Polo

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Monday 13th July 2021 ko 19.30

Pre-Season Friendly

FLEET SPURS DEVELOPMENT 0

THATCHAM TOWN YOUTH 5 (30 33 61 75 78)

Att c25 at Polo Fields, Queen’s Avenue, Aldershot

Free Entry

Being from Oxford I’m used to the idea that there are two sides to the city- the Town and the Gown. While there is a geographical element to it the divide is largely psychological- I can drink in the students’ pub, but I usually choose not to. But in Aldershot the divide is between military and civilian, and the divide is far more physically demarcated than in my home town. Continue reading

The Mumbles Mile

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Saturday 10th July 2021 ko 14:00

Welsh Cup 1st Qualifying Round

MUMBLES RANGERS 1 (E Smith 1)

March sent off 56 (foul & abusive)

PENLAN CLUB 2 (Fisher 56 Edwards 72)

L Otten sent off 77 (serious foul play)

Att c100  😉 at Underhill Park.

Without question Welsh clubs have suffered tougher Covid restrictions than their English counterparts; it does take a remarkable turn of events for me to have not seen a game in Wales since a visit to Afan Lido back in December 2019! Many Welsh teams hadn’t played a game since the first UK lockdown in March 2020, and just to make life more complicated there was a restructuring to the footballing pyramid in Wales too! Continue reading

The Home Ground

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Saturday 3rd July 2021 ko 11:00

Pre-Season Friendly

BENFLEET 2 (37 57p)

REDBRIDGE 3 (Trialist 24 34 38)

Att 22 at Woodside, Manor Road

The count may have switched over to the 2021/22 season but in truth my close season was from December to April so a pre-season friendly didn’t feel like, well, pre-season even if both of the clubs hadn’t played a game this year. Then there was the strand of the hobby that doesn’t like friendlies to consider. I’d normally prefer a competitive game, but the friendly does throw up a opportunity, and I don’t just mean the chance to visit Britain’s first mini roundabout, opened in 1970…. Continue reading

The Stanks

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Saturday 26th June 2021 ko 18.30

Berwick Charities Cup Quarter Final

NORTHUMBERLAND FC ( Brooks 49p Cravagan 86)

B.A.S.U. ADULTS 5 (Bell 16 90 Renton 52 Grey 37)

Att c108 at The Stanks, Berwick-upon-Tweed

Entry- By Donation

As you clock up the grounds you do tend to pigeonhole them a little. There’s the modern, and the classic, and yes, the ones that are little more than a pitch. At the very least there’s always another place to compare where you are against, but then you visit The Stanks!

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The Sales Pitch

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Saturday 26th June 2021 ko 14:00

Pre-Season Friendly

TWEEDMOUTH RANGERS 10 (11, 17, 22, 32, 35, 46, Friere 49 60 80, 82)

BERWICK COLTS 0

Att c80 at Old Shielfield, Berwick-upon-Tweed

Free Entry

Pies £2

The fun of these next two games is the way they do make a mockery of attempts to pigeonhole them. This Saturday out was built around taking in a Berwick Charities Cup game at the Stanks, a competition that I’d argue fits in the 2020/21 season, but its 18.30 kickoff allowed for this pre-season friendly beforehand. That presumably would be precursor to the 2021/22 season, so if you took that train of thought far enough you’d think we started next season before we finished the last! Continue reading

Dream Team

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Thursday 24th June ko 19:30

Thames Valley Premier League- Division 4

HARCHESTER HAWKS 1 (Rowing 77)

BRAYBROOKE FC 6 (Pearson 10 15 60 Gregory 25 65 Clough 40 )

Att c20

at Arborfield Green Leisure Centre

I’m not sure what drew me towards this one, perhaps it was no more than the proverbial groundhopper moth to the flame of a game. I don’t think I’d ever seen a game in the Thames Valley/ Reading League’s bottom division but there were a couple of questions I needed to ask. Continue reading

The Birthday Conundrum

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Saturday 19th June 2021 ko 14:30

North Devon League Intermediate One

BARNSTAPLE FC (Shaddick 10 59 Burbidge 20 Box 36 Robinson 78)

APPLEDORE LIONS 1 (Kinder 30)

Att c20 at Queen Elizabeth II Playing Field, Tews Lane

Free Entry

Finally the end of the 2020/21 season was in sight. Robyn and I knew we’d be back in the South West, a combination of seeing family in Bristol and an invite to spend the evening with friends in Totnes saw me make a beeline for a league I’m close to regarding as an old friend. Continue reading

The Dale Of Cheese

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Saturday 12th June 2021 ko 14:00

Wensleydale League

HAWES UNITED 4 (Calvert 17 Richardson 33 43 Wallis 81)

SPENNITHORNE & HARMBY 1 (Crook 72)

Att c40 at Old Station Yard

In my logic, I’ve treated the FA’s relaxing of the rule of all club football having to end by the end of May as as a bonus. It’s also an excuse to visit the kind of places that in my heart of hearts I wouldn’t fancy as half as much in the depths of winter and the chance to explore the game right at grassroots- this was a new league for me!

And with last Saturday’s fine, sunny weather the only use I’d have found for a stand was to offer some shade! You can add to that thought a growing desire to add a little hinterland into what I’m doing.  In more usual times Robyn and I would have been on the annual Swedish Hop and that’s an event that works because it places everywhere we visit is always put into its local context. It could be by means of a tram museum, a tour of the local TV studios, a Viking fort, or more usually by a club official introducing themselves. But in Hawes that hinterland is definitely cheese and so we made a beeline for the creamery.

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The Pitch

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Monday 7th June 2021 ko 18:30

Thames Valley Premier League- Premier Division

MARLOW UNITED 1 (Austin 90)

FINCHAMPSTEAD 3 ( Vallance 9 J Day 14p Payne 33)

Att c64 at Gossmore Lane

Free Entry

I haven’t checked but over the last 15 or so years you could have watched Marlow United at home on at least 4 different grounds. There was Flackwell Heath, Marlow FCBisham Abbey and Loudwater that I can name off the top of my head. The reason for the first two was to allow the club two stints in the Hellenic League, including a two-season stint in the Hellenic Premier from 2008-10. The issue for the club is always the same, there’s no lack of ambition, but having few facilities of their own makes progression extremely difficult. Continue reading

Reformation

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Saturday 5th June 2021 ko 14.30

Thames Valley Premier League – Division One

ROTHERFIELD UNITED 1 (Clarke 45p)

READING YMCA 2 (Hormola 7 Donegan 61p)

Att c24 at Bishopswood Sports Field, Gallowstree Common.

Free Entry

Given I’d not seen a game at Bishopswood this was something of a sentimental return for me. Back in the day I had a blonde girlfriend who worked for a brewery, which did have a few advantages. The brewery in question was Brakspear in Henley-on-Thames, and we spent many an evening ticking off the pubs of the Brakspear estate- it was clear looking back that the groundhopping gene was active even then! One of the best pubs was the Reformation at Gallowstree Common and I remember driving past the Bishopswood Sports Field and me thinking “I really ought to see a game there!” It only took another 25 years…. Continue reading