’Chippy’ finished runners-up Slimbridge in Division One (West) in 2002/03, and consequently won promotion to the Premier Division for the first time in their history, having rejoined only in 2001 after having had to drop out in 1979.
Originally founded in 1893, the club had been founder members of the Hellenic League in 1954 but in 1979 dropped into the Midland Combination. Chipping Norton rejoined the Hellenic League in 1986 but financial difficulties forced them to disband in 1993. The club reformed in 2001 and were accepted back into the Hellenic League.
When I arrived in August 2003 a summer barbeque was in full swing, which made it difficult not to get a bouncy castle in some photographs. Unfortunately, the goalmouths were also cordoned off, which was a shame. Nevertheless the Magpies’ Walterbush Road is worth a visit, if only to see a venue where you will find the two dugouts on opposite sides of the pitch (at least for the time-being). At the time of my visit I was told that this had been a deliberate ploy to diffuse some of the rivalry between opposing clubs that had threatened to get out of hand once or twice in the past. However, further investigation revealed a more pragmatic (but not nearly as interesting) answer:
When the club was promoted to the Hellenic Premier, League regulations (don’t you just love ‘em) stated that the dugouts needed to be a certain distance apart. Both were originally at the top of the ground, next to the main stand, but only about 3 metres from each other. As a consequence the club has built a new (temporary) dugout for the home team in front of a covered shelter along the near touchline that faces the main stand. This is far from an ideal location but apparently is only a short term measure, after which two new dugouts are to be constructed on the near touchline. If plans have since come to fruition these will have been built on either side of the shelter to prevent the view being completely obscured.
Should Chipping Norton ever be in a position to maintain their current progress, there is scope for development of the ground, although that may be some way off yet. One fairly basic improvement in the meantime however, would be to hack down the undergrowth that pervades a grass bank behind the far goal, which would in itself provide a decent viewing area. Nevetheless, the facilities at Walterbush Road are more than adequate for this progressive club.
From the south - take the A361 to the town. Carry on past school on the right, and take the first left, turning into Walterbush Road. From the north - drive through the town and take the A361 towards Burford by the Kings Arms pub. Drive past the fire station on the left and take the first left into Walterbush Road.