Sunday 19th February 2012 ko 10.30am
Upper Thames Valley League Devenney Cup Quarter Final
AFC JERICHO 1 (Matthews 65)
KINGS ARMS WHEATLEY 3 (S Jacob 38 Mapplethorpe 54 L Cuff 78)
Att 20 (h/c)
@ Oxford University Press Ground, Jordan Hill
Nothing for Sale
The groundhopping purists would probably reckon I should have ticked this one off for OUP, who are the Saturday side here, playing in the top division of the Oxfordshire Senior League. Well, I hadn’t managed to do it in over 10 years of serious hopping so I decided to do the Sunday team instead.
Jericho is a suburb in the north of Oxford. Its started life as a poorly drained slum, became briefly a red light district, and now is one of the most sought after areas in the city. It retains, however a decidedly bohemian feel, with cafes and the historic Castlemill boatyard. The Jericho Tavern has seen performances by bands such as Radiohead and Supergrass before they became famous.
Jordan Hill is in Cutteslowe, on the northernmost tip of the city, about a mile north of Jericho. It is so obviously a works ground, and is beautifully maintained. For me it was a 5 mile drive to get there, and a nearby street to the ground is would you believe, Five Mile Drive!
I was pleasantly surprised at the facilties on offer. From the cricket benches, the wooden dugouts to the post and roped off pitch, it was a pleasure to take in a game that when the weak sun managed to peak through the clouds, the scene was bucolic.
The game pitched Premier Division Kings Arms against their Division One hosts. When jotting down the lineups, I found myself recognising many of the visitors’ team. Just the eleven of them, but it transpired that they are on a Saturday, Headington Amateurs first XI! It did give an interesting measuring stick as to the quality that was on show.
The first half consisted of more or less continous home pressure, with Jericho missing chance after chance. They were made to pay when a neat move allowed Shaun Jacob to fire home on 38 minutes. It was Wheatley’s first meaningful attack and the home bench couldn’t believe it. It set the tone for the second half with Wheatley coming more and more into the game, as Jericho tired, and ran out of ideas. A glorious through ball put Francis Mapplethorpe in on goal and he made no mistake for 0-2.
The goal of the game was undoubtedly Kamen Matthews’ 25 yard free kick which sailed into the top right corner but this was to be mere consolation as the ever dangerous Luke Cuff pounced on a defensive howler to finish the game as a spectacle.