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rich hunter hellenic football league‘Disgusting’ - 31 March

Wootton Bassett manager Rich Hunter his side’s performance as ‘disgusting’ following their 2-0 defeat to Ardley United in the Blufin Sport Supplementary Cup on Wednesday night, which came hot on the heels of a 2-1 loss at Burnham, who began that match at the foot of the Premier Division table. And ahead of tomorrow’s trip, Hunter has been less than impressed with the attitude of his players in recent weeks.

“Wednesday night was very disappointing. It was pretty embarrassing really, to finish in such a manner, especially at home,” the Bassett boss said. “It’s been a difficult two or three weeks for the team. It was a culmination of things, but it was shameful. The important thing for me since I joined was character and values which reflect on the club itself, such as hard work and discipline. I don’t think anyone showed any of those traits on the pitch on Wednesday and it was embarrassing to watch. It was a culmination of things, but it was shameful. The important thing for me since I joined was character and values which reflect on the club itself, such as hard work and discipline.”

“I don’t think anyone showed any of those traits on the pitch on Wednesday and it was embarrassing to watch. We just rolled over - it was disgusting. It’s unacceptable for players to be showing attitudes like that.”

Going into the final game of the season Bassett sit in 10th place - the lowest they can finish is 11th - and face a team six places above them.

Despite Bassett’s recent form, in which they have won once in their last five outings, Hunter sees no reason why his team can’t sign off the season with a win. “It’s difficult to motivate the players at the end of the season, I understand every year you get these end of season blues,” added Hunter. “Oxford is a game we should win. They (the players) need to redeem themselves because they owe the supporters and the board something (after Wednesday night). They need to go in there with an ounce of pride as professional and they should want to finish the season with a victory. I’ve given them a challenge and we will have to wait and see if they rise to the occasion.”

 

1,000th Hellenic League Game - 30 March

Saturday not only marks the culmination of Royal Wootton Bassett Town’s 2016-17 Premier Division campaign, as their visit to face Oxford City Nomads will also officially be the 1,000th Hellenic League game they have played.

Bringing to an end their 29th season as Hellenic League members, Bassett have taken on 85 different opponents during that time, with Burnham being the latest side they have come up against.

Of those 85, Cheltenham Saracens have been Bassett’s most frequent opponents (42 meetings in all), followed by Wiltshire neighbours Purton (38), Clanfield (also 38), Easington Sports (36), the now defunct Cirencester United (34), local rivals Highworth Town (32) and Kidlington (32).

Life in the Hellenic started inauspiciously for Bassett, as they lost their opening fixture 3-0 against Cheltenham Town Reserves at former home Rylands Way. It took until their third game to register a first goal, with two coming in a draw against local rivals Purton. An opening victory eventually came at the fifth time of asking as visitors Easington were defeated 4-1 courtesy of a Damon York hat trick.

Although the club’s only trophies during their time in the Hellenic League have come in cup competitions, their journey to 1,000 games has been an eventful one, with three promotion winning campaigns (1999-2000, 2009-10 and 2012-13), as well as the lows – most notably relegation from the Premier Division in 2005 and demotion in 2011.

The visit to Court Place Farm to take on Nomads – the 14th meeting between the teams – will be the 200th fixture they have played against the Premier Division’s existing members.

Demonstrating the shifts in the Hellenic League’s footprint since Bassett joined ahead of the 1988-89 season, they have competed against just 5 of the 17 other teams currently in the Premier Division in seven or more seasons.

In previous milestone games, Bassett have fared as follows:

Game #1: L 0-3 v Cheltenham Town Reserves (H – 20th August 1988)
Game #50: W 2-0 v Easington Sports (H – 24th March 1990)
Game #100: L 2-3 v Tuffley Rovers (H – 9th November 1991)
Game #200: L 1-4 v Milton United (A – 1st January 1995)
Game #250: L 2-9 v Milton United (A – 22nd April 1996)
Game #300: W 4-1 v Watlington Town (H – 15th November 1997)
Game #400: W 2-0 v Wantage Town (H – 30th January 2001)
Game #500: L 0-1 v Hook Norton (A – 16th August 2003)
Game #600: D 1-1 v Pewsey Vale (H – 27th December 2005)
Game #700: L 0-2 v Purton (H – 31st January 2009)
Game #750: W 8-0 v Oxford City Nomads (A – 21st August 2010)
Game #800: W 2-0 v Clanfield (A – 5th November 2011)
Game #852: W 3-0 v Malmesbury Victoria (H – final game at Rylands Way - 23rd April 2013)
Game #900: L 2-3 v Ascot United (H – 27th September 2014)
Game #929: D 1-1 v Brackley Town Saints (H – first game at the New Gerard Buxton Sports Ground – 8th August 2015)

For a comprehensive overview of Bassett’s entire history – and not just the 29 years it has proudly spent as a member of the Hellenic League - visit the club’s extensive archive at: https://rwbtfc.co.uk/history/archive/.

