Norman playing fields

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Wednesday April 24th 2013, KO 18:30pm at Crowmarsh Recreation Ground.
North Berks League Division One.
Crowmarsh Gifford (Orange/Black) 0-2 Saxton Rovers (Red/Black Hoops/Black).
Free admission, Nothing for sale.
Att 45 (headcount).


Midsomer Murders, A Place in the country and the Vicar of Dibley might give you some idea of the ambience that surrounds the Oxfordshire village of Crowmarsh Gifford.
Equidistant between Reading and Oxford,lying of the main A4074, it has a goodly number of thatched cottages and a couple of welcoming looking pubs.

A stones throw from the equally pretty but larger Wallingford, I can think of worse places to take in a football match on a recreation ground. Especially on such a mild still evening after the recent weather we have had to tolerate.
It’s separated from Wallingford by the 900ft long medieval ‘Wallingford bridge’ over the Thames, although most road traffic uses a modern bridge to the south of the town.


After the Norman Conquest most of the land was granted to Walter Giffard, later Earl of Buckingham.
In 1139 King Stephen built a wooden fort in Crowmarsh, the first of a series built-in opposition to Wallingford Castle, which supported his cousin Matilda during the civil war known as The Anarchy. The forts were dismantled under the terms of the Treaty of Wallingford of 1153.
The Church of England parish church of Saint Mary Magdalene is said to have been built in about 1120.


In 1701 agriculturist Jethro Tull (good name for a band a anyone?) invented his revolutionary seed drill here.
In 1944 a Royal Canadian Air Force Halifax bomber with a full bomb load caught fire over Wallingford.
Most of the crew bailed out, but Flying Officer Wilding and Sergeant Andrew gave their lives to steer the plane away from the town and crash it into the fields of Crowmarsh. They are commemorated by an obelisk at the junction of Wilding Road and Andrew Road in Wallingford.

For an outsider the North Berks League would seem rather confusing as most of the clubs that play in this league are actually situated in Oxfordshire.
Of course this is due to historical re aligning of county boundaries, where once most of the competing clubs ‘were’ situated in North Berks.


I’ve been living in Berks for 7 years now, and only really became aware of this charming league as a result of Laurence Reade’s annual one day late September groundhop, which has significantly raised the profile of it, and helped bring some much-needed coffers to the club involved, as for the day they put on refreshments, a programme etc.


Today, third placed CG entertained top of the pile, from Abingdon, Saxton Rovers. A very even first half, looked like heading into half time goalless, until just before HT a lovely thirty yard cross field pass, allowed the Saxton No 10, Kyle Allsworth to run on and finish in some style, tucking the ball into the net.



For the second half, I took a position on the other side of the pitch, over here the midges were out in force, because it was closer to the Thames I was told by a local. The second half became a more sided affair as Saxton highlighted why they’d lost only three games all season.

Goalscorer Allsworth
Goalscorer Allsworth

Another goal from Allsworth on sixty-five minutes wrapped up the game, and only some steady defending kept the score to just two. The standard of the play high, as is the norm in the top division of this league. I shall return to it……


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