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Saturday 26th March 2015 ko 16.45

South West Peninsula League Division One West

BUDE TOWN 5 (B Hopcroft 7 45 Stratton 27 Hill 55 Potter 82)

HOLSWORTHY 1 (Bonney 80) Chandler sent off (serious foul play) 37

Att 409

Entry £4

Programme 50p

The last game of the Peninsula League felt rather out on a limb. We’d had 2 games close to St Austell, but now we struck out north driving for an hour to the northern edge of Cornwall, to the extent that the game managed to be both a local derby, and feature the only non-Cornish club on the hop, the visitors being from just over the border into Devon.

With the weather dull, hop organiser Phi Hiscox had taken the sensible decision to kick the game off as soon as the coach party had arrived, so it was a shame that there was a huge queue at the entrance. The club had made the mistake of filtering everyone through one gate. That meant that ticket holders who’d already paid were being forced to wait while others paid, and to make a bad situation worse they put the badges and programmes on the gate too. I managed to get the programmes moved to one of the gazebos which speeded things up a little but with the game about to kick off, the hoppers’ unease was obvious.

I dashed off to see where the line-ups had been posted, it turned out they hadn’t. Fortunately a few hoppers had got the correct line-ups from the referee and were passing the information on and I managed to tweet a copy of the managers’ sheets which the league retweeted. It all seemed all rather half-baked, which is a poor analogy as the club’s catering was excellent, including the cakes which sold as cakes do!

If the staging was fraught, it was more than made up for the sea views, and a game that carried on the day’s theme of heavy goalscoring. In fact one hopper pointed out that one more goal would have created a tennis score over the day, we’d had a 6-1 and a 6-4 after all!

But one shouldn’t grumble at a 5-1 even if Holsworthy were to a large extent the architects of their own downfall losing Carlo Chandler for two bookings for a poor challenge, and substitute Dom Abbott could easily have followed him.

All good things it seems, must come to an end and I found Phil with just enough time for me to thank him on behalf of Robyn and I for a hugely enjoyable weekend. I mentioned in the St Austell article that as much as I find other organisers’ events enjoyable I get to learn too, and that knowledge I can use to improve what GroundhopUK does.

I do think the SWPL’s prebooked ticket needs a rethink. The ticket ended up costing £2 more than the sum of the seven entry fees, and I believe that those who book and pay in advance should be incentivised rather than penalised for doing so. Normally that’s by including the programmes as part of the ticket, with those choosing to pay on the day paying for the magazine as an extra.

The advance ticket is the organiser’s principle tool for planning, that’s why how it works has been tweeked so much over the years. We’ve introduced individual match tickets, day passes, you name it, all in the name of better planning. Now Phil has one advantage over, say GroundhopUK organising a hop in say the Northern Counties East. Phil is by and of his league and he knows his clubs inside out. That fact is why all the host clubs were given the maximum opportunity to make the most of their hop game.

And therein lies the success of the organised hop, whoever organises it. The key word here is “Organise;” to learn the needs of the three interested parties, the league, the clubs, and the hoppers. Phil understands that, and his skill produced a quite exceptional hop. When you add in co-operation and communication you create opportunity.

It is in the final analysis it is all to easy to look at the differences in how different events are run. The similarities are far more important, Phil knows that and so do the likes of Harvey Harris, Rob Hornby, Craig Dabbs and Chris Berezai and I and its no coincidence all were present here. I’ll look forward to Phil attending one of our hops, and in Easter 2018 I’ll be back attending his final event, a Devon-based SWPL hop.

Finally let’s plug GroundhopUk’s next event, the Welsh Spring Hop, based for the first time in Carmarthenshire League. Its on 15th, 16th and 17th April and full details are here, see you there!

Click to access CARMARTHEN2016.pdf