 

Great Confidence From Performance - 12 March

Rich Hunter admits he took great confidence from Wootton Bassett’s performance, despite losing1-0 to Thame United.

The hosts were going well in the Uhslport Hellenic Premier Division and started the day in second place, behind Bracknell Town. Bassett were in desperate need of a positive afternoon after they succumbed to a 5-1defeat to Flackwell Heath last weekend and Hunter was more than happy with what he saw on Saturday afternoon.

“It was a great performance from the players. I can’t really fault the work rate and the desire, it was great to see that,” he said in the Swindon Advertiser. “It was a hell of an improvement on last week, which was disappointing. I know how good the players are, they’re a lot better than their league position. I know they have performances in them and they can match any team in this league, it’s just a matter of putting it together on a consistent basis. That is what has been the most frustrating thing this season, we have got it in the locker they just need to show it more frequently. It’s nice when you can match one of the top teams.”

The result means Hunter’s men are 10th in the league standings with just three games left to play before the season draws to a close. While he was happy with the performance, Hunter also thinks his side were unlucky that they didn’t come away with anything from the game. “For the first half, it was a very tight affair and both teams had chances. We should have converted at least one of them,” added the Bassett boss. “Their goal was very lucky. It was a corner which got swung in. We headed it clear but then it hit one of their players square in the face and it looped into the net. We were very unlucky to go in 1-0 down at half-time and we were excellent in the second half. That was the best I have seen us play in a long time. You know you’re playing well when you’re making one of the top teams camp on the edge of their box for at least 25 minutes, so it was pleasing.”

 

Another Stern Test For Bassett - 10 March

Royal Wootton Bassett Town face another stern test in the Uhlsport Hellenic League Premier Division this weekend as they travel to second-placed Thame United.

The Swindon Advertiser reports Rich Hunter is looking for a reaction from his side after they were whacked 5-1 by Flackwell Heath last time out in the Premier Division, having had a squad of just 12 available.

Saturday is the latest game in what has been a tough run for Hunter’s troops, who have faced two of the top three in their last three games and travel to leaders Bracknell Town next weekend, but he is adamant his side could spring a surprise if they play to their potential.“It’s another tough one, we have to be at our best to get anything from them and we know that,” he said. “We had a good training session on Tuesday and we have a squad of 16 going to the game so at least we stand a better chance in terms of personnel. On our day I know we can get points no matter who it is in the league. We know they’re a good team, it is something to aspire to. The plan is to stay in the game as long as we possibly can. We will need to defend well and make sure that we are matching them.”

Hunter says his players are itching to make amends for last weekend’s heavy defeat to Flackwell. “It was another poor result for us. We knew it would be tough to go there. They’re a good side, we had to be at our best and we weren’t. We got punished. Conceding two goals in the first seven minutes killed any chance of us getting into the game. Towards the end it was damage limitation, they were a good team and they deserved to win on the day. They want to redeem themselves because they know they are better than what they showed at Flackwell. We spoke about it at training. They knew it wasn’t good enough, it was embarrassing really and that isn’t how we should be. They see it as a challenge. They want to be out there playing the top teams in the league with the better players. They’re excited and there is no pressure on them and they have nothing to lose.”

 

Bassett Aim To Have Say In Title Race - 3 March

After completing their home league fixtures for the campaign with a 3-1 triumph against Longlevens, Royal Wootton Bassett Town can now set their sights on having a say in the Uhlsport Hellenic League Premier Division title race.

While not fighting for the title themselves, Rich Hunter's team face the unenviable task of taking on the league's top three teams in their next three fixtures, starting with the visit to third place Flackwell Heath on Saturday. Subsequent weekends then take them to Thame United and current league leaders Bracknell Town.

It will be an extremely tricky run of games. But Bassett will be hoping to take advantage of the opportunity to influence the destination of the league crown, while continuing their pursuit of a first ever top half finish in the Hellenic Premier Division. Bassett have lost all four meetings with Flackwell, Thame and Bracknell so far this season.

However, they gave the Heathens a run for their money when the sides met at the Gerard Buxton Sports Ground in September, with Joe Blount's poacher's finish nine minutes before the break sealing victory for the visitors. Having lost 3-0 in their home league encounter with Thame, Bassett then gave the Oxfordshire side a fright in a 4-2 FA Vase defeat as they required a late goal to thwart a spirited comeback attempt.

The less said about the earlier season meeting with the Robins the better though as Bracknell sauntered to a 6-0 success.

 

Delighted With Reaction - 27 February

Rich Hunter was delighted with the reaction he got from his side after they signed off their last home game of the season with a 3-1 win over Longlevens.

