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CLUB FOCUS: Berinsfield
11:00am Wednesday 25th September 2013 in Sport
AN impressive crowd of 251 turned out on Saturday to see Berinsfield’s 4-0 win over Faringdon Town, setting a new North Berks League record, writes MATTHEW BRUCE.
The match was part of the league’s annual Groundhop Day event, which attracts fans from around the country.
“It was a superb day and it really couldn’t have gone any better,” said manager Dean Dixon.
“More people turned up than we had been expecting, but the whole village pulled together and helped out and we were able to cater for everyone.”
Berinsfield have not only made a lot of new friends since rejoining the league in 2010, they’ve also seen a lot of success, winning successive promotions to Division 1, as well as the Oxfordshire Intermediate Cup last season.
The club are used to winning on the field, but off it they have a chequered past.
Previously one of the top clubs in the Oxfordshire Senior League, Berinsfield won the Premier Division as well as the President’s Cup, but were asked to leave the league in 2007 due to their poor disciplinary record.
“We had a few troubles at the club and had some problems with discipline,” said assistant manager Nathan Frost.
“We used to have players getting sent off and arguing with the referee; no-one wanted to come to Berinsfield.”
After a brief spell in the Reading League, the club applied to re-join the North Berks League, which they had left in 1996, but were initially turned down.
“Football in the village more or less ground to a halt for a year,” said reserve team manager Brian Honer.
“We were accepted the following season, but although we were confident of getting all our players back, the league weren’t and they placed us in Division 4.”
After winning the league at a canter in their first season, they were moved straight into Division 2 and promotion to Division 1 swiftly followed.
And the reformed club have become an important part of the local community.
“Last season we had 50 people travelling to watch us away from home every week,” said Frost.
“People here really support their local village team.
“We do sometimes lose players to other teams in the area, but everyone here is from Berinsfield and people really want to support the club.”
The next step for the club is to increase participation at youth level.
“The dream is to be able to run a team at every age group and have them feeding into the first team,” said club secretary Jackie Cullen.
“We do have an established under 11s side, but we’ve had to fold our other youth teams due to a lack of players.
“The youth and men’s teams used to be separate, but we’ve now come under the same umbrella in an attempt to support each other.”
Honer added: “We’ve not got the biggest catchment area, but there should still be enough interest in the village to field 11 players each week for the younger ages.
“We always get a few kids watching our matches each week and parents will take their kids to watch us in cup finals, so hopefully that interest can develop into wanting to play for the club.”
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