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Bedfordshire ‘Hop’ 2015

Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
And touch the stubble plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
Among the river wallows, born aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
The redbreast whistles from a garden croft;
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.

from “Ode to Autumn” by John Keats (1795 – 1822)




Friday 9th October 2015

Abacus Lighting Central Midlands League Black Dragon South Division

k.o.:- 7.45pm

Bulwell                                                            5

Conor Carter 1,

Jake Fisher 47,59,

William Gordon 53,

Jay Knight 79,

Hucknall Town                                             4

Dave Leak 7, 19,

Leon Aikman 57,

Niall Thompson 88,

Referee:-  Kevin Guise         Attendance:- 151


The Bedfordshire “Hop” started off with a real ‘bonus’ game that wasn’t in Bedfordshire, but a little farther north in Nottinghamshire! This Friday night affair is part of an initiative by The Central Midlands League, under the auspices of Fixture Secretary Kim Il Berezai, to provide each member club with one Friday night fixture for a bumper ‘gate’ on an evening when not many – if any – teams are playing.


Bulwell play at newly promoted (to The Northern Premier League) Basford United’s ground and, although they have done a great deal of development work on the stadium, I could still name a few United Counties League clubs with better facilities! The welcome, however, was warm. Programmes were a little late in arriving, but were reserved for the early comers like myself and Terry from Peterborough, who had made the trip by coach and tram!

The game was a cracker! High flying Hucknall Town were pegged back by a goal after just thirteen seconds, but two goals from skipper Dave Leak ensured that they had the lead after only twenty minutes!

Immediately after half-time, there was a flurry of goals. In fifteen minutes the score seesawed from 1-2 down to 4-3 up as the hosts began to exercise some control. A fifth goal with but ten minutes remaining seemed to put the seal on the win, but back came Hucknall for a strike at the death and Bulwell were left hanging on nervously at the final whistle!


Saturday 10th October 2015

Bedfordshire League Premier Division k.o.:- 10.30am

Sharnbrook                                               4

Will King 17,

David Mulvihill 47, 52,

Ian Strange 69,

Pavenham                                                   4

Nick Payne 6, 10,

Jack Harding 46,

James Meeham 53,

Referee:- Alan Botwell            Attendance:- 125


Has anybody ever seen consecutive 5-4 results? We very nearly saw a complementary one this morning at the first game of The fourth annual Bedfordshire County League Hop.

I had been to Sharnbrook before for football AND for cricket, my two elder sons having played there for their home town team.


Sharnbrook is a thriving prosperous village and, as well as the football and cricket facilities, there were also tennis courts and a well maintained outdoor play centre equipped with climbing walls.


The football team are not quite so successful this season, lying third from the foot of the table, but Pavenham, their visitors, were only four points better off, albeit from three fewer games.

The visitors struck twice in the first ten minutes and looked in total control. Sadly, some five minutes later, a heavy tackle on their influential skipper, Tim Boyers, saw him carried off and eventually taken away to hospital by ambulance with a suspected broken leg.


Within two minutes, the hosts had halved the deficit and that was how the first session closed.

The raffle prizes were announced as the players came out for the second half. The first prize was won by one of the Pavenham players and he immediately donated it to his injured captain, who was still awaiting the appearance of the ambulance!

Within two minutes of the re-start, each side had struck and five minutes later, Sharnbrook had dragged themselves back on level terms, only for Pavenham to restore their one goal advantage barely a minute later! It was electrifying exciting stuff and, all the while an entertaining standard of football was maintained.


With twenty minutes remaining, Sharnbrook struck a deserved equaliser and a rip-roaring roller-coaster of a match ended all square!

They say that Sharnbrook were a United Counties League team up until fifteen or so years ago, but little evidence remained of their sojourn in that higher league and it would require some considerable development if they were to regain that status!


Saturday 10th October 2015

Bedfordshire League Premier Division k.o.:- 1.45pm

Renhold United                                       2

Mark Leed 3,

Jason Allison 6,

Sandy                                                           0

Referee:- Nigel Taylor    Attendance:-  119


After such a breathtaking first match, it was probably too much to expect that the second and third games would live up to expectations – and they didn’t!


At Renhold, current champions of The Bedfordshire County League, the chicken/turkey curry was excellent and I also managed to sample a couple of doughnuts.


The match pitted top of the table Renhold against a sluggish Sandy side who appeared to have difficulty in naming a team. The hosts hit them with two strikes in the first six minutes and the match deteriorated rapidly from there on! Renhold were by far the superior side, but they appeared to be showboating and trying to walk the ball into the net. Sandy defended valiantly, but rarely threatened.



Graeme (left)

John  (below)DSC00961


Terry (left)

Frank (right)DSC00963


Craig and  Aga (left)

Andy (below)


A bottle of wine from the raffle found its way into the boot of my car!

Saturday 10th October 2015

Bedfordshire League Premier Division k.o.:- 4.30pm

Flitwick Town                                         3

Ollie Banfield 5,

Dan Stafford 18,

Jim Lewis 84   (missed penalty 44,)

Eastcotts AFC

Referee:- Steven Feiger    Attendance:-  151


Lovely new club house with rugby on a selection of large and small TV screens, wonderful cake stall which I sampled voraciously, a pitch with blue markings because it crossed two other pitches, the biggest crowd of the day and by the end of this match with the shadows lengthening and the temperature dropping, we were all grateful for the quick dash to the car park.


This was another clash in which the home side were decidedly better equipped than their opponents. Two goals were notched up in the opening twenty minutes, a penalty squandered derisively just before half time and a third goal, six minutes from time to wrap up a victory which could and should have been more decisive! I was impressed with the away team number 7, Danny O’Donnell who worked hard, was always available and created what little the visitors had to offer.



It had promised to be a fine day, but there was rain on the journey to the final game and the fine weather of the morning turned to cloud and a cold breeze. The event, however was a huge success and Craig and his assistant Aga are to be congratulated on their efficient organisation. All the clubs involved contributed to the refreshments and the atmosphere and, all in all, it was a very enjoyable occasion.

Here’s to the next one!

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