Wednesday 3 May 2023

Great Missenden - Buryfields

Great Missenden FC
Buryfields Recreation Ground
Link Road
Great Missenden 
HP16 9AE

07538 213235

Ground Number: 1180
Wednesday 3rd May 2023
Great Missenden 3-1 Elmhurst
Aylesbury & District League Premier Division


The club formation date is unclear, as there is scant information on the internet. There is also no formation date on the club badge. Thanks to an old website I can trace their history back to the 2005/06 season when they finished 5th in the now-defunct Wycombe Senior League where they finished 5th. They progressed and by 2010, were Premier Division champions. This earned them promotion to the top-tier Senior Division. They finished as runners-up in 2014 before winning the title the following season, losing just once all season. Two further runners-up spots followed. The writing was on the wall when the league was reduced to a single division in 2018 and the following year, the league was disbanded altogether. Most teams, including Great Missenden, decamped to the Aylesbury & District League. Starting in Division 1, their first season was almost complete when the records were expunged due to the Covid pandemic. They were champions in 2021, the small league allowing it to be played to completion despite another lockdown. Last season was a good debut in the Premier Divison as they finished runners-up to Hale Leys United. This season sees them involved in a nail-biting title race with Aylesbury Vale Dynamoes Sports. They beat their opponents in the Marsworth Cup final recently, 4-3 on penalties after an epic 5-5 draw to retain the trophy. However, they lost 1-0 to the same opponents in the Thomas Field Shield.

Great Missenden is an affluent village with approximately 2,000 in the Chiltern Hills in Buckinghamshire, situated between the towns of Amersham and Wendover, with direct rail connections to London Marylebone. It closely adjoins the village of Little Kingshill and is a mile from Little Missenden and the larger village of Prestwood. Great Missenden lay on a major route between the Midlands and London. Several coaching inns, particularly the Red Lion (now an estate agency) and The George (with new owners), provided rest and refreshments for travellers and their horses. The first railway line in the area was, however, routed alongside the Grand Union Canal to the east. Once the coaches stopped running Great Missenden declined in importance and prosperity, becoming an agricultural village. Following the arrival of the Metropolitan Railway, (later the London Underground's Metropolitan line) in 1892, Great Missenden became a commuter village for London with writers, entertainers and even Prime Ministers among the residents. Great Missenden railway station is now on the Chiltern Railways line, it is the first station on the line that does not fall into a London Zone.

Gipsy House in Great Missenden was the home of author Roald Dahl from 1954 until his death in 1990 and still remains in the family, and many local scenes and characters are reflected in his work, notably from my favourite childhood book 'Danny, The Champion Of The World'. Dahl is buried at St. Peter and St. Paul's Church and children still leave toys and flowers at his grave. In June 2005 the Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre opened in Great Missenden to honour the work of Dahl. Other famous residents include Clement Atlee, Prime Minster from 1945 until 1951 and Harold Wilson who was PM in two separate spells in the 1960s and 70s.

Less famously, the so-called Great Missenden riots occurred in the 1980s. This was covered and narrated by Danny Baker originally and later lampooned on Bob Mills' satirical late-night ITV show, In Bed with MeDinner, series 3, episode 4 broadcast in February 1997. Two rival gangs, their opponents from nearby Chesham met up for a mass fight. Sixty people were arrested and 29 were convicted in court the following March. The village was also the location of a 'Dickensian Evening where the village's High Street was transformed into a Victorian period piece. However, it was cancelled in 2002, after becoming 'too popular'. The event attracted a couple of thousand people and the organisers were concerned for the safety of small children, amid crushing concerns.


