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Football Match Reports 2006-07

Some of these reports have appeared in the Prestbury Parish Magazine

The webmaster wishes to record his grateful thanks to Edward Wyatt for the photographs and to Michael Wyatt for the reports on the matches.

North Cheltenham Churches Football Team
Sponsored by Selim Smith

NCC team in their new strip
Our team, in new strip, just before the game on 16 September 2006

NCC win Cotswold Churches League 9-a-side Plate, 14 July 2007


Results and League Table

Fixture List  2006/2007

The links on the dates in the list below take you to the match reports.



NCC - opponent
  9 Sept            League          1 - 5 St Matt’s Away (Prestbury)
16 Sept League 1 - 5 Cambray Home
23 Sept League 3 - 11 Trinity Away (KGV)
  7 Oct League 1 - 5 Tewkesbury          Home
14 Oct Cup 2 - 10 Diamonds Away (Naunton Park)
21 Oct Cup 1 - 5 Cambray Home
11 Nov League 2 - 6 Diamonds Away (Naunton Park)
18 Nov League 1 - 4 Cornerstone Home
  2 Dec League 1 - 2 Cornerstone Away (Evesham High)
  9 Dec Cup 2 - 10 Gloucester Home
16 Dec Cup 3 - 3 Diamonds Home
 13 Jan League 1 - 3 Cambray Away (Burrows)
 27 Jan League 3 - 6 Gloucester Home
 3 Feb League 1 - 2 Gloucester Away (Plock Court)
 10 Feb Cup 2 - 5 Cambray Away (Burrows)
 17 Feb Cup   4 - 3 Gloucester Away (Plock Court)
  3 Mar League  3 - 5 Trinity Home
10 Mar League 1 - 7 Tewkesbury Away (Tewkesbury School)
17 Mar League 1 - 1 Diamonds Home
 24 Mar League 0 - 4 St Matt’s Home

For info and team selection details:
      Andy Macauly &  Fr Grant  (

North Cheltenham Churches Football News

19 August 2006

New name…new hope! As the parishes are expanding in the course of this year to include not just Prestbury and All Saints but St Peter’s, Swindon Village and Elmstone Hardwicke, we’ve officially registered with the FA as North Cheltenham Churches and hopefully over the course of the season we may find some new players from our sister churches.

Training started last Wednesday 16 August  and drew a very respectable 12 and we’ll be practising on Wednesdays 23rd and 30 August from 7pm at Prestbury Playing Fields where we played last year and where all our home matches will be again this season. Do come along if you can.

There’ll be a Team Meeting at the Royal Oak after training this Wednesday 23rd to talk about practicalities like team selection, tactics, washing the kit and anything else anyone can think of. Even if you can’t get to the training, it’d be good to come to that (probably starting 8.30pm by the time we’ve got round there).

Kit Sponsor – Selim Smith, the local undertakers, have agreed to sponsor our new kit (cue lots of jokes about burying the opposition!) so Andy’s ordering a Celtic-style strip with green and white hoops, white shorts and green socks, which hopefully we should have by the end of September.

Team Membership Fees – since we don’t need to buy much kit, we’re able to keep annual membership fees down to a minimum (these pay for insurance, competition registration etc) and are suggesting £10 for adults in work and £5 for under 18s, students and those not working for whatever reason. For each match we play there will be match fees to pay for the pitch hire and referee which will probably be £3 and a bit less for substitutes. Hope that seems fair to everyone.

Availability – we’ve got more fixtures than we expected as the league has grown and the cup has a Champions League-style group phase so we’ll be trying to keep a big squad together throughout the season. Not everyone will be available to play every week. Please let Andy have the availability bit of your fixture card back as soon as possible and he’ll select the team each week and let everyone know who’s playing that Saturday.

Results – you can follow the results from across the league and cup competitions at the FA website (impressive or what!). 

Good luck and come on the Undertakers!

      Andy Macauly  &  Fr Grant  (


Match reports from 2005-06 season


NCC team in their new stripMatch twenty:  Last game played after two postponements

24 March 2007
North Cheltenham v St Matthews

NCC v St Matthew'sOn a cold day at Prestbury Playing Fields North Cheltenham Churches took on St Matthews, in their last game of the season. It was third time lucky, as two previous attempts had been called off, due to a waterlogged pitch. St Matthew’s got the game underway, and kicked up the gentle slope, into the keen breeze. Almost at once the home team had a great opportunity to score, but it was put over the bar. Then the visitors started to create chances, with several shots going wide of the goal. Having created another attack NCC got in a cross, but the ball went just too far for the incoming player to reach. After twenty minutes St Matts about to get their first goalan opposition attacker controlled the ball, turned and outran the defenders, before shooting at goal. With horror, the goalie (right) saw the ball rolling slowly into the back of the net, for the visitors to open the score. Following this goal, which was against the run of play, the Undertakers mounted a series of attacks, from which they won a succession of throws and corner. A lucky escape for St MattsUnfortunately, their shots were wide, or denied by good defensive work, and they failed to score. One such attack (left) was ended when they hit a post; could this be the first time the team would fail to score? There was a similar story at the other end, one of wasted chances. Having had more of the play the Green and Whites did not deserve to be losing at half time, especially as they had not conceded a corner in this half.

