Kenny Lewis Football Match report (Sunday 19 November 2023)
5 December 2023
As the rain of the previous few days relented, a rainbow was spotted over Oxford on Sunday morning. It was not too fanciful to suggest that there had been an element of divine intervention on behalf of the man whom we had all gathered to commemorate. It was reminiscent of the story of Sir Matt Busby’s son and daughter when they were attending the 1999 Champions League final in Barcelona on what would have been their father’s 90th birthday. Just before the game, they saw a couple of doves flying up out of the stadium and said: ‘He’s watching.’ Swap Marston Ferry on a damp November morning for Nou Camp on a balmy May evening …
The match itself pitted two teams that were central to Kenny’s long and illustrious football career. One team contained a smattering of Hertford old boys (including a few of the ‘Team of the Eighties’ that won Cuppers back in 1980) who would all have played with Kenny when he was leading from the front as a prolific centre forward over several decades. There were also members of the current Hertford team, as well as college Principal Tom Fletcher and the odd fellow/don thrown into the mix. The opposition were assembled from the Kennington Athletic club who Kenny had coached so enthusiastically for many years.
A closely fought first half, which was played in tremendous spirit as befits a memorial for Kenny, was illuminated by a direct free-kick from former college captain Phil Alcantara that arced gracefully into the top right hand corner. The shot was so good that the ball nestled in the stanchion for a split second, as if it were posing for a photo opportunity. Although it was evenly matched, Kennington edged ahead 3-2 in the last minute of the half.
The second half was understandably a little more one-sided as the hastily assembled, old boys began to tire and Kennington showed the value of having played together for many years and benefiting from being well drilled by coaches such as Kenny. Whatever the result, Kenny’s smile would have been as broad as Broad Street itself at the end of the game. As the players and supporters, including Kenny’s family, assembled in the squash courts for a fond farewell, with glowing tributes to his invaluable contribution to college and local life, he was almost certainly watching.
Match report by Richard Foster (BA English, 1979). Richard was Captain of the Hertford football team in 1980-81 when he played alongside Kenny (then only 17 years old) on the college team. Richard is now a Football author, historian and regular feature writer for Guardian Sport.