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Saturday 8th October 2011 ko 6.30pm

Hellenic League Premier Division

KIDLINGTON 3 (Coyle 34 Curtin 47 73)

ARDLEY UNITED 4 (D Beckett 5p 84 Thorne 24 Bryan 43)

Att 158 (h/c)

Entry £5

Programme £1

Bacon Roll & Cheesy Chips £3.10

So, the final game of this mini-hop was at Yarnton Road, and unlike poor old Witney, this club are right at the heart of the local community. The facilities, are nowhere near as good as at Downs Road just two squat “Arena” stands, but the clubhosue does a roaring trade seven days a week, and that allows the football team to thrive. On this occasion they were bested by a resurgent Ardley United managed by former Oxford United and Banbury United legend Kevin Brock. Ardley have a strong ex Banbury United flavour, in fact at times I felt I was watching the Banbury side I enjoyed around 7 years ago when I’d moved to the town. It seems such a long time ago now….

One of the throng watching was Pete Hack. Pete reminds me of a bluesman, in that the restrictions put upon him has made him groundhop in a really interesting way. He runs the Whisky shop in Oxford’s historic Covered Market, which means he works every single Saturday afternoon. So he watches student football, the Sunday game, anything he can. A bluesman restricts himself to 3 chords, Pete’s restricted to non-Saturday afternoons. His hopping CV is, as a result, highly unusual and interesting. With the late kick off he was able to attend and brought a bit of a bonus. The Jura distillery have a competition to win a trip to the island, but Pete’s customers couldn’t be bothered to fill out the postcards to enter. So, at half time we had the sight of hoppers frantically filling in postcards, wondering whether there’s any football played on Jura! Anyone know?

That shouldn’t detract from the game which was excellent, and in my opinion the best two teams of the day. I always felt that Ardley were the better team, but the result was in doubt for the full 90 minutes, and that whether you’re a spectator, official, or groundhop organiser is all you’re looking for.