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Emerging from The Floods


It starts as a drizzle
massaging the green land
and raises to a down pour
washing it clean again
thunderstorms, even are fitting, pure,
loving the ground with the passion with a kiss
But passion rapidly turns sour,
and carries on too long
ripping the banks
flooding the land
till she is as frightened as a battered woman




Monday 17th February 2014 Calor Southern League k.o.:- 7.45pm
Premier Division

St Albans City                                                       1
John Frendo 20,
Chippenham Town                                            0
referee:- Lee Forrester (Luton) attendance:- 352


This was my fifth visit this season to St Albans City! For the second time in a row, I went down by train and then walked (about ten minutes) along from the station to Clarence Park. It was a wet miserable night, but there was a comparatively good turnout, probably reflecting The Saints recent good form and third place in the table.

Chippenham Town were faring not so well. They lie fourth from bottom of the table, but, following the demise of Hinckley United, only three teams will be relegated from The Calor Southern League Premier this season. Chippenham Town, however, are not only fourth bottom, they are fifteen points ahead of third bottom, Bedford Town!

Tonight, they fell behind to an early goal from John Frendo and try as they might, they couldn’t pull back the deficit. In the second half, especially, they outplayed their hosts but were either unlucky in front of goal or came up against Paul Bastock in the Saints goal who was making his record 302nd appearance for the club.

Plans for a new stadium for St Albans City appear to be foundering. As one supporter suggested, it won’t be in place before England next win the World Cup! Initial plans were for a site within two miles of the present stadium, but the brown field clearance would have proved too costly. Now the plans are for a site at Radlett where there used to be an airforce base, but those plans, too, are fraught with controversy!



St Albans City Football Club has presented its plans for a new stadium to local councillors and business leaders.


Wednesday 19th February 2014 Derbyshire Senior Cup    k.o.:- 7.45pm


Borrowash Victoria                                                        0

Thom Kellogg s/o 48

Glossop North End                                                         6

Sam Hare 16 (pen), 53

Thomas Bailey 35,

Matthew Russell 45+2

Kyle Riley 76,

Kelvin Lugsden 84,

referee:- Nicholas Hopton                                  attendance:- 153


This was only my second visit to The Bowl (Watkinsons Construction Bowl, as it is now, back then it was The Robinson Construction Bowl!). On my first visit, some twelve years ago (Saturday 12th October 2002 – Northern Counties East League, Premier Division:- Borrowash Victoria 1 Hallam 1 attendance:- 62), The Vics were in a much higher league, but not a lot had changed otherwise in the intervening years!


The original purpose of the ground (according to Chris, for whom Borrowash Victoria is a local favourite), was as a golf driving range and he pointed out the driving area behind the goal beside the entrance. Behind the opposite goal, there lay the remains of last November’s bonfire – and not a lot else! However, down one side, opposite the players changing rooms and the dugouts, there was a pretty impressive seated stand (see above).


The stand behind the near goal is called” The Joe Kellogg Memorial Stand” and was named in memory of a player who collapsed and died a couple of seasons ago during a pre-season friendly, I think. He had two brothers playing this evening, and one of them got himself sent off!


The game, itself, was a mismatch of a contest. Glossop North End from the NorthWest Counties League Premier Division, were far too good for their East Midlands League opponents. The hosts started brightly enough, but once they had conceded a sixteenth minute penalty, it was only a question of how many The Hillmen (named, not after the surrounding Derbyshire Peaks, but after local cotton magnate, Sir Samuel Hill Wood, who would later go on to become chairman of Woolwich Arsenal) would score.  During an increasingly fractious second half, Victoria had five players booked and one of them, Thom Kellogg, was sent off. After their famous victory in the quarter-final against Chesterfield, this match was something of a reality check!

Saturday 22nd February 2014   Evo-Stik Northern Premier League  k.o.:- 3.00pm

Premier Division

Grantham Town                                                    1

Greg Smith 63

Chorley                                                                   1

Adam Mather 87

referee Mr I Gittins                                   attendance:- 260


After a wasted journey down to Hullbridge Sports on Thursday evening (the game was OFF when I got there, but it was my own fault, I should have checked more thoroughly before setting out!), I decided against another long trip, this time to East Preston, for their FA Vase 5th Round tie against St Andrews. In the event, the tie was switched to Worthing’s ground which might have made things difficult, as I was to travel down by train!

In the event, I took a pragmatic view and travelled to see my hometown team, Chorley, who are enjoying a rather successful season in The Northern Premier League. That meant a much shorter journey up the A1 to Grantham where I filled up with diesel at Sainsbury’s where Grantham’s original London Road ground, with its famous slope, once stood. I did go there a couple of times, once, ironically, to see Chorley draw 1-1 in 1984 and this was to be my third visit to The South Kesteven Sports Stadium that Grantham Town share with the local Athletics Club. My last visit was nearly twelve years ago, on Saturday 30th March 2002 – GranthamTown 3 Corby Town 0 Doc Martens Southern League Eastern Division, attendance:- 406.

The South Kesteven Stadium is one of those athletics stadia which are not really in tune with football. The running track means that the pitch is too far from the spectators and the atmosphere is minimalised. However, the welcome was warm. I had lunch at ‘The Harrier’, just off the A1 and then got to the ground early where I received a team sheet, bought a programme (£2) and repaired to the bar. Chelsea were scrambling a last gasp winner against Everton on Sky TV and a good number of Magpies fans were in evidence and in voice!


It was a blustery, windy day and the pitch was surprisingly hard and bouncy. That made control difficult and turned the game into something of a lottery.


The Gingerbread were not enjoying a very successful season and had just lost to local rivals, Stamford in The Lincolnshire Senior Cup. They were well down the table in seventeenth place, but in no real relegation trouble. Chorley, on the other hand, bestrode the division with a four point lead at the top and with two games in hand on their closest rivals.


The wind and the bouncy pitch were a great leveller and at times, you would have been hard pressed to tell the top of the table team from the strugglers! Grantham opened the scoring midway through the second half through their bustlingly effective striker, Greg Smith.. Chorley pressed from then on, but an equaliser looked likely to elude them until substitute, Adam Mather, popped up with three minutes to go and headed a deep cross over the goalkeeper and into the net from a tight angle. A draw was probably a fair result, but Chorley’s rivals     …..all won!



Games this season – 145   New grounds – 99

Games this year – 27   New grounds – 13


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