Faringdon A and Hatherop win league titles as teams pay their respects to Joey Beauchaump.
In stark contrast to last weekend’s horrendous weather, the Witney and District was bathed in glorious yellow sunshine as players and clubs came together to remember Oxford United legend Joey Beauchamp. A minute’s applause and silences were held across the grounds prior to the fixtures this weekend.
And, to go along with the glorious weather, two new Witney and District sides have been league champions. Faringdon Town A are the Division Three champions and Hatherop Reserves sealed the Division Four crown with yet another emphatic victory. It seems only fitting that for this week, we flip the order and start where the titles were won.
Faringdon Town A defeated Brize Norton Reserves in an eight goal thriller to win the title. Hailey A’s slip last weekend meant that three points this weekend for the Tucker Park outfit would see them picking up silverware in their maiden season.
Brize weren’t going to roll over and made them fight for it. Dylan Briggs, Jacob Hambridge and Lee Litton’s goals making life difficult for Faringdon but braces for both Jack Green and Richard Evans put Faringdon in charge and Peter Fletcher’s goal was enough for all three points to spark celebrations at the full time whistle.
Leafield and Eynsham played out a 1-1 draw which keeps the sides third and fifth respectively. Markus Vinicius scored for Leafield with Andy Stratford replying for visiting Eynsham.
Hatherop Reserves have finally secured the Division Four title with a 5-0 win over Aston Reserves. Coincidentally, Hatherop started their Witney and District journey at Aston in their opening fixture all the way back in September. On that day they sprinted into a 4-0 lead before being pegged back in a nine goal thriller which saw them win it in the last five minutes. A far easier afternoon this time around as they kept a clean sheet this time whilst still managing to score five at the other end. Regular goal scorers Crag Whitbread and David Legg (2) both got in on the action again and Mani Rawanawa and Jake Denness added the fourth and fifth as Hatherop got their hands on a title which has long been considered theirs in a dominant season.
In fact, all the sides in the top five won their games as the race to finish second remains too close to call. Second placed Witney Royals Reserves beat second bottom Spartan Rangers A 5-0. Sam Taylor’s double was backed up by Ollie Nolan, Nathan Harris and Joe Dallimore’s strikes.
Freeland are a point behind in third place after a 2-0 win over bottom side Carterton Town FC. Jerome Carbon and Spencer Lancaster’s goals bolstering Freeland’s already healthy goal difference.
Leafield Reserves are two points further back after beating Kingham Reserves by the odd goal in five. Brad Smith and Jack Eley both scored for Kingham but Leafield went one better with Alex Lester, Jason Bufton and Andy Bedwell’s goals giving the visitors all three points.
Faringdon B are a further two points back after also winning 3-2 away from home. Tom Burdett, Alistair Eccleston and Harry Merritt all scored for Faringdon with Luke Burns and Eden Rice replying for Stonesfield Reserves. It means that there is just five points between second and fifth.
Hailey are in full control of their title pursuit after a 3-0 win over Spartan Rangers. Devon Wright, Nathan Kimber and Freddie Buckingham’s goals giving Hailey the three points that takes them that many clear at the top of the table.
Milton secured their second consecutive draw and only their third point of the season with a hard fought draw against high flying Stonesfield. With the slope and the wind playing its part Stonesfield’s decision to change ends at the coin toss proved inspired in the 15th minute as Carry Rice slotted home from inside the box. The Rice brothers were always dangerous and the first card of the game went to Jon Chapman as he felled Raffy Rice on the edge of the area. But Stonesfield could do no further damage and the lead was one at the break.
Milton enjoyed the wind and slop in the second half and it payed off as Chris Godfrey bundled home with his knee following a scramble in the box following a corner in the 57th minute. From their tensions boiled as Milton were reduced to ten men on 65 minutes. Stonesfield tried to press and saw two chances cleared off the line but were constantly pegged back by Milton’s balls into their territory. Carry Rice had a chance to win it with two minutes to go when one-on-one with the Milton keeper but a smart save forced a corner. From the resulting corner Stonesfield were reduced to ten men after a second bookable offence and it finished 1-1.
Hook Norton thumped Charlbury Town 5-1 as they recorded their fifth win of the season in their first year in the top league. More goals for Jay Mair set the tone for the afternoon after he scored two. Jake Wheeler, Josh Hunt and Adam Hemmings scored the remainder of Hooky’s goals with Felix Robertson replying for Charlbury.
Perhaps the loss of Joey Beauchamp was felt most at Bletchington where a minute’s silence was held. Joey became a player for Bletchington Reserves in the Oxford Sunday League after he retired from professional football and played alongside some of the current players at Bletch. An emotional afternoon saw Bletchington come out on top as they recorded consecutive wins for the first time since September. Dan Willoughby’s fine free kick and a well taken goal by Richie Wells secured a 2-0 win and the three points elevates Bletchington into fifth place.
Witney Royals received a walkover win against Hailey Reserves.
RAF Brize Norton thrashed Ducklington to effectively end Ducklington’s title chances. Youngster Declan O’Brien led the way with a brace with Luke Vincent, James Kenyon, Carl Drury, Tom Dyer and Michael Flavell also getting in on the action in front of goal. Charlie McCullough replied for Ducklington but the defeat leaves them nine points behind Brize with six games remaining.
Aston are in second place still after a 4-0 thrashing of Cassington Rangers. Lewis Scott’s brace grabbed the headlines with Sam Rowe and Aaron Robins adding the extras. They’re four points behind Brize but have played two games more.