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Tuesday 17th April 2012 ko 6.30pm

North Berkshire League Division One

BENSON AFC 1 (Ashman 73p)

LONG WITTENHAM 3 (Andy Taylor 10 Bowler 28 Sutherland 55)

Att 16 (h/c)

Entry FREE

Nothing for sale


The small village of Benson lies roughly 1.5 miles from Wallingford, and since it’s on the north bank of the Thames, it’s always been in Oxfordshire, unlike many of its southerly neighbours, who only switched from Berkshire in 1974. The area is dominated by RAF Benson which is adjacent to here, and its there that the meteorological station is based. Maybe for some, an extreme temperature is the only reason that Benson is known! The airforce base did provide me with some Merlin helicopters to photograph, as it does with just about every ground near here!

The ground is right in the centre of the village neatly tucked away behind the impressive Parish Hall. Its flanked by roads on all 4 sides, but the most obvious is Sunnyside whose bend gives the pitch a border on 2 sides.  Yes, it’s very open, but the trees do break up the sight lines well, and it was good to see a girls team training on a smaller pitch behind the adults one. It was also fun to catch up with the Benson AFC committee, I hadn’t seen them since a NBFL clubs meeting over 18 months ago at Sutton Courtenay FC.

Of course you always get a cheery welcome from Long Wittenham. My one regret from my visit there last week was that I drove and so couldn’t try the real ale there! There will be other occasions I’m sure!

Now I did mention extreme temperatures earlier, and it was bleeding cold this evening! In the middle of April it did seem odd to see a substitute in a wooly hat, but it really was necessary! It didn’t detract from a good evening’s entertainment, which the visitors were to win because they were far more ruthless in front of goal. Andy Taylor’s fine volley in the 10th minute set them on their way, before a scramble saw Long Wittenham double their lead off Chris Bowler’s studs.

It wasn’t that Benson were outclassed, far from it, it was just that nothing they did seemed to result in anything concrete. When Andy Sutherland made it 3-0 before being almost immediately withdrawn, it looked harsh on the hosts, but Pete Ashman’s penalty gave a far fairer reflection on the game. Benson had a shout for another penalty late on. I’ve seen them given, but it would have made no difference in the scheme of things. My next game in this league is the War Memorial Cup Final at Wantage Town. Come and say hello, I’m easy to spot, I’m the fat bloke with the clipboard!