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Saturday 12th April 2014 ko 18.30

Notts Senior League Division One

WEST BRIDGFORD 2 (Charlesworth 9 75)

BINGHAM TOWN 1 (Gammon 19)

Att 448

Entry £3

Programme £1

Badge £3

Team sheet 20p

Tea 70p

Here’s a quirk for you, West Bridgford has no streets, just roads, as when the suburb of Nottingham was built  in Victorian times the word “Street” was deemed too urban! They obviously saw just how close it is to the centre, I could see Trent Bridge’s floodlights as we arrived at Regatta Way, but no streets, that’s a little odd! The ground reminded me a little of where we’d just left, at Keyworth with three pitches and a large clubhouse. All the pitches are railed off, and the show pitch has floodlights too, and there was ample space to park the dozens of cars that showed up, as for many reasons this game was organiser Rob Hornby’s trump card.

Lets leave aside that the last game tends to do well with supporters able to watch their own clubs then head over to the ground, it was what was riding on the game that made it what it was. This was the hosts last game of the season, and they needed a two goal winning margin to overhaul Kirton Brickworks to win the division, against third place Bingham who needed a win for a chance to finish second. That meant not only a large contingent from the participant clubs, but also from Kirton too, and its fair to say that as soon as the coach arrived, the clubhouse was swamped.

In retrospect, the club may regret having the bar and catering, in the same room. It meant that there were people queuing for drinks, food, and trying to watch Sky Sports news for news on how their own teams were doing. I delayed getting my own meal, which proved to be a good move, the girls did a fine job keeping the food queue down, and I did have a task to perform.

I’d bought a team sheet, and with the inaccuracies in previous efforts I took a rather jaundiced view of what I’d purchased. The point of a team sheet is to update the programme so as to give the exact XIs taking to the field. When the sheet simply numbers the players from 1 to 19 you know that hasn’t happened and its entire raison d’etre lost, and with many hoppers looking for the correct line-ups I found the referee and obtained the correct information. The scrum that surrounded me when I passed on the correct line-ups spoke volumes, and again, I’ve published the correct line-ups.

I finally grabbed a chicken balti pie, and made my way over to the pitch, and you could feel the crackling atmosphere despite the legions of tired hoppers. The hosts made the perfect start, a ball played over the too was tailor-made for Jurgen Charlesworth to run on to, and he slotted past Charlie Abbott in the Bingham goal for his 33rd goal of the season. That should have been West Bridgford’s cue to go on and win the title, but they couldn’t maintain the pressure, and when Bingham equalised, through Nicholas Gammon is was no more than they deserved.

With so much riding on it, the play became increasingly broken but the hosts found a second goal with 15 minutes left. Charlesworth curled in a sublime free kick from the edge of the box, but despite their frantic efforts, they couldn’t find that crucial third goal. The result meant that Kirton took the title by the narrowest of margins. Both sides had 62 points, and scored 84 goals, but Kirton conceded only 43 to Bridgford’s 44 goals. Agonising for Bridgford, but they at least got promoted, unlike poor Bingham who miss out altogether.

I found time on my way out to find and thank Rob, who once again made a tough job look easy; believe me it isn’t. Organising these events clearly means the world to him, and I know how much the hopping world appreciates his efforts. And you know what, in the next few days 5 small football clubs in the Nottingham area will add up the pennies and have reason to pick up the phone to Mansfield and say. “Thanks Rob.”