Hunter had blasted his team following their 3-1 defeat to Binfield last Saturday afternoon but was much happier with their performance this week. “It was a good performance and a positive reaction from last weekend, which was very poor from us,” said Hunter in the Swindon Advertiser. “Throughout the game, we were much better than the other side and we deserved to win from start to finish.“The first half; we were very good. We could have been four or five-nil up at half-time but we didn’t take our chances.”

Dale Richards and Sam Packer gave the hosts a strong two-goal advantage as they went into the break. In the second half, Hunter’s troops were playing against the wind but despite the conditions, Packer was able to grab a second to seal the win.

“We knew it would be difficult and that we would have to defend well because they would be very direct,” added Hunter “We were very sloppy from a corner where they managed to score but we went up the other end and Sam Packer scored a great volley.“Overall, it was very pleasing. We put together some good football and we were certainly the better team on the day.”

Bassett have now played all of their home league fixtures and face a tough run of games in the next four weeks where they will pit their wits against the top three. “That was the last home league game, which seems early, but that is the way it is. It was nice to get a win because we needed it,” said the Bassett boss. “We have a tough three games coming up, so we needed to go into those with a bit of form and a victory under our belts, which we have got. It’s something to build on and with the tough games coming up, we need to be at our best. These three teams are fighting to win the league so for me, I want to see continued good performances. As long as we continue to play like I know we can play, I can see us picking up a few points. If we can anything out of them, then I will be happy. We only have five league games left, so we need to get as many points as we can to get the highest position possible.”

 

Tepid Bassett - 20 February

Rich Hunter blasted his Royal Wootton Bassett Town side as they turned in a tepid performance to go down 3-1 at Binfield in the Uhlsport Hellenic League Premier Division.

Bassett travelled to Hill Farm Lane attempting to end their three-match winless run but that never looked likely as they fell behind inside 10 minutes when Jon Bennett broke the deadlock for Binfield.

The visitors did at least manage to get to the break all-square after Dan Bailey brought them back level midway through the first half.

However, Hunter’s men never looked like threatening a winner after the restart and Liam Ferdinand soon restored the hosts’ lead before substitute Luke Hayden added gloss to the scoreline with Binfield’s third in the closing stages.

“It was our worst performance this season. We lacked any quality and desire all game,” said Hunter in the Swindon press, his side are down in 10th in the table. “The players didn’t turn up at all and we got punished. Binfield deserved to win the game. It’s very disappointing from a manager’s point of view when you hammer home basic principles like hard work and desire to win, and you don’t even see them as a minimum. I made it very clear to the squad that they let themselves down but we now have opportunities to rectify this and I will be expecting a huge improvement in training and next Saturday’s game.”

Show A Clinical Side - 17 February

Boss Rich Hunter wants Royal Wootton Bassett Town to show a more clinical side as they look for their first win in three games.

Hunter will lead his men to Stubbs Lane where they will come up against eighth-placed Binfield in the Hellenic League Premier Division. The Bassett boss was full of praise for his team despite their 2-1 home defeat to Ardley United last week. But Hunter also admits his side are leaving it a little late if they are to make a late surge up the league standings as he aims for another three points in Berkshire.

“It’s another massive game because I think they are one or two above us, so if we can win that, we gain some ground on them,” said Hunter in the Swindon Advertiser. “Three points will be the target. If we can recreate the performance from the weekend, I am convinced we will come away with all the points on offer.”

This week’s opponents are three points ahead of Bassett in eighth and have scored five or more in their last three games, which have all ended in victory. Hunter's team are currently 10th in the league table after tallying 39 points so far this season, but despite this, he believes Bassett are in a false position after some good performances from his troops over the course of the season.

“I know we are better than what our league position suggests currently. We are certainly better than 10th place," Hunter added. “It’s just getting the consistency in performances and it’ll come. We are certainly going in the right direction. There are huge positives to be taken out of last weekend but we really need to start closing out these games, taking our chances, and being a bit more ruthless.”

 

Simmering Edge? - 3 February

Royal Wootton Bassett Town get their teeth stuck back into league action and boss Rich Hunter reckons there may be a simmering edge to their home clash with Ascot United.

Both teams had a man sent off when Bassett won 3-1 in Berkshire on January 7.“We’re looking at it as a winnable game and I don’t want anything less than three points. When we have our best 11 out, I think we’re one of the better teams in this league. There was a bit of a brawl at the end and both teams went down to 10 men. Players don’t forget that kind of thing, so maybe it will be a bit feisty,” said Hunter.

 

Premier v Division One - 27 January

Wootton Bassett host Uhlsport Hellenic Division One East side Woodley United in the Bluefin Sport Hellenic Supplementary Cup tomorrow.

