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In The Bleak Mid-Winter!

In the bleak mid-winter
Frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron,
Water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow,
Snow on snow,
In the bleak mid-winter.

by Christina Rossetti

There was no Monday night match this week, instead, once again, I was committed to the cinema and a ‘feel good’ romp called “Quartet” with a host of British actors – Maggie Smith and Tom Courtenay, to mention but two! It was about a retirement home for musicians with Billy Connolly chasing skirt. There was a pretty thin story line, but some good acting. Remember Tom Courtenay ramrod straight as The Bolshevik General flashing past aboard his train in “Dr Zhivago”, or refusing to cross the winning line in “The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner”? Well…….. it was the same Tom Courtenay, but a slightly more grizzled and gnarled apparition!

Tuesday 5th February Northants Senior (Hillier) Cup k.o.:- 7.45pm

Desborough Town                         1                           Corby Town                       4

Luke Churchill                                                                 Sam Ives, Greg Kaziboni

                                                                                     Francis Green, Paul Malone

referee:- S. Barry (Northampton)                                     attendance:- 115


Desborough Town is one of my favourite local teams and tonight they were up against their local Blue Square Bet North rivals, Corby Town. My son, Michael had parents evening and missed the first twenty minutes and then, when he did eventually get here, he nipped out to the bar to get a pint and whilst he was away, Corby Town opened the scoring!


It was a filthy night with the rain drifting in curtains across the pitch. Corby Town came into this game on the back of two heavy defeats, the 6-1 loss at Harrogate Town, which I managed to get to last week and then a 5-1 home reverse to AFC Halifax Town at the weekend. Understandably, the manager sent out a pretty strong line-up, but he did include a couple of fringe players. ‘Ar Tarn’ acquitted themselves creditably for the first forty minutes or so, but then, a long range effort from Sam Ives that the goalkeeper might have made a better fist of, put The Steelmen in front!


In the second half, it was pretty much one way traffic as Corby notched up three more goals, but the home side at least gained a consolation five minutes from time! I took my son, Michael, and Rory who is chairman of the Corby Town supporters trust, and a former pupil,home,  but only after they had one (more) for the road in the bar at the end of the match!

Rory, Gary and Jamie, supporting the away team!

Rory, Gary and Jamie, supporting the away team!

Wednesday 6th February 2013 Blue Square Bet North       k.o.:- 7.45pm

Oxford City                                       0                       Histon                                  0

referee:- Adam Crysell                                                 attendance:- 189


Had a bit of a scare on the way down on the A43 when my tyre deflation warning light came on! Fortunately, I wasn’t too far from Brackley where I blew all the tyres up beyond the regulation pressure and drove on to collect my eldest son, James, for the match at Oxford City. No more tyre problems on the way to Marsh Lane in Marston where we decanted the car and made for the bar collecting (for James) a gargantuan cheeseburger to accompany his pint of Guinness!


It was a very cold evening with a biting wind, but the match was pretty entertaining despite the lack of goals. Histon, the visitors, have had a pretty rotten season and have spent most of it mired in the bottom three places. Indeed, it seemed, even before Christmas, that they, along with Hinckley United and Droylsden would be the three relegated clubs at the end of the season. In the last six matches, however, they have won four and drawn one to park themselves in fourth place in the ‘current form’ table. They were no cannon fodder as they might have been earlier in the season and a tight struggle ensued with few chances to either side. Histon were well worthy of their point!

The atmospheric setting of Court Place Farm Stadium, Marsh Lane, Marston, Oxford, home of Oxford City FC.

The atmospheric setting of Court Place Farm Stadium, Marsh Lane, Marston, Oxford, home of Oxford City FC.

I drove James back to Chipping Norton and once again blew the tyres up, even though the warning light had not shown. Then I drove the seventy-odd miles home without incident and I still don’t know which tyre was under-inflated!

Saturday 9th February 2013   EBAC Northern League    k.o.:- 3.00pm

Division 1

Penrith                        1                                  Marske United                                     2

Willy Paul 15                                                      Jordan Hugill 45, David Onions 80

referee:- Mr David MacNamara (Preston)                        attendance:- 109


                                                                                                                                                                                            “Deeds not words”

There was snow on the hills and snow in the air as I took an early morning walk from Hawes up to Hardraw Force which is the highest fall of water in ……. North Yorkshire? The ground was soggy underfoot and there was a raw cutting wind as we splodged our way up to The Penine Way and walked down into Hardraw. I don’t recall having to pay the last time I came here. Today, entrance to the force could be gained by traipsing through The Green Man Pub in the village and paying £2 to the bartender and then exiting through the rear door and up the path, about a quarter of a mile to the water fall.

Hardraw Force

Hardraw Force

Having paid my respects and walked back down to Hawes, a round trip of 5.42 miles, I jumped with alacrity into my car and set off, cocooned from the elements, for the football in Penrith. I fully expected sat-nav to take me straight to The M6 and from there up to Penrith, but no, I got the scenic route via Kirby Stephen and the A66 and with snow topped hills abounding, it was truly picturesque!

Frenchfield Park, Penrith.

Frenchfield Park, Penrith.

I arrived good and early and checked that the match was on before adjourning to a local hostelry, where, for well under a tenner, scampi, chips and peas and a fine pint of Cumberland Ale could be had together with the cryptic crossword in The Cumberland Advertiser.

Saturday 9th February 2013Penrith 1 Marske United 2

Saturday 9th February 2013
Penrith 1 Marske United 2

The ground is relatively new and way out on the outskirts of the town. When first approaching it, there are several acres of football pitches all served by a central clubhouse, but behind all this there is Frenchfield Park, home to Penrith FC, enclosed, floodlit and with a fine main stand on one side and a much smaller covered area directly opposite. Another pint of fine Cumberland Ale was consumed in the bar before the match where a young woman was discoursing with a man with a clipboard. It turned out that he was the referee’s assessor and she was the referee’s …… wife!

Ebac Northern LeagueDivision 1

Ebac Northern League
Division 1

This was a battle of the strugglers with both teams in the bottom six. Penrith opened the scoring early on, but Marske had equalised by half time and took the match with a goal ten minutes from time backed by a very vociferous set of travelling supporters. Midway through the second half, the home number 7 leapt high into the air to block a clearance and received a meaty, forceful, defender’s strike of the ball straight to the crown jewels. It was several minutes before he could be interested in returning to action and then not much later before he was substituted!


In the gathering gloom of the bleak midwinter, I wended my way through the snowy wastes, back to Hawes where I was staying for the weekend!

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