Tuesday 21 May 2024

Hayes & Hillingdon - Richings Park


Hayes & Hillingdon FC
Richings Park Sports Club
34A Wellesley Avenue
Iver 
Bucks
SL0 9BN








Ground Number: 1311
Tuesday 21st May 2024
Hayes & Hillingdon 2-1 Kodak (Harrow)
Middlesex County Premier






HAYES & HILLINGDON FC - A BRIEF HISTORY

The club was established in 2019, making it one of the newest clubs in football. This has not stopped them from having a decent social media presence which is not always the case at this level. It was not the best time to start a club - their first season saw them join the Middlesex County League Division 2. They were in second place, behind Springfield when the Covid-19 pandemic hit. They were elevated to Division 1 South West for the following season and were in 4th place when the season was once more halted with seven games played. Hayes & Hillingdon were runners-up to Shepherds Bush in 2022 and Hillingdon last season. For whatever reason, the latter disappeared from football, so they were promoted to the Premier Division this season, a chance they've grabbed with both hands. The club was originally based in West Drayton, at Stockley Park. However, they moved to nearby Iver at the Richings Park Sports Club upon reaching the Premier Division. They share the venue with fellow Middlesex League side Slough Town JFC.


MY VISIT

I was originally meant to visit Hayes & Hillingdon last Tuesday for their game against Larkspur Rovers. However, they turned out to be more like Can't-Be-Arsed-spur as they pulled out the day before the game. This was most frustrating as I do sympathise with clubs finding it difficult to get to midweek games after work. However, with a 7 PM kickoff and the local journey, I was still disappointed. They had a huge fixture backlog and it is almost certain that a lot of their games will not be played. This is a real shame, especially at the top level of the Middlesex League. Thankfully, I was able to visit for the game the following week against Kodak Harrow, another team with a lot of catching up to do. I'd hopefully be seeing them next Tuesday too, they had taken the opportunity to produce a programme to try and attract hoppers and make themselves a bit of money.


After a good Saturday, it had been one of the most hellish Sundays in a long time with the usual screaming kids, packed store and constant questions. I was glad when 4 PM came and I could go home. I cheered myself up in the evening by purchasing a ticket for my upcoming trip to Sweden. Remarkably, the top flight ticket to Orgrtye cost less than a tenner and I was told that Sweden was expensive! Monday was another busy one at work and so I was glad to have Tuesday off. Amongst other things, I got as haircut and picked up some stuff after walking down town. I was glad to get back before the rain hit in the afternoon although it wasn't especially heavy. The weather was still spewing it's ignorant bile as I left to meet Colin at 5.40. He was there waiting for me and we were there at 6.30 after a good journey. It was reassuring to see the teams warming up and a number of hoppers were in attendance.
Hayes & Hillingdon were 4th in the table and this would be their final game of the season, They'd lost their last four games including a 3-2 defeat to London Tigers on Saturday. Kodak Harrow were in 5th and had played three games less.They'd been in mixed form and had drawn 3-3 at Camden & Islington on Saturday. It was a bright opening and Hayes and Hillingdon through their #19 on 4 minutes through a well-worked move. After 8 minutes, it was all square through Kodak's first opportunity following a quick break as the striker lobbed the keeper. Hayes and Hillingdon retook the lead on 21 minutes, a header from a corner. Hayes and Hillingdon continued to dominate, a player hit the post directly from a corner. For Kodak, their #7 was impressive down the left. The second half was scrappier but Kodak were well on top They didn't really threaten though as the game ended in gloomy and wet conditions.
THE GROUND 

RICHINGS SPORTS PARK is a basic and well-kept venue. It is located in a pleasant residential area and there is plenty of parking. There is a building with a viewing balcony with a nice bar attached. This did a good range of drinks as well as food at certain times. There is an Elizabeth Kine station a short walk away.