The Undertakers kicked off the second half, and almost immediately were on the defensive against a rejuvenated and revitalised St Matthews, piled on the pressure with a series of throws, corners and free kicks, but failed to score. North Cheltenham could only manage a few attacks, including a weak header, which was easily saved by the visiting keeper. On ten minutes the opposing team had another attack, from which they doubled their lead, with a strange goal following a St Matthews miss kick. Even though the home side appeared tired, and gave the ball away far too often, they were able to mount the occasional attack. Twenty minutes into the half St Matthews scored their third goal, when two of their attacking players bested seven NCC defenders! Five minutes later they got their fourth, resulting from what appeared to be a complete mix up within the home defence. During this occurrence our number nine player was hurt, and it was nice to see several players coming to his assistance. After that the home side woke up, and tried hard to get that elusive goal, their holy grail. However, it was too late, despite a succession of half chances; this was one of those days when the ball would not go into the net, and for the first time this season NCC had failed to score.

0-2 0-3

North Cheltenham Churches were awarded top marks in the Fair Play standings, with a score of 88%. Well done to all concerned.

Having watched the team since September there has been a most noticeable improvement, and I am looking forward to the new season, so is dad, when we hope to see a team whose skills have been honed by their experience in the league.

North Cheltenham Churches 0        St Matthews 4

Michael Wyatt for the final time this season

NCC team in their new stripMatch nineteen:  The first point in a League Match

17 March 2007
North Cheltenham v Diamonds

 NCC defending well
North Cheltenham defending well against Diamonds

On a warm Saturday morning North Cheltenham, in their penultimate game of the season, took on Diamonds at Prestbury Playing Fields. As the game was played on the pitch by the road there were several stoppages to retrieve the ball from this highway. North Cheltenham kicked off into a keen breeze. Diamonds started well, and gained a couple of corners and forced an early save from Tom Parker, deputising for the regular NCC goalkeeper. A promising NCC attack, denied by a good tackle, was followed by a Diamonds free kick, which went just wide of the post. Diamonds made a series of attacks, forcing more corners and another able save from the North Cheltenham’s new keeper. Then a good attack from the home side, including a nice one-two, was cleared. From another attack NCC forced a corner but the ball went straight into the keeper’s hands. As Diamonds continued attacking so a determined defence kept them out. Then came a resolute period of play from Diamonds, during which an attacker just failed to head home a good cross. From another attack they forced two corners, both successfully saved by the home defence. NCC had a slice of luck when a free kick was just cleared, but only for another corner. The resulting cross and shot at goal was pushed onto the woodwork before the rebound was cleared by the defence, for yet another corner. Although the away side kept up their pressure, and created chances, none was taken. The wind was picking up and Diamonds tried to use it to their advantage from corners. North Cheltenham had their chances, from a throw the shot went wide of the post, and another shot went over the bar. Each side was moving both ball and players well, and, although scoreless, it was an exciting game for the spectators. In the final minutes of the opening half the visitors forced a corner but the attempt was wide. As the half time whistle went we realised that this was the first game in which no goals had been scored in a half.

A lucky escape

A lucky escape for NCC

From the start of the second half Diamonds attacked, but the home side soon got into the game and began their attack. They created a good chance to score but were denied by the goalkeeper, who rushed out beyond his goal area to block the ball with his legs. Unfortunately an NCC forward could only fire the rebound over the cross bar. Although both sides were pressing forward there were few real chances. The visitors forced a throw and a corner, and from this corner their attempt went wide of the goal. NCC had a shot, which almost embarrassed the visiting keeper when he nearly dropped the ball into his own goal. With about twenty minutes to go Diamonds, continuing to put pressure on the North Cheltenham Churches, gained yet another corner. From this corner a Diamonds attacker, unmarked, was able to head the ball past the North Cheltenham goalkeeper, to put his side into the lead. This goal seemed to spur on the NCC team, but play still rotated from end to end. Both sides had some free kicks; Diamonds had a couple of good shots go wide of the posts and North Cheltenham, although playing with confidence, was finding it difficult to create scoring opportunities. However, with about ten minutes remaining, Andrew Murton received a good through ball, which he lifted skilfully and delicately over the head of the advancing Diamonds keeper. Two defenders rushing up to his aid could only watch with horror as the ball, having bounced, came to rest in the back of their net. Thus the NCC team maintained their record of scoring in every game.

