Saturday 15th August 2020 ko 13.00
HALSE UNITED 2 (Ingram 58 86)
BURE PARK 0
Att c20 at Halse Grange Farm
In groundhopper speak all too often a football ground lacking a ground is sometimes written off by the less experienced as being “Just a field.” Of course the ground isn’t a field, its a pitch without much around it- and you can accept it or reject it on its merits. But Halse United actually do play on a farm and their pitch is, literally, a field!
Don’t confuse Halse with Woodford Halse, although both are in Northamptonshire. This Halse in just north of Brackley, a tiny hamlet with the farm at it’s northern edge. You really can’t miss the ground, the club make sure of that, and if you’re wondering what makes the ground literally a field consider this. The pitch lies within the Grange Farm’s boundaries, there’s a barn along one edge of the pitch, and then there’s how they cut the pitch….
Out of season the pitch is given over to pasture, so when it’s time for the football to re-start a combine harvester cuts and bales the grass, then the goals are raised and the pitch is marked. It isn’t a complicated process and the pitch is no bowling green but this isn’t the Premier League either!
The club play in the Premier Division of the Banbury, District & Lord Jersey League, and for those not in the know the former Lord Jersey FA was the association for Bicester, so see the league as being for Banbury, Bicester and most places inbetween. Bure Park is in Bicester no prizes for guessing which side of things they’re from. Nominally the league feeds the Oxfordshire Senior League, but in Halse’s case I’d have thought the Northants Combination would be a more realistic aim.
But to muse about facilities and aims to close to missing the point of Halse United. They are one of the most engaging clubs I’ve encountered on my travels and let’s face it, I’m no stranger to non-league football grounds! They’re a club that understands the importance of building from youth up- it was a genuine pleasure to spend time with them on a showery Saturday afternoon. Dean Ingram’s brace deservedly won them the game and with all due respect to Bure Park, I enjoyed Halse’s company so much I couldn’t help but inwardly cheer them on.
But when I’m next at a large stadium, with all the restrictions and hoops to metaphorically jump through, I’ll think back to friendly Halse United, in their farmer’s field and miss the simplicity of it all.