Saturday 25th March 2017 ko 11.00
East of Scotland League
EYEMOUTH UNITED 0
LOTHIAN THISTLE 3 (Brown 10 Delvin 30 Guy 87)
From the moment GroundhopUK and the Lowland League agreed 3 years ago to launch the Scottish Hop it was inevitable that we’d end up in the East of Scotland League. The league, along with the South of Scotland feeds the Lowland, and the two leagues share a fixture secretary too! Just as inevitably Chris Berezai and I knew that we’d get the odd hopper who’d decide the East of Scotland League was too low a level for them and decide to head elsewhere, but there seemed to me some who’d come to their conclusion had done so without ever having seen an EoSL game first! Surely a game a 11am with no simultaneous kick-offs would be a risk-free way of finding out?
I suspect that Warner Park would be a very different proposition on a cold December afternoon, then on the warm Saturday morning when we turned up. On one hand Eyemouth, virtually on the border with England is bucolic and the view of the bay from above the ground is once the most beautiful vistas you’ll ever see. But that beauty comes with a sting, the wind can fairly whip off of the North Sea, and there aren’t too many places to shelter.
There was so much to enjoy about Eyemouth’s company. I fancied a tea so followed signs for the club’s catering and found pies and bacon rolls being sold in… a squash court! I asked for a squash but I’m afraid the ladies didn’t get the joke! There was the multitude of hoppers arriving needing their programme and badge packs, and I’m indebted to the club for their high levels of organisation, those programme packs were all I had to deal with, and the sign of a good hop club is when the organiser has to do very little on the day.
Once I’d established my redundancy it was time to consider who we were watching. The opposition are a merger of Lothian Thistle and Hutchison Vale apparently to take advantage of each half the equation’s strengths. Thistle have the ground (including lights!) but Vale have the fabled youth set-up that produced the likes of Kenny Miller and Leigh Griffiths.
If you’re reading this and decided not to come because you thought the standard of football was too low for you the next few sentences are for you. LTHV’s passing and movement in the first half was a joy to behold. Eyemouth were by no means a bad side but if Preston Athletic are to play in this league next season and had representation here, then they’ll be in no doubt of the potential task they’ll face.
I hope I won’t annoy anyone at Eyemouth by commenting that the scoreline was entirely realistic, there can’t be anyone there who wasn’t impressed by both sides’ quality. Moreover Eyemouth were excellent hosts, and it all set us up nicely for the rest of the hop.