Diamonds score a goal
Diamonds get their goal ...

NCC score the equaliser
... and NCC soon equalise

The final minutes were frantic as each side tried to score the winner. Brave defending, good goalkeeping and frenetic shooting kept up the excitement and tension as the end of the match drew nearer. Each side had good fortune, but a draw was a fair result. When the final whistle went great joy erupted from the North Cheltenham team as they claimed their first league point of the season. Happy handshakes emerged from all quarters of the pitch, demonstrating the true spirit of sportsmanship in which the game was played. Well done to all of the players, and the ref! NCC can now say Diamonds are their best friend!

North Cheltenham Churches 1    Diamonds 1
Michael Wyatt reporting from a happy touchline 

The drawing team
The drawing team

NCC team in their new stripMatch eighteen:  League Match in the Tiger's lair

10 March 2007
Tewkesbury Trinity Tigers v North Cheltenham

Tigers defend an NCC attack

On a sunny morning North Cheltenham Churches kicked off their antepenultimate match of the season, and attacked in the Tewkesbury Trinity Tigers half. Having taken the game into the Tigers lair they tweaked his tail when Andy Murton slid the ball into the back of the net. A goal in the second minute was indeed stunning, and a great beginning to the game; the question was could this continue. For much of the first half play was constant, with a succession of attacks and counter-attacks being made by both teams. The hard working players were producing an entertaining game for the few spectators present. Most of Trinity’s attacks were made down their right wing, and met a solid defence, but there was a change of tactics after a quarter of an hour when they crossed the ball to their left wing. This produced a penetrating run, which ended with another good save from Tim Rudge in goal; Trinity’s best attack so far. The Tigers, although having greater speed and ball control, were hunting in ones or twos, which enabled NCC to deny their every attack. Within a minute of each other both teams created great chances to score, first Trinity, when good defensive work kept them out after the goalie slipped, and then, at the other end, NCC missed an apparent easy chance. Approaching half-time North Cheltenham spent an encouraging few minutes encamped inside the Tigers goal area. Although they had three successive corners, and a couple of throws on, it produced no score. The NCC team were creating several chances and perhaps ought to have put some away. With half time looming a Trinity attack was partly cleared before disaster descended; the referee was pointing to the penalty spot, for pushing. Having equalised the Tigers were suddenly hungry for more goals. Mounting another attack their shot, going a metre wide of the upright, was deflected into the goal, to present them with a half-time lead they did not deserve.

An NCC attack stopped by a head ... ... and a foot

From the start of the second half the Tigers were ravenous and voracious for goals. The good fortune, which produced their opening brace, continued to follow them. Within seven minutes their lead increased, with another own goal, following a free kick. Although NCC mounted some attacks, these were short, in both numbers and depth. Lacking penetration, they were easily cleared by the hard working defensive pack. The Tigers had their tails up, and mounted a string of raids into their opponents half. From one such attack NCC were fortunate when a good cross was hit over the bar, with the goalie well beaten. Following a long goal kick up field Trinity attacked again, and, as an NCC defender crossed the ball, a Tiger pounced on it and fired a low shot into the net. The rapacious Tigers were insatiable, their defence worked better and their attacks were well organised, with good control of both ball and the field of play.

NCC close out a lone predatory tiger

Following this fourth goal against them, the away side had a brief spell when they came into the game more. Good fortune was not favouring them, and from one attack the ball hit the Trinity upright before crossing in front of an open goal without anybody making contact. With just over ten minutes left Tim Rudge made a brave save, which resulted in a collision with a Trinity player. Shortly after this mauling he was forced to retire; his courageous effort over, especially so when he had returned earlier that very morning from Sydney! Father Grant, himself a late arrival, due to prior commitments, took over, and was immediately in action. However, he was unable to prevent a shot from hitting the back of the net. The Tigers were unstoppable, and hunted for more goals, which they devoured with renewed vigour. Luck continued to support them, and in the final few minutes they scored two more goals, their last one followed a rebound from an NCC player, which fell kindly for an attacking Tiger. Even then the North Cheltenham Churches had one final attack, which just went wide.

Trinity Tigers 7     North Cheltenham Churches 1

Edward Wyatt reporting from the Tigers lair

NCC team in their new stripMatch seventeen:  League Match and a brilliant start!

