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Ladies & Gentlemen

Ladies & Gentlemen

(Early Days in November 2012)


Thursday 1st November 2012 EUFA Women’s Europa League k.o.:- 2.00pm

Arsenal Ladies                   2                            FFC Turbine Potsdam                1

Katie Chapman 70                                               Yuki Ogimi 90

Ellen White 83

referee:- Esther Azzopardi Ferrugia (MLT)         attendance:- 832

I’d been meaning to get to one of Arsenal Ladies matches for some time because Borehamwood, where they play, is just down the road, so to speak, by train. It was a filthy morning as I left my car for service and trotted over to the station to catch the train. However, by the afternoon, the showers had become a lot less frequent, and a watery sunshine loitered. Elstree & Borehamwood Station is about a mile from the ground and is festooned, not only with the shops of Elstree but with memories of the British film industry, by plaque and footprint and even monument.

One of the mementos of the Elstree film studios on the way to Borehamwood FC

I only got to the ground about fifteen minutes before kick-off and the stadium looked pretty full. There were no programmes left. I couldn’t get a team sheet. There were guys in the stands holding wads of programmes for the match. Selfish sods! I always get pretty miffed when I see these so-called supporters helping themselves to five programmes because they have arrived early at an important game. Then half an hour before kick-off, programmes are sold out!

The home of Arsenal Ladies!


Consequently, I didn’t feel a great deal of support for Arsenal Ladies, but they played well against a strong German side and, but for a stunning finish in the final minute, I think they would have done enough to seal the tie. As it is, I think they will have their work cut out in Potsdam! Even so, they had accomplished their first win against German opposition in a European campaign.

(PS.:- They won 4-3 in Potsdam and are now through to the next round which will be played in March 2013.)

Arsenal Ladies 2 FFC Turbine Potsdam 1 EUFA Women's Europa League

Thursday 1st November 2012 Bedfordshire County League k.o.:- 7.45pm

Premier Division

Renhold United                                4              Lidlington United Sports            0

Aran Hazelwood, Dean Warren (2)

Eduardo L’Erario

referee:- Richard Horswell                                attendance:- 34

This was an historical first! The first time that Renhold United Football Club had ever played under lights! They were playing on a Thursday, I believe, because their Saturday opponents were to have been Arlesey Reserves, but Arlesey are playing at Coventry City on Saturday in The FA Cup 1st Round, and, not unnaturally, the whole team wanted to be there to urge them on! (Sadly, they lost 0-3). The game was switched to Kempston so that it could be played under floodlights.

I hadn’t been to AFC Kempston Rovers ground at The Hillgrounds Leisure Centre since 2006 and the changing rooms and social area appear to be undergoing a period of regeneration and redecoration. Even so, there was a passable Cornish pastie available in the bar and tea and coffee for those without a weak bladder! There was a programme printed for the match and, considering the level of the game, it was pretty well produced and informative. We were invited to “contribute” to the costs and I was very happy to oblige!

 Saturday 3rd November 2012   FA Cup with Budweiser                k.o.:-  3.00pm

1st Round

Doncaster Rovers                        3               Bradford Park Avenue                      1

Martin Woods 27, Iain Hume 36                            Richard Marshall 56

Chris Brown 76

referee:- Jeremy Simpson                                attendance:- 4,602

The new home of Doncaster Rovers

From Nottingham, where we had congregated, Graeme drove us up to Doncaster so sedately that I hardly registered the passage of time ….. or was it the three Sudokus in The Independent ‘I’? The Keepmoat Stadium is a sumptuous arena not unlike (though smaller than) the Darlington Arena. Next door to it is an athletics stadium with its own seated stand. The football ground is easy to access and worth paying £4.00 to park almost opposite.

The Keepmoat Stadium, Doncaster.

The match was straight out of  a Division IV fixture from the 1960s when both teams were mid-table operatives until Bradford Park Avenue lost their league status at the end of the 1969/70 season. I can still remember the awe of a Chorley 3-0 victory against Park Avenue in The Northern Premier League on 30th April 1971, when the opposition still felt like a league side!

We bought tickets and programmes (initially being palmed off with a programme for Doncaster Rovers v Brentford on 20th October – luckily we noticed the error!). Chris insisted on having his photo taken with the Donny mascot. Graeme wondered out loud as to who was the more foolish, Chris, with the mascot or he, for taking the photograph!


Chris ........... and the bear!

I had my first ever experience of a Kentucky Fried Chicken emporium! Fortunately, Chris was there to guide my selection which wandered no further than a chicken burger and chips. He himself had a wide selection of chicken nuggets and sauces which made me really wonder at my stunted culinary experience!

The empty acres of The Keepmoat Stadium for an FA Cup tie!

It was a pretty good game, too. At no stage did Bradford Park Avenue, some three divisions below their League 1 rivals ever look really outclassed. Indeed, midway through the second half, when they pulled a goal back to make the score 2-1, they might even have produced an upset! But it was not to be and the noisy, but friendly green and white Park Avenue supporters melted away at the end, mixing readily with their courteous and friendly rival fans.

Monday 5th November 2012 Uhlsports Hellenic League      k.o.:- 7.45pm

Premier Division

Highmoor Ibis                              1                              Marlow                    4

J. Forde Small                                                                  B. Gladwin (2) M. Mealing

                                                                                              G. Smith

referee:- M. Hounsell                                                    attendance:- 128

Another first! It was not just the hundred odd miles that presented the challenge; it was the fact that Reading is not easily accessible from Northamptonshire. I plugged in sat-nav and set off early and after two hours serene driving I found myself gridlocked in Reading in rush hour! It took me over half an hour to get to the ground – The Palmer Park Stadium, home of Reading Athletic Club – and for long periods, I was stationary in a sea of cars! For some reason, Highmoor Ibis call their ground “The Stadium de Moor”, but, in reality, it is an athletics stadium which accommodates football. There was a strange ritual of entry. You had to walk through the public entrance to the sports facilities, through the back and past all the changing rooms and it was only when the door to the outside world opened- that the man with the programmes, collecting the gate money, could be located!

