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Wednesday 4th May ko 19.30

Witney & District League Supplementary Cup Semi-Final

FARINGDON TOWN A 5 (Evans 4 63 78 Merritt 11 38)

SHERBORNE HARRIERS 1 (Cullen 53)

Att c75 at Radcot Road, Clanfield (Clanfield 85 FC)

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Some people need an excuse to watch a football match, but anyone who’s followed this blog for the last 12 years will know that really doesn’t apply to me. All I need for the most part is an opportunity, but this was one of those times when I had no end of reasons to make for West Oxfordshire.

For one thing, my wife Robyn and regular travelling buddy Adrian really wanted to go, then there was the fact that I hadn’t been to Radcot Road in over a decade…. actually who am I trying to kid? We were there because Sherborne Harriers had made a semi-final!

If you are the one football fan that HASN’T heard of the Sherborne Harriers then they are the club that plays in the grounds of a stately home on the A40 between Burford and Cheltenham and who charmed absolutely everyone on the first ever Sunday morning game in the Witney & District League on their hop last September. But those plain words really don’t do them justice… the reason why you go and watch them play is because their sense of camaraderie is the antidote to everything wrong with the modern professional game.

Of course opponents Faringdon Town have their place in hop history, featuring on the second North Berkshire League event, and introducing the ploughmans’ lunch into the equation. I’ve rolled it out again in subsequent events so if you weren’t there back in 2012, next time you see a club do a ploughmans’ you now know who invented it! It wasn’t me, that’s for sure!

I don’t think anyone expected a Sherborne win, and that’s nothing to do with their former status as lovable losers. For one thing they’re not losers, they finished 6th in Division 4, but playing the champions of Division 3, that was another thing altogether. 

That was how it worked out of course, Sherborne are a wonderful set of people but they aren’t miracle workers, even if Corey Cullen’s long range strike did have something extra-worldly about it. But Richard Evans’ hat trick and Harry Merritt’s brace deservedly sent Faringdon “A” to the final but as it all wound down and I could take the chance to catch up with linesman Stephen Bryce and smile as Robyn put what I was feeling more succinctly than I ever could.

She said, “Watching Sherborne Harries is good for your soul,” and I don’t think anyone could ever argue that point.