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Thursday 19th April 2012 ko 6.15pm

North Bucks & District League Division Two

UNIVERSITY OF BUCKINGHAM 0

CITY COLTS RESERVES 3 (Horwood 41 Chapman 45 Hinkley 51)

Att 16 (h/c)

Entry FREE

Nothing for sale

I suppose the first point to note is that the University’s playing fields aren’t in fact in Buckingham. They’re about 1.5 miles southwest, just outside of Gawcott, a village whose claim to fame is that it’s the birthplace of architect Sir George Gilbert Scott. He designed many iconic buildings in the UK. Amongst these are the Midland Grand Hotel by St Pancras Station in London, and Martyrs’ Memorial in Oxford. His grandson Giles Gilbert Scott designed Liverpool’s Anglican Cathedral and famously the red “K6” British phone box!

The North Bucks & District League in theory feeds into the Spartan South Midlands League, and is split into 4 divisions. There’s Senior, then Intermediate Divisions, followed by divisions 1, and 2. I expected therefore, to be watching a game on little more than a park pitch, what I got was much more interesting. The playing fields are huge, there are 9 pitches of various shapes and sizes, and junior outfit Moretonville also use the facility. They’ve got an impressive clubhouse, but the students and their visitors make do with a group of Portakabins. There was a brief issue with lack of corner flags, a set of traffic cones was seriously considered, before a set was borrowed from somewhere.

I had a chat with referee Ron James; it transpires that City Colts are neither from a city (they’re from Milton Keynes), and neither are they an age based side.  What they are is the champions of division 2, with their first eleven in the Intermediate division. With the students third this looked to be an interesting fixture. The pitch was a major issue though, with large patches waterlogged. I thought about the infamous hop game at Lydney although the pitch did not get that waterlogged, that one was more or less underwater!

What I completely failed to expect was the culture clash between the two sides. On one hand the multicultural students’ side, full of smiles and precious little organisation. On the other the urban city boys, highly organised and tactically aware. For the first half this clash wasn’t overt, Mr James having little or nothing to do, as the Colts dominated the half, restricting the students to two decent chances, both of which they wasted in spectacular fashion.

The problems started as the rain lashed down, and Adam Hinkley fired the visitors into a 3-goal lead with a 25 yard strike. The Colts declared, the students took the initiative, and although no they failed to score, the visitors clearly didn’t like it one bit! As I got steadily more wet, and a student spectator’s white espadrilles got ruined, it was only Mr James’ common sense and good humour that restricted the cards to just a solitary yellow to Colts’ Joe Plummer for kicking the ball away.

In the end it made absolutely no difference, the right side won, although Uni’ deserved at least one goal, and we all trudged away to dry out!