Tuesday 10th July 2012 ko 7.00pm
THRAPSTON TOWN 3 (Middleton 22 Cummins 23 Gilsenan 50) Marshall sent off 79 (foul language)
WHITTLESEY BLUE STAR 1 (Hibbins 7) Morrell sent off 78 (violent conduct)
Att 12 (h/c)
Played at Titchmarsh Playing Field, Northants
Nothing for sale
With Thrapston’s ground unavailable due to cricket, this fixture was moved around a mile and a half to the pretty village of Titchmarsh. Its population is a mere 500 or so, and is the birthplace of the former Poet Laureate John Dryden (1631-1700). The village is dominated by the parish church of St Mary, which seems far too large for the size of the village. There’s nothing too unusual about that, England’s pleasant pastures supplied enough itinerant labour in the past to make a church like this thrive.
In ancient times those feet toiled the lands where the playing field now stands. There’s two pitches, one raised above the other, and both are used in the Rushden and District Sunday League. There’s a smart Pavillion too, built in 2008 and when the rain came, a few of the hoppers used its entrance for shelter during the second half. The agrarian feel still is there with the fields still in evidence on two sides of the pitch. In, one two horses rather disdainfully ignored the action.
The game saw United Counties Division One outfit Thrapston take on Blue Star, newly promoted to the top flight of the Peterborough and District League, one division below their hosts. Intriguingly the fixture was being refereed by Bruce Stevens, a qualified official, but also the husband of the home secretary. It didn’t matter to either side, even with what happened later. Yes there were multiple substitutions, Thrapston virtually changed teams at half time, but this was a good competitive fixture to watch upon the clouded hills.
The opening few minutes saw the mental fight conclusively won by the visitors. Paul Hibbins fired home after 7 minutes, but as the half wore on, the clouds unfolded and the rain fell, Thrapston gained the ascendancy. Jordan Middleton soon equalised from a free kick, and a defensive slip saw Luke Cummins fire home a minute later. When Jamie Gilsenan made it 3 it looked like an entertaining, if routine win against lower level opposition. What made it interesting was what happened with just over 10 minutes left.
It is, of course an unwritten rule of pre-season friendlies that no-one gets booked, or sent off, but in this instance Mr Stevens had no choice, the arrows of desire had taken over completely. Clearly, Blue Star’s Jamie Morrell was the victim of a rough challenge from Lewis Harman. Harman deserved his booking and possibly worse, but when a player (Morrell) kicks out at his tormentor, what option does the Ref have, whoever their spouse is? It got dafter a minute later as Scott Marshall’s backchat to Mr Stevens produced another dismissal, but if you will swear at an official, what do you expect?
It all seemed out of keeping with the resy of the game, and the beautiful surroundings. A satanic finish which produced a furrow to the countenance divine, in England’s green and pleasant lands.