Oxhey Jets FC
Ground Number: 365
Tuesday 22nd April 2014
Oxhey Jets 1-1 Hillingdon Borough
Spartan South Midlands Premier
OXHEY JETS FC - A BRIEF HISTORY
Oxhey Jets were formed in 1972 and played in local leagues at first. In 1981, they were admitted into the Herts Senior County League. Starting in Division 1, they spent three seasons there before promotion was earned to the Premier Division following a 3rd place finish in 1984. They only lasted two seasons before being relegated back but would go back up in 1989 after another 3rd place finish. Despite struggling at first, they soon found their feet and would gain promotion to the Spartan South Midlands League as runners-up to Hadley in 2004. This time, they had no problem acclimatizing to the new level and would go on to win Division 1 at the first attempt. Oxhey Jets have been at step 5 ever since, mainly in the Spartan South Midlands Premier, however, last season they transferred to the Combined Counties North. Their best season at this level came in 2013 when they finished 3rd, scoring 125 league goals and gaining 91 points that season.
Oxhey Jets have twice reached the FA Cup 2nd Qualifying Round. In 2006 they lost 3-0 at AFC Wimbledon and in 2011 they lost 2-1 to Hendon. The latter attracted their record attendance of 376. The FA Vase 3rd Round has also been reached twice - losing 4-0 at Ipswich Wanderers in 2006 and 2-0 at Hadleigh United in 2012. Local cup wins include the Hertfordshire Senior Centenary Trophy twice, the Hertfordshire Charity Shield three times, the West Herts St Mary's Cup twice and the Aubrey Cup twice. The club is based in South Oxhey, a suburb of Watford. It has a population of around 15,000. Famous people from the area include actor and filmmaker Nick Moran who was in Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels as well as the Harry Potter films.
MY FIRST VISIT
Oxhey Jets were probably the closest ground to me that I had not visited for a game yet. I had opportunities to do so this season, but the fact that I could take Anwar with me when I did it, even if it meant doubling the journey distance, meant that I chose more Southern options when I was alone. But with me being two-thirds of the way through completing the Spartan South Midlands League, and Anwar available, I decided to take in their game v Hillingdon Borough. I had actually been to the ground before, but only to take photos when I was over Watford way and wanted to see it properly for a game. I had only just been on the Northern League hop with 8 games in 3 days and so I was pretty weary. But with the season ending soon, it wasn't going to wait around for me. I only had about 5 hours of sleep the previous night and had spent the whole day catching up on my blog. It took me on average a couple of hours all in, once I had done the research, the story of the day and the laying it all out. I'd had the foresight to lay the foundations for 3 of them before I went, completing those 3 and also the 4th one. But with 3 possible further games this week and not a lot of time to do them, time was not on my side and I was in danger of getting a backlog. I spent the last 20 minutes of the time I had writing this very paragraph, but would still have plenty to do in the upcoming day or so. I had a dinner of Chilli and Rice and left home at about 5.35, picking Anwar up at 6. After going through Aylesbury and the A41 we travelled the 5 miles to Oxhey along a road which seemed to have more speed cameras than any other road I have ever been on. We got to the ground around 7, and after going into the bar to use the toilet, I paid to get in and was pleased to find that it included a free programme.
