2nd XI stalwart Phil Berry hangs up Saturday boots
It is with great regret that the club announces the retirement from Saturday football of long-time stalwart Phil Berry.
Since his debut for the OHAFC in 2004, Phil has set a great example to budding OHAFC youngsters: happy to play in any position for any team, and available on pretty much every weekend, Phil was the very definition of commitment. His fierce tackling, no nonsense attitude and will to win was second to none.
Originally a left back, he transformed himself into a hardworking ‘up and down’ wide midfielder, popping up with goals from all situations and despite spending the vast majority of his career with the 2s, he also performed well for the 1st XI when called upon.
During 2010/2011 season Phil notched up a very useful 5 goals in 19 appearances with a mixture of headers, volleys and strikes from distance. ‘The Salmon’, regularly out-jumped opposition players 6-7 inches taller than him at set-pieces – his well-timed brace against the Old Amplefordians in the 2010/2011 season was a classic example.
Undoubtedly Phil’s crowning moment was his brilliantly placed equaliser against Charterhouse in the 2011 JLC Final, ultimately contributing to his side’s 3-2 victory. Phil was also instrumental in the side’s cup run the following season, scoring three goals in three games prior to defeat at the hands of Charterhouse 3's in the final.
In 2012/13 Phil played the first two-thirds of the season in the 2nd XI before an injury crisis saw him called up to a struggling 1's team. Phil played five times and was one of the top performers in the final third of the campaign, playing with an assuredness and determination that put many of his more illustrious teammates to shame.
He returned to the 2s and continued to be a hugely valuable member of the club, becoming only the second OHAFC player (behind David Lederman) to reach 100 appearances for the club since the start of the 2009/10 season.
Disappointingly, however, Phil suffered bad injuries at the start of both the 2016/17 and 2017/18 campaigns, rolling an ankle against Old Alleynians and then landing awkwardly on his arm at Lancing, fracturing his wrist. With lengthy spells on the sideline as a result, Phil has finally decided to call time on his League career. He ends with two Junior League Cups and a Division Three title among his honours.
Now a veteran, Phil hopes to add further to the Derrick Moore Veterans Cup win he achieved at the first time of asking in 2015/16.
The Club is immensely grateful to Phil for his fine service on the field as well as his efforts as Grounds Secretary - a post he has held for the last 7 years.