Thursday 7th April 2016 ko 18.45
Northants Combination Division Two
KETTERING PARK ROVERS 0
WELDON UNITED RESERVES 4 (B Smith 5 34 Brown 24 Thompson 74)
I’d organised to collect fellow hopper Chris from near Milton Keynes, but save for the game being in the Northants Combination, I had no idea where I was going. That didn’t change when Chris gave me the club’s name, Rovers don’t actually play in Kettering!
They play behind the Village Hall in nearby Broughton, but the club can at least claim you can at least see Kettering from their ground, the pitch is on top of a hill overlooking the town!
Now I’m sure this would have been one of those bucolic end of season games in England’s green and pleasant lands, but two things conspired to stop that. The first was the weather, a delightful mixture of sleet and rain giving everyone a thorough soaking around kick-off time.
The second was two sides who patently didn’t like each other and it didn’t take long for the poor challenges to set in. It needed a strong referee and unfortunately Mark Ward couldn’t give what he didn’t see, and what he did see he was far too lenient with. The pivotal moment involved Rovers’ Charlie Hamilton and Weldon’s Ben Smith.
A poor challenge led to an altercation, and an accusation of biting. Both players were booked, the only cards of the game, but soon after when Smith scored Weldon’s third, his celebration may well have spoken volumes.
In the end Hamilton did enough to be sent off without taking into account the original altercation, and others could easily have followed him. Weldon won easily, and Ward called proceedings to a halt five minutes early in the late evening gloom. Truthfully, the game didn’t deserve more.