HISTORY OF THE TESTWAY YFL
HISTORY OF THE TESTWAY YOUTH FOOTBALL LEAGUE
The league was originally formed by Vernham Dean Boys FC to accommodate village boys/girls to play football on Saturdays, playing friendlies to begin with, although it became obvious of the need for youth football in the Andover area.
The Testway Youth Football League under its original name commenced in 1988 as the “120” League, because of village teams unable to obtain the required number of players to fulfil the age range. The principle of the league was that the total age of the 11 players could not exceed 120 years, each year this increase to accommodate the age increase of the boys and girls. The 120 League was sponsored by RP Fuels.
The league started with just 4 clubs, Vernham Dean, Monxton, Wallop and Gills, Vernham being the only original club from 1988 (the club folded in 2017), although Gills changed its name several times and is now CK Andover and Wallop did re-join the league for a couple of seasons, after 16 year absents.
Although not affiliated to the Football Association for many years, eventually the league became recognised with the Hampshire Football Association, mainly through the help of the late Martin Turner.
Further teams began to join the league for example Swan Hill, Chilbolton, Wherwell eventually totalling 12 teams by 1990.
It became evident that for the league to progress it needed to fall in line with FA age rules and by 1995 this began to happen, with the result by the season 2004-2005 the league was running in every age group from under 8’s to under 16’s.
The leagues area covers points from Bishops Waltham to Salisbury, Wimborne to Newbury, Basingstoke to Winchester, as well as those from the Andover area.
The league pioneered mini soccer, through the help of the English Football Association and Howard Wilkinson, the Direct of Football. Testway Youth Football League was the first league in Hampshire to adopt mini soccer and further added 9-a-side football to the mini soccer revolution, acting as the trial league in Hampshire.
As a league, we are very proud of our contribution to the development on Mini Soccer, particularly through the work of the late Jon Holman the Leagues Secretary 2000 – 2004, who sadly died in November 2004.
The Annual Jock McClorey Tournament is unique to the Testway Youth League. The tournament was based on scores throughout the season and a handicap system is calculated. However, in recent year the handicap system was dropped and the competition was changed so that every age group competed for three competitions based on ability. The tournament is for under 11’s and below age groups and has run since the inception of the league in 1988 and maintains the original trophy. This competition gives teams of all abilities the opportunity to challenge for trophies at the end of the season.
In 2007/08 season the league celebrated it’s 20-year anniversary with an under 12’s representative match against Reading FC Elite at Andover New Street. The Chairman and Chief Executive of Hampshire FA, John Ward and Neil Cassar attended and presented an award to the Chairman of Testway YFL in recognition of 20 year’s youth football in the area.
In 2007/2008 season the league won its first Inter League Tournament, The Martin Turner Cup. Defending the cup in 2012 the TWYFL lost 2-1 to the Peter Houseman League but regained the trophy in the 2012/13 season winning 3-2.
With major changes taking play in youth football the Testway YFL has embraced these changes, moving over from competitive football to non-competitive, since the 2013/14 season with 2 to 3 Trophy Events organised for the under 7’s, 8’s, 9’s, U10’s and U 11’s.