Friday 23 September 2022

Hanworth Villa - Rectory Meadow

Hanworth Villa FC
Rectory Meadow
Park Road
TW13 6PN

020 8831 9391

Ground Number: 179
Tuesday 18th October 2011

Hanworth Villa 3-1 Slough Town
FA Cup 3rd Qualifying Round Replay


The club was established in 1976 and initially played in the Hounslow & District League. They later transferred to the West Middlesex League before joining the Middlesex County League in 1984. They spent the vast majority of their time in the Premier Division, winning it in 2003 & 2005. With the facilities in place, they took promotion to the Combined Counties League. They were runners-up to Staines Lammas in 2008 and 2009, gaining promotion to the Premier Division after the letter. 3rd place finishes in 2012 and 2017 were high points but last season the club were champions, winning promotion to the Isthmian League for the first time in their history.

Hanworth Villa made their FA Cup bow in 2011; to date, this is their best run. They started out with a 4-2 win over Shrivenham in the Extra Preliminary Round. They then drew 1-1 at Bedfont Sports before a 2-0 win in the Extra Preliminary Round replay. A 1-0 win over Wembley in the 1st Qualifying Round was followed up with another 1-0 win, this time over Aveley in the 2nd Qualifying Round. The 3rd Qualifying Round saw them paired with relative giants Slough Town. A 2-2 draw was gained in the original game before they triumphed 3-1 on their own patch. They travelled to AFC Totton in the 4th Qualifying Round and fell to a narrow 3-2 defeat. Their opponents eventually reached the 2nd Round, going out to Bristol Rovers. The club's best FA Vase run came during the 2020/21 season. They overcame Rayners Lane, FC Deportivo Galacia, Welling Town, Corinthian, Littlehampton Town and Mulbarton Wanderers. The latter three victories came by way of a penalty shoot-out but their run came to an end in the 5th Round after a 2-2 draw against Long Eaton United. This time the penalty kings' luck ran out as they lost 5-3 in the shootout.

Local cup wins include the CCL Division One Challenge Cup in 2006 & 2008, the CCL Premier Challenge Cup in 2013, the Middlesex Premier Division Cup in 2003, the Middlesex Charity Cup in 2016 & 2018 and the Southern Combination Cup in 2012 & 2014. Famous ex-players include Paul Merson who made a couple of appearances during the 2019/20 season and former Wycombe Youth teamer Jerome Federico. Former QPR defender Rufus Brevett also managed the club between 2016 & 2018. Hanworth is a district of West London. Historically in Middlesex, it has been part of the London Borough of Hounslow since 1965. Hanworth adjoins Feltham to the northwest, Twickenham to the northeast and Hampton to the southeast, with Sunbury-on-Thames to the southwest. The population is around 23,500. The name is thought to come from the Anglo-Saxon words "haen" and "worth", meaning "small homestead"


London Samurai United, a club formed for the Japanese diaspora in London, was formed in 2017, being placed in the Middlesex County League Division One. A year later, the club merged with JL Rovers, renaming themselves London Samurai Rovers, stepping up to the Premier Division after a 4th place finish. Two abandoned seasons followed, in which the team were 6th and 2nd when proceedings were called to a halt  In 2021, the club was admitted into the Combined Counties League Division One and they finished 17th in their first season. The team originally played at Twyford Avenue Sports Ground in Acton before a move to Spikes Bridge Park in Southall. To play at Combined Counties League level, they moved to share with Hanworth Villa.


