Sunday 27th November 2011 ko 10.30am
Upper Thames Valley League Division 2
CHECKENDON EXILES 0
KING & QUEEN WHEATLEY 3 (Thomas 18 Evans 54 80)
The village of Checkendon lies in South Oxfordshire, around 6 miles from Henley-on-Thames. The Henley influence is obvious, you do find yourself in Millionaires Row! The local boozer is a gastropub, and as the game progressed a regular sight in the background were Ocado vans, for those too lazy to actually travel to Waitrose!
Checkendon’s most obvious attraction is the Equestrian Centre but I was more taken with the Church of England parish church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, a 12th century Norman building. All but one of the windows were replaced later in the Middle Ages with Decorated Gothic and Perpendicular Gothic ones, and the Perpendicular Gothic west tower is also a later addition. Its offered a good backdrop to some of the photos!
About a mile away is Hook End Manor. In the 1960s Alvin Lee of Ten Years After fame sold it to Dave Gilmour. Gilmour recorded parts of Pink Floyd’s 1987 album, ‘A Momentary Lapse of Reason’ in a studio at the house. The band’s inflatable pig, first used to promote their “Animals” album a decade earlier was stored in one of the outbuildings.
The Manor was then bought by West Side Productions, who produced both Madness and Morrissey recordings there. In the 1990s, the Manor was purchased by producer Trevor Horn who was responsible for the high tech studio which is still in use today.
The Recreation Ground is shared with the village cricket club, but the only actual shared territory is the changing room, as the football pitch is tucked neatly away at the North-Eastern end of the ground. That helped to shelter me slightly on a blustery morning! Above two hawks circled, looking for prey.
This is an eastern outpost of the mainly Oxford based UTV League, the home team after all, were formerly known as Wallingford Exiles, and the club’s HQ is the Queens Arms in Goring-on-Thames, a town incidentally, that has George Michael as a resident! This factor may have something to do with why the game kicked off late as some the visitors got lost!
Perhaps that’s why it took King & Queen so long to get going. It became clear that Exiles were a side utterly lacking in either goal threat or confdence, this was their sixth game on the trot without scoring, and as the half progressed the frustration began to boil over. A midfielder and his club linesman disagreed over an overside call, and the two had to be seperated at half time, the linesman walking back to the changing rooms in high dudgeon. All King & Queen had to do was maintain a semblance of concentration to record an easy away win, and this they managed with just the odd lapse! Simon Evans’ winner, a thumping 25 yard drive was a good way to cap the victory.