Bassett boss Hunter says he will treat every competition fairly as his troops look to finish the season on a high. “We want to win every game we play from now until the end of the season. I’ll be putting out a strong team,” said Hunter. “No matter what competition it is, whether it is the cup or in the league, I will always be putting out my best team to win that game. We are looking forward to it. It’s a competition we want to progress in and hopefully we will get the win on Saturday.”

Bassett were one of many sides unable to beat the elements last weekend, with their most recent game being a 2-0 win over Highmoor-Ibis two weeks ago and Hunter is more than aware his side may lack match sharpness because of inactivity. “It’s a shame the game was called off last week because we were on a nice little run. We wanted to maintain momentum and keep going,” added Hunter. “It’s one of those things with this time of year. You can’t help it but we had a good training session and the boys were working hard. Match sharpness is always a worry, particularly at this time of year with the weather. We just need to make sure it is competitive in training and we try our best to recreate the scenario from a Saturday. Our boys will be up for it. They’ll be fit and get into the game pretty quickly and hopefully we won’t have any more games cancelled.”

 

Enjoyable First Half - 6 January

Royal Wootton Bassett Town manager Rich Hunter says he has enjoyed the first half of the season since taking charge at the Gerard Buxton Sports Ground.

Hunter was permanently placed in charge of the Uhlsport Hellenic League Premier Division side on August 29 following the exit of Paul Braithwaite. And as ninth-placed Bassett go into their first match of 2017 – a visit to Ascot United – tomorrow, the manager feels that the team has responded to his tenure well.

“I’d like to think it has been a very positive start,” said Hunter in the Swindon Advertiser.“We have put together some good runs in the league and the squad has got the right attitude. The nucleus of the squad is pretty much the same from when I took charge, but I have also managed to bring in some players that I wanted. I think that the aim remains the same and that is a top half finish.”

Despite finishing 2016 with a 3-1 defeat to Lydney Town, the Bassett chief is hopeful that his side can get back on track in Berkshire. Hunter was without a specialist goalkeeper during the loss to Lydney with number one stopper Curtis Meare struck down by a virus, while back-up custodian Richard Lancaster went away for New Year leaving teenager George Lance to step up and fill the void.

The Bassett boss will be hoping to have at least one of his keepers back tomorrow with Hunter targeting three points against a side that have struggled this season. “Normally they are decent team but they have lost some players this season and they are not as strong as they used to be,” he said. “This is an opportunity to get back on track and I think that three points are there for the taking. Once I get my best XI back I know that we can challenge any team in this league.”

 

rich hunter hellenic football leagueOn The The Next Game - 30 December

Royal Wootton Bassett Town boss Rich Hunter wants to put Boxing Day’s derby defeat behind him as his side come up against Lydney Town tomorrow afternoon.

Following Monday’s 4-0 defeat to Highworth, the Bassett manager is more than keen to put a line through that result with a win at the weekend, writes Matt Davies in The Swindon Advertiser. "It was very poor, unfortunately we had a lot of players drop out the day before so we were probably at 50 per cent in terms of the strength of the squad," Hunter said. "We always knew it was going to be a tough task so we were well beaten by Highworth.“It was one of those that you put behind you, I know we have a lot of the squad back for Saturday."

The last time the two sides met was just over two weeks ago in the Perpetua Press Floodlit Cup where it ended 0-0 in the regular 90 minutes, before Bassett ran out as 2-0 winners thanks to Steve Robertson’s double. “It’s always a tough game with them and it is always a very tight affair," Hunter added. "We were lucky to get our noses in front in extra time, but again it will be tough. This will be the third time we have played them this season, so we know how to play against them.“It is just a matter of the players applying themselves and playing as they should play and I’m confident, as long as we can put a team together, we will get three points".

Before Christmas, Hunter’s troops enjoyed an elongated break prior to their game against Highworth, but the Bassett manager admits as helpful as it was for injuries, his side now need to regain their match sharpness. He said:"It was nice to get players back from little injuries and niggles, but missing the match sharpness isn’t great, I want to get back playing. We need to get the team playing with confidence again and once we do that, I can see no reason why we can’t start winning matches and begin to move up the league table. Looking back at the month before Christmas, we’d put in some really good performances so we can take encouragement from that as we head into the second phase of the season. All in all we were playing well."

 

Bassett Set For Boxing Day Grudge Match - 22 December

A Boxing Day treat is in store at the Gerard Buxton Sports Ground as Royal Wootton Bassett Town welcome near neighbours Highworth Town.

Fixtures between the teams are always hotly contested, eventful affairs. And their upcoming Christmas encounter should be no different - certainly if their meeting earlier in the season is anything to go by. On a glorious August Bank Holiday Monday, the Worthians raced into a two goal lead in the opening ten minutes. Steve Robertson halved the deficit ten minutes before the break, but Highworth's two goal advantage was restored shortly after the hour. However, again Bassett came back. Robertson grabbed his second of the day following a counter before Sam Packer rose highest to head home a Henry Spalding cross and earn the visitors a point as they shared six goals with their hosts.