Whilst at the Cray Wanderers game on Saturday, I discovered what a fantastic tool Twitter is for keeping up to speed on the latest scores at non-league games. A lot of teams have a regular tweeter and this was the case for all the games that I was interested in. Whilst there are plenty of apps available to keep up to date with the Football League and if you are lucky, Blue Square Premier games, I have not yet found a reliable way of checking those that are lower down the pyramid. One of those I was looking at was Slough Town v Hanworth Villa. Hanworth were the lowest ranked team still in the FA Cup, they play in the Combined Counties League which is 5 Leagues below the Football League. Slough of course, now ply their trade in the Southern League, Division 1 South and West, a league above Hanworth. Despite the difference, the game ended in a 2-2 draw. I had not yet been to Hanworth, even to take pictures, so it was a good opportunity to tick it off, for a relatively high-profile game. Apart from the contest on the field, one of the main talking points on the Slough Town Forum had been the behaviour of the Hanworth Villa supporters. Allegations of racist chanting, drunkenness, intimidation and general nastiness were flying around, so tonight would give me a chance to prove if these allegations rang true or not. After an early dinner, I left home just after 6. My sat nav quoted 50 minutes barring any hold-ups caused by traffic, of which there were bound to be plenty. It actually was not too bad and I was at the ground and parked up within a little over an hour.

After arriving at the ground, I paid a very reasonable £5 entry, plus £1.50 for a decent programme. Being a dog lover, I was also happy to be greeted by a very friendly Springer Spaniel that was in the ground! There was no trouble from the Hanworth fans, who were excellent and in good voice throughout, though there was a sort of apology in the programme for the behaviour on Saturday. All in all, there were probably around 600 fans in the ground, with 500 of them supporting Hanworth Villa.

The game itself was excellent. Hanworth took the game to Slough early on and had a few half chances. Their main threat came from the long throws of their left back, Charlie Hare. But it was Slough who took the lead on 20 minutes. Poor marking from a corner allowed Sean Sonner to score the opening goal. The visitors continued to press and could have had a couple more, but it was all square at the break. The second half was a different story. After a quiet start, Hanworth started to take control and were rewarded on 53 minutes when Levi King equalised. Once the goal went in it was all Hanworth and they were rewarded when goals from Sean Preddie and Levi King's second, set them up a 4th Qualifying Round game away to Southern League leaders, AFC Totton.


As part of my mission to help fellow hopper Colin get some grounds ticked, I decided to pay a second visit to Hanworth Villa. The fact that I was also supporting Friday night football and seeing a game in the FA Vase were real bonuses. It would be a good start to the weekend, though I'd only been back at work a few days. There was the usual grind, although some disappointment from an unexpected source. Usually, the managers are great, but a new one we have got is a little overbearing. He suggested that as I'd spent too long in the toilet, that should count as my break. In the end, I spoke to another manager and we agreed on a shortened break to keep the peace. I came home and was busy, researching for this blog update and also sending a couple of parcels from eBay sales. I left just before 6.30, meeting Colin at a nearby bus stop. The journey over to the ground went well until we got right near the ground when Google Maps misdirected us and Futbology was no clearer. It was in a bit of a hidden place but we parked up and were in the ground in time for kick-off. I paid £5 entry and got a pint of Strongbow for £4 which relaxed me a bit.
Wembley were going well in the Combined Counties North, sitting 5th. A step below in Division 1, were the hosts, who were a credible 4th. They had won an epic match 6-4 against Burnham to book their place in tonight's game, whilst this was Wembley's first game this season in the FA Vase. It was a poor first half, very wayward but London Sa Rovers edged proceedings. Finally, the breakthrough was made around ten minutes from time, a ball in from the right was poked home at the far post. Up until then, the final balls had been very poor which was the game was a bit of a stinker. From there, they never looked like losing. If anything, they looked more likely and it was a pretty feeble effort from Wembley. Talking of feeble, England lost again and that was what we listened to on the radio on the way home. After dropping Colin off, I was back home at 10.45.


RECTORY MEADOW is a basic ground, with only limited cover. There is a small seated stand, a small terrace (both metal) and also a small bar at the ground. The rest of the ground is hard standing. It's perfectly OK for where they are at at the moment, but I'd imagine improvements would have to be made, were they to be promoted. It's a nice pleasant setting, surrounded by trees, despite being near to the M3.

An update for my 2022 visit, the ground was mainly the same although I did notice the signposting could have been better. The bar was good though with a large selection of bottles. There was also a new stand, a solid structure with seats taken from the swimming section at the 2012 Olympics. It was a short way from some takeaways and other shops, there was no food on my next visit, not that I could see anyway.


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