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The Season’s Evening Draws On


This is the place. Stand still, my steed,
Let me review the scene,
And summon from the shadowy Past
The forms that once have been.

The first verse of “A Gleam of Sunshine”
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882)



Tuesday 16th April 2013 Chromasports & Trophies United Counties League k.o.:- 7.45pm
Premier Division

Desborough Town                             3                         Boston Town                       1
Adi Yusuf 17                                                                            Josh Ford 52
Luke Churchill 33, 45
referee:- K. Yezek (Huntingdon)                                         attendance 45


I hadn’t been to Desborough Town since the beginning of February and in that period of twelve games, they hadn’t won a single match! This evening, they put the record straight with an emphatic victory over a lacklustre Poachers team who really offered very little threat in front of goal, even after the home side had two players sent off!


Ar Tarn’s opening goal was scored by a striker on loan from St Neots Town, whilst the other two were scored by a striker straight out of the reserves! Boston were missing several players, but that was no excuse for a poor performance!

It was good to see The Waterworks Field in daylight. I can normally only get to see them at evening fixtures (eight in total this season) and tonight was the first time that daylight had bathed the start of the match!


Wednesday 17th April 2013 Kershaws Cambridgeshire County League k.o.:- 7.45pm

Premier Division

Littleport Town                  4                  Chatteris Town                         1

Charlie Bowditch 4, 90+5                          Alex Ashley 34

Ben Layn 56, Tom Moden 68

Mike Emms s/o 44

referee:- Reg Barker (Suffolk)                       attendance:- 39


I suppose at one time in the deepest, darkest Fenland, Littleport really was a port. Nowadays, its claim to fame lies in being the birthplace of William Sylvester Harley’s father in 1835. He emigrated to America to Milwaukee where son William Sylvester was born in 1880. In 1907 with partner Arthur Davidson, he formed The Harley Davidson motorcycle company.


It was an uneventful trip along the A14 to Cambridge and then to the A10 which skirted Ely and about five or six miles further on would have skirted Littleport, but I took the first turning into the town and Camel Road where the Sports Centre was situated, was about half a mile towards the town centre on the left!


There was a sprawling sports complex and round the back a large fenced field with floodlights which housed the football pitch. There were no programmes and entry was free, but I managed to copy team-sheet information from the referees sheets. I enquired as to what the home team’s colours were and was told that they were in blue and white. When the teams emerged, one was in all green and the other was in all white with blue piping. It was there that I made a major error! The team playing in white on this particular evening were the away team with Littleport wearing what I can only presume were their away colours. As a consequence, I broadcast to the world a stunning away victory when in actual fact, the home team won comfortably by 4-1. This I found out the following morning on the league website!

It was a very windy evening and as the lone spectator on the far side of the pitch, I spent quite some time retrieving balls which had been punted into touch – some of them a hundred yards into touch – in the dark and I wondered if anyone would have noticed if I had suffered a massive coronary arrest in the process!

Thursday 18th April 2013 Chromasport & Trophies United Counties League k.o.:- 7.45pm

Premier Division

Blackstones                               1                               S&L Corby                               3

Addie Staffieri 48                                                        Paul Caswell 31, 32

                                                                                          Jamie O’Neil 61

referee:- Mr C Reeson                                                attendance:- 41


This was my first visit to Lincoln Road since the infamous 11-1 defeat inflicted on The Stones by Long Buckby back in April of last year. Blackstones (or Mirrlees Blackstones,  as they were when I first started watching them, after the engineering company whose works team they originally were), are one of my favourite United Counties teams. Some years ago they were threatened with closure and the land to be used for building houses. The club then took out a huge mortgage and purchased the land themselves and I really admire them for their determination and their bravery! It is a very friendly club and I usually manage a chat with the lady in the tea bar who brings me up to speed on recent news. This time, it was the parlous state of The Stones team after their manager left in January to take over at Peterborough Northern Star and took many of the players with him!


This sign at the entrance to the ground is new and in general there is an air of freshness and a splash of paint and colour around the place!

Blackstones were definitely second best in this match and I really can’t see them  avoiding a relegation place. Stuarts & Lloyds had a former pupil of mine, Mark Hackett, playing at left back – until he was carried off half-way through the first half with a pulled hamstring. Paul Caswell, a very versatile and experienced UCL player, took over at left back, but only after scoring two goals in a minute on the half hour mark.


There are only twenty-one teams in the division this season, so perhaps only one team will be relegated and two promoted. That might be Blackstones salvation!


Friday 19th April 2013 Precision Nottinghamshire Senior League  k.o.:- 6.30pm

Senior Division

Magdala Amateurs                        2                   Bilborough Town                    1

Lee Sutton 10, 48                                                          Richard Lucas (og) 22

referee:- Mick Leslie                                                    attendance:- 245


This was the first – and only – game of The Nottinghamshire “hop” that I was able to get to! It was also a first match for me in  The Precision Notts Senior League. It was good to meet several old friends from previous hops and no surprise to see scores of other familiar faces!


Magdala play in the grounds of a Health Fitness club and are sponsored by them. the ground is a large enclosed field with minimal facilities and perhaps they might have made more of the opportunity to provide for over two hundred ‘hoppers’. I wasn’t tempted by the beefburgers and hotdogs which can be found at any football ground and I was surprised that there hadn’t been some more enterprising culinary fare on offer.


Initially, the home side were under the cosh, but a tenth minute opener settled the nerves and although Bilborough equalised midway through the first half, The Amateurs were good value for their victory which came early in the second half with a second goal from striker, Lee Sutton.


There were to be four more games on the morrow, with plenty of goals, but sadly, my cricket season duties have kicked in and I was miles away on the Northamptonshire/Buckinghamshire border at Stowe School.

The season is drawing to a close as the evenings grow lighter and the shadows lengthen. Now is the time to take in matches from the minor counties leagues whose kick-off times are so much earlier because they don’t have floodlights. They provide journeys to exotic, far away locations, visited once and never returned to!

Watch this space!


This was my view from the score-box at Stowe School on Saturday 20th April, when I would rather have been on the Notts ‘hop’!

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