Herne Bay face a tough test in the Preliminary Round of the FA Trophy. Last campaign, Berkhamsted’s first in the competition, they reached the First Qualifying Round, losing 1-2 to Chipstead, after overcoming South Park 5-1 in the Preliminary Round. In their seven previous seasons in the competition Bay have reached the Second Qualifying Round twice. This season is the 100th anniversary since Berkhamsted Comrades was formed, and although the present club is a different one than the original, this is the centenary year of football being played at Lower Kings Road (now Broadwater).
Berkhamsted’s nickname is the Comrades, after Berkhamsted Comrades which was the name of the football club formed in the town by servicemen returning from the First World War. It later changed its name to Berkhamsted Town and played in the Delphian League during the 50s and early 60s before the league and the clubs formed the new Division Two of the Athenian League for 1963/64 and a season later were joined by Herne Bay.
In 1964/65 Bay won both league ties, 5-0 in Berkshire (Mick Howard 2, Jim Mackender, Brian Sellers, Own goal) on Good Friday, and a day later 3-0 back in Kent (Smith, Mick Howard, Own goal). Herne Bay finished in 6th place with Berkhamsted 11th. The following campaign ended with Bay in 5th and Town 12th. Alan Young and Tony Dryden scored the goals in Bay’s 2-0 win at Winch’s Field. The result of the return fixture is not known.
For 1966/67 Berkhamsted moved to the Spartan League. In 1975 the Spartan League merged with the Metropolitan-London League to form the London Spartan League. They re-joined the Athenian League for 1983/84 and after that season the league ceased to exist, and the club moved to the Isthmian League and later, for 2004/05, the Southern League. After finishing at or near the bottom for four successive seasons they left the league and joined the Spartan South Midlands League but folded for financial reasons in early 2009 and their record was expunged.
The current club was founded in 2009 after Berkhamsted Town folded and they joined Division Two of the Spartan South Midlands League, winning it in their first season and earning promotion to Division One. The following season they won Division One with 107 points and were promoted to the Premier Division. They were Spartan South Midlands League Premier Division runners-up in 2017/18 and gained promotion to the Southern League Division One Central where they finished in 6th place in their first season.
Berko have had a phenomenal start to this league campaign winning seven and drawing two of their nine outings and scoring 28 and conceding just four along the way, to leave them top of the Southern League Central, five points ahead of second place AFC Dunstable. Star striker Lewis Toomey has netted eight times in their last three league matches and already has 11 goals to his credit with Jonathan Lacey on seven. In the FA Cup they beat Wembley 3-2 in the Preliminary Round before travelling to St. Ives Town in the First Qualifying Round. The Comrades came away from Cambridgeshire defeated 1-2 by the Southern Premier League side, their only defeat of the season. Mid-week a much-changed Berkhamsted travelled to Beaconsfield Town in a League Cup tie and after a 2-2 draw Beaconsfield won 5-4 on penalties.
Berkhamsted play at Broadwater, Lower Kings Road, Berkhamsted, Herts. HP4 2AL. 103.1 miles from Winch’s Field. Estimated journey time 1 hour 48 minutes. Berkhamsted have averaged an attendance of 155 from their four home league games but according to their web site are expecting a bumper crowd for this game.