3 March 2007
North Cheltenham v Trinity

Trinity look on in disbelief as NCC score their second goal
Trinity look on in disbelief as NCC score their second goal

This home game, relocated at the King George V playing fields because the pitch at Prestbury was unplayable, was postponed from 20 January. It was a sunny morning and there was a cold westerly wind blowing down the pitch. The surface was soft and there were a few puddles about, especially in the centre circle. Trinity kicked off and made the first attack of the game, which was easily defended, allowing North Cheltenham to make their first attack. Although play flowed up and down the field, with a series of throws-on and corners, it lead to few scoring chances. Both teams were playing well at this point. Trinity had a good chance when their attacker fired a shot over the bar after a defending player had closed him out. After a quarter of hour the NCC team, using the slope to their advantage, attacked. Martin Eccles scored when he slid the ball past the advancing keeper into the corner of the net near the right hand post. Despite Trinity putting pressure on the North Cheltenham defence, with a couple of shots which went over the crossbar, North Cheltenham attacked again. They were unlucky when a good cross, from Andrew Murton, was just headed over the bar by their goal-scorer. North Cheltenham, full of confidence, were playing good football, but Trinity, on the other hand, presented a sluggish team, particularly in defence. North Cheltenham continued to create shots, but they went wide or were saved by the Trinity keeper. After about half an hour Trinity made some more determined attacks. One of them hit the top of the crossbar, and another was saved by Tim Rudge in goal. Extraordinarily, this was his first save of the game, although he made another soon after. North Cheltenham were defending very well and shutting down the Trinity attacks. Then, five minutes before half time, a good through ball from Andrew Murton put Paul Bennett in a position from which he scored a second goal for North Cheltenham Churches. Following this Trinity created a few more chances but good defending kept them out.

 Tim Rudge reaches high to make a fine save
Tim Rudge reaches high to make a fine save

At half-time the home side must have been pleased with their position, but might have felt disappointed not to have put away more of their chances. Despite playing against both wind and the slope, North Cheltenham began the second half in the perfect manner. They scored when a shot fell short of goal and, as the keeper waited for the ball to bounce, he was surprised by Paul Bennett who nipped in and slid the ball into the back of the net. This was the apogee of NCC’s game, from now on it was down hill! Trinity went from second gear into overdrive, and produced a stunning display of skilful football, which enabled them to win the game. At first good defending and brave goalkeeping denied Trinity, as they made a series of fast runs down the wings, culminating in several unsuccessful shots at goal.

Tim Rudge beaten by a wicked deflection  

Tim Rudge beaten by a wicked deflection


Shall we dance?

After ten minutes their pressure paid off when a long range shot, which the home keeper had covered, took a wicked deflection off a defending player and sped into the top right hand corner, past the out of positioned keeper. This goal fired up Trinity, who rained a succession of shots towards goal. One of the shots resulted in a corner, from which they pulled back another goal. Even though North Cheltenham managed to mount the occasional attack these were easily contained. Before the half hour mark Trinity had equalised. What a game! What a comeback! Then Trinity continued to dominate. By scoring two more goals, in as many minutes, they took the lead for the first time in the match. Although Trinity’s speed and ball skills troubled North Cheltenham’s tiring defence, they were unable to score again. North Cheltenham staggered on and created two great chances but failed to score. After a great start this was a disappointing result, but, following on from the last game, demonstrates the continued progress and self-belief being made by the home side. 

North Cheltenham 3  Trinity 5

Michael Wyatt reporting the final score from a muddy pitch side.

24 February 2007
North Cheltenham v St Matts

Postponed because of water logged pitch

NCC team in their new stripMatch sixteen:  Cup Match and a win!

17 February 2007
Gloucester v North Cheltenham

In this final group match the North Cheltenham Churches football team took on Gloucester, at Plock Court; the fourth time the teams have played each other. The weather was cold and damp, and the sticky pitch was not easy to play on, but the match became an exciting game of two unequal halves; all square during the first but North Cheltenham dominating the second.

Steve Hawkins equalises
Steve Hawkins equalises

From the kick-off North Cheltenham launched an attack, which Gloucester cleared, and then they began their opening foray into the NCC’s half. This developed into a series of  end-to-end attacks, and in one the home side was unlucky when their shot hit the bar. Although the home side began to dominate the game, with a succession of throws and corners, their attacks were cleared by the defence or saved by the agile Tim Rudge in goal. Approaching the quarter of an hour mark Gloucester were awarded a controversial penalty. Unfortunately, Tim dived the wrong way, and his team could only watch helplessly as the ball sped into the top right hand corner of the net. Almost at once Gloucester nearly scored again, but a brilliant one-handed effort from Tim Rudge tipped the ball over the bar. North Cheltenham never lost heart, and nearing twenty minutes staged a penetrating attack, when Steve Hawkins shook off two defenders and fired past the diving keeper, to produce the equalising goal.

