Saturday 17th September 2016 ko 13.30
North Berkshire League Division 3
COMPTON 1 (Fisher 26)
WATLINGTON TOWN 4 (MacCormick 18 C B’Layachi 53 Appleby 67 A B’Layachi 75)
Entry & Programme £4
There were so many reasons to want to the hop to visit Compton. For one it would be the first time in it’s 5 year run that the North Berkshire League Hop had actually visited a club in Berkshire. Then there was the Pinfold family who run the club with humour and passion, and the name was good to sell the game with, you’d be amazed how many middle-aged white men are well-acquainted with the work of LA based rap act N.W.A! But the real clincher for me was the stand!
I should explain; there is a strand of the groundhopping hobby that obsesses over what they will and won’t see. Some have to have a programme, some won’t watch below a certain level, and others simply have to see a stand.
Each to their own of course but when I spotted the children’s shelter close to the pitch I explained the OCD to Mark Pinfold and we decided to have a little fun with it. So when you saw the signage “The Mick Pinfold Stand” I must admit that was my impish sense of humour.
The club seemed to enjoy the joke because they extended the humour elsewhere in their hosting. We loved the welcome signs for the hop minibuses “Rod” “Jane” and “Freddy” and the food, and drink named after celebrities born in Compton. The “Theo Walcott Bar” was fun and calling the kebabs after Grand National Winner “Foinavon” didn’t seem to hurt sales. Hopefully Tesco haven’t noticed!
The bottles of real ale sold like interesting beers always do, and as Chris and I did the head count the smiles told you all you needed to know about the staging. In fact from a Compton perspective the only real issue was the common factor on all the games on the hop – it was dreadful hop to be a goalkeeper. Certainly two of the Watlington goals were down to keeping errors, but I’m sure Watlington would argue that even without them they’d have won, that after is football.
It was an afternoon everyone will remember, and some did comment to me that they’ve not seen a better staged North Berks Hop game. I’m far too close to it all to comment, save to point out that the efforts of the likes of East Hendred, Berinsfield, Benson Lions and others were also exceptional too.
It’s worth commenting too that when the North Berkshire Hop debuted at Steventon back in 2011 neither Compton nor Watlington were in the NBFL, the two clubs transfering from the Reading and Oxon Senior Leagues respectively.
A day later I received the following email from Mark Pinfold which with his permission I reproduce in it’s entirety.
On behalf of Compton FC, I would like to thank you for organising the event and considering us to be one of the hosts. Although there are still a few bits and pieces to sort out money wise, sale or return/badges, it looks as though we will have raised in the region of £1000 yesterday, which to a club of our size is massive. To put that into context, we have just secured our second sponsor for this season, which will bring our sponsorship to at total of £800 per season.
I am going to let you into a small secret, when we met just over a month a go, we only had 11 players committing to the club for this season, we lost a couple to local rivals, one of whom I believe was drawn back by the incentive of playing in front of such a crowd. At that point I really thought that we may end up letting you down, however had a level of confidence in Matt and Ali. It was only a fortnight a go when the new sponsors enquired, following a meeting at the pub and discussing the Groundhop, they suggested kebabs, they cooked the kebabs and the rest is history. At some point in the near future we will get round to ordering the training tops to promote Carnation Day care.
I guess what I am saying is that the Ground Hop has given a breath of fresh air into the Club, future games, not to your standard have already been suggested to boost funds. We have never seen 180 supporters before, and sure we wont again.
Its been an experience, one that I am pleased to say that from the point of the first mini bus arriving, a smile was emerging; after what has been a worrying few weeks. I will leave it there but thanks again to Chris and yourself for all your effort, I still can’t believe that there are nice Oxford and Swindon supporters in the country and that I saw somebody from Derby area wearing a Compton FC shirt!
Last thing, I hope the Gentleman who was caught up in the tackle was ok, I didn’t manage to see him as he left.
Best Regards to All
Mark, it was our pleasure, the chap who a player crashed into was fine, and 180 people will never think of Compton as anything other than a village in Berkshire!
Compton are now advertising for a new keeper, here’s their advert.
“We are recruiting!
Compton FC are in desperate need for a goal keeper……
The ideal candidate would fit the following criteria:
Must be available for Saturday afternoon football in North Berks Division 3.
Ideally able to start this Saturday.
Must not take life too seriously.
Happy to peruse in post match pub activities.
Candidates of all levels will be highly considered.”
How could you not love this club?