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Wednesday 22nd August 2012 ko 6.30pm

Gloucestershire Northern Senior League Reg Davis Cup 2nd Round

BOURTON ROVERS 4 (Catling 18 Teague 24 60p Acock 39 )

RAMBLERS 5 (Parsons 6 12 63p Modic 70 Nicholls 83)

Att 27 (h/c)

Entry FREE

No Programme

Tea 70p

For a small boy growing up in Oxford over 30 years ago, a school trip to the Cotswold village of Bourton-on-the-water was an annual treat. Whether the trip was to Birdland, or to the model village, the sun always seemed to shine, and as I drove in via Stow I couldn’t understand why everything seemed so much taller. It took a few seconds to work it out, it’s because on every other occasion I’d visited, I’d been sat on a coach!

The ground is notoriously difficult to find, on the Rissington Road, the trick is to turn into the tennis club, and beyond that is the ground. There’s a large clubhouse which also serves the adjacent campsite, but there’s no spectator comforts save for a fence perfectly designed to sit on.

I had time to chat to referee Chris Burridge. He let me know that Bourton play in the 2nd division of the GNSL whilst Gloucester-based Ramblers play in Division 1, the GNSL’s top flight. The match had been switched as Ramblers’ ground is unavailable due to cricket.  More intriguingly he also let me know about the August Bank Holiday traditional village football match…. on the River Windrush! That’s right, the shallow river that runs through the settlement has goals placed in it and the game of 6-a-side football that occurs attracts crowds of over a thousand! With me heading to the Welsh hop that event wasn’t available to me, but that would be a great spectacle for this blog!

Not that tonight’s game wasn’t a fantastic spectacle in its own right! Ramblers made a flying start and man-of-the-match Rich Parsons collected 2 goals before the hosts had found their feet. Bourton did find their feet and with parity restored in the 24th minute, and the lead gained in the 35th, everything was possible. If you’d like an analogy, imagine two boxers slugging it out with no great attempt at defence. In fact, it was positively tiring to watch it!

The second half carried on in exactly the same vein. Parsons completed his hat-trick from the penalty spot, and once an exchange of goals had made it 4-4 I’d convinced myself that a penalty shoot-out (no extra time in this competition) was the fairest way to separate these gallant sides. The eventual winner was a pity, a goalkeeping howler from David Nieman allowing Mark Nicholls to stab home. Bourton didn’t deserve that, but will no doubt gain some consolation from their performance against opposition from a higher level.