Wednesday, 23 June 2021

County rivals to lock horns once again at Triangle ground

HENLEY TOWN welcome Bicester Town to the Invesco Perpetual Triangle tomorrow (Saturday), kick-off 3pm, writes John

HENLEY TOWN welcome Bicester Town to the Invesco Perpetual Triangle tomorrow (Saturday), kick-off 3pm, writes John Bailey.

Though points are at stake in Division 1 East of the Uhlsport Hellenic League, the significance of the game goes beyond that.

This will be the first meeting between the clubs for eight years, Bicester having to suspend operations three years later, having lost their ground amongst other problems.

Football has not flourished in Oxfordshire in recent years, as evidenced by the fact that there has not been a senior club in operation in three of the county’s chief towns, Chipping Norton, Bicester and Witney, so the news of the resurrection of the historic Bicester club is welcome.

They have got off to an encouraging start. Following a 3-1 home victory over Rayners Lane, who were top before the game, Bicester have moved up into second place.

Henley will therefore be meeting the club then standing second on successive Saturdays, that being the berth occupied by Penn and Tylers Green before their 5-1 in over the Town took them to the top of the table. Having won 5-1 away in their previous match, the Red Kites defy prediction at present. Adding up all their meetings over the years, Bicester and Henley are almost level pegging, with 13 wins for Henley, 14 for the Foxhunters and only two games drawn.

Their first encounter, 112 years ago, brought a Bicester victory in a semi-final of the Oxfordshire Charity Cup, but the Town gained their revenge a year later, when they defeated Bicester in the final of the same event. It was also in two cup ties that the sides last clashed in 2007-08, though in the early stages of two competitions, with Bicester winning both times.

The Red Kites will again be at home on Tuesday, when they meet Hambleden in the annual Stewards Cup fixture, kick-off 7.45pm. This trophy was presented by former Town stalwart and current Hambleden chairman Adam Markwell. On the four occasions they have contested Stewards Cup, Henley have won each time, thrice including last season by 5-0 margins. Overall, however, counting only those matches in which each side has fielded its first team, Henley’s lead is a more even 13-9, with four games drawn.

The Sunday team, who open their league fixtures on Sunday week, began their pre-season programme last week, visiting Grosvenor, who they defeated 3-1 with goals from Craig Sinclair (2) and Jack Woodley. The youth team play their first league game on September 9.

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