Back to business at Barwell as champions Banbury United aim for 100 points

It's back to business for Banbury United this afternoon after becoming league champions last weekend.

By Zoe Ashton
Saturday, 9th April 2022, 11:18 am
Banbury United manager Andy Whing celebrating securing the league title

Andy Whing's side have a trip to fifth-from-bottom Barwell, who are fighting for points to stay out of relegation danger.

Banbury have a 19-point cushion at the top of the Southern League Premier Division Central - with an incredible 90 points from their 36 games so far.

Peterborough Sports on 71 points have overtaken Coalville Town for second spot, by a point.

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Having secured the league title Banbury could be forgiven for taking their foot off the gas for the last few games. But that's far from the case.

"We are still going into every game wanting to win," said Whing. "We'd like to get to 100 points now, that's our next target. Hopefully we can finish the season strongly."

It's been a busy week for the manager and his team - but a memorable one.

"It's been brilliant," he said. "Last weekend was amazing and brilliant just to be a part of for the club and supporters. You could see the emotion with people after the game, there were tears shed, happy ones. Knowing what the club has been through in the past few years, with Covid and before. I'm really pleased for everybody.

"Now we have secured promotion we can enjoy the rest of the season."

They got over the line to lift the winner's trophy with a 1-1 draw against Tamworth and the Banbury Plant Hire Community Stadium last week. The point proved enough as Coalville could only draw their game with Hednesford 0-0. They also lost to Rushall Olympic on Tuesday.

"Our goalkeeping coach on the bench was keeping a check on the scores and I think it was six or seven minutes from the end that the result came through that they'd drawn. Some of the fans had obviously got to know too so we could hear they were celebrating."

Winning the title means Banbury now take on the champions of the Premier Division South in a Southern League showcase at home on Saturday, April 30. It’s very close at the top of their table with just three points separating the top four teams Hayes & Yeading United, Taunton Town, Metropolitan Police and Farnborough.

"It's great for the club, a great occasion and a last chance for fans to see this squad before we move on next season."

And next season will see the Puritans in National League North.

"We are excited and looking forward to it," said the manager. "I want to keep as much of the squad together as possible - and add a few players to it. National League North is a big jump, but one that we'll relish."

Whing paid tribute to everyone who has contributed to the club's success from the volunteers and staff to the board and supporters.

"There are a lot of things that go on behind the scenes that nobody sees, washing the kit, making sure the ground is ready, cleaning the changing rooms, board meetings and meetings about everything.

"It's a long season. People have jobs as well so they're doing this on top of their normal lives. A massive thank you to everyone who has contributed."