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May 2018

The pitch upon the village green

Still sparkles with its morning dew

Except, that is, for one mysterious patch.

We fasten Timmy’s dog lead to a bench.


Descending from a battered van

The opposing team are not what we expect

Older and scowling, oddly kitted out

Their goalie has an eye patch and a beard.


The referee too has a sinister air

Arriving out of breath and with a limp.

He keeps the ball clutched closely to his chest

And seems unwilling to relax his grip.


‘This lot aren’t Barford Rovers, that’s for sure,’

We whisper as we line up on the pitch

Julian pretends to tie a bootlace up

And tells the rest of us he’s got a plan.

from “The Famous Five-a-Side” by Allan Ahlberg (1937 – )

The cricket season is already in full swing and I have umpired or scored in over twenty matches so far! However, football proceeds deep into May and will possibly carry on into June.  And, of course, there is always The Summer League based in Ashbourne, to look forward to! But first of all, this month’s matches:- 

Thursday 3rd May 2018
Kershaw Cambridgeshire County League Senior A

Bar Hill 4

Ashley Shipp 8, 76 (pen), 79

Chris Brown 83,

Over Ports 0
Referee:- Phil Crossland.                                              Attendance:- 45
Admission F.O.C.                                                   Programme:- NONE
Bar Hill are on course for the championship and promotion to the premier division, but they have been unable to play any games on their home ground since last November. Cambourne Sports Centre is some five miles from their home, but they have still managed to pursue their promotion push. Over Sports were relegated from the top division last season and presently lie in fifth place, but after providing stern opposition for seventy-five minutes, they conceded three late goals and were well beaten at the final whistle.

Friday 4th May 2018
UEFA Under-17 Championship Group A

Italy 2

Jean Freddi Pascal Greco 22

Manu Emmanuel Gyabuaa 64,

Switzerland 0
Referee:- Zbynek Proske (CZE).                                          Attendance:- 488
Admission:- £2.00.                                                            Programme:- F.O.C.
This was one of the opening games of the tournament, played at The FA’s lavish headquarters at St George’s Park. Other venues include Walsall, Rotherham United, Chesterfield and Loughborough University. The healthy attendance was bolstered by large numbers of disinterested Primary School pupils. Italy won the game at a canter in a group that also includes Israel and …….. England!

Friday 4th May 2018
Chromasport & Trophies United Counties League Division 1

S&L Corby 1

George McKay 90+3

Irchester United 1

Martin Brown 69,
Referee:- Cameron Smith.                                                     Attendance:- 21
Admission:- £3.00.                                                        Programme:- NONE
Thirty-three defeats from thirty-seven league games this season sees S&L rooted to the foot of the United Counties League, but a plucky performance this evening saw them snatch a draw from the jaws of defeat with an equaliser in the fourth minute of added time at the end of the match.

 Wednesday 9th May 2018
Total Motion Midland League Division 2

Smithswood Firs 2

Luke Keen 17,

Troy Baker 79,

Fairfield Villa 1

Dan Pitt 51,
Referee:- Guy Thrower.                                                     Attendance:- 41
Admission:- F.O.C.                                                    Programme:- NONE
After four consecutive days of officiating at cricket, it was good to get back to a football match! Smithswood Firs play in Solihull just down the road from Hampton FC at The Glades Football Centre. Tonight’s victory was hard earned against a spirited Villa side and ensured promotion for the hosts to Division1.

 Thursday 10th May 2018
EUFA U-17 Championships Group D

Norway 2

Slovenia 0
Referee:- Rob Harvey.                                                    Attendance:- 912
Admission:- £2.00.                                                    Programme:- £1.00
Slovenia lost this match at Loughborough University in the 20th minute with the sending off of captain Tamor Svetlin for a second bookable offence (taking a dive in the penalty area). Norway scored two goals shortly afterwards and the less said about the rest of the match ….. the better!

 Thursday 10th May 2018
Kershaw Cambridgeshire County League 1A

Steeple Morden 3

Luke Gurney 60, 

Jordan Bultitude 67,

Lewis Roskilly 82,

Thaxted Rangers 1

Shane Vince 73,
Referee:- Mark Wilson.                                                        Attendance:- 8
Admission F.O.C.                                                        Programme:- NONE
A very pleasant repast at The Waggon and Horses in the village preceded this entertaining encounter, where I met up with Andy English. Thaxted are challenging for promotion whilst the hosts are mid-table having suffered a 6-1 thrashing on Tuesday! No goals in the first half, but the home side hit the frame of the goal no less than four times. After the break, Steeple Morden took charge and gained a convincing victory.

