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Thursday 17th May 2012 ko 6.30pm

Oxon Senior League Premier Division

AFC HINKSEY 1 (Lawrence 50)

O.U.P. 4 (Hedger 46 72p Pepperall-Gray 60 Lockhart 70p)

Att 35 (h/c)

80 minute game at Pitch 2 Westminster College, Botley

Another day, another OSL game at a ground other than the host team’s home. AFC Hinksey play at Brasenose College’s sports ground along the Abingdon Road in Oxford, but since the students are now playing cricket our game got moved to the home of Westminster FC of the North Berkshire League. Having visited less than a month ago, I really couldn’t raise much enthusiasm for this one, but its a game, and on arrival there was the usual gaggle of hoppers and they were playing on a different pitch to Westminster!

If points win championships then Hinksey have won the league easily. A league official commented that they are the best side in the OSL by far. The problem with them became apparent when I asked them for their line-ups. They were friendly enough but the smell emanating from their bench reminded me of student days. The league official also admitted that Hinksey’s admin was far from up to scratch. “They didn’t send us a result card for 3 months!” He also admitted that the league had charged them with 2 counts of fielding ineligible players, and were worried about the contents of their last result card. Add to that more items of poor administration and he let slip that 12 points could be on the line. And OUP, or to use their full title Oxford University Press, are in second place, just 6 points behind…..Mind you the official did also state that the league wanted the league settled on the pitch, so read into that what you might!

Both teams treated the first half as if nothing depended on it, so lets draw a line overt that 40 minutes. Everything changed when Paul Hedger fired home after 46 minutes, and Hinksey were shaken into life as Triston Lawrence powered home a header from a corner. The trouble is that they soon dozed off again as a defensive howler allowed Andrew Pepperall-Gray to run through and score.

The moment of controversy happen on 70 minutes when Pepperall-Gray looked yards offside when he raced through to score. As he did the referee whistled, and everyone assumed it was for the offside. It wasn’t as he’d blown for a challenge by keeper Martyn Clark, so as the ball had been in play when he’d blown he had to award the penalty. Fortunately justice was served as Neil Lockhart scored from the spot.

Within 2 minutes it was 4, as Lockhart was crudely chopped down in the box by Toby Webster, and this time Paul Hedger took the penalty, sending Clark the wrong way.

So, in the end an easy win for OUP, but the destination of the championship won’t be decided on the pitch, more the smoke-filled rooms. That’s typical of the OSL.

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