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Wednesday 24th April 2013 ko 18.30

Oxon Senior League Division One

CHALGROVE 5 (Godfrey 38p K Coleman 40 Skiller 60 68 75)

YARNTON 2 (Johnson 57 Chalal 80) Johnson sent off 80 (dangerous play)

Att 32

80 minute game

Entry FREE

Nothing for sale

The village of Chalgrove lies about 10 miles southeast of Oxford, and was the site of a small English Civil War skirmish, the Battle of Chalgrove Field on 18th June 1643. The result was a Royalist victory, and the Parliamentarian John Hampden was wounded in the battle, as a result of which he died six days later.

Hampden was one of the 5 members of Parliament whose attempted unconstitutional arrest by King Charles I in the House of Commons in 1642 sparked the Civil War. The towns of Hampden, Maryland, Hamden, Connecticut and Hampden, Maine, as well as the county of Hampden, Massachusetts are named in his honour. A statue of the great parliamentarian is to be found in the Market Square, Aylesbury, and a monument near to where he was shot is in Chalgrove Field.

The football play at the Back Rec’ and it certainly is well named. The only clue I found to its location was the full car park at the village hall. You walk across a smaller pitch, then beyond the tennis courts, then its over a footbridge to the pitch. It feels like you’re walking out of the village and into the countryside. Its bucolic at the end of April, but I can imagine it being bleak in summer. The 13th century parish church of Saint Mary the Virgin provides a quintessentially English backdrop.

This is Chalgrove’s first season in the OSL. They had applications for both this league, and the North Berkshire, Chalgrove lies comfortably in both League’s footprints. Both Leagues accepted them, in fact when I attended the NBFL’s AGM there was a constitution with Chalgrove’s name on it, crossed out! They plumped for the OSL as they felt they would have to travel less.

It’s worked out well for them, as they went in to this game needing a point to confirm promotion to the Premier Division. Perhaps understandably, it was a tight nervy opening few minutes with for me the visitors looking marginally the more promising. One decision, the penalty for an ill-advised tackle, altered the entire game. Yarnton were adamant is wasn’t a penalty but then Chalgrove were just as certain it was! I thought it looked harsh, but it didn’t worry Simon Godfrey who buried the spot kick. That lead was doubled on the stroke of half time by Keith Coleman who fired home following some poor defending.

The second half saw Yarnton come on strongly, and Jay Johnson’s long distance strike was justice at the very least. However, Chalgrove brought on Nick Skiller and in a mere 15 minutes he’d collected a hat trick and won his side promotion.

The final action saw Johnson be on the receiving end of a tough challenge on the right wing. Before the referee had a chance to blow for the foul, he got up, and scythed his opponent down, the ball an irrelevance. Johnson was dismissed, his season now over, but the was correctly awarded to Yarnton. That was floated in, and evaded everyone except for Jordan Chalal who tapped in at the back post for the final touch of the game.

An odd coda to an interesting game that attracted a decent crowd on a warm evening. I for one will watch Chalgrove’s progress in the higher division. They look a well-run club. Just allow yourself a little extra time to find the pitch!