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Zider Country


I view the evening bonfires of the sun
On hills where morning rains have hissed;
The eyeless countenance of the mist
Pallidly rising when the summer droughts are done.

by Thomas Hardy 1840-1928




Saturday 6th December 2014   FA Carlsberg Vase  k.o.:- 3.00pm

3rd Round

Bradford Town                                       4

Mike Reaney 4,

Steve Hulbert 49,

Twain Plummer 53, 87,

Odd Down                                             3

Joe Raynes 41, 51,

Cory Simpson 73,

Referee:- Benjamin James           Attendance:- 81

Admission £5.00 (programme included)


It was a chit billy this morning when I left to pick up Graeme at our pre-arranged meeting point at Blisworth. So much so that I felt the need of the seat warmers in my car to toast my aged withers.

Graeme had not been well and this was his first game in well over a week. I was feeling a bit guilty because I thought that he may have caught the infection from me and doubly so because it was a nasty one to shake off!

The journey down to Somerset was uneventful, except at Chippenham, where roadworks delayed our progress. However, we arrived at 1.00pm, collected programmes and sped back into town to locate a hostelry. Bradford-on-Avon is not a small town. It nestles in a quiet valley with steep roads leading down to it and sometimes so narrow that two cars have difficulty in passing alongside each other. It was quite busy and we expected to find parking difficult, but to our relief, we were able to park in the street outside “The Swan”  in the centre of town.


A large portion of turkey, ham and leek pie, with chips and vegetables (and a glass of orange to wash it down on my 91st day without alcohol) was very welcome, but we found that it was only just over half an hour to kick-off. It had taken me more time than I expected to demolish the substantial portion of pastry encrusted turkey!  Graeme had been more circumspect in his culinary deliberations and had partaken of cheese sandwiches and a few chips.

Back at The Bradford Sports Ground, we began to realise what an odd little place it is. There is cover for maybe one hundred spectators (half of them seated) close to the goal and nearest to the road, but apart from that, there was precious little to protect the spectator against any inclement weather! Two more structures on the road side of the ground, but nearer to the half-way line, were boarded up and looked like former cricket pavilion and changing rooms. Behind the latter were some public toilets, but all was locked and barred!

There was a narrow asphalt path around the perimeter of the pitch and behind the goal nearest to the entrance was the car park and a row of three former lorry containers which had been converted into changing rooms for the players and officials and, right at the end, a small tea-bar.


The sports ground also hosts a bowling facility and we were directed to walk beyond it to access the bar, but only cans and bottles were available.

At the far end of the ground, two Georgian mansions haughtily poked their noses over the hedge (see below), and there was quite a steep drop from the road outside to pitch level. The pitch, as Graeme so eloquently yet understatedly put it was “undulating” and dipped towards the far end, but not too noticeably!


As for the game, it was certainly end to end stuff with plenty of goals and plenty of enthusiasm and entertainment. Despite going a goal behind early on, I expected the visitors to prevail in the long run. The eccentrically nomenclatured striker, Twain Plummer had played for both teams and had played for the visitors earlier in the season. Now playing for the hosts, he was obviously well known to the referee, who booked him for diving in the twenty-fifth minute for what looked to me like a stonewall penalty, but then he was awarded a penalty after half-time at the other end with what looked to me like a blatant piece of diving!

The game was finely balanced, yet with both sides conceding goals for fun, anybody could have won it. At 3-3 with three minutes to go, we were contemplating extra time when that man Plummer popped up again to rifle home the decider!

Both of these teams sit in mid-table of The Premier Division of The Toolstation Western League. It seemed a shame that they weren’t drawn against opposition from a different league. However, the two teams are less than ten miles apart, so we were a little surprised at the paucity of the attendance at what should have been a rousing local derby of a cup-tie.

At the start of the afternoon, there had been blinding sunshine which meant that you had to keep the sun behind you if you wanted to see anything of the match! After half-time, the sun had dipped behind the houses and left behind burgundy skyline which gradually darkened into night! It got much colder, too! It was good to get to the car after the match and enjoy the results service on the radio whilst Graeme gently snoozed.


Games this season:- 109   New grounds:- 72

Games Total:- 3,079        New grounds:- 1,026

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