Palmer Park Stadium, home of Reading Athletics Club and Highmoor Ibis FC

There was a good view (from a long way away) and even standing room at the back of the stand. The pitch itself was bumpy and several times mistakes were made because of the uneven bounce of the ball. There was a large crowd which must have been 30% football hoppers and plenty of opportunity for chat and discussion. Why more clubs don’t utilise Mondays (or Thursdays) for their midweek matches mystifies me. All those games played on Tuesday evenings when sparse crowds are thinned by European matches flourishing on TV, when little-used Mondays or Thursdays would bring in  dedicated hoppers by the dozen!

Marlow, recently demoted from The Southern League and keen to return at the first attempt, sit on top of the league. Back in September, they thrashed Highmoor Ibis by 4-1at home and this evening repeated the scoreline on their travels. After an early scare when Ibis hit the post, Marlow dominated the match and thoroughly deserved their victory.

Crisps, Claire, and a cup of coffee were about the extent of the refreshments on offer.

Was it Bonfire Night? We did hear a few bangs and fizzes, but nobody paid much attention!

Tuesday 6th November 2012 Northants Senior (Hillier) Cup  k.o.:- 7.45pm


Long Buckby                                 1                        Corby Town                       2

                                                                                           Greg Kaziboni     Ryan Semple

referee:- Paul Evans                                                 attendance:- 44

Not the best view of probably the worst venue in the United Counties League - Station Road, Long Buckby, surrounded by rugby pitches. Nice stand, though!

I went with second son Mike (who took this abject picture!). He, too, fell victim to the old man’s prowess at pool! In a best of three series, the third match was not required!

Corby Town were ranked several steps above their rivals but fielded a pretty competitive side, even so. However, they were outplayed for long periods by the current UCL Champions. Against the run of play, Corby Town opened the scoring midway through the second half and a goal to each side in the closing minutes, changed the scoreline, but not the result. A huge sigh of relief could be heard amongst the sparse crowd as extra time was avoided!

Weds 7th Nov 2012 Chromasport & Trophies United Counties League k.o.:- 7.45pm

Division 1

Bugbrooke St Michael’s                3               Wootton Blue Cross                    0


referee:- S. Millar                                                        attendance:- 33

It was a cold night and for some reason, there was smoke drifting around at one end of the ground (a belated bonfire, possibly?). It was cold but clear and so was the score as the home side, unbeaten in the league this season, mercilessly dealt with their struggling opponents.

Wednesday 7th November 2012 Bugbrooke St Michael's 3 Wootton Blue Cross 0

Blue Cross have fallen on hard times of late and found it difficult at the start of the season, even to raise a side.Their number 7 with a beard was substituted at half time after being booked as he appeared to lose his cool in the first half. Had he really reacted to teasing about his hirsute appearance?

Funnily enough, my previous visit to Bugbrooke had seen these same two teams playing out a 1-1 draw in March this year, when Callum Davenport, formerly of West Ham United was in the Blue Cross team. He no longer plays for them, having made no more than seven or eight appearances, but he is still playing in local football in the area.

Finally, on Saturday 10th November, I went to see my eldest son, James in Chipping Norton with my second son, Mike. James is about to become a dad, so we chose a match not too far from his Chipping Norton base at Hook Norton of the famous brewery. Prior to the match, we all, James and Cora, Mike and I went for a meal in the town. It was a strange meal! Mike had crocodile steak with roast vegetables. It was a bit fishy tasting, he said, but also a bit like chicken! Cora had venison and juniper pie. James and I were dead boring, making do with chilli-con-carne and chips!

Hook Norton FC

Saturday 10th November 2012 Uhlsports Hellenic League k.o.:- 3.00pm

Division 1 West

Hook Norton                        3                            Purton                             1

Mark Dennis 13, 76                                              Darren Brown 88

Jamie Wyatt 58

referee:- Mr Richard Beveridge                         attendance:- 44

The Bourne, Hook Norton, Oxfordshire

Before the match started, as we were trudging across the cricket field to the club house, the minute’s silence for Remembrance Weekend was being observed on the football pitch. There was a little bit of tension when a home official really thought I should have stood with head bowed and contemplating the grass and I told him that I had no interest in that sort of thing. He told me that I ought to have respect! I was left wondering when it had become a requirement to observe the remembrance silence on the day before Remembrance Sunday – if at all!

I think I have mentioned, in a previous report, that James plays cricket for Chipping Norton and so does Ben Tew who plies his football trade with Hook Norton FC. Unlike last time when he scored a goal as a striker in a 2-1 victory over the same opposition in April, today, Ben was playing as a central defender and his positioning and covering were excellent and probably had a great deal to do with Hook Norton gaining revenge for a 6-0 drubbing at the hands of Purton earlier in the season!

Hook Norton 3 Purton 1, Saturday 10th November 2012

After the match and whilst watching the results service on the TV in the bar, we managed a couple of rounds each of pool and this time, James and Mike gained a measure of revenge. James won both his games against me (naturally a large measure of good fortune played its part for him!) and Mike won one and lost one to me in our two games. James and Mike each won a game against the other. A cracking afternoon was rounded off with James decanted back in Chipping Norton, Mike in Kettering and me home by 8.00pm!

Here’s to the next time, when, I guess I may be a grandfather for a second time!







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