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Saturday 24th September 2011 ko 7.30pm

North Berkshire League Division One

AFC WALLINGFORD 0

CROWMARSH GIFFORD 2 (Hedges 42 79)

Att 157

Entry by Programme £3

Tea 60p

Badge £3

By the evening game, I was flagging a bit. Organising these hops is stressful enough, but doing so with a hernia made things just made things tougher. Still, I propped myself up, did what I needed to (deliver the badges, organise the team sheets, do the crowd count etc) then enjoyed a nice cup of tea.

I have time for AFC Wallingford, as life has been tough for them. From beating AFC Wimbledon to the Combined Counties League title in 2001-2 little or nothing as gone right for them since,and they’ve had real problems with their landlords. We’d annoyed them by bouncing a children’s party to host this late kickoff.

From an organiser’s perspective this game had a few issues. The biggest of these was these was the high numbers of hoppers who had already visited Hithercroft, and so would happily miss the last game and head for home. The NBFL helped everyone by scheduling a fixure against Crowmarsh Gifford seperated from Wallingford only by the River Thames. The result was a decent local turnout, which kept the attendance and the revenue levels up.

Once again the barbeque was well in evidence, and with the tea bar working overtime, the visitors were fed and watered in the ground, benefitting the club, and out of the bar which would not. Badges were sold, programmes read and the groundhop organisers heckled junior linesman and referees’ secretary Les Addison.

As for the game I left feeling even more sorry for Wallingford, as Crowmarsh were extremely good value for their win. Once again, Wallingford are rebuilding, I just hope it will happen quickly enough to retain their division 1 status.

I left Hithercroft, and did the drop offs at Didcot station. I then joined fellow organiser Chris Berezai and some of the hoppers at the Wheatsheaf, Drayton. I was patted on the back, and when I left was applauded out of the pub. All very gratifying, but all the credit should go to the clubs who participated and the NBFL.

Finally I’d like to thank a few people. Firstly from the league, Les Addison who invited me to a whole series of meetings to get this off the ground. Secondly, Ian the coach driver from Charlton coaches. Good companies and drivers are hard to find, so it was wonderful to get a new contact. Thirdly my partner in crime Chris Berezai, yet another hop successfully organised, and every time we say we’re going to cut back on our activities, we end up organising another one! Last but no means least, my new mate Mr Phil Annets, NBFL press officer extraordinaire. Its one thing to find a hopper who gets what we’re trying to do, but Phil got what we were trying to do straight away and without him there would have been no NBFL hop, simple as that. Take a bow Phil!

So its now back to the NBFL committee, to ok things for next year’s hop. So where shall we visit next?