Tag: North Berks League

Listening to Steventon v Hanney 66 from the causeway

Stivetune (xi cent.); Estiventona (xii cent.); Stiveton (xiii cent.); Stivington, Estiventon, Stiventon, Stuvinton, Steveington (xiii cent.); Stephyngton (xvi cent.).

The parish, which contained two tithings, East End and West End, in the 14th and 15th centuries, comprises 2,401 acres. It is in the Vale of the White Horse, where the country gradually ascends from the Thames to the downs, the height varying from 200 ft. above the ordnance datum in the north to 300 ft. in the south, on Steventon Hill. The subsoil is Gault, Upper Greensand and Kimmeridge Clay, the soil cretaceous clay. The principal crops grown are wheat, beans and oats. There are 1,630 acres of arable land, 695 acres of permanent grass and 26 acres of woods and plantations. There were 268 acres of meadow in 1086, and the whole parish appears in 1294 as a large manorial farm, the manor containing 1,500 acres of arable land, 220 acres of meadow, 20 acres of pasture, two dovecotes and poultry worth 67s. 1d.

(from A History of the County of Berkshire: Volume 4. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1924; quoted in british-history.ac.uk).

 

 

As mentioned in a previous post entitled Listening to Didcot Eagles the fleeting and ephemeral presence of the sounds of grassroots football matches on parish recreation grounds has become an important part of this project. I am fascinated by the way that the sounds of the match brush up against the dominant soundscape, that is, the sounds that through their continued presence are part of the everyday soundscape of the site. Didcot Eagles play at Brightwell Recreation Ground, a playing field at the Southern edge of Brightwell-cum-Sotwell on Mackney Lane. The village has been bypassed and so the sounds of life passing through have now been replaced by the distant white noise of the A4130. Steventon’s home ground is in the North East corner of the village but roads intersect at the South West corner of the green including the B4017 Abingdon Road. There is also sound from the Paddington to Bristol railway line that  lies to the South whilst the A34 is just a couple of fields away to the East and the Milton interchange is nearby. In short, the air in Steventon reverberates with the sounds of transit.

When I arrived for the North Berks League Division Five match against Hanney 66 I parked in the village hall car park and began to explore the surrounding area listening to the shouts of players and coaches. I moved towards the match and away again as I tried to find the boundary of encounter with the sounding presence of the match. At the back of the village hall and to the South of the village green I found a raised causeway, stepped up onto it and began to record:

 

As i began to think about writing this post I did some research about Steventon and discovered that the Causeway I had been standing on was part of a medieval causeway that runs from the church at the South-West edge of the village to the village green and beyond as Milton Lane becomes a track and then a narrow footpath. The football matches played on the green for the last hundred or more years, then, become part of the sounding history of the causeway, part of the evolving soundscape of the village, part of the auditory fabric of the inhabitant’s everyday experiences.

 

I moved along the causeway and began to hear the sounds of an air pump feeding the bouncy castle at the social club:

 

 

 

Walking around the back of the club house I stood at the edge of a small car park and listened as one of the players struggled with a padlock as he tried to get back into the changing rooms. I walked across the green towards a bench situated between the club house and the pitch. I took a seat, changed the batteries in my Edirol and listened to the ebb and flow of the match:

 

Having spent some time on the bench I wandered around the pitch and took up a position on the East side of the village green roughly parallel with the half-way line and spent some time listening to the match. One of the most distinctive aspects of the on pitch communication was the use of Stivvy as an abbreviation of Steventon. this interested me because up until the C16th Steventon had a variety of variants on the name most of which had i as the first vowel rather than the current e including Stivington, Estiventon and Stiventon. Perhaps, then, the abbreviation as heard here is a survival from and earlier iteration of the name of the village:

