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Friday 11th April 2014 ko 19.45

Notts Senior League- Senior Division

COTGRAVE FC 4 (Dobbins 53 Waddell 55 Kirkby 63 90)

BURTON JOYCE 2 (Roman Easom 40 75)

Att 311

Entry £3

Teamsheet 20p

Programme £1

Badge £3

I wonder how many people who attend an organised groundhop and pick-up a pre-paid pack of the hop’s programmes realise they have Rob Hornby to thank for them? For it was Rob who first came up with the idea, when he and Chris Berezai used to organise the Central Midlands League Bonanza each Easter. It was, and is a wonderful idea, the programme is a prerequisite for any event to call itself a hop, and so having a pack available to those with a pre-booked ticket quickly became a standard feature. Now when it comes to Rob, I may be biased, he’s shown me great kindness over the years, but as far as I’m concerned he’s the nicest bloke in football so I’ll attend any hop he’s organising, if its humanly possible to do so.

Rob switched his organisational skills to the Notts Senior League last season, the first of my reports on that hop can be found, just click here. This league isn’t one I visit much, in fact of the current league constitution the only club I had visited outwith a hop is…. yes, Cotgrave! I honestly don’t know how Rob manages to find the energy to do what he does, his health isn’t great, but as soon as the hop line-up is agreed the one-man organisation squad and publicity machine springs into life, and Cotgrave were the first recipients of Rob’s experience and expertise.

Whilst the Fosse way runs past Cotgrave the town is inextricably linked with coal mining. From 1950 to 1960 the population grew from 700 to over 5,000 and a railway was built from the colliery to Nottingham over the river Trent past Radcliffe on Trent to service the colliery, and when the pit closed in the village gradually became a dormitory village for Nottingham just over 5 miles away.

The football club play at the Miners Welfare at Woodview and its a fine ground for its level, we did see the only covered accommodation on the entire hop! Now I have a theory, and that is the first game of any hop the hoppers tend to watch the least, as they spend the game catching up with each other! I know Rob was happy with the attendance, substantially up on the Magdala game last year. Clearly the later kick-off helped and the second year of a hop tends to see better attendances than the first, but Cotgrave helped themselves by putting on a boys game before the main event, ensuring that the parents and players stayed on and bought refreshments too!

They saw a decent game too, with both sides leading in a ding-dong battle. Cotgrave had an issue with corners, Burton centre-half Roman Easom scored from 2 of the 5 they forced, but Cotgrave had more answers than their visitors, and that included verbally. What the two sides didn’t know that behind the goal former Barnet FC professional Steve Foody was very quietly watching. He heard Burton keeper Roscoe Easom shout to his defence,

Don’t bother with him (forward Jamie Kirkby), he’s only got one foot!”

The trouble was so did Jamie Kirkby (mis-spelled as Kirby on the teamsheet) , whose two spectacular goals, were scored with both left and right feet, and as the ball nestled in the back of the net after his second, he allowed his run to take a route past a prostrate keeper. If you’d hadn’t heard the one-liner it probably looked in poor taste, but as it was Steve and I exchanged a grin. Mr Foody isn’t one to shout the odds, but it was obvious he’d enjoyed the interplay.

It was a fine start to the hop, even if the teamsheets had no number on them (!) and I gave 4 hoppers a lift to their hotel in Nottingham before finding my own accommodation. For a time there it didn’t feel odd to be on a groundhop I wasn’t organising.