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Saturday 21st January 2011 ko 10.30am

Oxfordshire FA U14 Girls County Cup Quarter Final

TOWER HILL VIXENS 0

CARTERTON FC 2 (42 54)

Att 21 (h/c)

Entry FREE

No Programme

Refreshments Available

Since I let it be known that I would be attending this game, I’d had a few calls commenting that it shouldn’t count towards my records. I pondered that one, and came to the conclusion that its a game of football, so it counts. But why was I there at all?  That was down to Ali Haining, my boss many years ago, and manager of the Tower Hill side. We hadn’t had a chat since seeing each other at a funeral in 2004.  So there you go, these days I’m available for weddings, bar mitzvahs and U14 football matches!

The West Witney Sports Ground is to be found by the B4027 Burford Road, if you’ve ever visited Witney Town’s Downs Road Ground, chances are that you’ve passed here.

On a horrible wet cold, and windy morning the place was packed. I had to park on the grass verge outside, as a multipicity of games were taking place on the ground, on various sizes of pitches. I recognised the referee from my 10-10 at Islip a few months ago. https://laurencereade.wordpress.com/2011/10/02/the-i-was-there-game/

Tower Hill have no Saturday male team, that’s the job of West Witney of the Witney and District League. They have a reserve team, but every other team falls under the Tower Hill banner. I was reminded of my visit to SanFrecce Hiroshima back in the summer. Not for the stadium, or the conditions, but for the field outside where hundreds of children were learning about the game by playing and having fun.  Any snobbery I could have felt disappeared with that thought. https://laurencereade.wordpress.com/2011/12/20/the-big-day-at-the-big-arch/

The game saw the Vixens pitted against their counterparts from Hellenic League Carterton FC. I’d looked up “Vixen” for some inspiration before setting out. Obviously its a female fox, but I was rather taken with the comment, “Will fight if cornered.” It turned out to be  positive metaphor for the game, as the two sides worked extremely hard to both master the conditions and the opposition.

When watching the womens’ game you have to accept that the pace is slower, but once I got used to that, the game ebbed and flowed nicely. I thought an error would settle the contest, and as usual I was wrong. A corner was floated in and a forward was able to bundle the ball in. Soon after, a through ball found a Carterton forward; her shot cannoned off the defender’s foot to wrong foot the keeper for 2-0.

A little harsh on the hosts I thought, although Carterton had enjoyed marginally more possession. For all of that this was football in its purest form in some respects, played for the enjoyment only.