Thursday 7th February 2012 ko 14.00
Oxford University Junior Common Room League First Division
MERTON MANSFIELD 0
BRASENOSE 2 (Gilbert 9 Saunders 47)
Nothing for Sale
One of the delights of living in Oxford is that there’s the colleges and their environs to explore. With Mansfield College being small, only around 210 students, it pairs up with its larger, older neighbour for undergraduate sport. But here’s the quirk, Merton College Sports Ground is actually in the grounds of St Catherine’s College, just off Manor Road. St Cat’s ground is the other side of the River Cherwell, a short walk over a footbridge owned (and usually locked) by Magdalen, but a 10 minute drive. You wonder why the two colleges don’t simply swap grounds!
The Junior Common Room refers to undergraduates, those studying for Batchelors degrees, so players tend to be 18-21, although there are some mature students. Therew’s also a smaller MCR (Middle Common Room) League for post-graduate players, played on Saturday mornings. Fixtures can be found at http://www.ouafc.com/
Both are situated on floodplain, so there’s little chance of any development, but I have a feeling that if I published this without any pictures, you’d paint the picture of cloisters, quadrangles and coloured scarves from an episode of Inspector Morse. Of course there are hints of this, Magdalen College tower is visible in the background, but the backdrop is more Bauhaus then Baroque, with Danish architect Arne Jacobsen’s vision in steel and concrete to the fore. Interesting no building is greater than 3 storeys, technically we are on marshland, and the bell tower isn’t attached to a church! Nevertheless there were no lack of bicycles, even if the vast majority of their owners eschewed the delights of a second tier collegiate football match.
We were joined for a little while by my mate Simon who I haven’t seen for years. He spotted where I was from a Facebook post, and came over for a chat interrupting his duties as Head Gardener. It was good to catch up, however briefly.
On the pitch Brasenose overtook their hosts in the table and deservedly so. Charles Gilbert pounced on a dawdling defence to fire home low down, before turning provider, his shot hitting the post for Luke Saunders to follow up and fire home. Save for a brief home rally, the hosts offered little in resistance, and what they did create Brasenose keeper Pelham Barron dealt with easily.
It’s been a couple of years since my last JCR game, perhaps I should do a few more, when finding a game is this straightforward.