Saturday 27th July 2019 ko 13.45
Peterborough & District League Division 3
ORTON RANGERS 4 (Harber 30 72 Read 41 Fitzgerald 76)
PARKSIDE ATHLETIC 1 (Hulford 55)
GroundhopUK’s visit to Orton Rangers may well have been unique. There’s been no end of times where the organiser has had to change a host club, but I don’t think that’s ever happened without changing ground at the same time. You can see why, normally where a groundshare exists, usually there’s a landowner, or a primary tenant. But Orton Rangers’ relationship with the Nene Valley Community Centre is a little unusual.
The facility is the HQ of both the United Counties, and the Peterborough & District Leagues; the two leagues share their administration – an arrangement that has made organising this event a lot easier over the years. After Peterborough Polonia had been such vibrant visitors at Sutton Bridge last year we’d hoped to visit here to see them. However they turned down the opportunity, mainly due to a manager that was to walk out on them a few weeks later.
The solution was to keep the venue, but change the hosts since no club has first call on the ground. Not having to change the weekend’s timings was rather handy, and Orton turned out to be excellent hosts.
Now I’m sure if I’m wrong someone will correct me, but it also meant that we watched a game in the PDFL’s third division for the first time. Not that the level seemed relevant once we were here, and after all I’m certain anyone who would have fretted about the level probably wasn’t there.
Those who may have opted out missed a real treat, although the club did seem to be wholly in control of the weather! The final drizzle that had been a deluge at Parson Drove was enough to send plenty into the clubhouse where the goodies on sale included cake, 50 types of gin, and a delicious French-Canadian beef stew. Once again my feeling that the lower the status of the club the harder they work was being proved in front of me.
Of course, as soon as the game kicked off the rain stopped, so next time someone organises a hop, they now know to phone Orton Rangers to make sure the weather plays ball!
The game was intriguing too. Parkside broke away from Orton Rangers a couple of years ago and while there’s no emnity between the two clubs it was clear what winning meant to both teams. Orton won it, mainly due to hotshot Daniel Harber, who followed up 54 goals last season with a brace here, but as we headed off to our third game of the day I suspect most people’s thoughts were on the friendly club who’d done such a superb job in hosting us.