I'd been fancying a trip to Great Missenden for a while. My favourite childhood author Roald Dahl lived there for years and there was a museum in his honour. There was also an amusing documentary covered by Bob Mills in the 1990s which covered the Great Missenden Riots of the 1980s. I do enjoy looking further into these sorts of things and going off on a tangent. Add to that, Great Missenden looked like a decent place for a day out and so the initial plan was to go on a Saturday, a nice walk down there and a few pints. However, the lack of pavements for most of the journey meant that I kept kicking that can down the road and putting it off. The ideal opportunity to get it done came on a midweek in May, so I'd have to drive to that one for convenience.
It certainly showed how much less fussy about grounds now, with Great Missenden being a very basic pitch. My first of those at Riverside FC in Peterborough was a bit of a culture shock and I didn't really enjoy it. But nowadays, although I look for the minimum of a railed pitch, I don't mind doing anything if there's a story to tell or something like a cider festival or some other attraction. I started off only wanting to do the 92, then only wanting to do the first four steps of non-league. I eventually expanded down to step 6, then anything with a stand before moving on to my current stance. I wish I'd adopted it earlier and had a more open mind, But then again, I'd have changed a lot of things with hindsight, most of all, started hopping around 15 years before I actually did do.

The night before, a Braintree-based groundhopper had been upset at seeing a 0-0 draw at Stonewall,  a ground near West Ham's London Stadium. Rather than just accept it as part and parcel of football, he accused the teams of match-fixing as it gave Clapton Community the point they needed to win the title. I saw a dull 0-0 there and perhaps it was no coincidence that the hosts were both one of the lower scorers and conceders around them. It earnt him much scorn online and although we get on great, he doesn't help himself at times. Getting to work was a bit of a nightmare, it took me over an hour, perhaps due to people like the Range Rover that I saw drive their kid less than half a mile to school before heading home again. I'll be sure to take a different route in future but despite being nearly 15 minutes late, it was a good day at work. There was disappointment as my game at Bushey Rangers was tomorrow was off, though I will intend to visit this season. I came home, and had just over an hour before having dinner and leaving. I got to the ground at 6.10. It was advertised as a 6.15 or 6.30 kickoff but eventually got going at 6.33.
Hosts Great Missenden were in 2nd place and involved in a very tight title race with Aylesbury Vale Dynamos Sports. Both sides were on 49 points and had only failed to win twice this season, each having one draw and one defeat. They would be involved in a winner takes all clash on Saturday in Aylesbury, but for now, they each had a game to play.  In Great Missenden's case, their misfires had come in a 1-1 draw at FC Bierton and a 4-1 defeat at tonight's opponents Elmhurst. That was the last time they dropped points, having won eight league games in a row, the latest of which was a 3-0 win over Wingrave, ironically, their rivals' opposition on the same evening. Elmhurst had lost their last game 1-0 at Toqeers Titans but prior to that, were unbeaten in six. They sat in a respectable 4th place. The hosts were in a Borussia Dortmund-style yellow and black whilst Elmhurst were in green and white. They were based ten miles away at the Edinburgh Playing Fields in Aylesbury and were predominantly an Asian side. Great Missenden were edging it but Elmhurst were battling hard. A scrap for the ball prompted handbags and after breaking it up, the ref issued a booking apiece. On 43 minutes, Elmhurst took the lead, a neat finish after a good run. Great Missenden were second-best for quite a bit of the second half but it didn't help that they had three strikers missing due to work commitments, that was a total of 66 goals. Finally, on 65 minutes, they got an equaliser, a smart low finish from the edge of the area, not bad for centre-back James Tripp. Tripp scored again on 78 minutes after with a low shot from a cross to give Great Missenden the lead. The game was sealed on 84 minutes. Manager and old school friend Craig Osbourne who had come on a couple of minutes previously was around and about and I thought he'd got on the end of the cross but another hopper reckoned it was a hat trick for Tripp.
There had been a decent number of hoppers in attendance, probably half of the 40-strong crowd had turned up as neutrals. They provided good company as did old school friend Craig who I've known since 1993 but only seen sporadically since leaving school in 1997. It was just a ten-minute drive home with me getting in at 8.30. I checked on the scores and with Aylesbury Vale Dynamos Sports winning 8-2 at Wingrave, it will all go down to Saturday when the two sides meet in Aylesbury. With AVDS having a 15-goal superior difference, it is win or nothing for Great Missenden. For me, I am not sure when my next game will be, either Friday or Saturday.

BURYFIELDS REC is a very basic setup with no dugouts or spectator facilities, though it does have plenty of parking. The best time to visit as a driver is midweek as parking is free after 6 and a Fish & Chip van also turns up. There are no facilities otherwise but the village is a short walk away and the train station is 10 minutes walk away.

No comments:

Post a Comment