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Saturday 5th May 2012 ko 11.30am

North Berkshire League Division 4 East

WESTMINSTER 1 (Silence 50)

HARWELL INTERNATIONAL RESERVES 3 (Smith 37 44 Thompson 45)

Att 3 (h/c)

Entry FREE

Nothing for sale

If ever there was a club name that gives absolutely no clue as to where they play is Westminster! For the record, I spent this morning in the Botley district of Oxford, a few hundred yards from the A34. The club takes its name from its home pitch, in the grounds of Westminster College. So how did the college get the name? It was they who started in Westminster, London in 1851 and originally specialised in the training of teachers for Methodist schools. The site was severely damaged by an incendiary bomb during the blitz of early World War II, and the buildings were never repaired. They were demolished in the 1960s and the headquarters of the television station Channel 4 now stand on the site.

In 1951, Westminster College moved to a purpose-built campus in Oxford, which is noted for its fusion of Oxford quads with a “New England” style of architecture, evident particularly in the large and distinctive chapel. In 2000, financial pressures prompted the Methodist Church to cease operations and deal was struck to lease the site to Oxford Brookes University, and the college buildings became the Westminster Institute of Education, a school of Oxford Brookes University, thus continuing the use of the Westminster name.

The football club have nothing to do with Westminster College, being a group of friends who post-university wanted to carry on playing together. They played their first two seasons in the Oxford City League before transferring across, for this season. They’ll finish comfortably mid-table, while their visitors are champions, played 18 won 18.

It was cold and windy as the referee Harry Moore admitted to be that is always cold here. The ground is uphill from the A34, and it may well be the last time Harry officiates here. The NBFL’s very own Justin Bieber look-alike has justifiably been promoted and as a result will be plying his trade in the Hellenic next season. If his fine performance here was anything to go by he’ll go far.

The game went, predictably by the form book. Stuart Smith tapped in twice neatly before Jake Thompson pounced on a defensive error, to give International an unassailable lead.

The second half was noticeably less exciting than the first. Westminster gained a consolation as a weak parry from International keeper Chris Marks, allowed Dean Silence to prod home. It wasn’t the start of anything, and it never looked that way. The game meandered pleasingly enough, Harry had nothing much to concern himself with, and the International bench told me a tale of how their former club linesmen kept winning lineman of the year by consistantly giving offside decisions AGAINST his own side, knowing that the opposition always gave him his marks!

So, one game left for International, can they make it 20 from 20?

 

 

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