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Thursday 2nd May 2013 ko 18.30

Oxon Senior League Premier Division



Att 18

Entry FREE

Nothing for sale

The obvious mistake you could make about here is thinking this is a district of London! In fact you could make a bigger one thinking this is a district of Oxford. A mixture of stringent Green Belt laws and the jealous guarding of its village status makes Kennington very much a village even if the A34 rumbles past, and Oxford encroaches near the Said Business School annexe at its edge.

The history of the Church in Kennington is unusual, little is known of the mediaeval chapel which disappeared before 1790 but the Old Church was built in 1828. This small building is something of a curiosity, in shape it is classical with the materials vernacular – rubble stone with a Stonesfield slate roof but the architect attempted to imitate the Norman style with the windows and West door. He was so successful it is sometimes mistaken for Norman work.

The poet Matthew Arnold lived here too, in fact there used to be a pub named after one of his poems, The Scholar Gypsy. I learned an important lesson there many years ago. I quaffed a quite appalling pint, and commented that the pub didn’t deserve to survive with beer this bad. I was overly harsh, but the pub closed a few weeks later, and is now a block of flats. It pays to be careful what you wish for!

Kennington United play at the end of Playfield Road, at a sports field that seems more geared for cricket than football. The cricketers turned up just after kick-off and were rather perturbed to see a football match in full swing. They grumbled, then presumably headed off to the pub.

They missed quite a bit, despite the goalless scoreline. This wasn’t a bore-draw far from it. The only real issue was midges, millions of them, and there was no escape from them! Referee Steve Higa didn’t seem unduly concerned, he’s from Las Vegas and is used to extremes of environment. He’s been refereeing in this country for 21 years but has taken one piece of the U S of A with him, he starts each game with the cry, “Lets Play Ball!” The mystery to me is why he’s only refereeing at this level, he’s superb, and both benches admitted it too.

The game had just about everything but a goal! That wasn’t down to much more than good goalkeeping, both sides went for the win, but cancelled each other out completely, such is life. You move on, and I did having the feeling that on another night this could easily have been a 5-5 draw. Its just a shame that the Oxon Senior League, apart from not even having a website, doesn’t even put the names of officials on its Mitoo page. It would be worth going to a game on the strength of Steve Higa’s appointment alone.