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Friday 3rd April 2015 ko 14.30

Northern Counties East Premier Division



Att 303

Entry £5

Programme £1.50

As large as the attendance was at Barton, I was a little worried about how well it would hold up at Winterton next up. The geography of the league meant that we couldn’t schedule our normal 4 games in a day so “Drift” could come into play. That’s where the middle game sees a fall-off in attendance as hoppers decide to head “Off piste” and attend the wide variety of simultaneous games. I was, therefore rather relieved when I saw the “Car Park Full” sign outside West Street, it wasn’t a large car park, but the message it conveyed was a good one!

Those who did head elsewhere missed a final gift from Barton as we headed out. There’s a street called “The Hoppers!” I’m not sure what it means, but it did make us all smile, and thanks to Eddie McGeown for allowing me to use his photo!

It was clear that Winterton aren’t used to having a crowd of this size but since they were given time and guidance they were able to bring in help for their big day, and unusually many seemed to be hoppers! It was I suppose a classic case of “Poacher turned Gamekeeper,” and that proved to be an inspired move. One, Rob Waite, a Staveley fan (his blog is to the left) manned a gate, and intercepted someone using a photocopied prepaid ticket. Its worth commenting that our tickets are full colour, and the design changes for each hop, but we and many others were sickened that someone potentially could try to rip off the host clubs. Investigations are ongoing…

West Street coped admirably with both the large crowd and the one instance of sustained rain the hop saw. That is a huge fillip to a committee who in a short space of time, taken a dying club and built a team and a ground to be proud of. The outside staff blended nicely with the existing volunteers, and judging by the rapidly moving queues, the afternoon was a profitable one for them!

On the field a dour encounter was enlivened by the goalkeeping of Amateur’s Suwara Bojang. He is athletic, but extremely unorthodox, worth the entry fee on his own. Joel Hughes early strike for Amateur was equalised by Jack Start, and in the end the draw was probably fair for both sides.

In the main stand the space that simply hadn’t been available at Barton was made use of as a child played with her toys, and the older hoppers finally managed to catch up and the tall stories were in full flow. It’s good to talk…