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A Trip to The Smoke

Earth has not anything to show more fair:
Dull would he be of soul who could pass by
A sight so touching in its majesty:
This City now doth, like a garment, wear

The beauty of the morning: silent, bare,
Ships, towers, domes, theatres, and temples lie
Open unto the fields, and to the sky;
All bright and glittering in the smokeless air.

Never did sun more beautifully steep
In his first splendour, valley, rock, or hill;
Ne’er saw I, never felt, a calm so deep!

The river glideth at his own sweet will:
Dear God! the very houses seem asleep;
And all that mighty heart is lying still!

by William Wordsworth (1770-1850)




Saturday 29th November 2013   Evo-Stik Southern League   k.o.:- 3.00pm

Division 1 Central

Uxbridge                                             3

Chris Moore 27, 62, 90+2

Rugby Town                                       3

Lewis Ramkin 53,

Justin Marsden 69,

Robbie Burns 71,

Referee:- Stephen Bates                  Attendance:- 102


Poor Wordsworth, if only he could pass by Westminster Bridge today, he might not paint such a dulcet, roseate picture as he did in September 1802. Two hundred and twelve years has not improved the view!

I drove down in the usual heavy traffic, but the only hold up was on the M25 where ‘an incident’ had slowed traffic to a crawl just before the M4 exit. I was only on The M4 for a mile or so before the Heathrow turn off and sat-nav found the ground for me in West Drayton. It was surprisingly quiet and I was able to wander around the stadium which had two seated stands opposite each other on the half way line and two covered terraces, one behind each goal. The club house was outside the ground and there were two additional pitches adjacent to the main arena. Inside the clubhouse, the faithful were watching Arsenal overcome the stubborn resistance of West Bromwich Albion on Sky TV.


Eighty-five days into my annual one hundred days without alcohol, I was not going to be tempted by the bar and instead, patronised the small tea hatch where I purchased a very moderately priced egg roll and a Cornish pastie with a large mug of tea to wash it down with!

It wasn’t long after Danny Welbeck scored the only goal at The Hawthorns with a towering downward header, that Phil made his sudden appearance that very nearly sent my egg roll flying into my tea mug! He’d got my message after his early morning round of golf, but had replied after I’d left for London. It was the first time we’d been to a match together since Lancing beat Mole Valley SCR in The FA Vase on Saturday 6th September!

I can’t begin to understand the esoteric complexities of golf, but he’d been taking part in a charity invitational event this morning, where his team thought they had done rather well to finish the round six under, only to find that the team ahead of them had achieved ten under! Whatever, it was good to see him again!


I had been a tad concerned about how I might obtain team sheets, so I was staggered when I enquired at the turnstile, to have a printed team sheet nonchalantly doled out to me as I paid for entry and programme!

Phil seemed to think that the ground had been improved – maybe even moved a bit – during the last twenty years or so. He seemed to think that he might have once played cricket there, but there was little evidence of cricket activity left at the scene! In fact, the club have only been playing at this stadium since 1978 and Arsenal were the hosts to open their floodlights in 1981. In the club house, there was a large framed photograph of the England team at Wembley in 1976 (Ray Clemence, Mick Mills, Dennis Tueart, Ray Wilkins, Trevor Brooking et al). Also in the picture was the Uxbridge team! Apparently, England had been looking for opposition, prior to the 1976 World Cup, and Uxbridge volunteered. They were soundly beaten 8-0 at Wembley. There was no record of the attendance!


As for the game, itself, it was a strange affair. Uxbridge are struggling somewhat this season and are currently fifth from bottom. Rugby Town, on the other hand, are handily placed in sixth. Before the match I predicted a 3-1 away victory and the early play confirmed my confidence in the away team’s abilities. It was something of a surprise, then, when halfway through the first half, a well worked move from the hosts resulted in a simple tap in for Chris Moore, the home number ten.

The score remained the same until half-time and Rugby must have been scratching their heads in disbelief after the number of first half chances they spurned. Meanwhile some of the home tackling had been pretty tasty, yet the referee injudiciously spurned the use of his notebook. Eventually, in the 23rd minute a home player did have his name inscribed, but the opponent he had felled, limped off the field ten minutes later and had to be replaced.

The match continued in the same vein in the second half, but then, on fifty-three minutes, a tame shot which the home goalkeeper seemed to have covered, somehow eluded him and trickled into the net for the equaliser!

That should have been the signal for the visitors to take charge and wrap the match up! Not a bit of it! Chris Moore was on target again within ten minutes and the hosts were once more in front and against the run of play!

Two goals in two minutes seemed to have won the game for the visitors. The second was a real screamer from outside the area which flew over the goalkeepers head before he had time to react and smashed into the net. Now, it was the visitors who took control and an away win seemed a formality.

Deep into added time after increasing home pressure, a corner from the right was headed in by Chris Moore the deadly home strike who notched up his hat trick for the match. Almost immediately, the referee brought proceedings to a close and the spoils had been shared after a thoroughly entertaining afternoon’s football. I can’t remember the last time I got a pre-match prediction right!

Phil left and said that he would be home for the Chelsea match (at Sunderland) on Sky TV at 5.30pm. I listened to the same match (a dreary 0-0 draw) on the car radio on the way home and reckoned that I had got a far better bargain than the travelling hordes of West London fans at The Stadium of Light!


Matches this season:-  104           New grounds this season:-  70
Total matches:-  3,074                   Total new grounds:-  1,024


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