Saturday February 9th 2013, KO 3pm, at Lambourn Sports Club.
Hellenic League Division One West.
Lambourn Sports (Red/Black) 0-5 Clanfield 85 (Sky blue/Sky Blue), ht 0-3. Att 12.
Admission 3 pound, prog inc. HT cuppa 50p, choccie biccies free.
Somewhere local was required today, last weekend had been spent in Belgium, and domestic duties this weekend meant a close to home ‘tick’ was required.
In fact Lambourn was my ‘closest to home (28 miles)’ Step Six and above non league ground required, so I was pleased to hear positive noises about the game being on when I rang at 1pm.
It seemed quite apt to be dropping into the ‘valley of the racehorse’ on a week when the supermarket horsemeat scandal was still front page news.
Lambourn is one the prime areas, second possibly only to Newmarket for the breeding, rearing and training of race horses and has a significant number of stables doted nearby to the village.
With the access to the stunning Berkshire downs it’s no surprise as it’s an area of outstanding natural beauty, with the famous walking route ‘The Ridgeway’ also passing close by. Lambourn is the most westerly significant settlement in Berkshire, and it’s bordered by the counties of Oxfordshire and Wiltshire.
Leaving the M4 at Junction 14, I was a little concerned to see snow on the ground, as just five miles further back down the M4 there had been no sign of it.
But once I arrived into Lambourn, it was grey and drizzly, but no sign of any snow.
Apparently Lambourn had the snow a little earlier in the afternoon but the drizzle had seen to that. As it was, the pitch looked quite playable although a little heavy in the middle.
I took up residence in the small stand with a canvas cover, and joined a couple of committee men from Clanfield, a ref who’s game at Highworth had been called off, and a local elderly fan who struggled up two steps to make his seat.
A small gathering at the back of the stand, but we all enjoyed exchanging banter with gossip about the local footy scene etc.
The away keeper clearly didn’t bother reading the match programme, as the Hellenic League are keen on cutting out foul and abusive language from players, management and supporters and always carry an advert in the match day programmes to promote this objective. After an early slightly over the top tackle from a Lambourn player, Zoldan was aggressively urging the ref with the use of the F word to sort it out, uncalled for, and frankly none of his business, as the tackle took place thirty yards in front of him.
What soon became apparent was that Clanfield looked a very decent outfit and outclassed Lambourn on the day, within twenty minutes they were already two up, a header and snapshot from Bryant and Mays. Oswin added a third on thirty-five, and already the game was up for Lambourn.
However a lifeline was thrown just before half time, after a clear penalty was conceded, and Peddar stepped up to try to reduce the deficit, only for that man Zoldan to make an excellent save, 0-3 HT.
Having already sensed a friendly little club, at half time I sauntered over to the clubhouse for a cuppa, 50p in a proper china mug, and received an invitation to join the Clanfield people in the billiards room to sample the foil wrapped choccie biccies, and I didn’t mind if I did!
The second half was much of the same, Lambourn did put up a little bit more fight but never seriously threatened to get back in the game, and conceded further goals on sixty from Bryant and near the end by Bishop. 5-0 did not flatter Clanfield, who'd apparently knocked Premier League Ascot United out of the floodlit cup during the preceding midweek.