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Tuesday 6th September 2022 ko 18:30

Pre-Season Friendly

CHADLINGTON 1 (E Bennett 3)

CHARLBURY TOWN 3 (25, 55 63)

Att c20

Free Entry

As is so often the case I was sat in the pub on a Saturday night. Kev and I go back a long way, and the fact that he splits his time working here with time in the Netherlands and Australia means I don’t see as much of him as I used to. We were talking about how we’ve both ended up knowing places in other countries far better than we know places close to our homes. Kev mentioned north-west Oxfordshire and was heard to comment, “I know parts of Amsterdam better than I know Chadlington!” I allowed myself a wry smile.

From my own perspective I ruminated that if the Witney Hop had been on its original date, we’d have visited Chadlington. But when the date got shunted back a week to accommodate a West Wales Hop that didn’t end up running (for now) Chaddy couldn’t take part because, would you believe, there was a beer festival on that weekend! 

Now I’m sure some of you are now thinking, beer festival, groundhoppers, and a football match… sounds like heaven, right? To an extent you’d be right, but it would have caused some genuine issues. One was that the beer festival had an entry fee of a fiver, the hop games have always been £4. Now I’d have no issue with the fee being £5 for this game, but what if someone had no interest in the beer festival? More importantly though there simply wouldn’t have been room for two simultaneous events, but it does mean Chaddy are still keen to host, and yes, I did have a chat with the visitors too, these would make an excellent double.

But you’d have to be hermit to have not noticed the impact Jeremy Clarkson has had on the village. His “Diddly Squat” farm is roughly a mile from the village and the series “Clarkson’s Farm” was recorded here. It’s certainly put the village on the map, even if the queue for the farm shop is notorious. But the farm does sponsor Chadlington FC, that’s the famous Lamborghini tractor on their kit, and Clarkson does attend games. I must admit given Clarkson’s connections to Hawkstone Lager (he grows many of the ingredients) and the fact that the owner of the Chadlington Brewery lives behind the goal means that I assume the club will never be short of beer….

But enough of hop games for a moment, Robyn and I were between events after all. It was good to get back to some straightforward groundhopping on a warm evening. The game was billed as the “El Clasico of the Evenlode Valley” or in more prosaic terms Witney & District Premier took on Witney & District Division One. It took time but eventually the difference in status told, but there was enough for each club to take heart from their performances.

As for me, it all felt like a delicious preview, but I must get Kev there….