 

left and right
press left
make sure you come out
it’s going
it’s going
it’s going
get it under
your ball
it’s gone
it’s gone
behind you
turn
turn
turn
to your left
step to your left
there you go
sorry
sorry
it’s good enough
it’s good enough
getting further back here
in here
in here
you’re in
and challenge
challenge then
retain it
square
in the box
time
time
‘ead
great knock
unlucky
time
time
push out
push out
unlucky
good save
well done
right
set again yellow
let’s keep it loud Stivvy
let’s keep talkin’
drop a bit
drop with the kick
let’s call it
let’s turn, let’s turn
man on, man on
track him
get shape then
mark up
tuck ’round, tuck ‘round
man coming
man on
sit on
stand
well done
easy
time
sorry
not now
not now
not now
take him on
let’s go
blue ‘ead
time
unlucky mate
coming in here
squeeze on
no, not in there
in the middle
look for it
go left, go left, go left
drop, drop
winner
well done
stand
stand
stand
drop
good work Stivvy
come on
keep going
press
go on then
drop
man on
ref
ref
unlucky
get shape then
alright
i’ll dummy it for him
who wants it Hanney
drop for the kick
keep dropping
keep dropping
no fouls
take it in
take it in
six yard box
make something of it then Stivvy
drop
Stivvy
work
get your shape
well done
early ball
let’s get on it
shuffle over
shuffle over
option there
man on
let’s hold
hold
through ball
hold the ball
watch that
watch that
stand
no foul
ref
yes
pick him up
away
make him play
make him play
back if you want
there you go
ref
runners
run the ball
good play boys
pick him up
you’re giving him too much space
fucking joke
fucking joke
all the way then Stivvy
stay back
keep it going yellows
it’s not over yet
back in
let’s go again then yellows
tight then yellows
who wants it
time
time
sorry
wide
recover
recover

As the match drew to a close I walked back across the village green and sat on the grass near the club house and bouncy castle. There is an ensemble of sounds here brought together by the presence of the match – the sound of the air pump mingles with the calls and shouts of children; a radio plays music inside the club house; chat at the end of the match; adults sitting at tables talking in lower voices; a buzz of activity; the final whistle.

Listening to the A34 from Drayton FC and Milton United

 

The two images in this post are taken from the English Noise map Viewer that can be found here. There is a key for the map indicating the average decibel levels represented by the overlaid colours at the end of this post.

The A34 runs from Salford to Winchester. The Southern leg of the road cuts through Oxfordshire from North to South. The soundscape at Drayton FC to the East and Milton United FC to the West of the road is dominated by the sound of the internal combustion engine; the resonating tarmac; and the rattle of trailers and trucks . Drayton FC play in the North Berks League and their pitch is on the South-West edge of the village. The centre circle is 175m East of the A34. If you stand in the centre-circle – where this recording was made – there are benchless breeze block dugouts; a line of low trees; and an electricity pylon that stands in the  field between the pitch and the road. The embankment of the A34 rises above the field and the sounds of the road flood down the embankment and saturate the surrounding area with a band of consistent high frequency noise. The rattle of trucks; the phasing of tyres on asphalt as they approach and depart; the liquid drone of the road – these are the sounds that dominate the listener’s attention.

 

 

Milton United FC play at Milton Heights which sits above the Milton interchange of the A34. I made this recording from the centre circle of one of the two pitches on the site which is 370m South-West of the A34. The sound here differs radically from that at Drayton. There is more local detail and a more varied frequency range. There is a sense that we are listening to sounds from farther afield – that this is an auditory vantage point. If I turn my head to the South I can hear the road as a high frequency drone – a more distant sound; if I turn to the North-East I can hear a more complex sound – a greater range of frequencies that includes vehicles slowing and braking as they exit the A34. There are sounds that are closer by too – trucks sit in the lane that leads to Milton Heights; the president of the club is painting white lines and at times we can hear this as the wheels of the line marker work against each other and the paint moves from wheel to wheel before it makes contact with the grass.

 

The key below is taken from the Extrium English Noise Map Viewer:

Listening to Didcot Eagles

 

 

The fleeting and ephemeral presence of grassroots football matches on rural recreation grounds has become an obsession during the development of Get Rid! The recordings in this post were made in Brightwell-cum-Sotwell during the match between Didcot Eagles and Marcham Reserves in the North Berks League Division Five. Didcot Eagles featured in the previous post Presence and absence at Brightwell Recreation Ground alongside recordings of a match taking place and a match not taking place. In another post I considered the ephemeral nature of the soundscape within any given match – the tendency for the sounding presence of the match to arrive and depart like a series of waves with sound-making concentrated around crucial moments in the game.

