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Saturday 30th July 2016 ko 10.30

Peterborough & District League Premier Division

CROWLAND TOWN 2 (Hunt 2 Ellis 29)

AFC STANGROUND 7 (West 51 62 Mahoney 60 J Staggs 83 87 Rankin 85 Brown 89)

Att 240

Entry £4

Programme £1

Badge £3

One of the things I love about this hop is the variety of grounds we get to visit, as as organiser the challenge is understanding those clubs’ highly varied needs. You saw it in a nutshell between our first game at Long Buckby and at Snowdon Fields in Crowland. In terms of facilities they are chalk and cheese.

At Long Buckby the imperative was to give the club a steer on how many spectators to expect and how best to make the most of them. That was the case for Crowland too, but they had the added issue of roping off their pitch, and securing what is an open space to take a gate.

Then just to make life more difficult the local council booked out their clubhouse for a wedding, that’s what the marquees are for, forcing the club to move their operations to the other end of the ground, to the local scout hut. The fact that the club made it work speaks volumes as to how hard they worked at their day.

But let’s face it, what makes this home of football is the view of Crowland Abbey behind, so the extent that having to move to the other end, in purely aesthetic terms may have been a blessing in disguise. Crowland was, of course our base for the 2014 hop and it was an education to visit the Abbey and the other must-visit site in the town, the Trinity Bridge. I wrote about both of them in this article.

But if the view was jaw-dropping, then so was the match. I’m no tactician but I have absolutely no idea how a team can lead 2-0 after 50 minutes then contrive to lose the game 7-2 but somehow it came to pass. The Crowland officials took a sanguine view of it; you can do that when everything else they did on their day was a win.

I’m sure Crowland will find a way to make future leads stick while AFC Stanground will feel they’ve won twice. Once on the pitch, but also in getting an excellent steer on how to approach their hop game when it comes. And when it does, they’d be well advised to thank Crowland, who were excellent hosts.