The Barber returns

Some leagues at Steps 5 to 7 started their fixtures at the weekend and my Saturday match was Raynes Park Vale v Chertsey Town in the Combined Counties League Premier Division. 

Even with a 20-minute wait for a District Line tube from Paddington, I was in time to get on the 2.22pm train from Wimbledon and it was only three minutes from there to Raynes Park.

It was windy walking up Grand Drive to the ground, with a storm apparently brewing, but it actually stayed dry and reasonably sunny throughout the afternoon. 

Raynes Park play in the Combined Counties League Premier Division

On the adjacent Prince George’s Playing Fields there was the great sight of six matches going on simultaneously. Football is definitely back!

Raynes Park Vale FC was founded in 1995 from the merger of Raynes Park FC and Malden Vale FC. 

It has been a busy close season for RPV, with a lot of work planned for the clubhouse even before they suffered some arson attacks around the ground, the worst severely damaging the home changing room.

It was an enjoyable match, with the home side putting together some good attacks from the start and fully deserving their 2-1 victory. 

In fact, they could easily have scored five or six against visitors who were relegated from the Southern League’s Central Division at the end of last season. 

The remnants of the arson attacks at Raynes Park. The football carries on though…

Within an hour of the final whistle I was back at the hotel, watching some Commonwealth Games diving and opening a tub of ‘Caramel Chew Chew’ ice cream.

On Sunday it was off to ‘The Hive’ for London Bees v Aston Villa Ladies in The FA WSL2. 

The Bees have had some disappointing results recently but put in an encouraging performance as they went down a little unluckily 1-0. 

Taylor O’Leary was outstanding in midfield, tackling like a demon, and Sydney Hinchcliffe was so close to grabbing a point with a fierce right-footer against the underside of the bar with just two minutes to go.

Coming to a ground near you? The Barber can usually be found behind the goal…

Last Wednesday I attended a family barbecue in Sevenoaks, with ages ranging from 85 to four months, and as we were all done by 7pm, I was kindly given a lift to Greatness Park by my brother-in-law for Sevenoaks Town’s pre-season friendly with Dulwich Hamlet. 

My niece’s husband came for the second half and took me back to the station after we saw an Oaks side who were good value for their 2-2 draw.

The Isthmians start next Saturday and the week after that it’s The FA Cup!

David Barber, aka ‘The Barber’, joined The FA as Sir Alf Ramsey’s assistant after the Mexico World Cup in 1970 and has been its historian for the last 35 years. He has attended 6,674 football matches at all levels and lost none of his enthusiasm!

Follow The Barber on Twitter: @thebarberfan