These recordings were made as I walked towards and then arrived at the Rec. I have written elsewhere about the moment at which we first become aware of a sound – the boundary of encounter – in particular when spending time in the marshes around Aldeburgh recording sounds for a project the Swimmer developed with Roma Tearne:

Standing in the marshes, microphone in hand, headphones on I am thinking about the point at which we first meet a sound, where we first become aware of it – the boundary of encounter.  As I walk towards the beach I become aware of the white noise of waves on shingle.  How long have I been able to hear this? I retrace my steps.  I can’t hear it now.  I step forward;  one step, two steps. There it is  – faint but present.

 

Standing in the lane 
The variable presence of the sounds of any football match mean that the boundary is constantly moving – striking out into the surrounding fields and lanes as a firm command is given and then shrinking away as the game stalls. I first became aware of Didcot Eagles v Marcham Reserves as I walked along the lane next to the Red Lion Pub and stopped to listen and make a recording:

 

On the path next to the allotments
I began to walk down the path next to the allotments and stopped to listen again as the on-pitch voices began to become more audible. I was the only person present at that time. As I stood still and listened there was a balance between the on-pitch sounds of the match and birdsong in the surrounding shrubs and trees:

 

Near the stream
As the path leaves the allotments behind there is a copse of recently planted trees and the path then leads to a bridge of split logs that crosses a small stream. I paused just before the stream and recorded again. This time the on-pitch communication was much clearer. I arrived at this point just as there was a pause in play – perhaps a lost ball or a contentious decision – there was a lot of talk directed at the referee. Whatever the case, the game was static, inactive. After a couple of minutes of this the game began to move again articulating the dimensions of the pitch beyond the stream and the screen of trees at the edge of the Rec. As the play moved from end to end and the on-pitch communication followed the ball I began to get a sense of the space the game was taking place in:

 

Sitting on the bench
I crossed the stream, walked out onto the Rec and sat down on one of the benches. On pitch communication was very vocal at this stage. In addition to this several families with young children were playing on the swings, slide and climbing frame.

 

get out, get out
all up chaps
press him
that’s a foul
hey
ref
well done lino
shut down
shut him down
come on boys
What the fucking hell
It’s gotta be said
he weren’t offside
let’s talk yeah
talk to each other
come on son
you’re on, you’re on
ref, ref
short
give it
how long have we got?
I want to go and have a beer
can you do ‘im
stay up, stay up
floor
away
boys
help ‘im
time
hit it
go wide man
time, time, time
hey
unlucky
come on
come on then boys
press that!
good touch
eh, well done lads
boys, you need to fucking mark a man
joking
coming in
get out
GET OUT!
out
back
man on, man on
you’re not going to do another one like that
and you had a shot
you cannot say nothing
he’d have blown up
winner
oh referee
ref
what’s it for ref
ref
how far are you going?
it wasn’t there
stick it go on
back in
BACK IN!
win that
and again
go on
well done
time
touch it, touch it
hey
two ‘ere
scrappy
time, time
travel
NO!
REF!
He weren’t even offside
behind him ref
every time
all of us, yeah
overlap
superb
ref
ref
ref
ref
two ‘ere
out wide
deliver
back ‘I’m up
our ball
penalty
ref
he didn’t touch me
winner
LET’S GO!
don’t fucking lose it
how long ref?
about sixteen?
How long?
sixteen?
sixteen?
hand ball!
fucking great
middle, middle, middle…

 

 

Standing close to the pitch
As the match finished I walked East across the Rec and paused to make a final recording as the home team dismantled the goals and talked about the match. The children continued to play and spilt out onto the pitch as the presence of the game waned:

 

 

Hey, why aren’t we talking about who we’re picking up? Who are we picking up?

 

Grassroots football is  a game of variable intensity; of noise and silence; presence and absence; activity and inactivity. Substitutions are made; the ball takes a wild deflection and disappears into a garden followed by a player who climbs into the undergrowth to retrieve it; a free-kick is given and the game stalls; there’s an injury and the players stand around in small groups talking or looking at the ground. Then the game explodes with a high tackle; a controversial decision from the ref; a counter-attack; a coach barely able to prevent himself from running onto the pitch and who instead ends up kicking the dugout. The action comes in waves. The sound builds then recedes.

