It's been quite the year...
On the face of it, 2023 has probably not been one to write home about. A league finish of 8th was below expectations, as was our overall record in comparison to years gone by.
In the calendar year we played 50 games, winning 25, drawing 11, losing 14, scoring an impressive 98 goals, but also a concerning 68 conceded.
However, when you look deeper, it's been a year of resurrection for the club, on and off the pitch. Off the pitch, the Council stepped in to save our ground, and the CBS was formed to take the club forward. On the pitch the team have recovered from a winter of turmoil, injuries and player turnover to show the type of form we have come to expect. Since that awful night on Friday 24th March losing to Westbury 1-0 away from home, we have played 36 games, winning 21, drawing 8. We have lost only 8 in all competitions (and just once at home), a mere 4 games in the league, with not a single home league defeat, whilst scoring an incredible 78 goals in the process.
2023 at Badgers Hill has certainly been somewhat of a fortress. 11,676 of you have seen the team play 26 games, the fans have been able to see 49 goals scored. You very rarely go home disappointed with only two league defeats at home (from 19 played) and four in all competitions. You had some very enjoyable weekends with our longest unbeaten stretch reaching 16 games between the draw against Bristol Manor Farm on the 28th March to our recent home win against Exmouth on the 2nd November. With an average gate of 453, you have played a massive part of the team's success at the Hill. For that, we thank you, and are always grateful.
Everyone loves a cup run right? We have enjoyed some memorable cup games over the years, and 2023 didn't disappoint. We reached the FA Cup 3rd Qualifying Round, losing to a very good Ramsgate who went on to reach the 2nd Round proper eventually losing to Wimbledon. We also matched our best-ever run in the FA Trophy in recent history reaching the 3rd Round proper, whilst also knocking out promotion-chasing National League South side Worthing via a dramatic penalty shootout win, before eventually losing to fellow National League South challengers, Torquay in front of a magnificent 1,304 fans.
Continuing with the numbers game, the team have shut out the opposition 16 times, 11 of those coming at home, and 12 since that day in March. But at the other end, we have been even more impressive. Our forwards have found their shooting boots as Jon Davies and James Ollis scored 17 goals apiece, with Sam Meakes and the returning Kane Simpson both bagging 8 themselves. Jono doesn't just score goals and he has been involved in a total of 35 of our 98 goals directly assisting or scoring, with Ollis playing a part in 23 and the New Year signings, Reece Rusher and Zak Drew chipping in with 16 and 10 goal involvements respectively.
2023 has been a year of the milestones, demonstrating the loyalty of this current group of players
Feb James Ollis - 30th goal
Feb Jon Davies - 200th appearance
Apr Sam Teale - 250th appearance
Aug Kane Simpson - 100th appearance and 40th goal
Sep Kyle Phillips - 150th appearance
Sep Warren Maidment - 100th appearance in which he scored his first goal rapidly followed by 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th!
Sep James Ollis - 40th goal and the rare feat of scoring 7 games in a row
Sep Danny Greaves - 200th game in charge
Oct James Ollis (again!) - 100th appearance
Nov Alex Monks - 150th appearance
Dec Jon Davies - 100th goal
It's been some year for the Robins who will look to build on this success in 2024!
On behalf of everyone associated with the Club, we would like to wish all of our Partners, Board Members, Players, Volunteers, and Supporters a very Happy New Year!
Who's ready for 2024?!
All statistics courtesy of our fantastic Club Historian, Steve Jupp!
Please note our fixture at Larkhall Athletic on New Year's Day has been called off due to a waterlogged pitch. Details of rearrangement will be announced in due course!
Don't miss the chance to book tickets for our upcoming January fixture against Bemerton Heath Harlequins or grab your half-season ticket before 6th January to ensure you get your footballing fill in 2024!