortunately, it was not to be. We drew 2-2 away at Exeter to hand Gloucestershire 1s the title and then were outplayed by a very good Hartpury side in the cup final the following week. Despite the disappointing end to the season, we had a superb year with many fantastic results which ended up with the teams’ highest ever league finish. The success we had has to be attributed to the effect that Al had on the team as coach. He instilled a standard of hard-work and quality throughout the team which turned our season around from catastrophic to almost victorious.
Player of the Season: Henry Edwards
Having your goalkeeper win player of the season doesn’t look good for the rest of the team but it is impossible to ignore the contribution Henry made this year. He made seemingly impossible saves in almost every game which no doubt won us many points over the course of the season.
“The four back-to-back away days at the start of the season were some of my best times in the club”Ryane Tully, 3s Captain
Coming into this season, we knew it was going to be tough – we were now playing in the same league as the 2s and just one division below the 1s. To do well in this league I knew we would have to over-perform in every single game. With this in mind, I channeled my inner Mourinho to turn every game into a battle. We kicked the season off against Exeter 2s where none other than fresher Finn Wallace-Abbott (CB) screams at me that he can do a better job than all of our CM’s; I put my faith in him and he goes and scores two goals to earn us a point. Finn ended the season with 2 goals. As the season progressed, we had the pleasure of playing with George JP as he rose up the ranks – thanks must be given to Hemmings and Sage for deploying him in the no.10 role where he dominated. I must also thank Hardless who helped me manage the team and clatter every striker he played against within 5 minutes of each game. With the current and future social secs (Chisholm and Cian) in the team, it is unsurprising that all away days, win or lose, were followed by a fun bus home. It was here that each time, without fail, Barnaby treated us to a rendition of Natasha Bedingfield’s ‘Unwritten’ – magical. Two great memories which stick with me were Joe Williams ripping his top off to sing ‘Dance Wiv Me’ by Dizzy Rascal and watching the 40 minute tirade of abuse being hurled in the direction of Niall-no-goals-Beirne. As the season developed, we were graced with the footballing prowess of Shaneo – adorning his brand new white boots, it was like watching the second coming of Ronaldinho. It has been an absolute pleasure to manage and captain the 3s this year and a big thank you goes out to everyone who played for me (a list which somehow includes Hyde). The four back-to-back away days at the start of the season were some of my best times in the club. I wish the 3s – the greatest UBAFC team – the best of luck next year.
Player of the Season: Barnaby Arnold
Whilst I finished as top goal scorer (shock), Barnaby is player of the year for sure. He was the heartbeat of our midfield and the life and soul of the team both on and off the pitch. A close runner up is Sir Adam Blades; it cannot be understated how pivotal he was in our monumental victory against the 2s at the start of the season.
“The real highlight of our season came in the cup, knocking out one of the pre-tournament favourites, Cardiff 1s”Louise Hemmings and Sean Sage, 4s Captains.
With the 4s gaining promotion on the final day of last season, this year was always going to be a tough one. Despite the challenge, we comfortably maintained our status in tier 3 with a league double over relegation rivals Swansea as well as a huge win to seal our safety against Cardiff 3s at the end of the season. However, the real highlight of our season came in the cup, knocking out one of the pre-tournament favourites, Cardiff 1s, on penalties in the first round (in no small part to a last-minute equalizer from Rich Newton and some goalkeeping heroics from Zac Seddon). We went on to beat USW 2s in the next round before unluckily losing to Cardiff Met 4s. This fantastic cup run no doubt helped the 2s in their journey to the final, only for them to bottle it (shock). An all-round great season for the 4s and a lot of fun was had along the way.
Player of the Season: Wenzi Ngcobo
The lethal striker started in the 3s but came to us in November and never looked back. He finished as our top goal scorer and was a consistent high-level performer week in, week out. His best performance was against Cardiff Met 3s in which he scored a superb hat-trick to secure a vital point in the league.
“In our new league, we knew that this season would be a real challenge”Giuseppe Lombardelli, 5s Captain
In our new league, we knew that this season would be a real challenge. My aim was to build a side with pure passion, drive and the ability to dismantle any opposition – an aim I knew was possible with the quality of players within the team. We finished a very admirable third, contributed to with huge wins over USW 3s and Cardiff 4s, both of whom were top of the league at the time we played them. You naturally get a high player turnover in a 5s team but I feel we still gelled really well and it felt like being part of a family. There was no other team I would rather have been a part of.
Player of the Season: Duro Adebayo
His natural talent was plain to see from day 1 and his blistering pace was always going to trouble any opposition. As the season progressed, with the help of some coaching, he turned into a regular goal-scorer and one of the first names on the team-sheet.
“There is no side I would have rather managed”Will Straw, 6s Manager
It is impossible to condense all of the trials and tribulations of the 6s season into a few words but it is an honour for me to try. A hectic 6-4 win against Bath Spa on the opening day set the tone for what was to come: pure drama. The 6s demonstrated all the qualities of a top tier side – passion, talent and grit were all showcased in notable victories against Cardiff, Aberystwyth and unforgettably, in the 3-2 comeback victory against Cardiff Met at fortress dingle in front of many club members. A third-place finish was the highest ever for the 6s and off the pitch a largely fresher side integrated fantastically into the club. Whilst the job was an emotional rollercoaster and had my heart rate in bits at points, there is no side I would have rather managed. The 6s players leaving Bristol this summer remain a part of the UBAFC family and I’m excited to hit the ground running next season with the boys who are still about.
Player of the Season: Alfie Airey
An incredibly tough call as we had so many consistent high-quality performers throughout the season. However, it is impossible to ignore the influence Alfie had on the team. Stationed in the ‘regista’ role in the centre of the park, he controlled games, never shirked a tackle and came up with some vital goals. Alfie rightly shot up the UBAFC ranks after Christmas, culminating in him bagging a hat-trick for the 3s – big things to come from this boy.
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