Despite being the 31st Hellenic League contest between the teams, it was only the second occasion that such a clash had ended in a draw. Overall, Highworth lead the series with 18 wins - including an 8-0 thumping of Bassett last Christmas - against 11 triumphs for Bassett. The Worthians' inaugural visit to Bassett's new ground last season saw them claim a 2-0 victory.

Both teams enter the Boxing Day derby in good league form that neither will want to see ended. Jeff Roberts' Highworth side have won seven of their last eight in the league - their only defeat being a 3-1 reverse at home against Thatcham, and they currently sit fifth.

Bassett, meanwhile, are unbeaten in five league games, having won their last four. Rich Hunter's team sit eighth, ten points behind their visitors. Kick off on Boxing Day is 3pm, with admission £6 for adults and £3 for concessions. Bassett's award winning matchday programme will also be on sale, costing £1.50.

 

Bassett Back Boxing Day - 16 December

Royal Wootton Bassett Town, who won on Wednesday against Lydney Town in the Perpetua Press Floodlit Cup, resume the League campaign on Boxing Day.

Despite being unable to win the Floodlit tie inside 90 minutes, Bassett went safely through after Steve Robertson’s double sealed the win in extra time.

Bassett manager Rich Hunter said: “It was a close game. They played how they normally do, which is very direct. Hats off to my defence, who were fantastic. We looked solid throughout so it finished 0-0, but we got our goals in extra time. It showed the fitness of our team and the willingness to win the game, which was good to see. I didn’t mind playing extra time because we don’t have a game at the weekend so the players have a little break ahead of them.”

On Boxing Day Bassett will host local rivals Highworth Town.

 

Performance And Attitude Will Improve - 2 December

Rich Hunter Hunter is keen for Royal Wootton Bassett to return to winning ways in the Uhlsport Hellenic League Premier Division when they travel to Brackley Town Saints tomorrow and has spoken to his players to warn them about complacency.

“We had a strong enough squad to win the game against Sandhurst quite comfortably. We were cruising and then lost interest, which was disappointing,” said the Bassett boss. “It’s not the attitude I want to see from my players and I spoke to them about it in training. It doesn’t matter who we play, we give it 100 per cent. Hopefully they’ll take that on board and both the performance and attitude will improve on Saturday. Tactically, Brackley are very good. They like to keep the ball and they have some really tidy players but it is certainly one I am confident we can get three points from.

“In the past, we have had some good battles with them, but I’d like to think we are confident enough to get a win.” Hunter’s troops will be desperate to get out on the pitch after their midweek Wiltshire Senior Cup game away to Toolstation Premier side Bradford Town called off due to a frozen pitch. This time, Bassett will be travelling to Northamptonshire to face the Saints, who are currently 15th in the table.

Hunter admits the postponement could work against his side as it keeps them short of match action. “It was a bad thing the game was called off, we wanted to play but that game has been called off twice now,” he added. “In the last two or three weeks, we have played a limited amount of competitive football, although training has been good. Despite being able to get players back in the squad, you can never recreate that exact competitive situation in training.“We were looking forward to getting playing again but, unfortunately, it was called off again, which was a shame.”

 

Delighted With Performance - 21 November

rich hunter hellenic football leagueRich Hunter was delighted with his team’s performance as Royal Wootton Bassett claimed a 2-0 win over Tuffley Rovers.

Second-half strikes from Dan Bailey and Steve Robertson secured all three points as Bassett moved up to seventh in the Uhlsport Hellenic Premier Division. After a goalless first half, Bailey broke the deadlock by notching from a well-worked corner, before Robertson made the most of a one-on-one situation to seal the win.

“It was very pleasing and an excellent performance from us, over the 90 minutes I think we were the deserving winners,” said the Bassett manager, pictured. “It was a close game, the first half was very tight and it could have swung either way because there were chances for both teams. Second half we stepped up our performance and showed a bit more quality from the two teams and scored two really good goals. As they were pushing for an equaliser we caught them on the break, so overall it was pleasing and a good performance.”

Hunter was especially pleased with how his side were able to grab a late goal to snatch all three points. “Managers and teams have a tendency to protect a 1-0 lead and throw on another defender to soak up the pressure,” added the Bassett manager. “But we left two strikers up there knowing Tuffley would leave gaps at the back and I gave them the instructions to hit them hard on the counter attack.”

 

steve robertson hellenic football leagueWell Worth The Points - 7 November

Royal Wootton Bassett striker Steve Robertson believed his side were well worth all three points as his goal put them on course for a 3-2 Premier Division victory over Highmoor-Ibis.

