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Thursday 23rd August 2012 ko 6.30pm

Pre-season Friendly

LONG MARSTON 10 (13 15 23 27 32 33 47 57 64 80)

LONG MARSTON RESERVES 3 (39 41 46)

Att 5 (h/c)

The idea of this was to find a game so as to avoid getting to Lee and Gilly’s in Southam too early. I should explain; they very kindly offered to put me up in so as to give Lee and I a shorter journey the next day to Newtown for the weekend’s Welsh groundhop. The thing is that they only got married in June, and this weekend would be their first apart since the wedding. They’d said nothing, but for me the obvious thing to do was to give them as much time as possible, and since when do I need an excuse to find a game?

Salvation came in the form of the Milton Keynes Chuckle Brothers, James Rennie and Chris Garner. Long Marston vs Pitstone, Ivinghoe and Cheddington United. The latter is a team formed to make use of the ground built for Spartan South Midland League Pitstone and Ivinghoe but with a pitch that’s too small for the league’s requirements.

Long Marston represents a place I worked at around 20 years ago. Not much has changed, it’s still just about in Hertfordshire, and is found on the easternmost tip of the Aylesbury ring, a 31 mile walking tour that is never more than 5 miles from the Buckinghamshire town. The village was the scene of the last witch-lynching in the UK in 1751.  Ruth Osborn, the ‘witch’, was captured and drowned in the village pond. One of her tormentors was hanged for the crime, and gibbeted at Gubblecote Cross, about half a mile away.

It all seemed an impossibility when I parked up in this pretty little village, with the nearest to demonic being a sign for a scarecrow competition over the forthcoming weekend. The Recreation is behind the village hall, alive with the sounds of an auction taking place, but the hubub behind was based around where on earth were P & IC United? Referee Peter Rice arrived, but then a team arrived in a kit far too similar to Long Marston’s. Still a team’s a team, and a game’s a game, so the 3 of us found a park bench and enjoyed watching two sides attack each other with virtually to idea of defending. There was even a goal lobbed from the kick off after another!

Still, the company was good, and the fayre entertaining on a warm evening in a pleasant location. The sting in the tail though came at the final whisltle. The Long Marston chairman came over for a chat as we made for our cars, to apologise for P & IC not showing up, and us therefore having to watch Long Marston play their own reserves! Still as I said earlier, a team’s a team, and a game’s a game.