Thursday 20th August 2020 ko 18.30
CHILDREY FC 5 (James 6p Triallist 23 28 Burgess 35 Austin 75)
KINGSCLERE 3 (Foster 52 Sopp 57 Murtagh 70)
Att 39 at The Mallards Nest, Froud’s Close, Childrey OX12 9NT
If you were to ask me what the quintessential North Berkshire League village ground would look like, I’d have always said Childrey, even if the village didn’t have a football club from 2013 to 2020. The village, just outside of Wantage lies alongside the likes of Challow and Letcombe who either have or currently stage North Berkshire League football.
This is a village of quiet yet slightly quaint affluence. It’s a place of thatched cottages, and a village green complete with a duck pond too. I had to slow down to avoid running down a paddle of the birds as I neared the ground, it doesn’t pay to murder something Childrey FC are named after!
I’d seen Childrey United play back in 2009, around this time of year in one of the early rounds of the Faringdon Thursday Cup. I remembered, just like the village how pretty the ground is, and as a result what a shame it was when the team folded. So I was pleasantly surprised when last season I and a few others were followed by @FCChildrey on Twitter, well before the NBFL had even received an application!
Like most leagues the North Berks conducts interviews for prospective clubs, and while I had no involvement with Childrey’s, the fact that they’ve gone straight into Division One speaks volumes, and the fact that they have a well-maintained website and social media presence has certainly ruffled a few feathers. Could they interrupt the Berinsfield/ Saxton Rovers domination of the league?
It looks possible, when you’ve got the likes of Jonny James in the mix. The former Milton United winger comes with the history of having played for England in Brazil. There is a catch, the football was 6 a-side, and for England C, but he did finish in the top 8 of 6000 entrants in 2014 to win the chance. There aren’t many North Berks players who can claim they’ve played in a competition where they exited the tournament at the hands of Argentina!
This game’s opposition came with a North Berks history too. Kingsclere joined the North Berkshire League in 2004 with the league relaxing their “20 miles from Steventon Green” rule to 25 miles to let them in. They folded in 2008 but by the time a phoenix club had been formed and an application to rejoin lodged, the rule had been changed back to 20 miles. They entered the Andover & District League but when that league folded were shunted upwards into Step 7 the Hampshire Premier League, where they played last season.
So forgetting the location it was always likely to be an interesting game, and it really didn’t disappoint. Both teams treated it as a normal game, as did the referee- you don’t normally see yellow cards in friendlies. Childrey won it – deservedly in my opinion but will probably regret the flurry of late goals they conceded. For those who’ll play them in a competitive fixture this season I’m sure they’ll see that as a potential chink in their armour.
I for one will watch Childrey’s progress with some interest. Once the fixtures come out look out for Childrey’s games against the big guns of the league. They’ll be games to savour.