Then the home side mounted more attacks, which included a free kick that was cleared by the defence and a series of fine saves from the visiting goalkeeper, one with his legs and another after it seemed inevitable that the ball would cross the line. Following a short period of activity in the middle of the muddy pitch NCC were matching Gloucester, and made a couple of good moves, but their crosses fell on empty ground. After forty-two minutes another Gloucester attack resulted in a corner, which was a headed home. However, within a minute North Cheltenham, showing tremendous courage and determination, equalised when Paul Bennett drilled the ball into the goal. Both sides pressed hard in the minutes approaching half time, and the visitors could consider themselves fortunate to be all square after Gloucester hit the bar for the second time.

Gloucester's free kick goes wide of the wall
Gloucester's free kick goes wide of the wall

Gloucester started the new half strongly but were unable to penetrate North Cheltenham’s hard working defence. Their free kick, shot wide of the NCC wall, was easily covered by the North Cheltenham goalkeeper. The home side appeared to run out of ideas, and could only produce a series of wild shots, imparting a lot of energy but having nothing to show for it. Ten minutes into the half a break from a better organised North Cheltenham side was aimed towards the goal. The home keeper could only knock the ball out, where it was coolly collected by Andrew Murton. Evading a defender he passed the ball across the face of the goal, where Paul Bennett shot past the out of positioned keeper, for his second goal of the match. This put North Cheltenham into the lead for the first time.

Then Gloucester piled on the pressure in an attempt to find the equalising goal; shots went wide, were played out by the defence and saved by Tim Rudge, who used his legs, feet and hands with great skill. Good fortune helped when one shot just went over the bar. Both teams continued to attack in an intense manner. With fifteen minutes to go Andrew Murton took on two defenders before curling the ball past the flying goalkeeper, for North Cheltenham to have a two-goal advantage, incredible! Five minutes later the home side had a corner which resulted in their third goal, and they strove hard for a fourth. An interesting decision by the referee gave Gloucester a free kick near the penalty spot, resulting from a NCC back pass to their keeper. This free kick was dealt with successively, as was a continuous bombardment when Gloucester fired over the bar, hit wide or had shots saved by the keeper. As the referee blew the final whistle, and NCC had recorded their first victory at sixteen attempts, a whoop of delight was heard.

This was a red letter day, a great first win and there will be more to come.
An ecstatic Michael Wyatt reporting the result;
Gloucester 3   North Cheltenham 4

The winning team
The Winning Team

NCC team in their new stripMatch fifteen:  Cup Match:

10 February 2007
Cambray v North Cheltenham

On a cold but cloudy day North Cheltenham took on Cambray at the Burrows, Leckhampton. From this ground were pretty views of the hills with its ridge and furrow of green and white, as the snow slowly disappeared. To the right the tall spire of the local church pointed skywards, and above all a blanket of cloud reduced the efforts of the sun.

North Cheltenham kicked off and played down the slope. Both teams started the game well and created several good chances. North Cheltenham spent a few minutes in the opposition’s half, with numerous throw-ons, a corner and a shot at goal, which was saved comfortably by the goalkeeper. This was followed by a short period of play, in the middle of the field, when neither side could gain an advantage. After twenty minutes the home side made a break up the right wing, before the ball was crossed and the drive went in off a post, to open the scoring. End to end play saw NCC’s attacks cleared before a header, resulting from a Cambray corner, was hit over the bar. North Cheltenham spent some time in their opponents’ half before Cambray broke out. Tim Rudge misjudged their long-range shot, which allowed the home side to double their score, after twenty-eight minutes. After this goal Cambray continued to make a series of attacks, but several important saves by the brave goalkeeper prevented the situation from getting any worse. Then North Cheltenham had a great chance as Andrew Murton made a good run down the slope before crossing the ball. Unfortunately the NCC forward running in to meet this cross could only kick it wide of the goal. Five minutes before half time a clumsy NCC tackle gave away a successful penalty, and 3-0 remained as the half time score.

From the start of the second half the home side continued to dominate the game, and had a couple of early chances to increase their lead, but were denied by the hard-working goal keeper. Within five minutes, following a rapid run down the field, Cambray had scored their fourth goal, and a minute later they added a fifth, with another quick movement. Even though the pitch was cutting up, due to the recent snow and rain, Cambray seemed to have no problems in scoring. The home side failed to increase their lead from the many chances they created, mainly due the industrious North Cheltenham keeper. Cambray were unlucky when they hit the bar although NCC breathed a sigh of relief. Although North Cheltenham made a few chances these were saved. For a few minutes the wind picked up and posed some problems for both keepers. With twenty minutes left the sun came out and warmed the players’ backs. Five minutes later North Cheltenham pulled a goal back when Andrew Murton fired home from inside the penalty area. Although the home side created more chances, one being cleared off the line, North Cheltenham got their second goal when Andrew Murton scored with the last kick of the game.

Perhaps North Cheltenham had wished this was not the only church match that had survived the weather, because the final score, in NCC’s penultimate cup game, was Cambray 5   North Cheltenham 2.

