Author Archive | Roger Nichols

Section Representatives

Some months ago (at the 2024 AGM we raised the idea of having representatives from each of the sections to make sure that we, the Committee, could listen to the views, ideas and comment and criticism from those teams in the lower sections including all those new to the league who are not represented on the Committee and therefore may have things to say or do without the opportunity to get those opinions heard.

Section representatives are not necessarily formal roles. We know that every Wednesday there are conversations taking place  in many pubs and clubs over a beer or two at what the league could do differently, improve or just making suggestions to be considered. If we don’t have representation from each of the sections we probably don’t even know what, if any, players are thinking!

Section representatives are just intended to be sounding boards for the other teams and individuals in their section. Not elected nor needing to become committee members (unless they want to be!!)  they are just the eyes and ears of ideas as to what could be done to make our league better!

We often talk about the traditions of our game, but it is equally important that we seek to improve it,  to make it more relevant to a younger generation, expand our reach to a wider population, to find ways of making it more fun, but all the while still recognising the history, the traditions and the commitment of all the people who laid the foundations all those years ago and ensuring that our game is still both attractive and inviting to newcomers.

If you are even a little bit interested in becoming a section representative just let any of the committee know and we will be delighted to have you on board!


Important Competition News

At a meeting of the Committee on Monday 20th May  a number of important decisions were agreed which affect our 2024 Competitions. These affect all entrants already received and those which teams or individuals were about to make about entering. 

Despite extending the closing date until yesterday we are still well down on the entries particularly for the team events which were scheduled to take place on Sunday June 9th. With only 2 confirmed entries for the team 5’s, 3 entries for the Team 4’s and 5 entries for the Red Drive 3’s competition the Committee decided to postpone the Sunday June 9th competitions until later in the Summer. We really can’t justify staging competitions where the number of entries do not make the Competitions meaningful.

We decided to extend the entry date with a new closing date of Sunday June 16th (Father’s Day) for all Competitions and subject to the number of entries received by that date we hope that we can re-arrange a suitable date and venue to hold these team competitions which have been held annually for over 50 years!!

Entries for all Competitions will remain open until this mid June date and we already have a better level of entry for both the pairs and singles competitions which, together with the Captains and Secretaries Competitions will take place in early August as planned. All Competitions will, as agreed, at the AGM, earlier in the year still be held on Sundays.

The Committee also discussed the planned competitions exclusively for teams in Section B and below for which no entries have yet been received. Again we are keen to hold at least pairs and singles competitions for players in Sections B, C, D , E and F to encourage as many people as possible playing Competitions and we are proposing new trophies for these this year.

Finally on Competitions we are encouraged by the number of newcomers to our league this year and to recognise that we are looking to possibly hold another couple of Competitions (you will note that we are never put off entirely despite the lack of entries) so later this year we are looking to stage a ladies pairs competition open to all registered lady players (mixed from any team) and an under 25’s competition again open to all registered players. We will post entry forms for these two proposed new  competitions together with the very flexible rules in the next few days.

Finally Competitions are an essential part of our heritage and we don’t want to lose them, we actually want more not less hence our discussions and decisions taken at Committee tonight. 

So please get your entries in too many is not a problem too few is!

It’s the old adage it you don’t enter, the Competitions may not be viable this year and into the future, and they are a significant part of our heritage!

The trophies both team and individual also represent a very sizeable cost to the Association so that has to be justified because it’s your money we spend! So, the more entries the merrier is certainly true in this case.

Remember entry costs only £1 per person for all of our competitions so buy your ticket to enter now!!!

(Chairman’s Remarks: – it’s a cliche but competitions can test your mettle so much more than a weekly game, as Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor from the darts world said “You can’t practice ******** yourself” – to be a better player practice only goes so far, competitions sorts the cool from the collapsing which also means it can be anyone’s win. Get your entries in and see if you have the ‘right stuff’.)


Summary of week 2 some highlights and some lowlights!

Well week 2 fixtures certainly provided some excellent performances for some and some not so good performances for others!