The visitors to the Gerard Buxton Sports Ground gave their hosts a shock early on when Steve Yeardley was forced to clear Anthony White’s shot on the line before James Piercy was able to find the bottom corner after eight minutes. However, Bassett rallied and Dale Roberts was on hand to tuck home a rebound after Henry Spalding had rounded Highmoor goalkeeper Sean Saxty but seen his shot come off the post. Highmoor were reduced to 10 men three minutes after the break when Alex Dumbuya was adjudged to have prevented an obvious goal scoring opportunity. That galvanised the visitors but strikes from Robertson and Spalding secured the win in the final six minutes, with Marcus Richardson scoring late on for Highmoor.

“I think we were well worth the win,” said Robertson in the Swindon Advertiser. “Highmoor-Ibis are one of those teams that nobody wants to play because they are quite physical and I thought we did well as a group of players. I don’t think we started particularly well but there was no panic in our team, I felt like we were always going to be the better team and create chances against them. On another day, I think we could have scored three or four more goals. Their goalkeeper made two or three great saves and we just needed to be a bit more clinical. The sending off actually made them better. We had to be a bit more patient with the ball and they grew into the game. We’ve had a bit of a blip recently and I think we have got over that now and hopefully the lads can kick on from there. We just need to tighten up on a few little things against the better teams and then we are more or less there.”

The result lifted Bassett back up to eighth place in the Uhlsport Hellenic League Premier Division but having played the second-most games in the league, Robertson isn’t reading too much into their standing at this stage. “I think the club’s aim is to finish as high as we can and we have played a few more games than anyone else,” he added. “We just have to concentrate on what we need to do and after Christmas we’ll see where we stand. I think that we have got our points on the board already could be quite useful.”

 

Win Sought - 21 October

In the Uhlsport Hellenic Premier Division, Wootton Bassett Town are looking to return to winning ways when they visit Ardley United this weekend.

Rich Hunter’s side have endured two arduous outings at the Gerard Buxton Sports Ground, losing 3-0 to league leaders Thatcham Town on Wednesday night to follow up a 6-0 shellacking at the hands of Bracknell Town.

 

Bassett To Host Robins In Historic Friendly - 1 September

Monday 5 September is set to be a historic evening for Royal Wootton Bassett Town as they host Swindon Town in a friendly (7.30pm kick off).

Arranged as part of the Sports Association's series of events celebrating the one-year anniversary of the opening of the New Gerard Buxton Sports Ground, the League One Robins will be bringing a strong first team squad to face off against Bassett.

Luke Williams' side are no strangers to the facility, using it as their current training base. Swindon also staged a number of Academy games at the ground last year.

Admission on the night will cost £6 for adults and £3 for concessions. The club's youth section members will receive free entry on the evening, provided that they are wearing official club merchandise, such as a tracksuit, shower jacket or kit.

Those planning to attend are advised to arrive early as a large crowd is expected.

 

Hunter Appointed Bassett Manager - 30 August

rich hunter hellenic football leagueRoyal Wootton Bassett Town are pleased to announce the appointment of Rich Hunter as first team manager. He will be supported by Derek Hamilton, who takes up the position of Head Coach.

The move has seen the club opt for continuity in the wake of the resignation of Paul Braithwaite and assistant manager Chris Green ten days ago.

Hunter joined the club in the summer of 2015, serving as a member of the former manager's coaching staff, while Hamilton has been with Bassett since pre-season, when he was initially brought on board as fitness coach.

Commenting on the appointment, Bassett Chairman Andy Walduck said: "This move offers continuity from pre-season for the first team. Rich and Derek are both very capable and have a lot of support and respect from the playing team and the committee, so there is no need to look outside of the club to fill the vacancy on this occasion. Again, I would like to thank Paul and Chris for their commitment to the club over the last two seasons, specifically taking the club through the final year of the groundshare, which presented many operational issues and was managed successfully. The club wishes Paul and Chris all the very best for the future. Now is the time to add stability to the first team and the senior section as a whole, forging links between all three men's senior sides, which is key to our future success."

 

paul braithwaiteBraithwaite Resigns - 19 August

Paul Braithwaite has resigned as Royal Wootton Bassett Town first team manager with immediate effect.

He departs the club along with assistant manager Chris Green and first team coach Martyn Robinson, who have also stood down from their positions. Braithwaite's departure comes four games into Bassett's Hellenic League Premier Division campaign. In all he was at the helm for just over two seasons.

He joined the club along with Green from Fairford Town in the summer of 2014, taking over the reins from Jeff Roberts. Despite a complete overhaul of the squad and having to deal with the final year of Bassett's groundshare at Cirencester Town, Braithwaite led the team to the highest league finish in their history in his first season.

