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Tuesday 5th February 2013 ko 19.45

Russell Cotes Cup Quarter-Final

LYMINGTON TOWN 2 (Vokes 75 James 87)

FAREHAM TOWN 0

Att 23

Entry £3

Programme £1

Situated on the edge of the New Forest, the pretty town of Lymington is primarily a port. It’s the only place I’ve ever encountered where the docks (for the Isle of Wight ferry) can be accessed if you turn either right or left! That said, the town is more famous for smaller boats, yachts, and the boutiques and coffee shops suggest more Howard’s Way than, Brittany Ferry.

The name Lymington is derived from the Old English word tun means a farm or hamlet whilst limen is derived from the Ancient British word lemanos meaning elm-tree. It’s a a fair allegory to its arboreal location. From the early nineteenth century it had a thriving shipbuilding industry, particularly associated with Thomas Inman the builder of the schooner Alarm. Much of the town centre is Victorian and Georgian, with narrow cobbled streets, giving an air of quaintness. The wealth of the town at the time is represented in its architecture.

For a watcher of the non-league game, a well-to-do town is often a sign of a club who finds it difficult to get the necessary ground grading to progress, and the Lymington Sports Ground is a case in point. Shared with both tennis and cricket, the latter makes it difficult to fully enclose the ground, and it looks like a public footpath runs around the pitch. In most cases this and the fact that the changing rooms are a little too small to pass muster, are overlooked but the ground-graders have called a meeting, and the club are nervous…

The ground is dominated by the main stand, a benched affair with park seats at its centre. Its spick, span and obviously does the job, but then agaisn ground-graders don’t like benches, preferring the easily counted plastic flip-up seats commonplace in the fully professional game. I liked the pavilion-style clubhouse with tea served in a mug, no ecologically unfriendly paper cups here. The only downside was the R & B music blasting out from the television in the corner, even the young girl who presumably the barman was trying to impress had retreated to her ipod!

The Russell Cotes Cup was described by one official is “Just be in Hampshire and pay £30 and you’re in.” It’s for senior clubs in the county but holds no senior status, existing as a fund-raising competition for the Hampshire FA’s benevolent coffers. Clubs don’t always take it too seriously, although tonight’s side did, and for those interested in such fripperies, programme production is not mandatory.

And for all the world it looked like a nil-nil, and extra-time game. No lack of action, or goal-mouth incident, but poor finishing and a howling wind put paid to chance after chance. Peter Hurford’s header over the bar from a corner could well be miss of the season, it looked a good deal easier to simply bury the header. Eventually the deadlock was broken by Matt Vokes for Lymington. His elder brother by the way is Sam Vokes, currently playing for Burnley, and representing Wales.

The coup de grace was applied by Sam James, whose neat turn wrong-footed the Fareham defence completely, although I was more than happy to avoid extra-time on a cold evening!