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February 13, 2023


We’re pleased to share the latest news from the OPAFC.

On Saturday 4 February, OPAFC 2nd XI reached the final of the LOB Junior Cup, keeping their composure to beat Old Tenisonians on penalties after a hard fought 120 mins finished at 1-1. This is the first time in OPAFC history that the 2nd XI has reached a cup final! Details of the final are still to be confirmed.

On Saturday 25 February OPAFC 1st XI play in the semi-final of the AFA Challenge Cup, taking on Clapham Old Xaverians in their quest to reach back-to-back finals and retain the trophy they emphatically won last season!

Saturday 11 February saw the annual fixture between the school and the OPAFC. The two matches (1st XI and 2nd XI games) took place at SPS. With closely-fought games, the final scores were 3-3 for the OPAFC vs 1st XI match and 6-5 for the OPAFC vs 2nd XI.

OP 1s vs SPS 1st XI

On a balmy February morning, the OP 1s took on the School 1st XI in the eagerly anticipated annual fixture. After a slight delay, owing to dog sitting duties for some OPs, the game kicked off and provided a great spectacle for all spectators, both four legged and two.

The OP 1s side, skippered by George Mayo (2010-2015), had to weather the early storm thrusted their way by the much more athletic school forwards. Despite the early barrage, the OPs kept the game goalless and started to grow in confidence. Luke Warriner, playing for the  OPs, began to take control of the midfield. OPs managed to break the deadlock just before the break and went into half time 1-0, largely against the run of play.

The school came out after the interval with plenty of passion and too much skill for the OPs to handle. Tom E scored a well worked move before the phase of the day was played out. OPs won a penalty after a collision in the box and up stepped Jasper Harlington (2010-15) to take the spot kick. A chipped effort down the middle was predicted by Nikhil M who caught the ball and quickly launched a counterattack. No less than 10 seconds after the spot kick was taken, the OPs were picking the ball out of their own net and were 2-1 down, this time Sasha G was the scorer. The school continued to assert their dominance on the game and challenged the OP keeper on multiple occasions. Despite further pressure, it took an outstanding effort from outside the box by Louis E to pile further pressure onto the OPs.

Facing a potentially embarrassing score line, the OPs dug into their wealth of experience to claw their way back into the game. Harlington made amends for his earlier miss and struck a superb effort from 25 yards out which moved considerably in the air before finding the net. Moments later, the OPs won another penalty and sensibly moved Harlington well away from the vicinity. The penalty was finished with aplomb and set up a grandstand final quarter.

Despite constant pressure from both sides and some exciting end-to-end play, neither side could find another opportunity to score and the spoils were shared.

OP 2s vs SPS 2nd XI

OP 2s, bolstered by the news that Messer’s Troen and McDonnell would be playing for them against the school, were still coming to terms with the early kick off time when they took an unexpected 1-0 lead. The school replied immediately, passing the ball round the old boys like mannequins, to restore parity. Such was the quality of the move that the OPs were somewhat shell shocked.

The game opened up into a ‘however many you score, we’ll score one more’ kind of game, which very much played to into the school’s hands, as none of the OPs are afforded a two-hour lunch to play sports these days. As the goals rained in, the match was very much in the balance at 5-5 with five minutes to play. Here Dr McDonnell took matters into his own hands and toe poked a cross to back post, which was headed across the goal Conrad Barclay to turn home, giving the OP 2s the lead with seconds to go. Pens were thankfully avoided and it was a good game enjoyed by all, typified by the very few free kicks awarded in the game. We look forward to seeing the leavers play in Summer football at the school and over the years ahead.

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