There were a lot of elements conspiring against us on Saturday against second place High Wycombe, with a potentially harder game than the previous week’s excellent game at Marlow. Hoping to play at Bisham Abbey, we were bumped off to third ground at RAF Naphill, in the middle of a services housing estate, a truly run down, desolate place. Prior to the outbreak of WW2, the Air Ministry sought a safe location for RAF Bomber Command away from London and chose the village of Walter’s Ash. Buildings were designed to resemble other uses, such as the Officers' Mess which was built to look like a manor house and the fire station was built with a tower to resemble a village church. Nowadays, things aren’t looking so rosy.
On finding the pitch it was locked and we decided to warm up on said estate and managed to do so without getting mugged. At which point Hutts turned up, eschewing the warm up, as he explained he had the heating on in his wagon. Fair ‘nuff. Managing to get on to the pitch, we found their coach had decided to officiate which gave me a fair few concerns, which were proven to be well founded as the match progressed. The pitch was knackered and surrounded my muddy puddles and the weather changed from awful to apocalyptic to downright lovely. The weather caused a stoppage in the first half as the HW goal blew over. High Wycombe are a young talented team, full of current RGS boys, supplemented with some experienced old heads but for all their flair, an end result was often lacking. This was amply shown as our own schoolboy training scheme apprentice, Adam Scholey, who we welcomed back with open arms, scored two marvellous goals, the first a deft volleyed deflection from a Rob Manson howitzer into the D, followed up by a reverse stick scorcher which statued their keeper. As the hail and wind raged, we proved up for the fight; High Wycombe less so, plus we benefited from the fact their experienced right back limped off with a damaged hamstring.
Into the second half and almost immediately, we struck potentially the vital goal, following a great build up via Tom F and Jasper and Rob Manson was well placed to slap the ball home. Then the game took an unusual turn of events, as a series of bizarre decisions appeared to go against us and matters became increasingly fractious as Wycombe tried to get back into the game. With five minutes to go, they got a goal back and then in the 78th minute (you read that right …) Tom’s goal was again breached with a drag flick from a corner. It all came down to our better finishing and we thoroughly deserved the spoils to go clear at the top of the table by 5 points. Special mention to stalwarts Hutts and Mahon, who took our over 40s tally to a solid five members and I like to think our experience told in the end. MoM Tom Boggs for three brilliant saves to keep us in it. Goalies Union lives and thrives!