Tuesday 29th May 2018 ko 18.30
North Bucks & District League- Premier Division
STEWKLEY 1 (Howe 19)
POTTERSPURY 8 (Cole 6 A Kelly 14 75 Hall 25 74 90 Ord 66 Whittome 86)
I suspect that the pretty Buckinghamshire village of Stewkley is more famous for cricket than football. Former England captain Alistair Cook was married at the local church here, and fast bowler Darren Gough had a playing stint at Stewkley CC whilst living here. Away from sport “Pub Landlord” Al Murray was born here, but why did an off-pyramid game at the far side of the cricket pitch attract quite so many groundhoppers?
The answer was two-fold, firstly there was precious little else on, the club season has to finish by the end of May, but the pervasive reason was that there was plenty riding on the outcome. It did feel like a meeting of the groundhopping clans at times!
A week or two earlier I’d watched Great Horwood maintain their challenge with a big win, but the intervening time, they’d faltered, and the mechanics of this game were simple- Potterspury needed to win to pip Towcester Town to the title by one point.
The motivation for Potterspury therefore was clear, but at this level it is always worth considering the opposition too. Hosts Stewkley were destined to finish mid-table whatever the result, and I’ve known titles be won and lost on oppositions failing to raise a side. Credit for Stewkley therefore for fulfilling the fixture.
It was a competitive fixture, well to start with anyway! I suspect there were a few nerves amongst the Potterspury team, and even after they took a two goal lead, Stewkley pulling a goal back visibly shocked them. But gradually they found their rhythm and in the end the rout was entirely deserved, and at the final whistle the celebrations began.
Those celebrations were slightly tempered though as neither trophy or medals were there to be presented. That is a shame, I feel they ought to be presented as soon as the title is one even if some league seem to prefer to wait until the AGM- when most of the players usually aren’t there.
For me though, and I’m sure others that marked the end of the English domestic season. Some headed to Scotland to take in the Junior and Amateur scenes up there, but I had a 9 day Swedish tour to consider.