Saturday 18 May 2024

Brill United - Brill Sports & Social Club


Brill United FC
Brill Sports & Social Club
Church Street
Brill
Aylesbury
Bucks
HP18 9RT








Ground Number: 1310
Saturday 18th May 2024
Brill United 4-5 Halse United
Oxfordshire Senior Premier










BRILL UNITED FC - A BRIEF HISTORY

The club was established in 1985, joining the Chiltonian League in its new Division 2. A 3rd place finish in 1987 was good enough for promotion to the newly-named Premier Division. They were relegated back in their first season but by 1991 they had finished as runners-up behind Letcombe to win promotion back up. A 7th-place finish in 1994 was a highlight but the following year they left the league and would re-emerge for a couple of seasons in the Oxfordshire Senior League Division 1 between 2003 & 2005. Whether it is the same club or not, the story continues with Ashton Folly FC. There's a little about their history online but they have played in local football for most of their history. They won the Banbury District & Lord Jersey Division 1 in 2020 or were at least leading when the season was stopped. They joined the Oxfordshire Senior League Division 1 for the following season, which was also cut short. They made for lost time by winning the title in 2021. Last season a 7th place finish was a decent start in the Premier Division. Over the summer, they changed their name to Brill United, moving from Hethe Village Hall near Bicester to Brill.


There was another Brill United in the village, presumably the 1985 incarnation. They were 2018/19 Banbury District & Lord Jersey FA Division 3 Winners and were playing in the Premier Division until they folded in 2023 due to player apathy. Brill is a village in Western Buckinghamshire, close to the border with Oxfordshire. It has a population of around 1,100. With timbers dating from 1685, Brill Windmill provides one of the earliest and best preserved examples of a post mill (the earliest type of European windmill) in the UK. Brill railway station was once a north-western terminus of the London Underground system but this closed in 1935. THere's not much in the village, a school, a pub called The Pheasant, a Londis shop, a health surgery and the sports & social club/recreation ground. In ter,ms of famous people, Mick Pointer, drummer and founding member of the progressive rock bands Marillion and Arena, was born on 22 July 1956 in the village.


MY VISIT

I was really struggling for inspiration on this Saturday. With the end of the season fast approaching and indeed over for most teams, it was slim pickings. My first thought was Bush Hill Rangers v Baldock Town Reserves in the Herts Senior County Premier. Funnily enough, they were the two that I needed to complete the league. There was a decent-looking pub nearby, plus it was a reasonable fare on the train. However, bit by bit, it fell apart. Firstly, the Woodbine in Waltham Abbey were too lazy to read their emails so I couldn't find out if they still had the huge cider selection that I'd heard about. Most importantly though, the game was moved from Cheshunt's 3G pitch to an adjacent grass pitch. Seeing as I could easily do that 3G in pre-season or in cold, wet weather, I decided to save it until then. Games in Wales, Leeds and Sheffield were considered on the National Express, but nothing was inspiring me aside from Dodworth MW which had no backups should a team pull out. There was a standout option at Middlewich Town in the Cheshire League. It was a great-looking ground and it was a good train journey, though the £70 fare put me off.
In the end, uninspired, I decided to drive. Brill United was one that I'd been intending to save Brill for midweek and go to it with my usual hopping pals. However, I was out of ideas and it saved a load of miles going on my own. I would also get my walk to town and back and if I was willing to take a detour, go to a shop that I wanted to visit in Aylesbury. Just to throw confusion into the mix, the Bush Hill Rangers Twitter stated that it was on the 3G pitch after all. Their helpful secretary had said it was on the grass pitch, the Baldock Town Twitter had said it was in the stadium and now I had a third opinion. I decided to stick to my guns and go to Brill with me having made arrangements to be in for dinner. Elsewhere, I'd successfully switched mobile networks, saving myself £25 a month in the process. I was hoping to get better coverage in some parts of Wycombe with Spusu than I did with ID Mobile. Friday came and it was a busy day at work. I considered going to a game but not much appealed. There was a possibility of a game at Club Des Sports between National Harrow and Chessington & Hook but with the venue uninspiring and the teams not tweeting, a night in with a few cans it was.


