Saturday 3rd December 2011 ko 10.30am
Midland Combination U21 League East/North Divison
LOUGHBOROUGH STUDENTS 6 (Poole 7 31 Ali 26 Howard 49 Jardine 66 77)
WOODBOURNE SPORTS 2 (Douglas 47 Carter 56)
Att 15 (h/c)
Played on the “Paddock Pitch” Loughborough University
Coffee (from vending machine in nearby “Pilkington” Library) £1
Once I’d pencilled in Belper United for the afternoon’s fixture, doing something in the Midland Combination U21 League was an obvious choice. Even more obvious was to see where Woodbourne were playing as I’d seen them back in October and been mighty impressed (https://laurencereade.wordpress.com/2011/11/12/the-right-way/). I then looked at where, Loughborough University…oh. Around 10 years ago I ferried my ex-wife there each month for tutorials during her study for her phD. I also attended the viva and graduation ceremonies there. We split up a year ago, so there are some mixed memories of the place for me. To add to it all, this was her birthday, so on one level it was the last place I wanted to be, but I’m a groundhopper, and this is Woodbourne after all.
For those thinking of visiting its worth noting that you will need to report to reception, off Epinal way, and that the Campus is huge! The Paddock pitch is more or less straight ahead from the main entrance, and is to be found on the aptly named University Road, at the western end of the site. Its not the site that Loughborough University’s adult side will be using, when they leave Loughborough Dynamo in Nanpantan.
And to be frank there isn’t a lot lot here. Just a roped off pitch with the Cayley One changing rooms a fair walk downhill. I’d brought along Paul Fergusson for his first Midland Combination game of any description, and while I knew Woodbourne would do things the right way, the welcome they gave Paul and I was most touching, I didn’t know how they would bear up to what was, on paper, a far stronger team.
What we got was a highly entertaining game, played to a very high standard. Woodbourne brought just the 12 players, the manager making copius use of the overage rule to name himself on the bench! All the while students walked alomg University Road, tripping a speed display (mostly at 3 mph), but oblivious to the entertainment on offer.
The students took the lead with a quite appalling piece of referreeing. Will Poole blatantly handled before his attemped cross sneaked in. Imagine Henry vs Eire and you get my point. The second was more straightforward, Woodbourne keeper Jake Gibbons dropped the ball in front of Gabriel Ali who just tapped in. Woodbourne fought hard against tough odds and an even tougher set of officials and I thought were a little unlucky to find themselves 3-0 down at the break.
Sports pulled a goal back soon after the break through Seb Douglas, but this produced an almost instantanous response, Nick Howard heading powerfully home from a corner. Still Sports wouldn’t give up, still playing good, passing footbball, and were rewarded with an excellent finish from Tom “TC” Carter. You hoped for a unlikely comeback, but it wasn’t to be. Subsitute Rob Jardine scored twice, the second a dribble through most of the defence, to post a rather unfair scoreline on the visitors.
We had just enough time for Ryan Shemwell to be booked for a frustrated trip, to which his mother shouted ” He’s no son of mine!” Priceless, and typical of a club, who to crib my previous title do things “The Right Way.” I think they’ve made another fan in Paul.