With a vibrant, young squad that played highly attractive football, Bassett finished eleventh in the league, went on a nine game unbeaten run towards the end of the season and sealed a record points and goals haul in the Uhlsport Hellenic Premier. In addition to the successful league campaign, Braithwaite also oversaw memorable away victories in the FA Cup against Brockenhurst and in the FA Vase at Cove. Last year, in the club's opening season at the New Gerard Buxton Sports Ground, Bassett's league performance regressed slightly as a positive start petered out and Braithwaite's side ultimately finished 15th. Nevertheless, Bassett again enjoyed success in the FA Vase, defeating league rivals Binfield by the odd goal in seven in a thrilling replay away from home.

With a revamped squad, Bassett had taken one win from their opening four games in all competitions in the 2016-17 campaign before Braithwaite announced his decision to resign to the Executive Committee following the 3-0 home defeat against Thame United.

Commenting on the decision, club Chairman Andy Walduck said: "The club would like to thank Paul and Chris for all their efforts during their time with Bassett. Despite taking over in difficult circumstances while we were still groundsharing with Cirencester, they put together a competitive side, who enjoyed a number of successes and memorable victories, and also set club records. We wish them well for the future, and hope to see them at the Gerard Buxton Sports Ground again."

The club will now start the search for a suitable successor, and details for those interested in applying for the position will be available in due course.

 

Bassett Head To Hampshire - 5 August

Royal Wootton Bassett Town head to Hampshire on Saturday as they take on Wessex League Premier Division side Andover Town in the FA Cup Extra Preliminary round.

It will be the inaugural meeting between the teams, although Bassett are more than familiar with facing Wessex League opposition in the FA Cup, having done so in three of the past four seasons. Two of those contests - a 1-0 home triumph against Hamworthy United in the 2012-13 Preliminary round and a 3-0 thrashing of Brockenhurst in the Extra Preliminary round two seasons ago - brought victories for Bassett. And Paul Braithwaite's side will be hoping to replicate those successes when they venture across the Wiltshire-Hampshire border.

However, they face a stern test against an Andover side who go into this campaign full of confidence, having finished fourth in the league last year. Both teams go into the game seeking their first win of the season. On Tuesday night, Andover got their campaign under way with a narrow 1-0 defeat against Sholing. Then, a day later Bassett suffered an agonising 3-2 loss at home against Carterton after conceding two goals in quick succession late on.

Bassett assistant manager Chris Green was in a reflective mood after that defeat saying: "It's disappointing to lose the game to three avoidable goals. Credit to Carterton though, they have a way of playing, and did what they needed to for periods of the second half. We'll take some positives out of the game, and if we can stop the individual errors then we'll win games."

Looking ahead from the result, Green commented: "Paul and I, and the rest of the management team and those supporting us, have worked hard putting together a strong squad this year. Built around a core of players from the last couple of seasons, many of who are local lads with strong ties to the club, we've added good players from the Swindon area that have great experience playing at this level, again some of which also have previous links to Bassett."

"The committee have done a fantastic job providing such a good facility, and we are looking forward to their continued support as we aim to push on this season and next. We'll move on from this and regroup for Saturday, in what we know will be a tough game away at Andover."

Volunteer For Treasurer Role- 24 July

Royal Wootton Bassett Town are seeking a volunteer to fill the position of Treasurer on the club's Executive Committee.

The Treasurer's role is to look after the finances of the club - both senior and youth section. The ideal candidate for this position will be well organised, confident in handling figures, careful when handling cash and cheques, and honest, reliable and trustworthy.

Their responsibilities will include bookkeeping, preparing monthly and annual accounts and annual budgets. The role will require an average of two to three hours' work per week and attendance at Executive Committee and Youth Section meetings, where they will provide an overview of the club's financial status.

A full job description is available here: club-treasurer.pdf.

Individuals interested in the position available are invited to contact Chairman Andy Walduck by email (andy.walduck@wbtfc.co.uk) or by mobile on 07980 730905.

Royal Wootton Bassett Town Football Club is an FA Charter Standard Community Club. Formed in 1882, the club is one of the oldest in Wiltshire, and currently operates 23 teams from Under 7s through to Veterans. Its senior men's side play in the Uhlsport Hellenic League Premier Division. The club is based at the state-of-the-art New Gerard Buxton Sports Ground, which opened in the summer of 2015.

 

Bassett Management Teams Confirmed - 6 June

Royal Wootton Bassett Town have confirmed the management teams for their first and reserve sides for the 2016-17 season.

Paul Braithwaite will manage the first team for the third consecutive year. Seeking to bounce back from a campaign which saw his side finish 15th in the Hellenic League Premier Division, he will be joined by assistant manager Chris Green and coaches Rich Hunter, Marcus Lewis and Martyn Robinson. Hunter and Lewis were both with the club last season, while Robinson joins from Highworth Town where he served as physio over the past couple of years. Also an experienced coach having spent time with Shrivenham as assistant manager and Swindon Supermarine as reserve team manager, Robinson will further bolster Bassett’s young management team and provide helpful support to goalkeepers’ coach Lewis.

