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Saturday 18th March 2023 ko 17:00

Lowland League


BO’NESS UNITED 1 (Walker 49)

Att 607

Entry £8

Programme £3

So half-way through the event and in so many ways a statement of where the Scottish Hop is at. It’s easy to forget that the hop started as an exclusively Lowland League event in 2014 and didn’t take in an East of Scotland League game until Eyemouth 3 years later. I remember shrugging my shoulders as one or two prejudiced types scuttled off elsewhere as they thought the level would be beneath them. I’ve always been an advocate of going weird early, so found their actions odd, and allowed myself a wry smile when they ended up watching the East of Scotland League a couple of years later.

Of course the Lowland League of now is a very different animal from back, due almost certainly to the mass transfer from the Junior ranks. That act completely altered non league in Scotland and had the unintended consequence of saving the Scottish Hop into the bargain. It does mean we do need to understand the nature of the league carefully; we tend to add 200 or so on to an already large crowd, so we cannot except host clubs to do as much as, say Sherborne Harriers did on the Witney Hop.

You saw it here. Craig Dabbs, my wife Robyn and I arrived as Forresters Park to a huge queue at the north turnstile. The issue was a large crowd trying to show pre-paid passes, by raffle tickets, pay to get in, and purchase raffle tickets all in the same place. We managed to get the pre-paid passes waved through that at least meant everyone in that queue made it in before kick off. Elsewhere it was simply a case of letting the club do its thing, and the pies flew out! 

Tranent needed a win to keep a mathematical interest in the title, but the game followed the running theme of the hop, away domination. I’d greatly enjoyed Bo’ness’s company the previous year while putting together the programme packs, suffice it say Don from the club made it clear that they’d gone from being owner-occupiers at Newtown Park to mere tenants. That has made their existence far more of a struggle, than it was in the past. 

I’d expected a home win, but that away theme struck again. Lennon Walker scored for Bo’ness and for all the world it looked like they’d escape with the points, but they were rescued right at the death by substitute Nicholas Reid. There was an almighty struggle on the Bo’ness goal line, and there could have easily another entry in another running theme-  a red card or two. Perhaps it was no bad thing the referee chose to turn a blind eye!