Monday 13th May 2013 ko 18.45
North Berkshire League Division One
BERINSFIELD 1 (D Murphy 53)
SAXTON ROVERS 2 (Belcher 31 Whitehead 67)
Let’s get one little known fact out there; no club reads like Berinsfield. If you find this surprising consider this. In the 18 months or so I’ve been writing these reports the most read article was the one for Irvine Meadow with 368 hits. I turned up last week at the Oxon Intermediate Cup to watch Berinsfield and so far the resulting article has been read a quite unbelievable 541 times! Thanks Berinsfield, and as I said no-one reads like Berinsfield!
Few clubs locally at this level attract the same level of support either. The entire village seems to levitate towards Lay Avenue when there’s a game on, this wasn’t a massive attendance for the club, after all it was a cold and wet evening and there was nothing riding on the game, but if the circumstances had been just a little different just think what it could have been.
On Saturday if Berinsfield won, and Saxton lost, then this game would have become close to a shoot-out for the title. However Saxton crushed Kintbury 7-1 to take the title leaving Berinsfield to mop up 4 more games to finish off a highly successful first season in the NBFL’s top flight.
And for all of that the village turned out to watch their sons (It really is like that) play, and the tea bar did its normal roaring trade keeping them all fed and watered. If you’ve been here by the way, you will have no doubt noticed that the pitch has been rotated though 90 degrees for this season. They’re rather particular about a good pitch here, and the club will be using their best pitch, the one the other side of the clubhouse for their groundhop game in September. With the sort of attendances Berinsfield get, I’m hoping they’ll beat the NBFL hop record attendance of 190. I wouldn’t bet against them!
Sadly the game will be remembered only for the broken ankle suffered by Berinsfield’s Brian Rawlings after 26 minutes. As is so often the case it was an innocuous challenge too. He tackled Louis Bloomfield but landed awkwardly causing the injury, and the game looked like being abandoned in the hail and rain while he laid there on the far side of the pitch. Eventually the paramedic arrived followed by the ambulance, and as the stretcher was loaded on to the ambulance he managed a grin, as both sets of players and spectators gave him a sporting round of applause. I trust he makes a full and speedy recovery.
After that 40 minute delay the game seemed rather irrelevant. I and everyone there would have understood if the game had been abandoned, it must have be almost impossible for the Berinsfield players to concentrate on the game after watching their teammate leave the ground in an ambulance.
The fixture was reduced to a total of 30 minutes for the first half and 40 for the second. Gary Belcher opened the scoring for Saxton, and David Murphy equalised for Berinsfield. But once former Oxford City and now Saxton player manager Matty Whitehead thumped home the visitors’ second, the travails of a long season finally told on the hosts. The minds were willing, but the limbs weak.
Berinsfield don’t lose at home often but teams like Saxton don’t turn up at Lay Avenue very often, even if on this occasion they only had the basic eleven men. Still in a week’s time, the season for Berinsfield will be over and they’ll just be the small matter of the end of season party at the local pub to negotiate. Knowing them as I do, that will be quite a party. That’s the Berinsfield way.