Sunday 26th March 2017 ko 12.00
East of Scotland League
ORMISTON 1 (Gordon 87)
LEITH ATHLETIC 4 (Ferguson 18 Wilkie 19 Millard 62og Martin 73) Allen sent off 30 (2nd booking)
I and I suspect many others were glad of a lie in on Sunday morning, and I hope everyone remembered the clocks went forward! Sat over breakfast in Leith I felt able to do more than just the one game on offer, but when I typed my home address into the SatNav and saw I’d be home by 10pm the regret quickly evaporated. Monday is a work day, and coach driver’s hours dictate the you either do one game and head for home, or do more and stay another night in Scotland. We’d learned the lesson that more want to head for home then stay the hard way last year.
As the “GroundhopUK Advance Party” for this hop I set off from hotel a few minutes earlier than the coach, and headed south along the A1 and then dropped due south via Tranent. It was a glorious, bucolic route to take, and the only issue was that, save for the club officials, we were virtually the only people there.
The village grew intially through two industries that failed here, namely a distillery and a linen-making works. However coal was the villlage’s saviour, the village is at the edge of the East Lothian coalfield and that sustained employment here until the mid-1950’s.
The modern Ormiston FC is the result of a 1999 merger between Ormiston Primrose Juniors, and Pencaitland FC. However, with Pencaitland being formed in 1884, the club can lay claim to be the oldest club in East Lothian. Quite a mixture of old and new!
Recreation Park is the former home of Primrose, and when Chris Berezai and I first announced the line-up of this hop we did get the odd comment of “Why Ormiston?” Well, other than being on the way home, we knew that the club was about to move grounds, but it wasn’t until much later on that it became clear that this was to be the final ever game here!
Not that they’re moving far; the new pitch has already been laid and barriered off beyond the far goal, and the small metal enclosure taken down to be moved all of 100 yards! The crumbling, leaking and asbestos contaminated art-deco clubhouse will soon face the wrecking ball, with its replacement, a vision of steel, glass and roller shutters being built on the far penalty area of the old pitch. It will give the club the facilities to allow them ambition.
Arriving early, it became clear that as well organised and hard-working as Ormiston were, what they lacked was the sheer numbers of volunteers. They had the numbers to host just, and gave a crowd easily twenty times normal had an enjoyable afternoon out in the sunshine.
Ormiston’s board fully expected to lose this tie, against the champions-elect, and the only really surprise was the early dismissal of Leith’s Kerr Allan for two incredibly soft bookings. Perhaps referee Greig Haynes wanted to watch a more even contest, and he certainly got that. I was though, pleased to see Mark Law’s thunderbolt give Ormiston the final ever goal at Recreation Park. They deserved that, if for no other reason than for being such darned good hosts.
We’ll look forward to seeing them in their new home, and let’s face it, we won’t need directions!