The quality that football pitches have as sites of presence and absence – of sound heard and sound imagined – is discussed in a previous post and will be discussed further as Get Rid! develops. This post concentrates on the presence, absence and qualities of the sounding events during two particular matches.

To listen to this recent recording of the match at Wallingford’s Hithercroft stadium in which they took on Berinsfield – leaders of the North Berks League Division One – is to experience an ephemeral and fragile soundscape. The sounding presence of the match is at times indicated by intense verbal activity whilst at other times there is little evidence of it at all. At these times of absence the sound of game-time activity – rather than being projected beyond the physical bounds of the players and the playing area – becomes localised. The sounds are denied to the spectator as they dissipate between the source and the listener: the sound of studs making small depressions in the soft surface; the sleeves of shirts brushing against the body; players catching their breath. There were times during the match when there was a real intensity in the communication between players, coaches and match officials; and times when those sounds were absent or indistinct and instead the ear was drawn to the conversations of small groups of spectators; the sound of a toddler exploring the stands; the sound of fast-moving cars on the bypass; and of birdsong. This variance in intensity of game-time communication may – on this occasion – result from the stage of the match as the recording was made in the last twenty minutes with the result already decided; or it may be the particular nature of these squads – perhaps they are not big talkers; or perhaps this ebb and flow is part of the syntax of the game.

 

 

Game-time communication in the match between Dorchester and Hungerford Town FC Swifts – who were the most vocal of the two sides – from the North Berks League Division Two was consistently intense despite one of the sides being several goals clear when the recording was made. I made this recording from behind one of the goals and the goalkeeper was vocal in instructing his defenders and encouraging the team. The culture of the squad was clearly predicated on a lot of talking – there was a sense that every action required an instruction – free header – and an assessment – tell you what, another lucky one, tell you what, we’re shocking at defending corners. A player making a forward run; an adventurous goal attempt; defensive positioning when in possession and out of possession – all of these activities were commented on. Perhaps this emanates from the methods of the coach or the way that training is conducted. Whatever the case the game-time soundscape provides an alternative behaviour to that recorded at Wallingford; one in which there is an almost constant chatter of instructional and reactive commentary.

 

 

come on
playing, playing
stand him up
get out boys
too deep, too deep
unlucky, unlucky
free ‘ead, free ‘ead, free ‘ead
man on
stay high, stay high
now drop
eh, come on let’s keep working
number eleven
get out, get out
stand, stand
help him
walk it up
lino, lino, sub please
well done
well done son
two touch two touch
fucking hell
movement
lino, lino
Hey, settle, settle
drop off
stand up
watch the flick
come on
put a challenge in there
cheers mate
just hold it
come on, gee it up, piss poor
free header, free header
left should, left shoulder
well done
and again
middle
leave
hey, we’ve all gone to sleep out here
superb
stay high, stay high
winners, winners
keep playing
hey shush come on let’s think about this now
hey boys let’s wake up come on
just do it
now we get up
all of us, come on, work
travel
time, time, good lad
ref
you going to kick the ball away every time it goes out are we
man-a-piece, man-a-piece
hold, hold
help ‘im, help ‘im
unlucky
middle
stand still
get it out
deliver
one more
leave, leave
ref, we’re just going to swap linesmen
no free headers in there
fucking compete
no free header boys, no free header
attack the ball
winners boys, winners boys come on
away
fucks sake
stand up, stand up stand up
get out
play it
drive
lob ‘im, lob ‘im
tell you what, another lucky one, tell you what, we’re shocking at defending corners
send it back and the second ball
get rid
time
channel
quick, quick
man-a-piece
man on, man on, man on
right shoulder, right shoulder
Fucking cunt
Can we keep the fucking ball?
we don’t want that
well done
that’s alright, that’s alright son, head up
stay organised
let’s attack this ball blues
ref, ref, ref
hey, why aren’t we talking about who we’re picking up? who are we picking up?
stay tight to your men, that’s good tight
and again, same again
concentrate, concentrate
get out, get out, get out
want it, get some chalk on your boots
travel, travel
good area, unlucky, that’s unlucky, good area
come on blues, let’s keep working
get that ball down
come on boys
feet
time
that’s handball ref
great save
let’s have a blue win this time
let’s compete in the air
man on
good boy
free header, free header
stand him up, stand him up Jack
unlucky
get out get out
time, time
good area
that’s great ball
can you do him, go on son
ref
hey come on
ref
ref, ref, ref, come over here for me
nice goal
don’t switch off
last ten, hundred percent, come on
come on ref
come on ref
give us the width out there
seconds, seconds
far too easy
ref
walk it out, walk it out when we can
great ball, great ball
track him, track him
hold, hold
time
tight, tighter
stay here, stay here
get rid, GET RID!
switch it
time
ref, referee
two touch, two touch
well done
get out
seconds, seconds