Speaking of Robinson’s appointment, Braithwaite said: "Martyn provides us with a senior head – it’s something we have missed since losing Ian Dowling – and I’m really happy to have him on board. He’s happy to be that person who carries the bottles and helps with the kit but when a question is asked he will help to answer it or give advice. Martyn will work jointly with Marcus and the ‘keepers across all senior teams in pre-season and on training nights, while he is also qualified as a physio so can cover for Kara Gregory if needed.”

Danny Groom and Dave Terry have been again confirmed as joint-managers of the reserve team. Last season they took great strides with Bassett’s young second string, guiding them to 11th place in the Wiltshire League Premier Division after finishing 16th the season before. Ray Ellis and Club Development Officer Jeff Tidy will serve as their assistants once more.

Pre-season training for Bassett’s senior teams begins on Tuesday 21st June at the New Gerard Buxton Sports Ground. Sessions will then take place twice a week – on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7-9pm – in the weeks before the 2016-17 campaign begins.

Cheetham and Robertson Scoop Prizes - 9 May

Matt Cheetham and Steve Robertson were crowned as First Team Manager’s Player and Players’ Player of the Year respectively at Royal Wootton Bassett Town’s Senior Section Presentation Evening.

The dependable midfielder and prolific forward were the two standout performers for Bassett throughout their Hellenic League Premier Division campaign and were deservedly recognised for their contributions. For Cheetham, his award marked a fantastic first year at Bassett which began on the fringes of Paul Braithwaite’s squad. Having been used sparingly as a substitute in the early stages of the season, Cheetham eventually got his first start in his team’s thrilling 4-3 FA Vase replay victory against Binfield. And Cheetham answered the call superbly, his consistently high quality displays in the centre of midfield establishing himself as one of the first names on the team sheet for the rest of the season. A player who likes to keep things simple and never shirks a challenge, he also filled in solidly at centre half when needed. In total he appeared 41 times, scoring once.

Picking up from where he left off at the end of last season, the sharpshooting Robertson filled his boots with thirty goals in 38 appearances in all competitions, the majority coming via his lethal left foot. His haul for the season included three hat-tricks - the most impressive of which was arguably that scored in a 4-1 rout of Ascot United – and a dramatic last minute winner away against then-leaders Thatcham Town.

Amber Egerton was a double award winner for the Ladies team, who are on course for a fifth place finish in Division One of the Gloucestershire County Women’s League. The team’s tough tackling midfielder and vice-captain, who has scored twice this season, picked up both the Manager’s Player and Player’s Player awards for her side. Also being recognised for the Ladies side as their Most Improved Player of the Year was veteran midfielder Kate Edwards.

A pair of defenders took the prizes for the Reserves, who ended their Wiltshire League Premier Division campaign in strong form as they ultimately finished eleventh. Hard working full back and captain Ben Brown – a player who always makes the most of his ability – took home the Managers’ Player of the Year award, while young centre half Dan Murphy –who was a regular selection for Wiltshire throughout the season too – was voted as Players’ Player.

Under 18s ‘keeper Jack Gregory, who kept five clean sheets and also scored a freak goal as his side stormed to the Wiltshire Floodlit League North Division title, earned his team’s Manager’s Player of the Year award. Meanwhile, classy midfielder Martin Sinclair, who made a handful of first team appearances during the season, was named Players’ Player for the Floodlit League side.
Under 21s Players’ Player of the Year went to Dale Richards.

Gordon Reeves was the recipient of the Clubman of the Year trophy, which is presented annually to the volunteer whose efforts have stood out the most during the season. 'Gordy’, as he is known around the club, has manned the refreshments kiosk at the Gerard Buxton Sports Ground on match days throughout the season, and has continued to offer the invaluable assistance he has provided over the years around the ground. His efforts are greatly appreciated by all at the club and he is a worthy winner of the Clubman prize.

Royal Wootton Bassett Town Senior Section Presentation Evening Award Winners:
First Team Manager’s Player of the Year – Matt Cheetham
First Team Players’ Player of the Year – Steve Robertson
Clubman of the Year – Gordon Reeves
Ladies Manager’s Player of the Year – Amber Egerton
Ladies Players’ Player of the Year – Amber Egerton
Ladies Most Improved Player of the Year – Kate Edwards
Reserves Mangers’ Player of the Year – Ben Brown
Reserves Players’ Player of the Year – Dan Murphy
Under 21s Players’ Player of the Year – Dale Richards
Under 18s Manager’s Player of the Year – Jack Gregory
Under 18s Players’ Player of the Year – Martin Sinclair

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