Tuesday 16th April 2019 ko 18.15
Aylesbury & District League Premier Division
TETSWORTH 5 (Gant 3 85 Jones 12 Riley 18 Nawaz 23og)
ELMHURST 2 (Haider 32 Jabar 66)
If you’ve ever driven on the M40 between Thame and Stokenchurch, then you’ve been within a couple of hundred yards of Tetsworth. You can see the lorries thundering along the embankment from the pretty Oxfordshire village around 4 miles south of Thame on the old A40. Or perhaps car boot sales are your thing? If they are and you’re from the South-East then you’re probably attended one of the mammoth Sunday car boot sales held here. All of that does the village something of a disservice.
The village’s history is one of multiple landed gentry owning the place but since most of them seemed to be incapable of even the most basic financial management ended up selling Tetsworth to pay debt. It meant that noone really managed to put their stamp on the place, and so the area developed a reputation for social and religious tolerance during the 19th century. The nickname “Botany Bay” was used, a tacit nod to the Australian colony that housed whoever the boat brought in!
In the middle of it all is the village green, that the sports and social club nearby makes full use of, to the extent that the cricket groundsman was preparing the square with a ride-on-roller complete with a audible warning ever time he reversed it! In the background is the whitewashed Old Red Lion pub, in situ since 1838. I’m sure it’s served no end of sportsmen over the years both before and after games!
Given Tetsworth’s former reputation is was fitting that the opposition were the rather multi-cultural Elmhurst from Aylesbury. It seemed rather a long way to travel for an early evening kick-off, but therein lies the issue of playing football in Tetsworth. You’re in Oxfordshire but close to the border with Buckinghamshire in two directions.
Tetsworth could ply it’s trade in the Oxford City League, the Oxon Senior League, the Hellenic League Division Two, or even the North Berkshire League at a push (18.6 miles from Steventon Green, league rules state a maximum of 20!). But whichever league they play in they seem to be something of an outpost, even this close to the M40!
Certainly the visitors made a dreadful start even if they’d managed to get to the ground in plenty of time. After 25 minutes they were 4-0 down and with their defence looking sieve-like I fully expected we’d reach double figures. But Elmhurst aren’t a basket-case club by any means and Aliyas Haiders goal galvanised them, and when Mohammed Jabar reduced the arrears further I’m sure I wasn’t the only one pondering an unlikely comeback. Thankfully for Tetsworth Tom Gant restored sanity to the proceedings as anything but a home win would have been a travesty.
Perhaps I wanted an easy life, the game was less than 15 minutes from where I work, perhaps standing in the drizzle chatting about football grounds to referee Tony Lister before the game was what I needed, but if you want to know why I like visiting football grounds this was why. It’s typical of me to find that kind of place so close to home.
It’s superfluous to say but you know I’ll glance towards the village every time I pass on the M40.