 Monday 14th May 2018
Total Motion Midland League Division 2

Redditch Borough 6

Dave Phelan (pen) 3,

Ben Cox 9,

Jac Albutt 10, 31,

Billy Garvey 78, 90,

Hampton 0

Simon Hinsley s/o 2,
Referee:- Ian Hopkins.                                                Attendance:- 205
Admission:- F.O.C.                                                Programme:- NONE
On a lovely warm evening, second bottom Redditch Borough gave a serious drubbing to 4th placed Hampton and did their hopes of avoiding relegation a substantial boost! In the first sixteen minutes, there were three goals, two bookings a penalty and a sending-off! Thereafter, the game tailed off until two goals in the final ten minutes sealed the victory.

Wednesday 16th May 2018
Spartan South Midlands League Division 2

Clean Slate 3

Godwin Ameyaw 26, 69,

Tyrelle McLeod Bentley 55,

Pitstone & Ivinghoe 2

Kieran Doughty 46,

Danny O’Donnell 57
Referee:- Geoffrey Blackmore.                                        Attendance:- 19
Admission:- F.O.C.                                                    Programme:- NONE
Clean Slate is a church in Milton Keynes with an alternative view of religion. The football team(s) were formed in 2010. They play at Downs Barn with it’s forbidding, foreboding club house and eccentric dug-outs. On a cool, breezy evening, an entertaining encounter see-sawed each way and finally fell in favour of the hosts. It wasn’t until the seventieth minute that I heard the only swear word uttered involuntarily by a home player!

Thursday 17 May 2018
EUFA U-17 Championships Semi-Final k.o. 1.00pm

Italy 2

Emmanuel Gyabuaa 31,

Edouardo Vergani 71

Belgium 1

Yorbe Vertessen 57,
Referee:- Vilhjalmur Thorarinsson.                              Attendance:- 2,429
Admission:- £2.50.                                                          Programme:- £1.00
Rotherham United’s New York Stadium was sparsely populated on a cool breezy lunchtime – mainly with prattling schoolchildren. Italy were the better side and deserved to advance to the final here on Sunday, but Belgium gave them a good scrap and were excellent value for their equaliser, just after half time! Utterly incomprehensible was the club (or tournament) official’s intransigence about issuing team sheets. I had to obtain one by virtual subterfuge. Yet, we saw Italian and Belgian fans openly flaunting them! I can’t understand WHY it is so important to deny the REAL fans the opportunity to know who is actually playing!

Thursday 17th May 2018
EUFA U-17 Championships k.o. 7.00pm

England 0

Netherlands 0
No extra time. Netherlands win 6-5 on penalties
Referee:- Horatiu Fresnic.                                                Attendance:- 7,952
Admission:- £2.50.                                                           Programme:- £1.00
England’s penalty hoodoo struck again at The Proactive Stadium, home of Chesterfield FC on a cool evening with a stiff breeze. The match had 0-0 written all over it, England squandered several early chances, but The Dutch came increasingly into the game in the second half and really should have scored at the death when with the goal gaping, the chance was hurriedly scuffed wise!

Monday 21st May 2018
Midlands Regional Alliance Premier Division

Newhall United 0

Rowsley 86. 3

Anthony Charlton 11,

Liam Hallam 12,

Michael Lettall 13,
Referee:- Chris Pectu.                                                       Attendance:- 18
Admission:- F.O.C.                                                    Programme:- NONE
John and Graeme and I enjoyed a chip tea in the town centre before venturing over to St John’s Drive for the match. The Blues stadium was well equipped for this level of football with three areas of cover and one small stand with seats included! On a warm evening, the visitors and champions elect, scored three times in the opening fifteen minutes and largely rested on their laurels for the remainder of the match.

from the left:- Graeme Askham, yours truly and John Main

The thick undergrowth made it impossible to negotiate along behind the goal!!!

Tuesday 22nd May 2018
North Bucks League Premier Division

Wing Village 4

Ross Elliott 7,

Reece Mills 12,

Brett Robinson 64,

Dan Spence 83,

Duston Dynamos 2

Jack McLoughlin 44,

Richie Collier 49
Referee:- Adam Jackson.                                                  Attendance:- 21
Admission:- F.O.C.                                                    Programme:- NONE
A pretty big village, not far from Leighton Buzzard, with a busy main road adjoining the ground and there were half a dozen or more ‘hoppers’ in attendance at this match. Neither team have set the league alight this season, but the visitors have big plans to win back their place in The United Counties at the end of next season. They also have a young striker (he scored this evening) who is, apparently, being closely monitored by several clubs from higher echelons! The hosts, who were badly defeated by the bottom club in their last home fixture, deservedly came out on top in this lack lustre encounter – despite the generous scoreline!

