Tuesday 11th April 2017 ko 18.15
Witney & District League Premier Division
COMBE 1 (C Ibbitson 12)
HANBOROUGH 2 (Morton 5 77)
The great joy of unfloodlit midweek games is the chance to engage with the game at grassroots, and yes I am amused when I hear professional pundits refer to the National League as grassroots! Little do they know… The Witney League reminds me in many ways of a league I’m proud to serve- the North Berkshire League in that they both are off-pyramid village football competitions and are all the stronger for playing to their strengths.
You won’t find the Witney & District League on Full Time, but their own site is both in-depth and kept bang up-to-date. There’s also a twitter feed on @wdfafootball which is also excellent too.
The West Oxfordshire village of Combe couldn’t be more English if it tried. You’re on the edge of the Blenheim Estate, and the local saw mill has a working steam-powered beam engine that is open once a month to visitors. Don’t, however try and get to Combe by train even though there is a Combe station. The station is a good mile out of Combe, on the way back towards Long Hanborough, and its one of Britain’s quietest stations with only one train a day in each direction, and none at all at weekends! Only 1,460 trips were recorded from here last year!
Combe playing fields are on Park Road, and the Grade I listed Perpendicular Gothic Parish Church of St Laurence provides an imposing backdrop. The game saw (Long) Hanborough take a large step towards the league championship on a dry bumpy pitch, that helped neither side’s passing.
The majority of the crowd seemed to be from Long Hanborough, which wasn’t surprising, it is only 2 miles away after all! They took the short trip home happy, passing the deserted station as they went in this beautiful part of the world. Sometimes you forget the little gems when they’re so close to home.