Friday 17th April 2013 ko 18.30
Notts Senior League Senior Division
MAGDALA AMATEURS 2 (Sutton 10 48)
BILBOROUGH TOWN 1 (Lucas 22og)
Badges sold out
If there’s one thing I like more than a groundhop weekend, its a groundhop I’m not involved in organising! Rob Hornby, apart from being a good friend, is a wizard of organising events in and around his home in Mansfield. He organised the sadly finished Central Midlands League Groundhops, but has now switched to the parallel status Notts Senior League for his annual Bonanza. The format was one game on the Friday, followed by 4 on the Saturday, and with none of the clubs having floodlights it was set to be a busy weekend!
My mistake, in retrospect was not taking half a day off work; Friday night traffic meant I missed the first few minutes of the game, that apparently kicked off a touch early. Never mind, that’s my fault, especially as the Stuart Clarke influence in me likes to get to a ground early and soak the place up.
The club play behind the ROKO Health Club, in West Bridgford, in South Nottingham, and their unusual name takes a little explanation! They were formed in 1895 by the Rev. Gwynne as the side of the St Emmanuel Sunday School based on Magdala Road nearby. They took the name as Notts Magdala, but when a reserve side was added they promptly broke away and became the Magdala Amateurs of today! The first XI carried on, and eventually changed their name to Nottinghamshire FC and also play in the Notts Senior League, just north of the city.
For a club less than 2 miles from a major city’s centre, the ROKO centre’s pitch is quite arboreal in location! It made for an attractive meeting point, in the setting sun, although I did feel sorry for the owner of the car wash in the car park, who must have thought his Christmases had come at once as 10 times Magdala’s attendance arrived only to drive straight past him!
Rob had clearly got the club working along the correct lines, as everyone looked busy. The catering was contracted out to a local sandwich bar, and the merchandise stall did a roaring trade. I found Rob, and donated a bag of programmes towards his charity stall. Then I actually managed to relax and watch the game!
It didn’t take long to work out that Magdala were clearly the stronger team, and they took the lead through Lee Sutton. Only poor finishing and the woodwork stopped them adding to the score and the profligacy was punished when Bilborough equalised when a cross spun off Magdala defender Richard Lucas for a bizarre own goal.
Sutton doubled his tally just after the break and that was to be the end of the scoring, although both sides had chances, the majority falling to Magdala. I watched Rob as the final whistle blew. The first game is always the most nerve-wracking as organiser but his smile spoke volumes. I gave another hopper a lift into the centre of Nottingham, then disappeared into the night.