 

(partial transcription of on-pitch communication Dorchester v Hungerford Town FC Swifts 28.02.2017)

 

 

 

Was he not through on goal?

Wallingford Town FC are one of the bigger clubs in the North Berks League. They play in Division One and have a home ground that looks like it could belong at a higher level. There is a vast difference between this and the ephemeral situation of Didcot Eagles who play at Brightwell Recreation Ground in Division Five. There are regularly fifty to sixty spectators at Wallingford’s home games. On the occasion that I made this recording I was sitting in one of the stands so the conversations and comments of spectators – rather then the players and coaches – dominate the listening experience.

The most distinctive aspects of the sounding culture of the event on this occasion were spectators clashing with both the referee and the linesman. The first of these exchanges took place between a spectator and the referee. When I say exchange that might be inaccurate as it was – as far as I could tell – entirely one-sided. The spectator was trying to attract the attention of the referee regarding a decision but to my knowledge the referee didn’t respond which led to a series of rhetorical questions from the spectator – was he not through on goal? The spectator walked up and down at the front of the stand getting more and more frustrated as the referee chose to continue refereeing rather than halting play and coming across to discuss the spectator’s opinions. Referees at this level strike a lone figure. The assistant referees are supplied by the competing clubs and there is no other back-up so making controversial decisions or decisions that are unpopular with the most vocal team is a hazardous occupation.

 

 

    (that’s a penalty)
    (definitely inside the box)
    (it’s inside the box)
    (that’s a red card)
    (he’s through on goal)
    (he’s through on goal)
    (Jesus) 
    (he hasn’t even spoke to him has he)
    (useless)
 
    (Hey Ref!)
 
    (was he not through on goal there ref?)
 
    (was he not through on goal?) 
    (Ref!)
    (was that)
    (was that player not through on goal?)
    (Ref?)
 
    (was he not through on goal ref?) 
    (you didn’t even speak to him man)
    (absolutely useless)
    (useless)
    (through on goal ref)
    (through on goal)
 
The second interaction between spectators and match officials was between the assistant referee on our side of the pitch and another spectator who accused him of cheating. The Assistant Referee’s response was to challenge the spectator to a post-game discussion of the offside law – you explain the offside law to me after the game. Whether or not this discussion ever took place I couldn’t say.

 

how can he be offside from there?
give offside
offside lino 
I thought you’d give offside for that wouldn’t yah 
cheating little cunt 
that’s what i thought
what? 
cheater you are
you’re a cheater mate
cheater
cheater
cheater
cheater
 
    (explain to me the offside law) 
    (explain the offside law)
    (what do you know about it)
    (what do know about it)
    (nothing)
    (you know nothing)
    (nothing)
    (you’re good sitting there)
    (you come and do it out here)
    (you know nothing)
    (nothing)
 
we’ll see you next week
we’ll see you next week
 
    (you explain the offside law to me after the game)
    (in word)
    (in word for word)
    (explain offside)
 
Amidst the antagonism between spectators and match officials the verbal culture of the players and coaches communication – while playing a major part in the sounding experience – was indistinct at times. Lots of background noise – a real cacophony – but less clarity. These are the on-pitch comments that I could accurately transcribe:

 

help him
fucking walking init
Sorry
hit that
first time then
settle
time
talk to ‘im
time
press, press hard
hold
come on
two ‘ere
keep it
we’re not keeping the fucking ball!
second ball