Tuesday 21st April 2015 ko 18.30
Peterborough & District League Premier Division
STILTON UNITED 0
SAWTRY 4 (B Smith 30p 44 61 Ablitt 55)
Nothing for sale
A few years ago, I visited United Counties League side Yaxley at their Leading Drove Ground. The car park was full so I parked at a pitch opposite and a little further along the road. I marvelled at how little there was there, literally just a pitch, two dugouts and two goals surrounded by flat fields all the way to the East coast main line in the distance. The highest structure in the place is the two crossbars! I found out that Stilton FC played there, logged the place for future reference, and completely forgot about the place for 3 years!
All that changed when GroundhopUK was asked to organise the United Counties/ Peterborough League Hop. Chris Berezai and I sat down and looked for a line-up to give a good flavour of both leagues, and that would work geographically. Clearly a UCL ground adjacent to a PDFL one looked good to us, but Stilton turned down the approach. We ended up at the other ground in Yaxley, Daimler Avenue to see Riverside, without realising that Stilton had played there too!
The club have been rather nomadic since they lost the use of their pitch in the cheese-making village 12 years ago. Whilst Yaxley is only 3 miles away, home is of course where the heart is, and let’s face it, another club’s second pitch isn’t what the club wants. The good news is that Stilton will be going home, they’ve secured the use of a pitch, but a new clubhouse needs to be built. The only issue is whether the league will be happy with a temporary block while the new building is erected. If they acquiesce then Stilton will be home next season.
With the sun setting both literally, and figuratively on the season, I stood in the wind for this local derby. The players huffed and puffed, the trains trundled past, and at one point a peloton whizzed by, heading towards St Peter’s church in the background.
It wasn’t the best game to watch in truth, but there aren’t many times you get to watch a player score a hat trick from centre half, so take a bow Brian Smith! I can’t imagine this pitch will not stage football next season, I would have thought Yaxley will be keen to see another side call here home, but once I’d warmed up my finger enough to drive home I reflected on what a shame it was that we weren’t able to feature them on the hop. It would have been a lot of fun, and the logistics of staging two clubs so close to each other would have been interesting, especially there’s a fair chance of us doing something similar in the North Berkshire League in the future.