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Saturday 24th December 2016 ko 14.00

Somerset County League Premier Division

YATTON ATHLETIC 3 (Copeland 8 Morris 42p Walters 65)

MIDDLEZOY ROVERS 4 (Conway 9p Temlett 10 Wright 16 Williams 48) Turner sent off 42

Att 42

Entry FREE

No Programme

From Banwell I struck north and traced the route of the embankments of a long abandoned railway. The Cheddar Valley Line ran from Yatton to Cheddar and Wells until its closure in 1963, and became known as the “The Strawberry Line” due to the large quantities of the fruit it carried, bound for markets in London. 

Yatton station is still open, although the Brunel designed station for the Strawberry Line is now the station cafe, but the rail service did mean this game did see a few more groundhoppers. Yatton play the back of the village centre, the pitch is railed off, and on the near side the rail is perfect if you are rather tall. There’s a quite a view of the Grade I listed St Mary’s Church but be aware that the site is rather exposed, and on this occasion there were no hot drinks on sale!

Referee Chris Ham had been watching his sons play at Banwell earlier, and whilst he ran this game with an iron fist, he was happy to explain his decisions, and that proved to be handy just before half time. A Yatton forward was put clean through, and was promptly taken out by Middlezoy keeper Greg Turner. Now under the old interpretation of the laws that would mean a penalty and a red card, but this season that’s been altered to a penalty and a yellow as the double punishment was thought to be unfair.

The penalty was awarded, but I and others were surprised to see Turner dismissed too. It looked like the referee had misinterpreted the laws but at half time he took the time to explain that he’d issued the red for violent conduct, Turner’s foot was raised, and I for one was pleased to see a referee prepared to communicate.

The reduction in Middlezoy’s numbers served to even up the contest, Yatton are struggling this season, but sadly for them the handicap wasn’t enough for them to take anything from the fixture. I dropped off a fellow hopper back at the station then thawed out over a pot of tea at Gordano Services. It wasn’t the most obvious way to mark Christmas, but it did the job.