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Saturday 22md September 2012 ko 10.30am

North Berkshire League Division 2

COLESHILL UNITED 2 (Evans 30 47) Evans missed penalty 17 Rees sent off 55 (dangerous play)

ARDINGTON & LOCKINGE 5 (Little 23 25 J Clark 29 72 Eudell 76)

Att 171

Entry & Programme £4

Badge £3

Food: Bacon Rolls, and Sausages

Beer: Old Forge Brewery

It doesn’t seem like a month since we were running round Mid-Wales, but the NBFL hop is very much my baby, and it does have its own challenges. This was a first if only for being the first time the organiser has also driven a minibus. All in day’s hopping I suppose!

I’d approached the 4 clubs some time ago, and soon realised I wanted Coleshill to open the event. I do wonder whether any hoppers turned up erroneously in Warwickshire, as this Coleshill is just about in Oxfordshire! During World War II Coleshill House, on the estate, was the headquarters of the secret Auxiliary Units, who were to resist the expected occupation of the United Kingdom by Nazi Germany.

Nowadays the village is almost entirely owned by the National Trust, and they did not want parking in the fields surrounding the ground, so parking was organised in the village and people walked the 200 yards or across the Rover Cole into Wiltshire, and the Bottom of the Hill ground. I caught one hopper whingeing about the walk, but since he was the same “person” that tried to intimidate the young lad at Dyffryn Banw I chose to ignore him. On a more positive note NBFL media man Phil Annets commented that this must the first 3 counties game, North Berkshire League, Oxfordshire village, and Wiltshire ground.

When putting the hop together I soon learned that Ian Stonham is “Mr Coleshill.” It was him and Des Williams who re-established the club in 1965, and since Des left for Letcombe, Ian has been Chairman and Secretary. Put simply no Ian, no Coleshill, and he moved mountains for his club to put on this game. Ian won the NBFL Meritorius service award at this year’s AGM.

He did a fantastic job too, with the local pub The Radnor Arms helping out with the catering, and supplying Old Forge Brewery beer, brewed at the pub. There was a wide range of Coleshill United merchandise on sale, and even the local organic vegetable seller had a stall, and donated a box of produce for the raffle! I was impressed at how many volunteers Ian managed to russle up help with the raffle, work the gate, and help with parking. Driving the minibus, I was amused with the young lad who advised me to park in front of the “Don’t Park Here,” sign! It worked well though!

Another real plus was the NBFL committee turning out in force to support their hop. 2 years ago they put their trust in me, and backed that up with money but paying for linesmen in games that would normally have just club official with the flag, and paying for programme production. It ensures that participating clubs cannot lose money.

What we couldn’t organise for Ian was a home win. In a highly entertaining game, Colehill’s Richard Evans missed an early penalty before Ardington took a three goal lead. Coleshill roared back into the fixture with goals either side of half time through Evans, but the their hopes of getting at least a point were dashed with the harsh dismissal of Sam Rees for a high challenge. From there Ardington took control, and two later goals made for a rather lopsided scoreline given the balance of play.

Still, when you’ve run a club for nearly 50 years, you learn to look at the bigger picture.