Let’s start with the search for that elusive first maximum throw of the season…………well after 2 weeks we are still waiting for  the first 6 of the season to be recorded. Plenty of players getting close with 8 players scoring 5’s and Dave Dix actually hit two 5’s in recording the best 3 leg total of 13 dolls in Abingdon Utd/Con Club’s 3-3 draw with The Vine Cumnor who shared the spoils for the second successive week. Other players hitting 5 dolls on the night were Mick Samways for the Plum Pidding (I won’t mention his 3 leg total score!), Kevin Billington and Dean Bowler both for the  Red Lion A Dean actually hit 11 dolls overall, Pat Wiltshire, for the Bell Grove A, Luke Dewar for the Grapes A Andrew Farrant  hit a 5 for the Eight Bells at Eaton in the same match , but his efforts didn’t help his side as they went down 6-0. Caroline Baker also contributed a 5 doll leg for the Red Lion B in her 10 doll total on the night.

There were plenty of double figure scores recorded with Scott Humphries and Leigh Clapton hitting 10 apiece to support Dave Dix’s 13 for Abingdon Utd/Con Club for their hosts The Vine Danny Hamilton also hit 10 dolls. Elsewhere in the Premier Dave Hudson making his first appearance of the season hit 10 dolls as did Colin Brin for Steventon Sports, Ian  Brook top scored for Croft Nomads with 11 dolls in their 4-2 win at  near neighbours College Oak A for whom skipper Phil Soden also scored 10, Karl Ford hit 10 dolls for the Boundary House as they got their campaign underway in some style with their maximum points win at the Eight Bells.

It would be remis of me not to mention 2 very special leg scores by Section A sides College Oak A and Plum Pudding who both recorded 32 doll leg scores in their matches against Croft Nomads and the Bystander A. I know these scores included their handicap. but excluding those they still managed “real doll” scores of 25 and 26 which is remarkable when they started the season with 2023 team averages of  less than 17 dolls!  Great contribution from all of the team in both cases!

And now for a score at the other end of the range!  The Croft Bar entertained  Abingdon RBL and whilst they assure me they won the beer leg in the second leg of the match (which they lost 4-2) they managed only 4 dolls! With a team that consistently performs well in the B section that was more than a little surprising !!

Looking overall at the results after just 2 weeks it is interesting to not that no team in the Premier, A, B, C, and D sections have maximum points from their 2 games so if that trend continues it promises to be an interesting season in all of the sections. Some of the new teams with many new players are still finding their feet (and scoring throws!), but I am sure that they will soon start scoring well and winning games, but most of all enjoying their Wednesday night’s Aunt Sally experience.  Newcomers Fleur de Leys B in the F section are the exception as they are off to a flying start  with 2  6-0 wins already under their belts!

Finally this week can I thank everyone for getting their match score cards recorded so promptly. All  cores were online by lunchtime Friday and that’s great. We know some people have difficulty getting online so bear with us while we sort that and until we do it’s OK to send photo’s of match cards please to either myself or Paul Stone and we will ensure that they get entered. One plea though on match cards please proper names, not nicknames. That’s fine for the scoreboard but match cards we need to make sure we know who’s who if we have to enter and whilst I can sometimes work out from the surnames I did struggle last week to find out who Monkey really was!

Have a great week!









Team and Individual Competitions- Closing Date

A reminder to all teams entries for the Competitions close tomorrow night. We can extend the entries for the Singles, Pairs, Captains and Secretaries until late June as the date for those Competitions to take place is not until early August however entries for the Team events do need to be in this week as the date for those  Competitions are only 3 weeks away. At the moment we have a very limited number of entries so team captains and secretaries get your entries in before it is too late! Entry is open to all teams in all sections for these events.

We also intend to hold pairs and individual competitions exclusively for teams in section B and below later in the Summer and more details will be available over the next couple of weeks. The main singles, pairs, captains and secretary competitions are open to all sections so if individuals fancy their chances  or simply just want to take part they can enter both singles and pairs competitions!

We know that Sundays are not universally popular as a day to stage Competitions, but the Committee and those clubs at the AGM supported the move to Sundays. Whilst we do have some dissenters the past 2 years since we switched to Sundays have been pretty successful and particularly beneficial that most who entered turned up and competed unlike with our previous system there were many no shows and those who did turn up didn’t always get to play on the night because of the “no shows”

The important thing it is a personal choice as to whether individuals choose to enter or not and we respect that, but we also want to create the opportunity for everyone to take part and to make the Competitions easy to organise and administer and most of all competitive and enjoyable for all of those involved.

