Saturday 19th March 2022 ko 17:00
East of Scotland League Premier Division
DUNDONALD BLUEBELL 1 (Sibanda 40p)
TRANENT JUNIORS 3 (Maugham 12 76 Renton 36)
Just as it was at Crossgates parking was an issue at Cardenden, but again simple planning and cooperation made it all work efficiently. But I hear your question, he said Cardenden and not Dundonald, so where were we?
The answer is the West Fife ABCD town of cojoined villages Auchterderran, Bowhill, Cardenden and Dundonald, the football team would sound a bit daft being called ABCD Bluebell wouldn’t it? The area is famous for having author Ian Rankin as a resident, but in football terms Bowhill is the final resting place of John Thomson, the Celtic goalkeeper who was killed in an accidental collison with Rangers’ Sam English at Ibrox in 1931. To this day every time Celtic play in Fife, the team coach detours here so that the players can pay their respects.
All those years ago when I tried to get Scottish Junior Hop going, it was places like Moorside Park that I had in mind for us to visit. It’s a place both built by and from the coal industry managing to be both welcoming, pre-game the regulars found us fascinating, but still being reassuringly working class.
Quite honestly the groundhoppers swamped the place and the club had to work extremely hard to keep queues moving, which they did and still managed to smile- no mean feat and that went double for the good folks at the food hut.
This was a ground that begged to be explored, to the extent that the hipsters from BBC Scotland had to send a search party, well Chris, to find me as they wanted to interview me! I enjoyed the journalists’ company as much as I did the ground, and in turn as much as I enjoyed the game.
The Crossgates piece did elicit the question of where I’d place these games in an English context. That’s a tough one to work out, the styles are very different. I’d say these last two Saturday games would be roughly equivalent to the top end of the Northern League, or the bottom end of of the Northern Premier League. I’m sure though, plenty will have a different view!
The game had parallels with the previous game in that in both cases the visiting team was chasing promotion. Unlike with though with Penicuik at Crossgates, Tranent steamrollered Bluebell and I will always wonder whether they’d remembered the surprise of their draw at Newtongrange Star on the October Hop. Perhaps they made sure lightening didn’t strike twice!
Which of course shouldn’t reflect in any way on Dundonald Bluebell, whose company I greatly enjoyed. But as the darkness fell and the temperature fell as we headed towards our final game of the day I gradually got the sense that we were likely to have quite a finale to our day.