Saturday 24th December 2016 ko 11.30
Somerset County League Division Two West
BANWELL 6 (Evans 2 M White 20 53 57 61 Bobruk 37)
1610 TAUNTON UNITED 1 (Barrance 6) Elsley sent off (Foul & Abusive Language) 87
Yes, I know it was Christmas Eve, but it was also Saturday, and there weren’t anywhere enough football matches on. There was Stokenchurch in the Hellenic but I was promised to Bristol in the morning, so my attentions turned to the Somerset County League.
The good news was that there were no end of fixtures with potential for doubles, but as the day grew closer the kick off times kept changing! It was easy to understand why, the phone calls would have sounded like “Let’s get this played early so we can get down the pub.” Eventually the kick off times were set, hoppers made their plans and then the deluge happened…
Plans were torn up and as late as 8am I was sat at the PC printing out addresses and checking that a double was still on. The preparation paid off, I passed by Bristol Airport, found Banwell, with the Grade I listed Parish Church of St Andrew dominating the vista, and as I pulled into the Riverside ground I questioned whether I’d made a massive error.
The clue is in the title, Riverside. In Hopper-speak that means liable to flood, but the players warming up and the gaggle of hoppers salved my momentarily furrowed brow. Better still the ground was far more impressive than I could feasibly expect from a club playing 9 promotions from the Football League.
The team managed to match their surroundings too, with Taunton United (the 1610 prefix is a sponsor’s name) unable to keep pace, with Matt White the 4-goal hero. The late dismissal of Simon Elsley for a volley of expletives at referee Andie Lambourne was rather out of keeping with what was a game played in good spirit.