Remember the great British tradition…………….it’s not about the winning,  it’s about the taking part so let’s have as many us taking part even though our expectation of winning the Competition may not be great!





A few interesting bits about out 2024 league

As ! mentioned in my week 1 post we are delighted to welcome 56 teams to our  6 Aunt Sally sections for 2024. A few things that might surprise you about our league and what happens on Wednesday nights from May through to September.

  • With 56 teams that means that 28 venues will be hosting Aunt Sally matches throughout the season
  • 15 venues with two teams will host games on at least 16 Wednesdays
  • 24 other venues will host games on 7/8 or 9 Wednesdays 
  • 1 venue will play host to 2 teams every Wednesday and an additional team on another 8 because they have 2 throws!
  • We have registered almost 900 players for our 56 teams, that’s an average of 16 registered players for each team.
  • 26 matches will take place every Wednesday and that means over 400 players will be in pubs and clubs in our catchment area.
  • If only the 8 players from each side turn up and each spend on average £10 on the night that’s £160 of income for either 9 weeks (£1440 per season) or (£2880 for pubs and clubs with 2 teams!) For the one “lucky” host pub with 3 teams that income would be over £4000 over the season.
  • Of course we know that not everyone spends £10, some of us make up for that by spending more and lots of sides have more than just their 8 players especially at home venues.
  • The cost of entry for the Aunt Sally League is just £45 a year! Good value when you look at potential income versus expenditure!!

So if you or your landlord, manager or steward need re-assurance that it is worthwhile hosting an Aunt Sally team or two feel free to share these observations with them! It’s recognised that the income excludes the cost of all of the overheads including drink, staff and other overheads, but we suggest it’s still not a bad return for that £45 cost of entry and where would those 400 punters be on a Wednesday night if it weren’t for Aunt Sally!!




Summer League underway and week 1 review

The league season got underway on what was a most welcome fine and warm Wednesday last week! This season sees a very welcome 56 teams competing in the 6 sections, an increase of 4 teams overall on 2023.

We welcome 6 new teams to our league from the Horse & Jockey at Stanford in the Vale with 2 teams , Grove Rugby Club,  The WADS bar at Wootton, another additional team from the Fleur de Leys at East Hagbourne and 2 teams from the Marcham Centre. Unfortunately we have lost the Wheatsheaf Drayton, the Black Horse Hanney, the Plum Pudding and one of the Brewery Tap teams from 2023. 

Fortunately despite a number of hostelries closing who have hosted Aunt Sally in previous seasons sides from many of those have found a new home. The Fox at Boars Hill will play at the Bystander whose B side from 2023 have returned to their former home at the Waggon & Horses Southmoor, the 2 sides from the Abingdon Arms in Wantage have found new homes at the Bell Grove and The Lamb Wantage who have also welcomed the team formerly at the Black Horse Hanney and the team from the Hart at Harwell have moved a couple of miles down the road to a new home at the Plum Pudding in Milton where they have been joined by one of the stalwarts of our league Terry Downes.

There has been quite a lot of player movements as well largely as a result of the Plum Pudding not retaining a Premier section side for 2024. The good new is that almost all of their side from 2023 have found new teams primarily at Abingdon United/Con Club, Croft Nomads and Abingdon RBL. So we may have lost a very good team, but we have retained several very good players some of whom made very good performances in their first league appearances for their new sides last week. 

I should also mention that we are delighted to see The Plough Appleton return to the Aunt Sally family this year.

So, in summary although we failed to reach our very ambitious stretch target of 60 teams for 2024 we are delighted to welcome so many new and returning teams, relocating teams and many, many new players to our game. We hope you enjoy it and stay with us for many seasons! It’s great to see that Aunt Sally is still alive and kicking and supporting not only our game, but most importantly so many of the  pubs and clubs in our communities.

So onto the week 1 review of results and individual performances. let’s start by looking at the overall results. in the Premier/A section Abingdon Utd champions for several seasons got off to a flying start defeating the Bystander A 5-1 with new recruit Phil Adams hitting the top individual score of the night with 14 dolls, ahead of team mates Dave Dix who hit 13 dolls and another new recruit Ken Fisher who also contributed 10 dolls to the cause! There were wins also in the Premier/A section for Steventon Sports A 4 -2 against newly promoted College Oak A, Plum Pudding against Berinsfield A and the Vine and Croft Nomads shared the spoils with a 3 apiece draw. 

