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Tuesday 18th February 2014 ko 19.30

Leicestershire Senior League Premier Division

ROTHLEY IMPERIAL 2 (Love 33 Howard 70)

SILEBY TOWN 1 (Jelly 53)

Att 29

Entry £3

No programme

Tea 50p

Regular readers on these travels will know that I like to tell both of you, dear readers, a little about where I visited. The trouble with the small Leicestershire village of Rothley is where to start and what to leave out!

The village is centred off two greens, the Cross Green and the Town Green, both reached from the crossroads on the A6 that is the village’s raison d’etre.

In the Middle Ages, Rothley was home to a Manor of the Knights Templar, known as Rothley temple, but is now the Rothley Court Hotel. The Manor was owned by the Babington family, with Thomas Babington serving as MP for Leicester from 1800–1818. He was educated at St John’s College, Cambridge alongside William Wilberforce,  and the two worked closely together on social improvement and famously on the Bills to abolish the slave trade in the UK. The hotel was where in 1988, then-England cricket captain Mike Gatting was accused by The Sun and Today newspapers of improprieties with a barmaid. Gatting was sacked as captain, despite his protestations of innocence!

In more recent times Rothley is the home of the McCann family. In May 2007, Madeleine McCann disappeared when on holiday in Portugal shortly before her fourth birthday, and no sign of her has been found as yet. Her parents Kate and Gerry still live in the village.

On arrival at the Sports and Social Club I had a chat with the two stalwarts on the gate. They asked where I was from, and couldn’t believe why anyone would travel that far, around 80 miles, to watch Rothley. I asked why I wouldn’t, and the response was heartfelt, if a little too honest,

“Because we’re cr@p,” he said, ” We were ok a couple of years ago but now…”

The club won the LSL in 11/12 & 12/13, but currently lie 10th from 17 teams so a description of, “Cr@p,” was I thought, a little harsh. That said, some hoppers do criticise the LSL for its standards, although in some cases that’s due to the almost complete lack of that OCD item for many groundhoppers, the programme.

With something of a local derby (3.1 miles) on offer, I expect there to be an air of tension when got the line-ups from the two teams. I enjoyed greatly the notice on the referee’s door, but other than the deafening “music” emanating from the away changing room both sides were friendly and easy to deal with, and the gatemen couldn’t have been more wrong about the game too.

On a heavy pitch the two sides produced an entertaining tie, Rothley shaded it when a draw would have been a fairer result, Sileby did hit the bar at the death after all! It was by anyone’s standards a good advertisement for the Leicestershire Senior League, and Step 7 in general. All that needs to happen now is for someone to convince their gatemen of that!