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Saturday 30th March 2013 ko 15.30

Northern Counties East Premier Division

PICKERING TOWN 3 (Shepherd 30 Heads 41 Taylor 82)


Att 302

Entry £5

Programme £1.50

As we headed north from Bridlington the scene gradually changed. We’d already moved from industrial Wakefield to tripperish Bridlington, but now we moved into the North Yorkshire Moors and the pretty market town of Pickering.

According to legend the town gets its name from King Peredurus around 270BC. It states that the King lost his ring and accused a young maiden of stealing it. Later that day the ring was found in a pike caught that day in the River Costa for his dinner. The king was so happy to find his ring he married the young maiden. The name Pike-ring became corrupted over the years to the present name.

These days a major attraction is the North Yorkshire Moors Railway, a heritage steam line running from Whitby to Pickering. It was planned in 1831 by George Stephenson as a means of opening up trade routes inland from the then important seaport of Whitby. The line closed in 1965 and was reopened in 1973 by the North York Moors Historical Railway Trust Ltd.

All the above are good reasons to visit Pickering, but what 200 hoppers and I will remember about the town is one thing…. Shepherd’s pie! The clubhouse is Mill Lane is generous in size and so were the portions of the food on offer for a bargain £3. On occasion a club gets its catering wonderfully correct, and this was a brilliant idea perfectly executed. Many hoppers went up for seconds, including our coach driver Godfrey! I knew the club would do a great job, hopper Mike Martin is involved here, and they looked a well-organised and friendly bunch when I’d visited here around 10 years ago.

It set everyone up nicely for the game, which looked on paper like a tough battle between two sides in the top half of the table. Fortunately football isn’t played on paper, and the game turned into a triumph for the Pikes. In fact it was a surprise that we had to wait 30 minutes for the first goal, and what a fine goal it was Liam Shepherd’s mazy run ending with a pin-point shot into the bottom left corner.

That lead was doubled before half-time, Joe Danby laid the ball off for  John Heads, whose shot hit the underside of the bar and bounced on to the goal line then up into the roof of the net. There may have been only one more goal in the second half but the Pikes managed to increase their dominance. Shots rained in, and only profligate finishing and the brilliance of Steve Hernandez in the Parramore goal kept the score respectable.

Another goal did come, this time Steve Baxter got round the back of the defence, and squared neatly across the six yard box for Lewis Taylor to tap home. The game had long been out of reach for the curiously out-of-sorts Parramore team, and my thoughts had long since turned to our hosts.

The point of any groundhop is to give a financial boost to a club, and give the hopper multiple games to watch. Pickering grasped the concept beautifully and there’s no doubt that they gave their visitors a lasting good impression of the town and their club. Of course, I knew all that from Mike, and my visit all those years ago.