Elsewhere there were many good individual performances, but no magical 6’s! In the premier?A section both Ian Brook with 11 and Alan Bell with 10 dolls started their season in good form as did Alec Chamberlain with his 10 dolls for Berinsfield A and Terry Downes playing for the “new” Plum Pudding helped them off to a winning start with 11 dolls at the College Oak. In the C section Rod Dorian scored 10 dolls for the Royal Oak and just down the road also  in Didcot Simon Armstrong matched that score for the Queens Arms in the D section both sides winning their matches against the Prince of Wales Shippon and The Chequers, Charney 6-0.

Other winners on the first night were Stanford In the vale FC.Abingdon RBL, The Bell Grove A, The Fox Denchworth and The Croft Bar in the B section. The Bell Grove B together with The Grapes A, Abingdon Conservative Club were winners in section C, REd Lion B, College Oak B, The Midget and the Brewery Tap got off to winning starts in the D section and in the E section newcomers Fleur de Leys B and the  WADS Bar were both winners on the night together with Sutton Courtenay FC and The Bystander C.

A great start to the season which is always great to see and with over 200 players playing Aunt Sally in 27 different venues last Wednesday providing a boost for our pubs and clubs which form such an essential part of our community




2024 Season Underway

8’s Knockout Handicap

Well, the Summer Season is underway with the First Round of the Team 8’s competition providing the first competitive games of 2024. Many other sides have also made a start with friendlies and team practice nights on what, has been, a fairly chilly start to our Summer.

The 8’s Competition saw 4 games played on Wednesday night and the victorious sides were Abingdon United@Con Club who easily dispatched the challenge of a 7 player side Croft Nomads in 2 straight legs, Berinsfield SC A whose visit to The Bell Grove saw them progress by 2 legs to 1 on what was reported to be a thoroughly enjoyable evening, Steventon Sports B with a massive 10 doll advantage saw off Premier side Bystander A 2 legs to nil and in the other game played last night was  another local derby between Abingdon RBL took the honours with a 2 -1 victory over Abingdon United C.

So the draw for the next round sees

  • Berinsfield A at home to Abingdon Con Club with the Con Club getting a 6 doll leg advantage
  • Ab Utd@Con Club at home to The Fox Denchwoth who will get a 4 doll per leg advantage
  • Steventon Sports B 0f the E section will entertain The Bell Grove B  and will have a 4 doll advantage
  • Abingdon RBL  will have home advantage against Harwellian B and as both teams are in the B section there will be no handicap advantage or either side.

These games need to be completed by the end of June on a date mutually agreed by both sides.

Summer League Matches

Looking ahead to the league season which starts next Wednesday just a few reminders for everyone:-

  • All fixture packs and other information including match cards have been circulated to all team secretaries
  • Fixture list is also available from the home page
  • League matches are scheduled to start at 8.15
  • All registered players are listed on your team listing on the website 
  • Hopefully all names and spellings have been checked and where necessary amended. Click here to review and notify team support if names are wrong.
  • It is not too late to register additional players throughout the season and all will be confirmed immediately (before they play) unless they are registering for teams in the Premier/A sections who are subject to a handicap.
  • Competition entries need to be made and fees paid by May 19th. Entry forms are available online
  • 2024 sees the opportunity for teams in the B,C,D, E and F sections to enter Competitions not open to teams in the Premier and A sections. We hope to attract enough entries to hold separate team 3’s, pairs and singles competitions to be held on a date and venue to be confirmed later dependent upon the number of entries. Players and teams in these sections can of course still also enter the regular Competitions scheduled to take place on Sundays in June and August.
  • All new teams/locations will need access to the website so they can input and check match scores. These will be sent to Captains/Secretaries in the next few days

That’s the official bits and pieces now for the polite reminders…………..Aunt Sally is a game with a lot of history and tradition and over the past 60+ years these have  been well respected and observed (most of the time!)

