Monday 10th September 2012 ko 6.00pm
Cheltenham Association Football League Third Division
PRESTBURY ROVERS 2 (Jones 25 Davis 77)
ANDOVERSFORD 3 (A Cleal 19 B Wright 24 70)
Att 3 (h/c)
Nothing for sale
So why this one? Well it was on, and I could get to it. The Cheltenham League played on a Monday for no reason anyone could fathom, so I simply picked the game nearest to work, and I’ve no regrets on that decision.
The Gloucestershire village of Prestbury sits on the outskirts of Cheltenham, and the Playing Fields are tucked away off of New Barn Mews. The village is best known for Prestbury Park, known also as Cheltenham Racecourse, and the Horse Racing festival there represents a major annual boost to the local economy. According to The Penguin Book of Ghosts: Haunted England, Prestbury is the most haunted village in England.
Ghosts however isn’t what I’ll remember Prestbury for, no that will be the rain. I usually wear hiking trousers for hopping, as they dry quickly if it rains. A few months ago I bought a pair of blue drainpipe trousers from a supermarket for £12. They’re comfortable, they fit well, but when they get wet, they stay wet. So which trousers was I wearing when I parked in the middle of a rainstorm. No prizes I’m afraid!
My lack of comfort excepted, this was a hugely enjoyable visit. Andoversford took the lead direct from Ashley Cleal’s inswinging corner. Prestbury failed to learn that lesson and were two down when another inswinging corner was headed home unopposed by Ben Wright. This roused Prestbury and a minute later Chris Jones’ lofted drive from 20 yards was worthy of a far grander stage. Sadly it was to be his last meaningful contribution as he soon limped off with a thigh strain.
At 2-1 the game was highly competitive, taking into account this is the 12th tier of the non-league pyramid, and the winner when it came was of the highest quality. Ben Wright found himself on the right-hand touchline 25 yards out, looked up and his scorching shot whistled past Sonny Martin into the top left corner. That’s nothing against Martin, it would have beaten a far better keeper.
Of course Prestbury had to make the last few minutes interesting so as to make me forget my cold wet legs, Luke Davis notching for 2-3, but that was to be mere consolation. Mention too for referee Keith Iles who officiated with both common sense and humour; he and both teams made for a great evening’s entertainment and I wish all concerned good luck for the rest of the season.
There was to be a postscript though. As I drove back through Cheltenham I wanted to get to Oxford as quickly as possible to dry out. That of course is when my phone rang; it turned out it was someone wanting information, and a ticket for the North Berkshire League Hop. I found a lay-by, pulled in and got the enquiry sorted out satisfactorily, and 20 minutes later still with my £12 blue drainpipes soaking wet, I headed for home.