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Saturday 6th June 2015 ko 13.00

Division 4 Uppland

RIALA GoIF 3 (Thorleifsson 26 Stenbäck 83 Bengstsberg 89)

GAMLA UPSALA II 1 (Strandlin 55)

Att 96

NB The Swedish hop’s cost of £280 included all entry fees, programmes, two nights bed and breakfast, and coach travel between the games and Arlanda airport.

Entry & Programme 40sek

It has to be said that Riala’s home, Lundbyvalen is rather isolated, in fact so isolated that the coach driver had some difficulty in finding it. All rather different from the stock in trade for the coach driver these days, the endless school runs. It was well worth the wait, and Kim Hedwall being the consummate hop organiser he is, had factored in plenty of time as a failsafe. Time in these matters is a precious commodity!

It was time worth preserving too. Other than the chance to explore another in a long line of exquisite Swedish non-league grounds, we also were honoured by a speech from club chairman Eva Mattsson. She had one minor issue, she doesn’t speak much English so she wrote what she wanted to say in Swedish, got it interpreted, then read out the results. She did well with the pronunciations and her efforts were both touching and appreciated.

There was much to interest the spectators with the hosts featuring Andreas Thorleifsson. He spent last season playing up front for Allsvenskan club Falkenberg, but sustained a career-ending foot injury. He was offered and rejected an operation to regain full fitness, but ran the risk of it leaving him with walking difficulties. Instead he’s returned home in a player-coaching role, and looked a cut above everyone else on the pitch.

He scored the first goal, and created the second and despite the visitors working hard and equalising, the competitive edge was always Riala’s and the late goals sealed a deserved win.

Of course the great joy of being a hopper is you always have 3 chances of enjoyment. There’s the exciting game, the friendly club, and the pretty ground. Just occasionally you get all three, like here, and these are times to be savoured.