  • Aunt Sally is a game that is both competitive and enjoyable and full of banter. Most of all it’s intended to be played in a good spirit enjoyed by all regardless of ability or results.
  • Occasional bad language is inevitable, but continuous swearing and unwelcome abuse although rarely experienced is just not acceptable. Remember we are guests of our pubs and clubs and particularly in garden areas we share the facility with other customers including families often with young children. Let’s not cause anyone any offence or reason to complain!
  • Beer legs are a long held part of our tradition and let’s wherever possible keep that going. These are  played traditionally at the end of the evening and often encourage more fun and banter which are essential to our game, also allow others who do not play regularly to take part. The nature of these legs are agreed by the Captains on the night (last leg vs separate or team vs 1:1) and although inflation has taken it’s toll with the price of drinks beer legs are still an integral part of our Wednesday nights and long may that continue!
  • Food……..perhaps (for some!!) is another important part of our Wednesday evenings and many pubs and clubs are particularly attractive because of the post match food! We are always grateful to the landlord/stewards for providing this and most home teams do pay for the food provided either in full or part. Football cards are a source of income which helps with the cost so don’t be shy make sure you spend a few bob to support!

      None of the above are rules but I don’t think you will find too many teams or individuals who don’t agree with them.

Remember we are looking to maintain and grow our game to do that we need  support our pubs and clubs all of whom face real financial challenges and struggle to  survive. We want to attract more sides., more players particularly a younger generation, we want our game to be fully inclusive and it is encouraging over the past couple of years to see a significant increase in the number of ladies taking part and maybe it won’t be long before we introduce a bit of discrimination with ladies only competitions!!

To everyone old and new, enjoy the season, be fair, be respectful to each other, share the load with your team mates  in terms of setting up calling, sticking up or chalking and packing away, make some new friends, have some laughs and most of all ENJOY!

You know it’s good when you hear the wood!










Important – Change of day/date for 2024 Annual General Meeting

 The Association’s Annual General Meeting will now be held on Tuesday 16th January a day later than originally planned and advised. The time and venue remains unchanged, 7.30pm at The Croft Bar, Peachcroft, Abingdon.

On Monday 15th, the original date, the funeral service of  Steventon Sports Michael Jarvis is taking place at St Michaels Church Steventon and many of his friends and Aunt Sally colleagues are expected to attend to pay  respects and share our memories of Jarv who was Steventon Sports Captain and a consistently good top Premier section player.

It would seem appropriate therefore to delay the AGM by 24 hours out of respect to his family, team mates and friends.

All team secretaries and captains will be e mailed  to advise of the delay and we are hoping that there will be a bumper turn out on the night, as the Abingdon & District League belongs to you, the clubs, pubs and players without whom the league wouldn’t exist so do come along and have your say. Our hope for 2Summer 2024 is that we can attract more sides, encourage new players and have another successful Summer season.



As we move from 2023 into 2024

We just wanted to say that we  hope that all  of our Aunt Sally family had a very happy Christmas and we wish all our clubs, pubs, players and their families a very happy and successful New Year.

Obviously our thoughts are with those for whom the festive period has been overshadowed by family issues and we remember with fondness those we lost from our community during 2023.

2024 will present more challenges, but from your Committee our hope is that we can secure enough entries for Summer 2024 to get our league back up to 6 sections all with 10 teams, that will require some more entrants and between now and March we will be actively  trying to recruit the additional pubs, clubs and teams to achieve that goal.

Best wishes from

Your Abingdon & District League 2023 Committee







Sad News I am afraid

As we are all preparing for the festive season I am sorry to pass some sad news to our Aunt sally community. Michael (Mick) Jarvis passed away on Monday. Jarv was a long serving and much liked character who was an almost ever present player with Steventon Sports over many years. His sense of humour and his banter with team mates and opponents alike were always evident and appreciated.

Jarv will be sadly missed and Wednesday nights on the green in the Summer will not be the same without him. He will be sorely missed in Aunt Sally circles not only by his teammates, but equally by his opponents and all who knew him. Equally his many friends and colleagues who played golf with Jarv will be saddened by his passing.

In Steventon the whole Jarvis family have always been an integral part of the village life through sport, business and the church for generations. Steventon, his friends and his many customers past and present and local residents will all miss Jarv as much as those of us who knew him well will.

He battled his illness over many months so bravely and asked for no sympathy or sadness and he completed the 2024 summer season as the Captain of the Premier section runners up Steventon Sports A.

Our thoughts  are so obviously with all of Jarv’s immediate and extended family as we offer our sincere condolences to them all at this not unexpected but still a very tough  time for them all.