Between 1pm and 5pm, Friday 14 June saw the North West London League’s Summer Tournament take place at Brunel University Sports Park.
The tournament included regular league participants Hendon FC, Hounslow Hawks, The Bridge, 2018/19 League champions INUF Wanderers, as well as last year’s Plate winners, West London, whilst welcoming back 2017/18’s Cup winners, Kingswood Pumas, as well as newcomers Aylesbury Wanderers.
The tournament took the format of two groups of four teams; with the top two teams qualifying from each group into the Cup semi-finals and third and fourth places qualifying for the Plate competition semi-finals.
Group 1 – Kingswood Pumas, West London A, Aylesbury Wanderers and INUF Wanderers
Group 2- Kingswood Panthers, The Bridge, Hendon FC and Hounslow Hawks
It was West London who made a strong start to group one, overcoming last year’s Cup champions Kingswood Pumas 2-0. They remained undefeated in the group stages, beating newcomers Aylesbury Wanderers 1-0 before a battling draw v INUF Wanderers. New League champions INUF, despite that draw in their final match, lost their other two matches 3-0 (vs Aylesbury) and 2-0 (v Kingswood respectively). Aylesbury Wanderers, after their win vs. INUF, went on to also overcome Kingswood Pumas 2-1 to go with their 0-1 loss vs. West London A. Finally defending Cup champions Kingswood Pumas suffered another loss in their final game, with a 2-0 win in their second match the highlight.
Group 2 saw Kingswood Panthers made a strong start to their group campaign, narrowly overcoming The Bridge 1-0, and remained undefeated through the group stages with a win over West London B 1-0. They couldn’t convert any of their other games into wins however, with battling draws with Hendon FC and Hounslow Hawks. Hounslow Hawks also made a solid start, beating rivals Hendon FC 2-0, following that up with a 1-0 win over West London B and a 2-0 win over The Bridge, with a 0-0 draw vs. Kingswood the only result preventing them from achieving four wins out of four.
Hendon started with an emphatic win over West London B 5-0, following it up with a solid 0-0 draw vs. Kingswood and a 1-1 draw vs. The Bridge. They missed out on Cup qualification with a loss vs. Hounslow Hawks (0-2). The Bridge started with a narrow loss vs. Kingswood, and despite losing also to Hounslow Hawks (0-2) improved as the tournament went on, with a draw vs. Hendon and then a comfortable 3-0 win vs. West London B. West London B had a tough time of it, going down Hendon (0-5), The Bridge (0-3), and narrow losses to Hounslow Hawks (0-1) and Kingswood Panthers (0-1).
The Cup semi-finals were between West London A and Kingswood Panthers and Hounslow Hawks v Aylesbury Wanderers. In a one-sided contest, West London A continued their group stage form to sweep aside Kingswood Panthers 4-0, and Aylesbury Wanderers equally overcame a brave Hounslow Hawks 2-0.
The final was a close affair, just like the group game between West London A and Aylesbury Wanderers. Chances were few and far between, but Aylesbury broke the deadlock with a slightly fortuitous goal that snuck in at the near post. West London was unable to recover from this, and Aylesbury added a second to win the Cup competition 2-0.
The plate semi-finals saw Kingswood Pumas play the much improved Bridge side, with Hendon FC playing INUF Wanderers. Kingswood Pumas ran out comfortable 3-0 winners, but a tight encounter between Hendon and INUF went to penalties, with INUF triumphing 7-6 after some tense penalty taking.
The final saw Kingswood Pumas play double chasing INUF Wanderers and it ended in another tight match and a second successive penalty shoot-out for INUF. They were not able to win two in a row however, with Kingswood triumphing 4-3 in the shoot-out, and with it the Plate title.
INUF Crowned 2018-19 North West London League Winners For The First Time
It’s been four years in the making for INUF Wanderers, but this season they have made it to the top and become champions of the North West London League for the first time. Since joining the league in the 2015/16 season, they finished 4th, followed it up with the same 4th-place finish the following year, and a runners-up finish last season, to champions in 2018/19.
The team have played really well this season, being really consistent in their play, scoring goals aplenty, and keeping their nerve on the final day of fixtures. There were three other title contenders in the running, with Riverside Rangers (last season’s champions) and West London (2015/16 champions). They managed to win all of their matches on the final game day, and it is a great reward and fully deserved for the way they have played this season.