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Saturday 2nd October 2021 ko 17:00

East of Scotland League: Conference B

EASTHOUSES LILY MINERS WELFARE 2 (Sives 60 63)

GLENROTHES 5 (Walker 7 56 90 Brown 79 L Schiavone 90)

Att 228

Entry £7

Programme £1

Pie- Chicken Balmoral

So close were the final two Saturday games on this Scottish Hop we passed by Newtongrange Star’s New Victoria Park on the way to the Newbattle Complex. and as this game neared it’s conclusion those of us on the grass bank watched our future hosts floodlights fire up so as to guide us all in. You can just about see the evidence on the 42nd picture, but the adventure had started a lot earlier.

The issue was that the Newbattle Complex isn’t straightforward to find. It’s a bit like when you pass Walsall FC on the M6; you see the ground and think you’ve made it, but those last few hundred yards aren’t easy! I found the car park in a few minutes, but the coach didn’t and the club ended up having to give directions and post a man at the bottom of the lane. In the end no harm came of it, and there may have been a silver lining to it all as it did streamline entry for what was a crowd far larger than what Easthouses would normally get. 

For the first time on the hop we saw a club who had to work hard on dealing with a crowd, and Lily’s people worked as hard as any on making it work. At times they struggled a little, I did feel sorry for the secretary who’d set up his printer to do team sheets only for the wifi to fail. But how can you criticise someone who then improvises a line-ups board and then dashes home to produce those team sheets on his own PC? I even liked the quirky programme, a fold-out affair rather like a Chinese takeway menu although I’m not sure what the blank page was all about! It’s the quirks that make these events, and why any organiser has a fine line to tread, we have to manage but overdoing it risks a dull homogenised experience- I don’t want that. 

Another quirk was something I missed out on, the pies, Chicken Balmoral is chicken and haggis, something I’d enjoyed at Ayr United. They’d sold out before I got anywhere near the tea hut, which is a fair measure of how popular they were and how simply doing something different pulls people towards you. That said, I suspect for many the fact that Lily had a seated stand was the main reason for liking them and it faces away from the wind. I know 4 games in a day is hard work for everyone, so the chance to rest a little I’m sure was appreciated. 

The fixture was something of an oddity. I’d watched Glenrothes final game as a Junior club two years ago at Whitburn and they looked a troubled club. Here they were up against an Easthouses club with the distinction of having left the East of Scotland League in 2015 to join the East Region Juniors looking for a new challenge only to return as part of the mass exodus from the Junior to the Senior ranks three years later. 

The game can be separated into thirds, the first Glenrothes were dominant, and the second Easthouses. Sadly for the hosts the final 20 minutes saw Easthouses collapse with a red card shown, tempers boil over, and most significantly Glenrothes run in 3 unanswered goals. It certainly was dramatic, and we left Newbattle with the distinct advantage of knowing precisely where the next ground was!