I suppose I should complain too much because that last 'loophole' provided me with a perfect opportunity to get to a game fairly close to home. Hellenic League Division Two North side Adderbury Park were set to entertain former Banbury District League-mates, Hardwick. Two teams that I had not had the chance to see and a new location for me to check out. All set within a public park in a picturesque Oxfordshire village and a beautiful sunny August afternoon. What more could I wish for for my first outing of the new season?
Adderbury Park play their home games at The Lucy Plackett Playing Field in the centre of the village of Adderbury, 3 miles South of Banbury. The village dates back to at least the 10th century and is mentioned in the Domesday Book under the name Edburgberie. The most famous resident of the village is probably John Craven, he of John Craven's Newsround and Countryfile fame, although I did notice a white plaque commemorating Colin Butler (1939-1997). The plaque is just above a fairly rare (although, oddly this is the second one I have seen in a week) Georgian post-box, which actually gives a clue to the reason for the plaque. Mr Butler was a long-serving postman in the village who not only has the plaque in his memory but also has a road named after him, Colin Butler Green.
Enough local history. How about the football?
Finding some shade under a tree I settled in to watch the game, feeling thankful that I wasn't out there running around in the stifling heat (I always hated playing in hot weather).
It wasn't long before the first goal of the new season arrived and it went to the home side. A Hardwick goal-kick was returned back into their 18-yard area. Goalkeeper, defender and a striker all converged on the loose ball which proceeded to drop perfectly into the path of the Adderbury Park Number 10 who was left with the task of slotting the ball into an unguarded net. 1-0.
The home side failed to take advantage of their early lead and, in fact, it was Hardwick who started to take more control of the game. Just before the 20 minute mark they hit back. A defence-splitting pass found Michael Zinn who calmly stroked the ball past the keeper to make it 1-1.
Halfway through the first-half we had a drinks break which was much needed on such a hot day, although I do hope this doesn't become the standard for every game. The break didn't seem to upset the rhythm of the away team as they continued to push Park back. After 34 minutes their pressing paid off when they won a corner on the left. The ball was fizzed across and met by Zinn at the near post who's glancing header made it 1-2.
HT Adderbury Park 1 Hardwick 2. After a bright start from Adderbury, Hardwick came back well and looked the better side for most of the half. A good game in testing, hot conditions.
Another mid-half drinks break ensued before we were treated to the goal of the game on 73 minutes, an absolute belter from Hardwick Number 9 Jimmy Hunt, arrowing a drive into the top corner from 25 yards out. No chance for the keeper as Hardwick extended their lead. 1-3.
With the game looking as if it would drift into it's conclusion, Adderbury Park managed to salvage a lifeline on 85 minutes when their own Number 9 slid in to pull one back. 2-3. However, despite their late revival, the home side could not find an equaliser before the referee blew for the end of the game.
FT Adderbury Park 2 Hardwick 3. A good run out for both sides and an entertaining game for the neutral observer. Thanks and good luck to both teams in the forthcoming season.
Ground Number: 233