Friday 25th March 2016 ko 11am
South West Peninsula League Division One West
ILLOGAN R.B.L. 3 (Boone 43 Carlyon 64 Abbott-Smith 69)
PENRYN ATHLETIC 1 (Disano 57)
I can imagine what a few may have thought when they saw Illogan’s name on the schedule of the Peninsula League Hop. A team only in its second season in the league after winning the Cornwall Combination multiple times after only a brief flirtation with the old South Western in the late 1970’s. A ground, Oxland Parc (Cornish, not English spellings here!) neatly tucked away in a residential village in the heart of Cornish tin mining country. On paper the idea doesn’t inspire, but football isn’t played on paper, and Cornish football isn’t like any other kind of football either.
On one hand the Bassett Monument atop Carn Brea is clearly visible from Oxland Parc, erected in 1836 in memory of Francis Basset, 1st Baron de Dunstanville and Basset. Apart from being a recurring character in the Poldark novels, in real life he erected defences in Plymouth against Spanish and French fleets, and petitioned against slavery.
But I suspect the vast majority will have honed in one that wonderful stand with the delicate roof trusses. I stood, stared and realised that whatever happened on the pitch all the hoppers would at least have that to remember Illogan by. After all, for any groundhop game to work you need at least one of the following to work; a great ground, great staging, or a great game.
And the staging on the first game of a day can be an issue. The obvious catering is bacon rolls, and they are popular but that’s no use to the significant minority of vegetarians, and those meat-eaters who on a given morning decide that this particular meal doesn’t have to contain meat. I suspect organiser Phil Hiscox had the similar problem we at GroundhopUK had in Scotland, getting clubs to think beyond pastry! In the Lowland League we saw a lot of pies, and here it was Cornish Pasties! Here the club contracted the pasties out direct to a manufacturer which was a shame. I’d far rather see a club do its catering wholly in-house and pocket all of the profits.
Still the weather was warm and the two sides kept us all royally entertained. The result went against the form book, Penryn were third and Illogan 13th (from 17th) but the hosts were worthy winners.
People caught up with others, and enjoyed the kind of Step 7 game that would be a Step 6 in many other places. It was all over all too soon, and choked side-streets slowly disgorged hop traffic south-east to the club that a few years ago had been the club that for the purposes of the hop- got away.