Bath, Bitton, Football, GroundhopUK, Lew Hill Memorial Ground, Odd Down, Western League, Western League Hop
Saturday 7th October 2017 ko 16.30
Western League Premier Division
ODD DOWN (BATH) AFC 2 (Simpson 32 White 87p) Gould sent off 34 (Dangerous Play)
BITTON 2 (Knighton 68 McClennan 78) Tooze sent off 57 (2nd Booking)
About 3 years ago I was watching a game at VfR Mannheim, in the German 5th division. I called in at the club offices to pick up a teamsheet, they spotted the foreigner in their midst (was my German that appalling? (yes)) and I was whisked away to the boardroom and welcomed to their club. I left wondering if a non-league club in my country would show the same kindness if the situation arose?
A few months later my German friend Andreas turned up at a non-league ground in England, and was shown the same kindness- that club of course was Odd Down, and by coincide they were playing Bitton!
I drove back to Oxford celebrating human nature, some things are bigger than national boundaries. So when Chris Berezai, the late Mark Edmonds and I started planning out this hop, Odd Down was a club very much in my thoughts, if nothing else I felt as if I owed them a favour for looking after Andreas so beautifully. Hopefully they feel I’ve repayed their kindness.
Maybe it was my tiredness, or perhaps it was Odd Down’s excellent staging, but once I’d parked up my minibus I felt largely redundant. Just the headcount to do, and enjoy a cup of tea in the boardroom-cum-skittle alley at half time. It allowed me to enjoy the quirks of a club that I wish didn’t have to put the (Bath) in their title; if you don’t know where Odd Down is- find out!
I loved the team line-ups posted on the dart board’s blackboard, and the cakes which sold as cakes always do! The club hosted with wit, charm and humour, but all of those things were utterly absent on the pitch.
That’s not to say the game wasn’t entertaining, it was albeit in a way that saw you wince at some of the challenges! Odd Down’s David Gould saw red for a challenge he wasn’t in control of, but they still managed to take the lead through Kane Simpson. However as the game wore on Bitton were themselves reduced to ten men, Kyle Tooze collecting his second yellow for diving in a game that saw 6 other bookings!
Bitton still managed to both equalise, then take the lead, before arguably the most controversial moment of the match. Kye Simpson tumbled in the box, but had Zemell made any contact? The point was quickly made academic as Asa White sent Ben John the wrong way to earn Odd Down as point, which controversy aside was probably the right result.
It was unfortunate I had to head quickly back to my minibus, I was blocking in quite a few cars, it would have been good to linger at one of my favourite Western League clubs. But there was still another game to take in, a friend to catch up with, and Robyn’s nephews were waiting for us!