Gloucestershire’s super six set for more as FA Vase competition hits second round stage
SIX ambitious Gloucestershire and Bristol-based teams are braced for more Buildbase FA Vase action this weekend – and for one stunned participant the second round shake-up has produced an unexpected twist of fate, writes Simon Parkinson.
Cribbs assistant manager Andy Davies makes a sharp return to Mundy Playing Fields on Sunday, November 3 (3pm) as his new team hit the short road to take on the very club he parted company with at the end of last season, Thornbury Town.
The 62-year-old spent more than five progressive seasons in charge at Thorns, where he led them to their current step 6 status in Hellenic Division One West as Marcliff Gloucestershire County League champions and Les James Cup double winners in 2017-18, even departing on the final day of last term with the Hellenic Bluefin Supplementary Cup tucked under his arm for good measure, a fourth trophy secured in five full seasons there.
Having announced shortly after that accomplishment he would be taking a “much-needed” breather from the game, Davies re-emerged early into October as No.2 to boss Tony Beecham at Toolstation Premier Division competitors Cribbs.
Davies smiled: “I hadn’t been actively looking to get back into football. I’d gone down to Bristol Manor Farm to watch a game and Beech (Beecham) was there. He asked what I was doing these days and told me his assistant (Jim Williams) had left and would I be interested in helping him out at Cribbs?
“I had a think and soon accepted. Their ground is only two minutes away from my home and I’d known Tony a long time anyway, having been a coach at Hallen when he was a player there. He’s a good guy and proper football man.
“We were on the coach coming back from Street three weeks ago talking about the Vase draw soon coming up. Beech said to me, ‘I bet we’ll get Thornbury,’ to which I replied, ‘Don’t say that!’
“Of all the teams we could have had in the draw, you couldn’t write that script from my perspective; it was amazing.
“I’m very much looking forward to going back there as I loved my time at Thornbury, although I hadn’t expected it to be so soon.
“I’ve spoken to their president Paul Wisbey who has promised to be there with a cup of tea for me!”
Sunday’s tie was due to have taken place 24 hours earlier but was switched due to Thornbury Round Table staging their annual firework fiesta at the Mundy Fields ground on the Saturday.
Thorns fixture secretary Malcolm Carr, who was part of the committee that appointed the club’s former player Jason Rees as Davies’ successor, stated: “This is our first season involved in FA national competition which suggests this is possibly our most important-ever game.
“I feel it will be a tight game: Cribbs compete one division above us on the football pyramid but I believe we are at full strength and hopefully home advantage and a good-sized crowd will work in our favour.”
Thornbury supremo Rees said: “There’s quite a bit of interest in the town now with what’s happening and it’s great we have this wonderful opportunity next with Cribbs at home, where our former manager Andy Davies is their new assistant.
“This is our first year in the Vase and we’ve come through three rounds already, so it’s fantastic.”
Visit our Local Football News page to read part 2 of The Buildbase FA Vase second round preview.