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Saturday 19th September 2016 ko 17.00

North Berkshire League Charity Cup Group A/ James Rennie Trophy

BURGHCLERE 2 (Lawrence 41 Matthews 53p)

WALLINGFORD TOWN 2 (Searle 70 73)

Att 169

Entry & Programme £4

Badge £3

No tour of the south of the North Berkshire League would be complete with a visit to the league’s southern outpost. The NBFL is famous for its rule that all clubs have to be less than 20 miles from Steventon Green, but who’d have thought that would mean we’d be visiting Hampshire? In fact the club have just been drawn to play away at Ventnor in the Hants Immediate Cup! Yes, I am tempted to go!

If you want a pretty village ground then you could do a lot worse than head to Harts Lane, and for the final game of the North Berks Hop the place was a hive of activity. Once again beers sold well proving once again that local real ales and hoppers are a match made in heaven. I contented myself with a pulled pork roll that seemed big enough to be impossible to eat!

Credit should go to Wallingford who were and are incredibly supportive of what we’re trying to achieve here, and I know they were happy to stay on after the game and partake of the hospitality! That is of course assuming that there was anything left after the bumper crowd had had their fill!

Being the final game, it was also the chance to play for the James Rennie Trophy, and I was touched when a minute’s silence was observed for my, and many others’ friend. Thanks also to Chris Garner for his excellent piece for the programme.

The problem we do have with the Rennie trophy is that its never actually been won! This was the third time its been played for, and on both previous occasions, at Defence Academy, Shrivenham, and at East Hendred the tie has produced a draw and the trophy shared.

Now that didn’t look likely after 70 minutes with Burghclere two up and Wallingford keeper Steve Eatwell heading to hospital with a nasty concussion. Fortunately other than a sore head he’s fine, and Ashley Searl’s predatory instincts produced a draw that seemed scarcely possible a few minutes earlier.

But that, and the hop as a whole summed out why this hop has lasted 6 years. At the start it was an off-pyramid league that was prepared to look outwards, and gradually each club we’ve featured has managed to put their personality into the wider consciousness. When a UEFA official comments that he simply has to come on the North Berks Hop you know you’ve created something worthwhile!