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Saturday 28th July 2018 ko 16.30

Peterborough & District League Premier Division

SUTTON BRIDGE UNITED 5 (Sutton 19 Fowler 55 Eaton 67p 71p 75)

PETERBOROUGH POLONIA 3 (Stepien 36 Janicki 43 Wojtonicz 90) Lacina sent off 68 (2nd booking)

Att 337

Entry £4

Programme £1

We returned to South Holland, Lincolnshire, for our third game of the day and passed Sutton Bridge’s most famous landmark along the way. Sutton Bridge sits astride the River Nene, and the Crosskeys bridge is unusual in that not is it a swingbridge but it also used to carry both road and railway but was converted to just road use when the railway closed in 1965!

In medieval times the village was the closest settlement to where legend has it King John lost the Crown Jewels in 1216. A horse-drawn baggage train of his army attempted to cross the marshes without a guide, the wagons moved too slowly for the incoming tide or flood tide, and many lives were lost, together with their possessions and the jewels. John himself died of dysentery a week later!

There was a real throng gathering at the Sutton Bridge Memorial Ground, and in a similar way to Tydd it was good to see plenty of local support. From a purely selfish point of view though, the club had forgotton to provide a team line-ups board, and having a Polish team as visitors meant I’d have some complicated names to copy out! There was another reason for concern though.

Peterborough Polonia’s roots lie in the Kettering PL United team, who plied their trade in the Northants Combination. I’d seen them play in 2014 at Irthlingborough Rangers and was appalled at what I saw. My understanding was that the team moved to Peterborough, changing both name and league in the process. I certainly didn’t want to see anything like those antics on a GroundhopUK event, so was relieved to discover that the move, in effect left the worst offenders back in Kettering!

What Polonia brought to Sutton Bridge, was colour, vibrancy, and a bloke with a drum! He seemed to be everywhere, clearly fueled by nicotine and Tyskie, and for the record his drumming wasn’t designed to keep time, rather it was designed to make as much noise as possible. He obviously thought that as long as he could keep hitting his drum, the better his team would play, and his commitment was total!

He had arguably the game of the hop to (fail) to keep time to. The opening goal was a wonderful curling free kick the appropriately named Sutton  after Polonia keeper Pawel Lacina had been booked for handling outside of his area. Piotrek Stepien equalised for Polonia then lead through Dorian Janicki’s strike. At 2-1 up I think most would have put money on a Polonia victory. However 2 things happened, and it is just possible that either or both caused Polonia to lose concentration.

The first involved the drummer. Someone clearly too offence to his frantic beating, and intervened. She firstly took the drum from him then put her fist through the drumskin! As you can imagine that caused a certain amount of furore and I do wonder whether the players picked up on what was going on behind the goal. Eventually the young man was reunited with what was left of his drum, and rather unfairly I thought, was excorted from the premises. For my way of think, save for having absolutely no sense of rhythm he’d done nothing wrong.

Then the rains came, and for a few minutes it was a question of finding somewhere to shelter. In that time Matt Eaton started his 8-minute hat trick. The first was a penalty, as was his second, but significantly the concession of the second spot kick saw Pawel Lacina dismissed for hauling him down. Eaton tapped in once more this time in open play to notch a remarkable triple, and there was still time for Przemyslaw Wojtowicz to score a consolation for Polonia.

It was, despite the rain an enjoyable visit to a friendly club, and whilst the staging didn’t match Tydd’s earlier it was still more than competent. The surprise was Polonia, who made quite an impression to the extent that we’re now planning on visiting them on the next UCL/PDFL hop. I look forward to trying some Polish food and drink and sampling their culture. Hopefully too, the drummer will have had his instrument fixed.