A bevy of hoppers occupy the main stand!

Wednesday 23rd May 2018
North Bucks League Division 1

Steeple Claydon 4

Gareth Dench 28,

John Patterson 42,

Ben Chittenden 63,

David Beckett 71,

Stewkley Reserves 3

Chris Collins 5, 54,

Tyler Trower 69,
Referee:- James Ward.                                                          Attendance:- 18
Admission:- F.O.C.                                                        Programme:- NONE
Florence Nightingale has connections with the village. Apparently, she stayed at Claydon house and supported a local charity. A clock on the Recreation Ground commemorates her association. Six ‘hoppers’, including Les Bull, Paul White, John Main and Lee West, were in attendance as an end to end seesaw of a match finally – and deservedly – ended in victory for the hosts on a cool, breezy evening with rain in the air.

Saturday 26th May 2018
North Bucks & District League Premier Division

Duston Dynamos 2

Jack McLaughlin 18, 49,

Potterspury 3

Ollie Whittome 36,

Adam Kelly 55, 80,
Refere:- Ebby Saleh                                                        Attendance:- 23
Admission:- F.O.C.                                                  Programme:- NONE
On a very warm, sunny afternoon, the visitors defeated the hosts for the second time in three days to keep their championship hopes alive. Next door, a packed and colourful bowling contest was taking place whilst at the football, most of the attendees were ‘hoppers’. The final match of the season in this league takes place next Tuesday and Potterspury will become champions – but only if they prevail at Stewkley! Will you be there?

Monday 28th May 2018
Midland Regional Alliance Premier Division

Castle Donnington Cobras 7

Kari Munton 5,

Will Pearson 22, 66,

Jack Brownett 29, 

Matthew Brian 35,

Oliver Brown 37, 86,

Newhall United 0
Referee:- Jerome Fields.                                                 Attendance:- 55
Admission:- F.O.C.                                                  Programme:- NONE
Recently formed Cobras share a playing field – but not the same pitch as long term tenants Castle Donnington Town at Moira Dale Recreation Centre in the shadow of East Midlands Airport. This evening, they sealed runners up spot in the league with a game to spare and a resounding thumping of Newhall United. A goalfest of hoppers attended the event!

Tuesday 29th May 2018
North Bucks & District League Premier Division

Potterspury Champions!

Stewkley 1

Jack Howe 20,

Potterspury 8 (eight)

Danny Sheppard 7,

Adam Kelly 15, 76,

Jamie Hall 25, 74, 89,

Andy Ord 65,

Ollie Whittome 85,
Referee:- Ron James.                                                     Attendance:- 69
Admission:- F.O.C.                                                 Programme:- NONE
And so it came to pass, on a murky, breezy, chilly evening, visitors Potterspury swept to victory and took the championship majestically with a crushing defeat of seventh placed Stewkley at The Recreation Ground. Stewkley pressed hard for the opening ten or fifteen minutes, but having conceded against the run of play soon found themselves three down. They pulled a goal back before the interval, but in the second half, they were swept away by a Potterspury master class.

Wednesday 30th May 2018
Leicestershire Senior League Division 1

County Hall 4

Connor Hughes 3,

Lewis Reid 18,

Owen Byrne 26,

Louis Bishop 40

Anstey Town 2

Ben Gibson 25,

Richard Kirk 55,
Referee:- Bill Almen.                                                       Attendance:- 13
Admission:- F.O.C.                                                 Programme:- NONE
John Main and I traipsed Round Leicester – as did a motley crew of ‘hoppers’ – trying to locate this match which eventually brought us to Thurlaston where a step eight club host their home games – with floodlights! On a mizzly, drizzly evening, County Hall were the better side in a high scoring contest.



Friday 11th May 2018

UEFA U-17 Championships

Bosnia & Herzegovina 0 Republic of Ireland 2      Attendance:- 406


Friday 11th May 2018

UEFA U-17 Championship

Netherlands 2  Serbia 0                                            Attendance:- 1,186



This month:-  Matches:- 19           New Grounds:- 12
This Season:- Matches:- 228        New Grounds:- 108
TOTAL:-         Matches:- 3,925     New Grounds:- 1,448

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