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Wednesday 10th March 2013 ko 18.30

North Berkshire League Division 4


WESTMINSTER 3 (Sillence 13 Bourton 46 Slater 58)

Att 10

Entry FREE

Nothing for sale

The village of Warborough is adjacent to Shillingford, on the road from Oxford to Reading. Its most obvious feature is the Parish Church of St Lawrence, with its ring of 8 bells and its 12th Century font. The houses are as pretty as they are expensive, and the Six Bells Pub overlooks the village green where the football and cricket teams play. Affable Glaswegian manager Derek Russell described the place as “Chocolate Box” and it really is a perfect description. In a nearby field the 4th World Ploughing Championship took place in 1953, the site marked by cairn of British and International stones, topped with a Canadian model plough.

The Warborough team playing here now are in fact the former Radley FC, but moved here after Warborough & Shillingford folded and they’d lost their ground. With a new Radley team in the NBFL the circle is now complete, but Derek did share an anecdote. He was the postman for this part of the world, and soon discovered that actress Tessa Peake-Jones lives locally. Since her most famous role is that of Raquel in Only Fools and Horses, it was a case of Del and Raquel all over again!

I did make the mistake of asking to which team in Glasgow his loyalties lie. His answer was obvious, look at Warborough’s green kit. We spoke about groundhops, that’s inevitable given my connections with the league, I spoke to Westminster too, and Derek has some excellent ideas for when his turn comes. One thing is clear the visitors will love it here, so long as they don’t stay in the excellent pub!

With plenty of space to work with Derek plumped for the largest pitch that’s legally possible 100 x 120 yards, and it was noticeable that both teams tired with the space available. Westminster won, they were just that little bit sharper, but 3-0 was harsh on Warborough who fought to the last. That last bit was cold and wet as the rains came, which meant the dark curtailed the fun slightly early. It didn’t matter, it was a pleasure to spend a couple of hours with these gallant, friendly clubs at the heart of my favourite league.