Tuesday 29 August 2023

Launton Sports - Launton Playing Fields

Launton Sports FC
Launton Playing Fields
Launton Sports & Social Club 
Bicester Road
OX26 5DP

Ground Number: 1217
Tuesday 29th August 2023
Launton Sports 1-1 Brill United
Oxfordshire Senior Premier


The club was formed in 1889 and was known as Launton, and played in the Lord Jersey League. They won the title in 1940 but after the war would suffer a couple of relegations. They won Division 3 in 1953 but were relegated back after one season, waiting until 1964 to win promotion back. They joined the Oxfordshire Senior League in 1990. winning Division 1 in 1993. They took a break during the 2001/02 season but otherwise remained in the Premier Division until 2007. They then spent four seasons in the Hellenic League, their best season when they finished 13th in the Step 6 Division 1 West. Four seasons were spent here but they always struggled and following a bottom-placed finish, they returned to the Oxfordshire Senior Premier in 2011 and finished bottom of the table again. Since then, their best finish was 4th in 2022 but they've remained there to this day.

The club has never competed in the national FA competitions. Locally, they won the Oxfordshire Junior Shield in 1924 and the Lord Jersey Shield on six occasions. Launton is a village and civil parish on the eastern outskirts of Bicester with a population of 1,200. It has two public houses: The Bull Inn at the crossroads in the centre of the village and The Launton Arms (formerly The Black Bull) at West End. The village has also a post office, a butcher and a hair salon. Launton railway station served the village in the past. It was on the Varsity Line between Bletchley and Oxford. The station opened in 1850; British Railways closed Launton station and withdrew passenger services at the end of 1967. Launton is twinned with the village of Gavray in the Lower Normandy region of France although this ceased to be in 2019 when it was merged into the new commune Gavray-sur-Sienne.


Ever since I had seen them at Yarnton in mid-May, I'd wanted to visit Launtron Sports. I originally thought that the fixture was going to be played at Launton as it was their home fixture but as their pitch was not available, the venue was switched. It mattered not, as both pitches were decent railed venues. However, Launton received a sound beating, 11-1, possibly as they were short of players available. I'd spotted this fixture around a month ago and pencilled it in, provided that Wycombe didn't get an attractive fixture in the League Cup. Sutton United at home did not fit that bill and Colin & Anwar must have agreed as they wanted to come with me.

The day of the game came and I'd actually had a decent night's sleep. I did my usual walk down town and got a few bits and bobs, including some bakery stuff from Lidl for tonight's game. I had the afternoon at home and this gave me a chance to research tonight's blog which I'd left to today as it had been a busy weekend. I was also looking ahead to this weekend, preferably an FA Cup game, made all the more difficult for a day out due to another train strike. My preference is Okehampton Argyle v Highworth Town so I messaged their Twitter account to see if I could drive down there and get a coach. Far from ideal, but cheaper than driving or public transport. I left at 4.45 via Colin and Anwar and it was a reasonable journey. We arrived at 6.15 and didn't have long to wait until kickoff.
There was no form to go on as this was the first game of the season. However last season, Launton finished in 9th and Brill United, then known as Ashton Folly, finished in 7th. The visitors had undergone a makeover in the summer with a new name and club badge. The penultimate game of last season had seen Ashton Folly record a 5-2 victory whilst Launton Sports won 5-0 in their home game. Brill United had travelled around 8 miles to be here today. The game kicked off slightly early at 6.27. Launton came close early on with a speculative shot from wide on the right. They did get the goal they deserved after three minutes, a cross from the right was finished at the back post from close in by Kieran Chambers. Brill were soon back in it, equalising with a Ben Crooks penalty awarded for a trip on 10 minutes. It was a fairly equal game in the first half but the second period saw Brill have the better of the game. On the break, Launton came close but shot wide of the right-hand post from a tight angle. The second half petered out though, as the light faded, both sides seemed content with a point.
There was a healthy attendance of 69. As ever there was rain but it was only a bit of drizzle. This made the conditions very gloomy with the game ending just before 8.10. We listened to fading commentary of the Wycombe Wanderers vs. Sutton United league cup game before getting to Aylesbury Vale Dynamos v Crawley Green for the second half of that game. Aylesbury led 1-0 at halftime after a poor start to the season. They had two goals disallowed for offside in the second half. Before we left the game, we discovered that Wycombe had lost to Sutton United in the League Cup to put a dampener after a few decent results. Aylesbury held on though but it was 9.45 when the game finished. After dropping everyone off, I was back home myself at 10.45. I typed my blog whilst I watched YouTube videos, happy that I'd had a decent few days off before going back to work tomorrow.

LAUNTON PLAYING FIELD or LAUNTON SPORTS & SOCIAL CLUB is a good venue for step 7. The two sides are railed and there are a pair of dugouts. There is also an outside bar area where you can watch the game from. The inside is very nice and has a pool table and sports TV as well as a range of drinks. There's a decent amount of parking and the ground is near the village centre. A semi-regular bus route runs through the village from Bicester to Aylesbury Mondays - Saturdays.

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