Saturday 28th July 2018 ko 10.45
Peterborough & District League Division Two
WHAPLODE DROVE 1 (Forth 34)
RIPPINGDALE & FOLKINGHAM 3 (Mason 51 Hasler 74 Ferrow 77p)
After the relative disappointment of the Raunds game, Saturday dawned with the knowledge that that the hop had a compelling day lined up. I smiled inwardly at myself thinking that, on the first hop I’d seen including the PDFL clubs as a risk, normally the organised groundhop’s sweet spot is at Non-League’s Steps 5 & 6. It is to the great credit of every single club we’ve featured from that league, that Chris and I at GroundhopUK knew that scheduling 3 PDFL hop games on the bounce would prove popular. And a little club from the 10th tier below the Football League proved the point rather well.
The coach headed for Holland, no not the Netherlands, this is a district of Lincolnshire! You’re well and truly in the flatlands of the Fens, a drove is a route along which animals are driven. The football club is found behind the village hall, which has the misfortune to be named the Elizabethan Hall, in honour of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953. I say misfortune, as it took until 1982 to get the place built.
The football club arrived still later, in 2013, and are graduates of 7-a-side Powerleague football. They’ve played all their football in the PDFL and have been promoted 3 times to reach this level.
But if ever there was time not to worry about what level we were watching, this was it. This was a club used to dealing with attendances in the 10’s getting seeing twenty times that, and coping with wit, charm, and no little skill. The first game of the Saturday is one Chris and I need the host club to need little or no on the day help.
It’s a time for us to hand out the ticket and programme packs to the multiplicity of hoppers, and believe me some will ask for their pack literally the second I get off of the coach. I do wonder where they think I store 100-or-so packs of 8 programmes- my sleeves aren’t that baggy! My thanks to all at Whaplode Drove for allowing Chris and I and extremely easy morning, and I trust you made a tidy sum in the process.
There was more to it though than just revenue and competance. It felt as if we were making something happen. It didn’t have to be tangible, but it just felt good to be part of the day when 227 people turned up to watch Whaplode Drove. Some still don’t see the attraction, and if you’re one of those people then please ask yourself which of the first two games of this hop made the real difference? Sometimes it’s good to step out of the straightforward.
Of course my presence meant that a friendly host side lost out on the pitch. I’ve long since worked I jinx these clubs, but there’s not much I can do about it! I expect though that what was saw was simply the opening skirmish of what will a successful season for both clubs. For Whaplode Drove, I hope they enjoyed our company as much as I enjoyed theirs.