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Wednesday 2nd October 2013 ko 19.45

Hinchingbrooke Cup First Round


BOURNE TOWN 1 (Robinson 30)

Att 85

Entry & Programme £3

It’s the lot of the groundhopper that you expand your circle of comfort time after time. Consider that idea for a moment, its that point on a journey when you can’t find your way home off the top of your head. When I was a child Dad would drive the family Mini to a resort somewhere in England or Wales, and initially it was a case of wondering whether at the end of the road we’d turn left for south or right for north.

As the years went by you learned more roads, the ring road around Oxford, the route to my Aunt and Uncle in Reading, and I saw a lot of the A34 south (I still do!). But as a groundhopper you gradually learn a taxi drivers knowledge of the motorways, and trunk roads of the country, but then, as you complete the football grounds of a particular area or league, that knowledge falls into abeyance.

It was the case to a large extent for Peterborough, up the A43, with the one junction stint along the M1 before heading past Northampton, Rushden and Raunds, before crossing under the A11. It was for a good reason, as Peterborough Sports are new to the United Counties League, and this was their first game under their new floodlights. However what I and the handful of other hoppers saw on arrival surprised each and every one of us.

The ground, in Lincoln Road used to be the Brotherwoods Engineering works ground. That firm made turbines, and the current club’s badge is a nod to that heritage. The ground used to have a large stand, but at the end of last season there was no pitchside facilities at all. With acceptance into the UCL meant ground grading issues, so in the space between the end of last season and the present day, the pitch was railed, floodlights erected, and a smart stand built. Note the last word there, built, this stand wasn’t delivered on the back of a lorry, and the back wall is actually fitted over the back of the ground’s surrounding fence. The aim is a ground suitable for Step 3 (Southern League) football, and to be honest, they’re not far from that now!

The game pitched The Turbines against Bourne Town, who had their own ground issues. They were relegated from the UCL Premier as a public footpath runs through their Abbey Lawn ground, making it impossible to fully enclose. The visitors struck first, through Alec Robinson’s curling shot from 18 yards. Watching the action were a good contingent from the UCL committee. League Chairman John Weeks looked especially pleased as with the ON Chenecks lights going up in the next few weeks, the league will be fully floodlit, something few would have thought possible until fairly recently.

That reflects well on the league and its clubs, and we all watched the hosts take a hold of the game in the second half, equalising through Kevin Brader’s 30 yard free kick. Of course no-one fancied extra time, so few other than Bourne were disappointed when Brader nodded home deep into injury time. It was a good game, at a ground that I suspect would have been unrecognisable from just a few months earlier; quite an achievement.