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Tuesday 8th April 2014 ko 18.30

Spartan South Midlands League Division Two

PITSTONE & IVINGHOE 4 (Elliott 19 Doughty 32 38 45p)


Att 61

Entry FREE

Programme NO (Old copy FREE)

If you’re on the A41 east of Aylesbury just before Aston Clinton and spot a windmill, why not turn off and aim for it? You’ll be in the borderlands of Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire, and here the canals and railways are king. The Grand Union canal cuts through the pretty village of Marsworth, and the West Coast Main Line blasts past, slightly diverted as the major landowners in Victorian times refused to have the railway on their property. Legend has it that Lord Rothschild was the major culprit, but that’s an argument that doesn’t quite stack up, he was born 3 years after Tring Station was opened!

You drive through the conjoined villages of Pitstone & Ivinghoe and to your left is Ivinghoe Beacon with a view, on a clear day, all the way to Blue Bell Hill, near Rochester in Kent, some 61 miles away. Its also the start of the ancient thoroughfares The Icknield Way to the east, and The Ridgeway to the west. A mile or two away is the Pitstone Windmill, possibly Britain’s oldest windmill dating from around 1627. At the other end of the village is the Memorial Hall, and the football and cricket teams use the carefully manicured turf to play, but the football team really shouldn’t still be there.

A few years ago, planning permission was given for the construction of the Castlemead housing estate. Part of the planning gain was for a sports facility on the Marsworth Road, opposite, but a few hundred yards down from the Memorial Hall. The idea was that Pitstone and Ivinghoe would move to the Pavilion, it would be easy to install floodlights and a stand here, but the two pitches are too short for the Spartan South Midlands League! The club’s Junior teams play there and an adult side was formed, P & IC United (Pitstone, Ivinghoe and Cheddington) playing in the Aylesbury and District League to make use of the facility. Talks are ongoing to see if the pitches can be lengthened somehow, but for the time being the Pitstone and Ivinghoe will continue to play on a roped off pitch in the shadow of The Beacon.

And it has to be said, its a fine facility for its level, with a substantial overhang to the clubhouse if there’s rain, and I enjoyed the company of two friendly teams, and local rivals to boot, on a fine, if slightly chilly evening.

I get used to managers yelling out instructions from the touchline, and vast majority of the time, they either sail over the players’ heads or are of little benefit save for giving an outlet to the manager’s frustrations. However on this occasion Pitstone manager Richard Elliott changed the entire passage of the game with one instruction. He spotted that the Aston Clinton back four looked sluggish and got his team to pass around the defenders, rather than work the channels. It worked beautifully, Tom Elliott knocked in a close range before Kieron Doughty’s free kick took full advantage of a poorly positioned wall to double the lead. Doughty’s flicked header made it 3-0, so when a penalty was awarded on the stroke of half-time the debate between he, and substitute George Hewitt as to who would take the kick was only ever going to have one winner!

At 4-0 the game was over as a spectacle and Pitstone played out the second half in gathering gloom, and were only troubled by a couple of rather robust challenges from a tired and frustrated Aston Clinton defence. I’ll be at Aston Clinton on Tuesday, as they’re on the move and the timescale is a lot shorter than for Pitstone and Ivinghoe!