Andy Davies Returns - 31 October
Andy Davies – the most successful manager in Thornbury Town history – hopes inside knowledge can help him end his former club's Buildbase FA Vase adventure when Cribbs arrive at the Mundy Playing Fields on Sunday (3pm), writes Ned Payne in the Gloucester Gazette.
The 62-year-old ended a glittering six-season spell at Thorns in May with the aim of taking a break from the game, but he could not stay away and became Tony Beecham's assistant at Western League Premier Division outfit Cribbs earlier this month.
Now Southmead-based Davies is hoping to halt Thornbury's maiden voyage in the Vase, a competition in which they have already earned a minimum of £2,400 in prize money. “I couldn't believe it,” said Davies, reflecting on his reaction to a tie with the uhlsport Hellenic League Division One West high fliers. “You can't write that sort of stuff. I had just joined Cribbs and the week after, we got drawn against Thornbury. I shall tell the lads about their strengths and weaknesses and what we may be able to exploit."
“But Thornbury are a good side and we can't be complacent. They are right up there in the league and Jason (Rees, manager) and Gary (Kemp, assistant) have done a good job so far. I hope they get into the Hellenic Prem because that's where they should be. They have a great chance, so good luck to them.”
Davies, who has also coached at Bristol Manor Farm and Hallen, took the reins at Thornbury in October 2013 with the club bottom of the Gloucestershire County League Premier Division. His first game in charge was an improbable 8-7 home defeat to Bristol Telephones. Having steered his team to survival, Davies oversaw three consecutive fourth-place finishes and a Les James League Cup final triumph. Thornbury bagged a memorable league and cup double in the 2017-18 season before storming to third in Hellenic One West the following campaign, coupled with victory over Wallingford Town in the Supplementary Cup final. Since taking over from Davies, former Yate Town under-18s boss Rees has piloted Thornbury to Vase wins over Cheltenham Saracens, Wokingham & Emmbrook and Downton, but this will be the first time they have faced a team from higher up the pyramid.
“All at the club are very excited by the draw,” said Rees. “The game has the added element of the relationship between the clubs. I have known Tony for many years and I’m sure Andy will receive a warm welcome on his return. This will be a genuine test of our progress.”
Cribbs' best performance in the Vase came last season, when they reached the fourth round before being knocked out by Southampton-based Sholing. Beecham's men have won four of their 13 games in the Western Premier this campaign.