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Saturday April 2023 ko 14:30

Spartan South Midlands League Division Two

BUCKINGHAM UNITED 3 (King 30p Urquhart 35 68)


Att c15 at Lace Hill

After my adventures in Scotland, I needed something straightforward, as did the car. The clutch had spent the weekend slowly dying, and while the car was booked in to get it replaced, I was still limping it around for short journeys. So a trip to Buckingham was handy and there was a bus service home if the car really let go. But car or no car, or even bus or no bus, there was good reasons for me to be at Lace Hill, serendipity is a wonderful thing!

Division Two of the Spartan South Midlands League is an odd creature, it exists only to serve half of the league’s normal footpoint. In Hertfordshire the Herts Senior League serves as the feeder from Step 7 but in Buckingshire and Bedfordshire SSML Division Two does the job. You saw it perfectly in this game, two sides from Buckingshire, but for Buckingham United, I’d certainly got my timing right. 

It’s worth remembering the three clubs that bore the town’s name in recent years. Buckingham Town used to play in the Southern League but lost the use of Ford Meadow in 2011. They played in exile firstly at the Winslow Centre then for the last few years of their existence at Manor Fields, Bletchley folding in 2019 after playing their final season as Milton Keynes Robins. 

Then there’s Buckingham Athletic, who play in the SSML Division One, at Stratford Fields, the ground you tend to see if you head towards Milton Keynes leaving Buckingham town centre. 

Buckingham United were founded in 2011, and play at Lace Hill Sports and Community Centre at the southern end of town, close to the track bed of where the Banbury Merton Street to Verney Junction railway used to pass by via Bletchley. My clutch or good timing or just good luck was that for next season Athletic and United will merge under the banner of Buckingham FC, and take Athletic’s position in division one with the first XI playing at Stratford Fields.

Lace Hill will continue to be used, but only by the new club’s youth and other non-first XI games, so in that peculiarity of the groundhopping hobby, hoppers will tend to dive for a ground while first team games are still being played there. Or when the car’s condition is such you can’t travel far anyway! 

I enjoyed Buckingham United’s company, it was a pleasure to chat to their people and on that level alone, I’m sorry to see the Buckingham United name disappear. The game though did test the resolve a little. There was nothing wrong with the entertainment on offer, but the cold, rain and hail did make watching the second half hard work!

So much so that afterwards I risked the clutch and tried the drive-through at the nearby Costa. I got away with it- no bad thing that, I needed that coffee!