The day of the game came and after a reasonably early night, my body clock woke me at my normal work time of 5 am. I watched TV for a bit, had breakfast and a bath before walking to Wycombe and back. I didn't pick up very much but the exercise was nice. I was back by 11 am and it was nice to have a bit of time to relax. I received good news in that Brill United tweeted about the game but disappointing news that my holiday request at work for Easter 2025 was turned down, despite giving 11 months' notice. Why this insignificant chocolate-munching festival is given such high regard is beyond me but it scuppered plans for much of the South West Hop but I'll cross that bridge when I get to it. I had lunch and left at 12.50. It was a scenic journey and I was in Brill at 1.35 after driving 22 miles. The bar only opened at half time and as much as I'd have liked a pint, I decided to wait until I got home.

Despite being a game in the Oxfordshire Senior League it was Bucks side Brill United v Northamptonshire's Halse United. The visitors were based 28 miles north in the village of Halse, near Brackley. The hosts were in 8th and had forfeited two midweek games recently. They'd also lost in a cup final to champions Carterton recently. On the field, their form was mixed but a fortnight ago they had won 2-1 at Yarnton. Halse United were 5th, the reverse fixture had not been played and Halse were awarded the win. It was part of four unbeaten games, the last of which was a 2-1 win at Adderbury Park, ten days previous. It was very much a bright start by Brill. The visitors #2 forced his goalkeeper to tip a shot from his own defender over. From the resulting corner, the ball was not cleared and a player poked home from inside the six-yard box. On 5 minutes, it was 2-0 before Halse had even had a shot a low finish into the bottom left from ten yards. The visitors eventually had a chance on 11 minutes but the ball was headed clear. After 14, minutes, Halse United pulled a goal back with a low free kick by Durnin, just as if it looked like Brill was running away with it. On 20 minutes, it was all square. Read chested the ball and dinked a lovely volley over the keeper. The visitors were now well on top and they took the lead on 27 minutes. Ollie Reed scored his 43rd goal and 31st league goal of the season with a fantastic volley into the top right-hand corner from 30 yards. After half an hour, it was back level. The Brill #9 got in behind down the right and fired the ball across the box before it was met at the edge of the box resulting in the ball being thumped into the bottom right. On 34 minutes, a great Brill kick skimmed the bar as they came close to retaking the lead. Now they were on top and they took the lead on 39 minutes, a lob over the keeper. A minute later Halse forced a good save out of the keeper in what was becoming an eventful game. Half time was bang on time and it was an eight-minute break. The visitors were back on top now and a shot was skewed wide on 49 minutes. They came close again ten minutes later. Brady headed in off the post on 64 minutes to make it 4-4. On 78 minutes, Halse got what turned out to be the winner, a goalmouth scramble was cleared and Marsh volleyed home a low shot from the edge of the area.

It had been an incredible game that never stopped and had to be up there for the best game I have seen this season. The referee helped as he let the game flow and both club linemen were happy to give decisions against their own team which has not always been the case. The players were generally well-behaved though a Halse player was booked for retaliation. I learned that he would have to pay £12 for this offence. , though The surface was also good for this time of the season. The opposition's name was pronounced 'Hulse and their people were very friendly. I also met Darren from Buckingham, AKA Dash71 on YouTube. He was great to chat to and I've also enjoyed some of his YouTube videos. The game finished just before 4 and I went to visit the Brill windmill as recommended by Darren. It was worth it and part of a very pleasant village. On the way home, I'd opted to stop at Farmfoods in Aylesbury. I picked up some great bargains but it was full of revolting noisy families, a sneak preview of tomorrow at work. I was in at 5.40 and had dinner before sorting out my blog. The evening would be spent having a few drinks and winding down before work tomorrow.
THE GROUND

BRILL SPORTS & SOCIAL CLUB is a smart but basic venue. The football pitch is at the far end of the complex and has an enclosure of sorts. There is no rail, hard standing or seating aside from some benches facing the wrong way. The smart bar has sports TV and a good range of drinks. The car park is small but there's plenty of street parking. Within walking distance are pubs and convenience stores. 

