Groundhop UK ventured into Oxfordshire for the first time and were not disappointed by their visit. Over 100 people visited each game and saw a goal fest for their troubles, visiting four different grounds in the space of under 24 hours.
Friday saw the first of the games as Hook Norton and Eynsham SSC did battle under the lights at Hooky’s Sports and Social Club. With 148 people in attendance, Hook Norton, playing their first game since promotion last year, continued from where they left off last year, submitting Eynsham to their second heavy defeat in a row. Five different goal scorers combined to submit Eynsham to their second heavy defeat in a row and five different goal scorers found the back of the net for good measure as James Ingham, Adam Hemmings, James Babbage, Luke Street and Jay Mair sent Hooky top of the league, albeit for 24 hours.
Saturday saw the Groundhoppers take in two Premier Division games. Newly promoted Milton hosted Spartan Rangers with 166 people at the game for an unusually early 11:00 kick off. Lewis Dady will have his name in the history books as the first player to score for Milton in the Witney and District Premier Division but Harry Thompson levelled for Spartan. Rangers then had 16 year old Connor Murphy to thank for the winner. Murphy, making his men’s football debut, notched his first goal to give Spartan the three points.
125 people then made their way to Wash Meadow to watch Minster Lovell and Carterton FC and were rewarded with their second five goal game in the space of a day. This one was a much tighter contest and saw the Minster men go two up by half time thanks to Sam Wright and Johnny Fletcher. However, Carterton drew on all their years of experience to stage a second half fight back and take all three points thanks to a Mark Threlfall double and an Al Rogers effort.
And, their third five goal game was just round the corner as 178 people ventured to Ducklington to watch the Division Two clash between the hosts and Wootton Sports. The game, kicking off at half four to allow for people to travel from Minster to Ducklington, saw five goals but only two goal scorers on the score sheet. Sam Duthie’s double had looked to give Ducklington all three points but the away side came through thanks to Lee Spencer’s hat-trick to give Wootton their first league win of the season.
With two of the scheduled Premier Division games involved in Groundhop visits, the only other fixture saw Hailey and Stonesfield kicking off their league campaigns. Newly promoted Stonesfield drew a blank in facing last season’s runners-up, as they went down to a 3-0 defeat. Tom Gregory, Jack Wood and Nathan Kimber all scored once to send Hailey top at this very early stage.
Chris Laurence looks well set to beat his 20 goal tally from last season after reaching seven goals inside the opening two fixtures this term. Fresh from his hat-trick last weekend, he followed up with a four-timer this week to set Bampton United well on the way to victory against Hailey Reserves.Dan Paintin scored a hat-trick of his own and with Danny O’Shea and Kieron Colley netting once each Bampton banged in nine without reply in their crushing victory.
There were also nine goals and another hat-trick in the game between Middle Barton and Minster Lovell Reserves with the away side coming away with three points. Seb White was the hat-trick hero for Minster, ably backed up by Harry Puffitt (2) and Gary Mitchell (1) as Minster reached six. Middle Barton halved the deficit with a goal from Alex Damm and a John Umney brace but it wasn’t enough to prevent defeat.
Reece Bayliss scored a double for Witney and District new boys Enstone as they started off life in Division One with a handsome victory over Bourton Rovers. Lee Mosson scored for Bourton but single goals for Warwick Tompkins, Josh Hunt and Dan Bott sent Enstone to victory.Chadlington made a strong start to their season with a 2-0 away victory against Witney Royals.
Chadlington, who finished third last year narrowly missing out on promotion, claimed the three points thanks to Alfie Peachey’s brace.
Newly formed Carterton FC Reserves got off to a thumping start in Division Two with a resounding 8-1 victory over Brize Norton. Liam Aspey led the way with a hat-trick, with Carl Williams, Ryan Colleton, and Danny Brearley grabbing one apiece. Bradley Bryant stepped up with two of his own with Adam Davis replying with Brize’s consolation.
Spartan Rangers Reserves returned to Division Two with a hard earned away win against Siege FC. Gez Morgan scored for the hosts but Rangers replied through Mitch Constable and Ben Madley to grab the three points.
Richie Wells is another man on a goal scoring mission as he also notched his seventh goal in two league games whilst helping Bletchington amass the biggest win of the weekend. Richie hit the net four times as Bletchington romped to a 13-1 victory over Wootton Sports Reserves.Jimmy Deabill and Joe Brewer also hit hat-tricks. Michael Trafford scored two and Chris Fennel topped things off with a single goal as well as Bletchington reached twenty goals scored already this season. Simon Stokes grabbed the scantest of consolations for the visitors.
FC Mills got their season off to a good start with a 2-0 win over Witney Royals Reserves. Dan Smith was on hand to grab both goals to give Mills the win.
Just the one game in Division Four as Brize Norton Reserves hosted East Oxford Rangers which saw eight goals and opening victory for the Witney and District new boys.Jason Hirschfield and Chris Greenaway were on target for the home side but were cancelledout by Gareth James and Cody Senior. Jason Blackman proved the difference maker as he scored four times to give Rangers a 6-2 victory.