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Tuesday 11th September 2012 ko 7.45pm

Hampshire Senior Cup 1st Round

EVERSLEY & CALIFORNIA 4 (Baker 8 40 41 Day 13)

WHITCHURCH UNITED 3 (Jupp 4 Dallarda 64 Walker 81)

Att 22 (h/c)

Played at Cody Sports and Social Club, Old Ively Road, Farnborough

Entry & Programme £5

Coffee £1

I was a little surprised to be the only hopper at this game. Had everyone else been here when Farnborough North End were based here? Incidentally they’re now playing in the West Surrey League and are based at Southwood Fields. Eversley needed a floodlit ground, as this cup competition stipulates thus and the lights at their normal ground, Fox Lane aren’t expected to be ready until December.

The club used to be called Eversley FC, but merged with Wokingham-based youth outfit California FC for the start of this season. Eversley means “Wild Boar Clearing,” but this gives no clue as to the well-heeled nature of the village. Statistically speaking it forms part of the least deprived borough of the UK. There are 3 major stately homes, Firgrove Manor, Glaston Hill House and Warbrook House, and the local churchyard is where author Charles Kingsley is buried. For 35 years he was rector of the parish, and in that time wrote “The Water Babies, ” and “Westward Ho!”

The feeling of affluence leant itself well to their temporary home. Situated down a tree-lined lane, the Cody Sports and Social Club, started life as a club for the various companies in the aeronautical industry still evident in the area. Both the sport and social sides of the club survive, with archery and children’s football finishing up in the half-light when I arrived, and in the clubhouse, there was still more going on. In one room a chess club was in progress, and in another, set suitably away from the former,  a banjo club was plucking away. With a heavy cold in its early stages, I plonked myself in the plush clubhouse, bought myself a strong coffee, and read my programme alongside the ladies’ book club who were reading something altogether more highbrow.

Other than the location I was attracted to this fixture, because it pitted together sides from different leagues, E & C from the Combined Counties, and Whitchurch from the Wessex. It proved to be an entertaining evening’s entertainment as  E & C recovered from conceding an early goal, to find themselves 4-1 up at the break, due to no small part to a superb hat trick from Matt Baker. His first, a curling 25 yard free kick was out of the top drawer.

Eversley made two changes at half time, presumably to rest players for the weekend, and that was very nearly their undoing, with Whitchurch finding an outlet in George Dallarda. He scored, and set up Luke Walker for Whitchurch’s 3rd. But, despite constant pressure for the last few minutes, they couldn’t force extra-time. And with my cold making my head swim, I was grateful for that small mercy! I wonder though where Eversley will opt to play their home tie in the next round?