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Thursday 30th July 2015 ko 18.30

West Dean Charity League Junior Section Group 1

ST BRIAVELS 3 (38 58 85)

WESTON 3 (27secs 12 50)

Att 8

Its tempting to define the Forest of Dean as that part of Gloucestershire that’s between the rivers Wye and Severn and is south of the A40. You soon discover the fallacy of that when you head south down the A48, then turn off at Westbury and climb. The forest gradually takes over and the pace of life slows, it really is a different but beautiful part of the world, and you forget just how close you are to the Welsh border until you see mileage signs to Monmouth in single figures.

St Briavels (pronounced Brevels) is a case in point. Its right on the border, sitting on a hill forming an ox-bow lake above Offa’s Dyke, with spectacular views into Wales. Its a place of arts and crafts, and would you believe a mobile hairdresser called Sam “Scissorhands!”

The playing fields are on the right as you enter the village from Milkwall, and do avoid the community speed trap as you pass the “Welcome to St Briavels” sign! The war memorial gates are beautifully maintained, but the joy of watching two sides that will play in the 4th division of the North Gloucestershire League is the sheer honestly of it all in the bucolic setting.

There’s no pretence here, and let’s face it, no finesse either. There were mistakes a-plenty, and Weston will wonder how on earth they failed to win this encounter. There was rake down a player’s leg that produced a retaliatory punch, the two combatants both saw red and spent the last 18 minutes of the game glowering at each other from the side of the pitch.

That fracas seemed out of place from both the game, the company and the location. It was with a degree of sadness I exited the forest and back to reality.