, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Wednesday 2nd May 2012 ko 6.30pm

Oxon Senior League Division One

LONG CRENDON 4 (C Scott 17 R Scott 51 Duke 61 75p)

OAKLEY UNITED 10 (Baylie 9 59 Shaw 15 76 Woodfine 33 41 49 84 C Davies 83 Pooke 86)

Att 12 (h/c)

Entry FREE

Nothing for sale

Its a quirk of the league that this second tier game was in fact played by two Buckinghamshire sides! Mind you Long Crendon is only just over the border, around a mile or so, as you leave Thame.

The village used to be known as simply “Crendon” but during the English Civil War, to avoid confusion with nearby Grendon that village had “Underwood” added, and Crendon gained a “Long” a remark on the ribbon development that is still in evidence today. In the 13th century Crendon and Aylesbury were the only two settlements in England where sewing needles were produced, also in the village is the excellent 15th century Manorial courthouse now under National Trust ownership and open to the public. More recently Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh had their marital home here.

The Long Crendon Rec’ is one of those places I’d driven past far too many times not to have seen a game there. It’s basic, a typical village sportsfield, shared with cricket, the changing room block at one end. What makes it special is the surroundings, the trees, the thatched roofs, even the pub gate backing on to the ground. The local school used to use this place as its playing field, that became a village centre, it did seem strange to see gaming machines in something still so scholastic!

I took time to have a chat to referee John Hitchen, and jot down the line-ups. Mr Hitchen explained how a dictat from the league has been issued stating that the line-ups on the sheet have to exactly match the shirts worn by the players. That one was scotched very quickly as neither sides matched at all! The respective benches helped but in the case of Oakley that proved to be difficult as no-one seemed to know anybody else! They don’t seem to have this problem in the North Berkshire League.

To be polite Crendon have struggled this season. Rock bottom with just 4 points, their manager was realistic when he told me “We’re playing for pride… we’re pleased to be just seeing the season through.” Their problems were manifest; it wasn’t that they were poor, I’m sure there are worse players in the division, it’s just they weren’t a team.

They had a manager who obviously knew his stuff and produced a game plan, but that went out of the window as soon as something went wrong, or perversely when something went right! When keeper John Bartington let Lance Shaw’s weak effort through his legs for 0-2 you awaited the cricket score, but Chris Scott’s fine shot brought Crendon right back into the game. But Crendon stopped acting like a team and by half time it was 1-4 and all was lost.

Half-time was well used, and the game plan was well set, so when Ryan Scott’s flick from a corner gave Crendon their second, then Keiran Duke’s brace, one from the penalty spot, a comeback of sorts looked on. Okay, Alex Woodfine had long completed his hat trick, but at that point it was 4-6 (time for the next set!) and Crendon were leading the second half. But then the team reverted to playing for themselves and the goals rained in at the other end, rounded off by a fine strike by player-manager Kev Pooke.

Hopefully Crendon wil regroup, and find new hope and energy for the new season, but if any of their players reads this, please, please take heed of your manager, when you do you look reasonable. When you don’t you look embarrassing.