Wednesday 15 May 2024

Adderbury Park - Lucy Plackett Playing Field


Adderbury Park FC
Lucy Plackett Playing Field
Round Close Road
Adderbury
Banbury
Oxfordshire
OX17 3EE





Ground Number: 1309
Wednesday 15th May 2024
Adderbury Park 5-4 Launton Sports
Oxfordshire Senior League Premier Division






ADDERBURY PARK FC - A BRIEF HISTORY

Though football had been played for many years in Adderbury, the current club was established in 1995 as a result of a merger between Adderbury and Adderbury Park Sports & Social. Taking a shortened version of the latter's name, they continued in the Banbury & District League where the previous clubs had left off. In 2002, Adderbury Park joined the Hellenic League Division 1 West and enjoyed the best season in the club's history, finishing 11th. They soon started to struggle though and on-field matters caught up with them before ground grading could. They finished bottom of the table in 2005 and were relegated to the Oxfordshire Senior League. After some unremarkable seasons in the Premier Division, they won the title in 2009. Aside from the 2013/14 season, they never finished outside of the top 5 and won the title again in 2017. In 2018, they joined the adjacent Hellenic League Division 2 North and enjoyed four decent seasons. They transferred back to the Oxfordshire Senior League last season, capturing a third title win and remaining undefeated.


In terms of local cups, the club have won the Oxfordshire Senior League Presidents Cup in 2017 & 2023, the Oxfordshire FA Charity Cup in 2016 & 2017 and the Byfield Bethal Charity Cup in 2023 & 2024 among others. Adderbury is a winding linear village about 3 miles south of Banbury in northern Oxfordshire. It has a population of around 2,800. The village toponym has had several changes of spelling. The earliest known record of it is in a document from the middle of the 10th century. The Domesday Book of 1086 records it as Edburgberie, meaning "Eadburg's town". Iy has a history of clock making and Morris dancing. The most famous resident is John Craven who presented several childrens TV programmes including Newsround.
 

