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Saturday 3rd June 2017 ko 17.00

Division 5 Sydvästra Skåne

SKEGRIE B.K. 4 (Ljungvist 5 Revesz 38 80 82)

ARLÖVS B.I. 4 (Svensson 11 25 48 Johansson 61)

Att 46

Entry & Programme 40sek

If our previous game at Gylle was sold to the British contingent on the Swedish Hop as a beautiful location, then Snarringe I.P. was at least its equal. The small village near Trelleborg is best known as where some Dolmen, or standing stones were discovered, dating back to Viking times but is now a peaceful idyll in rural southern Sweden. There was one small problem though, actually pronouncing the name “Skegrie!”

Hop organiser Kim didn’t know, but he’s not from Skåne and the name borrows heavily from the local Swedish/Danish dialect spoken here. Now I’m ready to be corrected, but I believe it’s SHH-EGG-RAH, and cue the howls of complaint! There were of course plenty of of people to help, Christian and Ditte from the tourist board, but most of all Torbjörn Karlsson the mayor of Trelleborgs Kommun who had the distinct advantage of living in the village. That fact had no little bearing on what happened after the game.

The welcome was fulsome, and whilst on Swedish Hops we’ve received replica shirts before, the gift of shirts autographed by the entire squad is a new one on me; the gesture very much appreciated by the whole party. In fact so friendly was the club that when girlfriend Robyn fancied a cup of tea, they found some leaf tea, and improvised the rest with a cafetiere. Thy did look a little nonplussed though when Robyn added milk and sugar!

The game was easily the best of the hop, despite the hosts being in a relegation play-off place and Arlöv being rock bottom of the table with 2 points. Both teams decided attack was the only form of defence and the effect was both Johan Revesz and Christoffer Johansson joined that select band of players who’ve managed to score a hat trick and somehow manage to not being on the winning side. Breathless stuff, but that feeling of wonder was just about to be ramped up for the Swedish hop party.

The previous day Mayor Torbjörn had invited us to drinks and canapes with his wife at his home. Now Torbjörn, if you’re reading this, please forgive us, we didn’t entirely take you seriously. I mean, why would a man of substance like him want to spend time with 12 groundhoppers? But as we discovered Mr Karlsson is a mighty impressive man, and a man of his word. We enjoyed the drinks and canapes, and his books on world football but what impressed most was the man himself.

Remember when the migrant crisis hit, and politicians pledged to house a refugee? Well Torbjörn did, and he’s recently discovered that the refugee he’s given a home to has a brother, and has found his way to Munich. So next month he’s driving to Germany so that brother and sister can be reunited for a while, and he’ll take in the Kaiserslauten vs Derby County pre-season friendly too! We talked, mostly we listen to our host, and lived for the moment, things like this don’t happen very often.

The sense of camaraderie continued back in Trelleborg where Kim had booked a sports bar where we could enjoy a meal and watch the Champions League final. So there was the Swedish Hop party and the mayor of Trelleborg watching the football on the TV, and if we weren’t flabbergasted already, he gave one of our party a lift back to the hotel at half time! The planksteaks were tasty, and I’m afraid the waitresses weren’t able to spend much time with their boyfriends once we worked out a local microbrewery was supplying the bar with 6 different beers…

The game finished,  gallant Torbjörn finally got to head for home, and we decamped to the Tre Lycktor pub in town. We sat there beer in hand, and to a man and woman said the same thing, “Did that really happen?” Thanks to Kim Hedwall, and the mayor of Trelleborg it really did.