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Saturday 28th June 2014 ko 15.00

Pre-Season Friendly

EPSOM ATHLETIC 3 (W Cathcart 29 74 Mollatt 76)

KNAPHILL 0

Att 31 at N.E.S.C.O.T. Reigate Road, Epsom

Entry FREE

No Programme

I suppose the first question is what is NESCOT? It’s the North East Surrey College of Technology, not that I saw too much of it, the pitch was the other side of the car park from the college buildings so the only thing I learned was that if you fancy becoming a gas fitter, you’re in the right place! I do like these friendlies where the home team is in a groundshare, Athletic share at Chessington & Hook’s Chalky Lane ground, but this isn’t a case of the club simply playing at their home, more a case of simply hiring a pitch.

It certainly attracted the groundhoppers and for those who don’t like the endless substitutions there was the bonus of there having been a reserve game preceding this. It reduced the number of players greatly so that the game felt like a lower-league Swedish game instead of the normal friendly which is often ruined as a spectacle with entire teams being changed.

The rain hammered down, as helicopters rescued tennis players from nearby Wimbledon. The hoppers caught up with each other after the long summer break, mine was a full 2 weeks (!), and two sides from the Combined Counties League enjoyed the chance to stretch their legs. Epsom were the sharper, and all three goals were well taken through Wayne Cathcart and Taylor Mollatt. Of course you shouldn’t read anything much into friendlies, and the first one of the season at that, and Knaphill did win the preceding reserve game beforehand 3-1 too.

It was altogether a more satisfying game than the Walton Casuals game at midday, and it was with some satisfaction that I went to find a fish and chip restaurant before heading for home if for no other reason than to dry out with a pot of tea! I don’t normally do recommendations, but Superfish, on Woodfield Lane in Ashtead was excellent. You can take it as read I back to Oxford to photograph a rock gig (it never stops!) a happy man. It’s good to be back!