There were a few names I recognised from the teams. For Oxhey Jets there was Lewis Putnam who had been the subject of transfer interest from Wycombe after scoring over 70 goals last season. He spent a week on trial with us but we turned him down. Instead, he went to Wealdstone and got a long-term injury, and that was the last I heard of him until tonight. For the visitors, there were the Gradwell brothers, Robert and Kieran who played for Wycombe's youth and reserve teams when I used to watch them. Oxhey Jets sat 14th at start of play, despite being on a long unbeaten run. Recent results ranged from the sublime to the ridiculous, with four 0-0's and a 9-5 making up their last 5 results. The first half was entertaining and was real end-to-end. Oxhey opened the scoring on 22 minutes after Putnam put the ball through to Lee Armitt and he fired into the corner. Apart from that though, Hillingdon Borough were shading it. That's how it stayed until the break. At half-time, it was quite chilly so I got myself a Bovril. The second half started in much the same vein as the first and Hillingdon Borough got their equaliser which was very similar to the Oxhey goal. Hillingdon seemed to spend the whole game whinging at the referee, but they were still on top. They played some really neat stuff and were unlucky not to win. I'd say the man of the match was their Nicholas Bendtner lookalike Paul Somers who played right back. It had been a good entertaining contest, as had a lot of games I had seen in this league. The game finished about 9.30 after injury time and after dropping Anwar off just after 10 and getting home myself at 10.25. I got to sleep quite quickly for once and nodded off just after 11, when usually for a midweek game I'd be up until midnight at least.
MY SECOND VISIT
OXHEY JETS 0-4 LONDON LIONS
COMBINED COUNTIES NORTH - 22/11/22
COMBINED COUNTIES NORTH - 22/11/22
After a boozy weekend, it was back to work, but as ever, I was keen to do a game on Tuesday. There was nothing that I could do with just Anwar and Colin declared himself unavailable as he was planning to go with some other hoppers to Bearsted. As it turned out, his employer did him dirty by putting him in for a later shift at the last minute. By that point, I'd decided on a revisit to Oxhey Jets, a blog that I felt could do with a bit of sprucing up. The day of the game came and it was my usual walk to town and back. I came home and started planning future games. I knocked a potential visit on Thursday to Nailsea & Tickenham due to potential rain nut decided on my Saturday game. I'd be driving to Yateley United due to the train strikes limiting me to London via public transport. After dinner, I left at 6.40. It was a slow but steady journey over and I was there by 7.20. I was glad to see Dan, Richard & Andrew there. They had been heading to Bearsted, only to be denied due to bad traffic on the M25. It wasn't long until kickoff, so we went to the turnstile, paying £7 to get in. The welcome at the turnstile was nice and as with a lot of grounds, I appreciated it a lot more the second time around.
Oxhey Jets were in rotten form and sat bottom of the table. There was a real danger that they would be relegated back to step 6 for the first time since 2005. Though they'd had a good run in the FA Vase, they had changed their manager and had taken until 8th November to get their first league win - a 3-1 win at home to Wokingham & Emmbrook. They'd gained their other two points with a 1-1 draw at home to Burnham and a 1-1 draw at Spelthorne Sports. The straw that broke the camel's back for the old manager had been a 7-0 defeat to Virginian Water and aside from that, recent results had been fairly respectable. London Lions were 7th in the league and they'd already had two victories over Oxhey Jets this season - 5-0 in the league and 3-1 in the League Cup - both at their place. However, the recent form had not been great with only one win in their last six. That had come as they won 6-1 at Frimley Green in the League Cup. Their last league win came on 15th October as they won 2-0 at Windsor. The hosts did not help themselves. Within 90 seconds, they had passed the ball back short to the keeper. London Lions' Jack Mattey took advantage, taking the ball around the keeper to make it 1-0. The lead was doubled to make it 2-0, Max Kyte getting on the end of a long goal kick and capitalising on a hesitant home defence. The rest of the first half was an end-to-end affair but Oxhey were lacking in the final third. The second half saw the game quieten down a bit. Kyte added two further goals later on, rounding the keeper for his third and a glancing header to make it 4-0.THE GROUND
BOUNDARY STADIUM is pretty standard for the Spartan South Midlands League. The main covered accommodation is all along one side with a couple of small seated stands and some covered standing. There is also a stand in the left-hand corner, and this appears to be the original stand as you can see where the dugouts have been beforehand along where the side stands are.
Apart from that, it's open standing. As for the tea bar, while the tea is cheaper than most grounds at 80p, the Bovril is £1.50, which isn't much less than you would pay at a league ground. It's a lot nicer though. Other than that, they do the usual range of hot food. There is a bar outside the ground, but I didn't go in on this occasion.