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Thursday 3rd August 2017 ko 18.45

Pre-season friendly

FC ASCOT 9 (6 12 16 29 34 41 50 60 72)

BRIZE NORTON 2 (80 82)

Att c10 at Tanners Lane, Burford

To be a groundhopper you do need a large dose of OCD, and I’ll leave you to judge whether that’s in any way healthy. Some worry about what counts as a suitable game, some as to whether there’s a programme and one or two obsess about whether a goal is scored, they can’t count the ground as visited if it finishes nil-nil! ( I know….) But my little bit of OCD is different……

If I drive past a ground regularly sooner or later I’ll get the urge to go and see a game there. You drive past, and think, “Who plays there?” then “When can I go watch?” It’s that process that got me involved with the North Berkshire League, I commuted past Blewbury‘s ground for at least 2 years with predictable results. But Tanners Lane, Burford proved to be rather more intractable problem.

The issue was simple, there hasn’t been a Burford team for many years. There used to be two, one playing on this ground, the other on the pitch the other side of the clubhouse. In fact it was only local connections that alerted me to this game. The root of it was that both Brize Norton and FC Ascot (under Wychwood) both play at grounds where cricket takes precedence it this time of year so a neutral venue was needed.

In fact so neutral even now I’m not sure who was the home team! Brize’s twitter had them as hosts but Ascott marked out the pitch, perhaps the correct attitude is to not care and simply enjoy it for what it was!

The game pitched two Witney & District League teams against each other. Ascot play in the second tier division 1 with Brize a division below, and for the majority of the game the tie went by the form book with Ascot running in goals, seemingly at will.

The rains came, and possibly Ascot rather declared, allowing Brize to run in two late goals, rather out of character with what had gone before. I hid under a tree, and at the final whistle the players dashed for cover in a teenagers’ shelter. The weather was unwelcome, but the match practice was.