Inaugural Dom Danos Memorial match is a thriller

9 May 2023

The inaugural Dom Danos Memorial Match between the OHAFC Veterans and the West Kensington Kings took place on a soggy Barn Elms on Saturday afternoon, the two sides producing a thrilling encounter that ended in a 5-4 win for Kings in front of a crowd of Dom's family and friends, including former OHAFC star Jamie Waugh.

Tom Barnes, skipper of the Kings - the team Dom was playing for when he tragically died in January 2022, lifted the new trophy in the Spencer Arms pub in Putney following the match, with the afternoon considered a great success by those in attendance and a fitting tribute to Dom, who was such a well-liked member of both clubs.

With neither team having met before and the OHAFC Vets not having played a single fixture during the season, there was a certain amount of trepidation in the days preceding the encounter. But any minor worries dissipated within minutes of the game kicking off, both sides clearly evenly matched and playing the game in a competitive but friendly spirit.

Despite creating several clear chances to score, the OHAFC fell behind late on in the first half to two quickfire goals, both close-range headers. Harry Hoffen pulled one back, finishing a simple chance after Miles Kellock's effort had been parried by the excellent Kings keeper.

As the rain abated somewhat, the second half became a minor classic, with the OHAFC somehow managing to shoot themselves in the foot whenever they managed to regain parity. Harry scored his second and then forced an own goal as the sides traded goals. Skipper David Lederman slotted home a penalty to make it 4-4 after the Harrow striker collapsed under a clumsy challenge, but at the other end some rather slapdash defending gifted Kings three more goals of their own, Kings now leading 5-4 going into the final ten minutes.

The OHAFC piled on the pressure, dominating possession and territory but they could not find a way past a resilient defence and the continual excellence of the Kings keeper. Several quick breaks should have seen Kings kill the game off, but each time wayward finishing and some heroic last-ditch defending prevented further concessions, John Wyn-Evans having by now taken over from the stricken Andy Butler in the Harrow goal.

Dom's eldest son Freddie, having refereed the match throughout, blew the final whistle to signify it would be the side from southwest London who would claim the Dom Danos Memorial Cup for the first time. The game will be held on an annual basis going forwards, with the OHAFC due to host the next meeting in the 2023/24 season, hopefully on a rather brighter day.

OHAFC Veterans XI: Andy Butler, Alex Wilks, Bud Birdy, Paul Molloy, Phil Berry, Ed Thorn, Miles Kellock, Quentin Baker, Matt Davies, Harry Hoffen, Phil Bearn - Subs: David Lederman (c), John Wyn-Evans, Rupert Hoffen