Michael Wyatt reporting from the pitch side

NCC team in their new stripMatch fourteen:  league match

3 February 2007
Gloucester v North Cheltenham

The team left a frosty but sunny Prestbury to travel to Plock Court, Oxstalls, for their fixture against Gloucester. Here the weather was very foggy and cold. While both teams started this game in a fast and furious way, producing a number of chances, neither could score. Then Gloucester started to increase the pressure with several attacking runs, one hitting the post. Awarded a free kick on the halfway line North Cheltenham briefly relieved the pressure on them, before the home side made another chance, which was well saved by Tim Rudge. As the weather got foggier so Gloucester got stronger and kept peppering the North Cheltenham goal as the away struggled to get the ball out of their own half. North Cheltenham weathered the storm and as the fog lifted so did their confidence. Following a rare attack, which was cleared, the home side had a good chance, which was put over the bar. Then approaching the half hour mark another attack from North Cheltenham was parried by the keeper but an alert Graham Price, following up, was able to shoot past an out of positioned goalkeeper. Unfortunately, for the away side, within two minutes Gloucester had equalised, but nothing less than they deserved. This was followed by a five-minute period of play centring in the middle of the pitch. After a North Cheltenham attack was cleared Gloucester created several chances of their own, and just before half time they hit the woodwork. North Cheltenham’s defence held out, all square at half time.

Gloucester v North Cheltenham Churches
Playing in the fog

The second half started like the first half, with both sides creating chances. One Gloucester attack paid off with an unfortunate own goal, to put the home side in the lead for the first time in the match. Soon after Gloucester had free kick which hit the top of the bar. North Cheltenham had a couple of chances to find an equaliser but their shots went just wide of, and then over, the bar. Both teams were finding it difficult to play on this sticky pitch. There was more end-to-end play, which included a very fine save by Tim Rudge, who had an excellent game. Soon after Gloucester hit the woodwork again, for the fourth time in the match. As Gloucester continued to create chances so North Cheltenham struggled, in vain, to break out in their attempt to find an equalising goal.

Although this game was entertaining to watch, it was a disappointing result for the away team, which ended Gloucester 2 North Cheltenham 1.

Michael Wyatt reporting from the pitch side

NCC team in their new stripReturn match against Cambray

13 January 2007
Cambray v North Cheltenham

At the start of this game the play was pretty even. The blustery wind made the situation difficult, especially for the goalkeeper kicking into the wind. Cambray had a few shots on target, which went wide of the posts or over the bar. North Cheltenham created a great chance that was well saved by the home keeper. Increased pressure from the home side resulted in a corner, from which the ball, after bubbling about, was scrambled into the net for the first goal. Cambray could have increased their lead but fine goalkeeping and some good defensive work kept them out.

In the second half North Cheltenham were playing against the wind. Cambray took advantage of the conditions and mounted several attacks. Although they had a corner and a throw-in, their efforts were not rewarded. Then Cambray achieved a fortunate goal. As one of their players made a cross the ball was taken by the wind and ended up in the net for a lucky score. The home side increased their domination and although they created several chances they failed to increase their lead. Their third strike was scored past a diving goalkeeper. Soon after it could have been four but an unlucky shot hit the post. With the last kick of the game North Cheltenham opened their account when Andrew Murton fired in a low shot. The score reflected an improvement by North Cheltenham since their previous meeting with Cambray, an observation mentioned by the home team after the match.

The final score: Cambray 3 North Cheltenham 1.

Michael Wyatt reporting from the pitch side

6 January 2007
North Cheltenham v St Matts

Postponed because of water logged pitch

NCC team in their new stripCup Match

9 December 2006
North Cheltenham v Gloucester,

Gloucester, the visitors, started this cup match very well and only a fine save from Tim Rudge prevented an early goal inside the first minute. However, their early pressure paid off and they scored the opening goal. North Cheltenham’s first real attack was denied by the post. Although Gloucester created many good chances solid defensive work kept them out, but their perseverance was ultimately rewarded when they scored two quick goals. Another chance by North Cheltenham went wide, but approaching half time Andy Macauly managed to reduce the deficit, but at once the opposition netted again, making the score 4-1 at half-time.

In the second half the away side scored six more goals, mainly from a skilful use of the fast diagonal ball that easily penetrated a tiring defence which had shown some early resistance. Their domination netted three more goals before Andy Macauly shot just went wide of the post. Then the Gloucester team scored two more goals, to bring their current tally to nine. A welcome North Cheltenham attack resulted in a deserved goal when a long throw, flicked on by Andy Macauly, hit a defender, before spinning into the visitors’ net. Then, with a move of familiar fluency, Gloucester scored their tenth and final goal.

The final score: North Cheltenham 2 Gloucester 10.

