Thursday 13th August 2020 ko 19.00
BICESTER HALLIONS 2 (Bone 10 Brooks 68)
BLETCHINGTON 2 (Godfrey 4 Deabill 17)
Att 33 at KEA Sports & Social Club, Bicester
I wondered if I needed to be there, let along ought. The heat was oppressive, the clouds threatening, and I really didn’t fancy my first soaking of the season. As add to the malaise the engine management light on my car was on, and as I headed passed Bicester Village the dash bleeped “Engine Malfunction” In for a quid….
Thank heaven for the fact that I work for a car diagnostics firm, and the problems added to little more than a new sensor and a forced Diesel Particulate Filter regeneration, but I positively trudged over to the pitch following the evening’s referee.
I’d got used to the fact that I’d long since completed the Oxford Senior League without really meaning to, it was just a case of picking off the clubs during the times of early evening kick-offs like this. But Bicester Hallions have elected, in essence promoted from the Banbury, district and Lord Jersey League, to the Oxfordshire Senior League. That moved a few eyebrows, mine very much from a groundhopper’s perspective.
They’ve based themselves at the KEA Club, in the western edge of Bicester, and those with a knowledge of Oxfordshire will remember KEA FC playing in the Banbury & Lord Jersey League for 4 seasons, finishing at the end of the 2017/8 season. The KEA Sports & Social Club is still going and Hallions have been based there since formation in 2018.
But what is a Hallion? It’s a Scottish/Irish term for rascal or ruffian and apparently a couple of the senior players were called it during their playing days and so the term became their name! And Hallions do have more than their fair share of senior players.
There’s Ryan Brooks, younger brother of Oxford United’s former protege Jamie Brooks. Like Jamie he came through United’s youth team before playing for the likes of Kidlington and Ardley. Then there’s defender Wayne Blossom who most would remember from his stint at Banbury United, KEA and Bicester Town. The list goes on, and I bet Hallions would have to have had them on the books when they were at their prime.
It reminded me of the Harwell FC of around 3 years ago who had all sorts of interesting veterans turning out of them, but I’ll call a halt to the comparison given what happened to them!
But Bletchington (or Bletchingdon- it depends on in which direction you enter the village) have their own veteran Jimmy Deabill. As the Hallions bench put it, “He’s an old man until the ball comes anywhere near him in the box.” He scored, as he always seems to, and we were treated to an entertaining draw with sadly the dark being the winner, we finished around 10 minutes short.
It was a lot of fun to watch, I even managed to forget about the car, and when the rains came it took the edge of the humidity. You see it all worked out in the end, it usually does. I think Bicester Hallions will be a lot of fun to watch this season even I have no idea what their long term plan is. Perhaps there isn’t one, just enjoy the moment while it lasts!!