MY VISIT

This game was initially decided upon around a week in advance. Games were starting to dry up by now and it was really the only choice that was viable if I took both Anwar & Colin. It was rather basic but they were two decent clubs that kept people up to date on social media. I'd have preferred to go to Corinthian FC in Essex but thanks to Colin's brain-dead arsehole of a boss, this was no longer possible. He used to finish at 3, which would give us a fighting chance. But the manager had decided to keep his branch of a popular but mediocre bakery chain open until 7 PM. Why he thinks that people would want to eat a reheated sausage roll for their main evening meal is a mystery and hopefully the miserable failure that it deserves to be. As a result, Colin now had to work until 4 PM. This meant that even to get this trip done, I would need a ten-mile detour to pick him up from work as he could no longer get the bus to a convenient pickup point near me. As someone who has come with me regularly for a while, I didn't want to let him down, despite the inconvenience to me.
I was in for disappointment with my Tuesday game. I originally opted to go for a game at Westmill in the Herts Senior League. This was not even in the top division, so the fixture was not on Futbology. However, with them already promised from Division 1, I would almost certainly need to visit them to complete the Premier Division, something I was aiming to do next season. and in the future, every club in the Hertfordshire League. I'd been to some nice places, some decent clubs and seen some decent games. My only reservation was that the administration was sometimes a bit slipshod with me being bitten by the FA full-time not being updated with postponements and venue changes. With neither club being especially active on Twitter, no backups and disappointing takeaway options nearby, I decided against it. Work on Monday was a slog and it gave me plenty of time to think. In the end, I decided to go to Hayes & Hillingdon v Larkspur Rovers and did all the research concerning the journey and host club history. This turned out to be a waste of time (at least for now) as Larkspur Rovers pulled out of a game for the second week in succession. I'll cover this more in a later blog but it was disappointing, with the lack of games, I decided to spend the night in.
Since my last blog on Saturday, it had been a seamless journey home from Wiltshire and I'd enjoyed a nice Ukrainian cherry beer randomly purchased from Londis in Basingstoke. I was home by 9 and it was pretty uneventful from there. It was an easier Sunday than usual but a harder Monday. After the disappointing news on Monday evening, it was an irritatingly rainy start to my day off on Tuesday but I eventually got my walk down Wycombe and got all that I needed plus more. I considered going to Slough Town JFC in the evening, as they were an excellent club on Twitter and were playing at Slough's main ground. In the end though with a later kickoff and an early start, I decided to stay in. Both accounts concerning my original choice of game were saying nothing but Westmill won 4-2. For me, it was an early night although I still felt drowsy the next morning. It was a harder day than expected at work and I finished at 1.30. I had a rest at home for a couple of hours before heading out at 3.50. It was a horrible journey, firstly battling through the Amersham traffic with me picking Colin up at 4.15. He was asleep before we got out of Amersham. I stopped for petrol on the way to Anwar, we eventually got away at 5.15. It was a slow journey down small roads. With parking tight near the ground, we were there at 6.20. I grabbed some pictures but soon it was time for kickoff.
Adderbury Park were in 4th place and could finish as high as 2nd if they won their games in hand. Of the matches that had actually been played, they had not won in three league games, the last a 2-1 defeat to Halse United. Launton were travelling 15 miles to today's game. The clash at their place saw them forfeit the match despite being the hosts. It was the second match of the season that they had not been able or willing to play and last Wednesday saw Brill United pull the same trick on them. When they played, they'd not won in eight but had confirmed safety recently. Their last game was an entertaining 4-4 draw against Summertown Stars. Adderbury Park had already come close a couple of times before they took the lead on 12 minutes. A good ball and a low shot from ten yards. It was 2-0 from a similar move on 15 minutes. The game was pretty much wrapped up on 20 minutes, an excellent goal by #10 from wide on the right that flew in the top corner. Launton pulled one back on 40 minutes, seizing on a defensive error and slotting past the stranded keeper. They nearly had another back on 52 minutes but the looping header was ruled out for offside. On the hour, Launton were presented with a golden chance but it was blasted over from just inside the area. They finally had a goal back on 73 minutes, a beautiful strike by #19 that flew in the top corner. No sooner than hopes of a sensational comeback been realised, they were extinguished on the break, a low shot from the edge of the area made it 4-2. But a crazy game was pegged back to 4-3 on 76 minutes, a scrambled goal after a less-than-convincing goalkeeping performance. On 79 minutes, it was 5-3, a low shot from just inside the area after Launton failed to clear their lines. Slack defending and a low shot allowed Launton to make it 5-4 with a few minutes to go.
The goalscorers were given as follows. Joe Thornton (2), Dee Livous, Jack Welch and Jimmy Hunt with AP's goals. For Launton: C Bateman x2, D Savin & M Dann. It had been an excellent game, even if the quality was variable at times. In the second half, Launton could have won it but they'd been outclassed in the first half. It was a far better journey on the way home, albeit via the same small roads. I was back at Anwar's by 9.10 and Colin's by 9.40. It was nice to get some respite from his constant talking and I was home 15 minutes later. I got my blog done before  I went to sleep and had also been hoping to transfer to a new mobile network. However, when I inserted my Spusu sim there was no service whatsoever. I decided to cut my losses and put my old sim back in for now.


THE GROUND 

THE LUCY PLACKETT PLAYING FIELD is a basic but pleasant venue. Parking is tight and the narrow streets are not the best for street parking. It's also out of the way but decent for public transport, albeit irregular. Other than that, it's very pleasant. A clubhouse does basic drinks and snacks and has lots of club photos. The scenery is lovely and it was a very relaxing place to watch a game after a long journey.