Michael Wyatt reporting from the pitch side

Match ten: Cornerstone

NCC team in their new strip2 December 2006
Cornerstone v North Cheltenham Churches

A hastily rearranged fixture due to waterlogged pitch saw North Cheltenham Churches travelling off to Pershore for the eagerly anticipated rematch against Cornerstone. Although the new pitch was barely playable, NCC made the most of the heavy conditions to fashion some excellent chances in the first half. The Cornerstone No 8 had an outstanding game yet again but even he struggled to cut out some great through balls from the NCC midfield and eventually Jason Burge found something special to beat the diving keeper and make it 1-0.

However, the Undertakers simply couldn't kill off the match despite a number of good chances, largely thanks to some great saves from the Cornerstone keeper. And for that we would pay in the second half as Cornerstone came back into the game. Breaking quickly from a thwarted NCC attack, three passes saw a Cornerstone player into great position for an unsaveable shot to make it 1-1. Then another break from a North Cheltenham throw-in saw Tim Rudge lobbed to make it 2-1 to Cornerstone. After that there were chances at both ends with NCC hitting the post and Tim required to palm a ball away at the last second from two rising Cornerstone heads but neither side really looked like scoring again as the heavy pitch told on everyone's legs.

Losing 2-1 was bitterly disappointing given the way we'd played but the morale is still there, the scorelines are getting closer and the performances better. Bring on Gloucester next week!

Fr Grant

NCC team in their new stripMatch nine: first game against Cornerstone

18 November 2006
North Cheltenham Churches v Cornerstone

I'm sure the Christian story is about hope out of despair but the tale of this match was very much the other way round.

After soaking up some early pressure from a Cornerstone team which was clearly keen to play the ball on the floor through the middle of the park, the Green-and-Whites gradually came more and more into the game. A few early balls to Andy Murton and Tim Rudge showed the counter-attack was very much on and North Chelt began to forge chances on the break. Andy Murton coolly finished a slick move through the middle to put NCC 1-0 up and looked hungry for more. Martin Eccles and Tim Buttress blazed over and after Andy Murton beat the keeper with a mazy run it took some desperate goal-line defending to prevent NCC getting a second. Meanwhile at the other end, for all Cornerstone's good possession, Pete Sexton was unusually quiet with just one real shot of any intent from Cornerstone which hit the post.

Things looked good for the second half but the story soon changed. Looking to play a much quicker ball over the top, Cornerstone equalised with just three minutes gone and after some good saves from their keeper found a second to take some of the sting out of the match. Hard battles in midfield ebbed and flowed and for a long time neither side looked like landing the decisive blow. However, with full-time fast approaching, NCC tried to chase the match and left themselves very exposed at the back. Great counterattacking from Cornerstone through their very speedy No 9 led to dangerous situations and in the final three minutes Cornerstone scored twice more to seal their victory.

The final 4-1 scoreline seemed rather harsh but Cornerstone's keeper kept them in it at key times and their forwards managed to capitalise. The match was much closer than the score suggests and I think everyone will be looking forward to the rematch in just a fortnight's time.

Fr Grant reporting from the Prestbury Playing Fields

NCC team in their new stripMatch seven:

11 November 2006
 Diamonds v North Cheltenham Churches

After twenty minutes Diamonds had scored two goals before Tim Rudge pulled one back for North Cheltenham. Shortly before half time Diamonds scored three quick goals, and for the fifth time in seven games North Cheltenham found themselves 5-1 down. In the second half Andrew Murton scored a penalty, before Diamonds scored their sixth and final goal. In the last half hour gallant defending by North Cheltenham prevented the home side from scoring any more goals, leaving the final score North Cheltenham 2 Diamonds 6.

Michael Wyatt reporting from the pitch side

NCC team in their new stripMatch six: second cup match

21 October 2006
North Cheltenham Churches v Cambray

North Cheltenham Churches v Cambrey
Free play but no time to admire the hills

North Cheltenham kicked off their second cup match against Cambray. Within ten minutes Cambray scored three goals in the space of three minutes! Good defending and some brilliant saves from Tim Rudge stopped them from scoring more goals before Chris Rudge pulled one back. For much of the second half Cambray continued to create chances, and in the last ten minutes their pressure paid off when they scored two more goals, making the final score North Cheltenham 1 Cambray 5.

Michael Wyatt reporting from the pitch side

NCC team in their new stripMatch five: first cup match

14 October 2006
Diamonds v North Cheltenham Churches

On a cloudy day at Naunton Park North Cheltenham played Diamonds in a cup match.  Although North Cheltenham started well, within half an hour they were 3-0 down.  Then in a five-minute spell Andrew Murton and Tim Rudge each scored.  However a disastrous ten-minute period just before half time North Cheltenham conceded a further four goals.  The second half was quieter even though Diamonds scored three more times, to make the final score Diamonds 10 North Cheltenham 2.

