Saints are crème de la crème in a memorable 2012

MHBG-03-05-12 Brackley Town FC''Brackley Town v St Albans'Pictured - Brackley Town celebrate their winning season as they become Evostick Southern League Premier Division Champions
MHBG-03-05-12 Brackley Town FC''Brackley Town v St Albans'Pictured - Brackley Town celebrate their winning season as they become Evostick Southern League Premier Division Champions
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Without question, 2012 was one of the best years in British sporting history - but not only was it a good year for the country, this region has also enjoyed a memorable 12 months with Brackley Town the highlight after enjoying their best ever year while we also had our very own double Olympic champion.

Despite the recent wretched weather, this past year has been a hugely enjoyable one for Buckingham, Brackley, Winslow, Towcester and Bicester and the local success story of 2012 has undoubtedly been Brackley Town FC.

A relatively unknown Evo-Stik Southern League Premier side this time last year, Brackley announced themselves in May when the south Northants town clinched the Southern Premier League title by eight points before they took the Blue Square North by storm.

For a short period, Brackley Town were the only club in the country to have a 100 per cent record in the 2012/13 season having won their opening eight games in their first season at Conference level.

After leading the table for the first three months, Saints have since struggled to maintain the blistering pace they set at the beginning of the season but they still very much remain in the race for a play-off spot. Brackley’s competitive record in 2012 reads: Played: 43, Won: 27, Drawn: 8, Lost: 8, Goals Scored: 98, Goals Conceded: 45.

Life-long fan and club secretary Tim Carroll recalls an unforgettable year: “Following a championship-winning season and promotion to the Conference North, pre-season came and went in a rush of excitement and anticipation. The dream was reality.

“Jon Brady collected successive manager of the month awards, the BBC ran a news item and home gates were up 50 per cent.

“Town are now the second highest rated team in Northants after the Cobblers and, to match ambitions on the pitch, the club is realising substantial ground improvements at St James Park.

“It has been a most memorable year for everyone connected with the Saints and hopes remain realistically sky-high for 2013.”

Another highlight of the year was double Olympic gold medallist Charlotte Dujardin, who took victory in the team and individual dressage in London.

Charlotte spent several years growing up in Finmere while she learnt her dressage skills in Great Horwood.

She said about 2012: “It has been a fantastic year, a dream come true.”

As for hockey, Buckingham Ladies Hockey Club have quite literally blown away the competition with all three of their teams winning every single game so far this season (33 from 33), something which sees the first team well on their way to the National Premier Division.

Elsewhere, Buckingham Athletic may not have enjoyed great success on the field but hard-work behind the scenes continues to establish them in the South Midlands League, while Winslow United and Buckingham Town remain in a relegation fights following a difficult 2012.

Ardley United enjoyed another good year and 2013 could be even better as they currently lie fifth in the table.

In the summer, there were successful seasons for Stoke Bruerne and Buckingham Town IIs, who both won their respective league titles.

All of those achievements, plus more, culminated in a fine 2012 for the region – let’s hope 2013 is just as good.