Michael Wyatt reporting from the pitch side

NCC team in their new stripMatch three: new kit christened against Cambray

23 September 2006
Trinity v North Cheltenham Churches

Trinity 11  North Cheltenham 3

Trinity v NCC
All eyes on the ball as the goal keeper awaits its coming .. down

NCC team in their new stripMatch two: new kit christened against Cambray

16 September 2006
North Cheltenham Churches v Cambray

On a misty morning North Cheltenham took on Cambray at Prestbury playing fields. The home team wore their smart new kit, white with green hoops on their shirts, white shorts and green socks. Cambray started the game well and had an early free kick, which was half cleared but the rebound went wide. Cambray had a corner which also came to nothing. The visitors were playing well at this early stage, forcing North Cheltenham to defend hard, although they made the occasional attack. Cambray piled on the pressure with several shots and corners; a few went wide and a few were saved by Tim Rudge in goal. Brave defending and a succession of missed chances kept the score goalless. About ten minutes before half time Cambray had another shot. The wet ball was grasped by the keeper but it squirmed out of his hand for a Cambray player following up to score. Just before half time Cambray scored a lucky second goal when the ball hit the attacker on his leg before going in.

NCC v Cambray
Another goal-mouth tussle!

Early in the second half Cambray scored twice more. This was not the start North Cheltenham wanted but it spurred them on to their best efforts, a shot by Andy Macauly just went over, and then a free kick was cleared. Cambray continued to make attacks which were denied, with the home keeper performing well. Both Chris Rudge and Andy Macauly took corners which were just headed wide. Then Cambray made team changes which lead to them creating several chances to increase their lead. Within ten minutes to go good pressure from North Cheltenham was rewarded when Chris Rudge scored a consolation goal. However, Cambray scored again when the wet ball was only partially saved and an alert attacker had an easy tap in.

The final result North Cheltenham 1 Cambray 5.

Michael Wyatt reporting from the sidelines

NCC team in their new stripSeptember 9th: the season kicks off against St Matthew’s

9 September 2006
North Cheltenham Churches v St Matthew's

After four weeks of hard training Prestbury, now transformed into North Cheltenham Churches, began the football season against local rivals St Matthew’s in the new Cotswold Churches League. On a warm sunny Saturday morning St Matt’s kicked off on Prestbury playing fields. In the early stages the game was fairly even, with the North Cheltenham defence working hard against the penetrating attacks from St Matt’s. St Matt’s had a possible claim for a penalty denied. Soon after St Matt’s had a good chance to score but a fine save from Tim Rudge kept the score goalless. North Cheltenham’s chance to score was well saved by the goalkeeper. Sustained pressure from St Matt’s forced Tim Rudge to make another fine save and Andy Collins cleared off the line. Then a free kick from St Matt’s was well cleared. Their pressure paid off when St Matt’s scored a well-worked opening goal. Our keeper got a hand to it but could not keep the ball out. Another fine save from Tim kept the half time score at 1-0.

Early in the second half St Matt’s had a goal disallowed for offside, but soon after scored their second. North Cheltenham brought on their substitutes but St Matt’s continued their pressure and an unlucky own goal made it 3-0. Brave work from the North Cheltenham keeper, who made a good double save, kept the score respectable. However the fourth goal came from a corner. North Cheltenham never gave up and towards the end Chris Rudge took a corner. Andrew Murton headed the ball towards goal and Lee Bradley poked it home from close range to pull a goal back. With a few minutes to go the opposition scored again. North Cheltenham tried hard, and, although they lost to a better side, had improved from last year’s meetings.

The final score was St Matthew’s 5 North Cheltenham 1.

Michael Wyatt reporting from the pitch side

NCC team in their new stripFootball – North Cheltenham Churches enter the League

Hoping that a change of name may bring a change of fortunes, Prestbury Football Team have transformed over the summer into North Cheltenham Churches to reflect the new era of Team Ministry we are about to enter. A new kit of green and white hoops will complete the new look as we prepare to face the other seven Christian sides that make up the Cotswold Churches League. Last year saw a great team spirit and camaraderie and we’re on the look-out for new players, so if you’d like to join in the fun, do come along to our pre-season training on Wednesday nights at 7pm at the playing field. By one of those coincidences that you can only put down to God’s sense of humour, our first competitive match is against St Matt’s. Hopefully something of the cricketing success may rub off, as last year they beat us 8-2 not once but twice.

New players, contact Andy Macauly. Or if you’re at a loose end, why not come down and cheer us on for our home matches (10.30am kick-off at Prestbury Playing Field)?

Fr Grant


North Cheltenham Churches Football Team
Our team just before the game on 9 September 2006

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