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August 2020



My Old Football

You can keep your antique silver and your statuettes of bronze,
Your curios and tapestries so fine,
But of all your treasures rare there is nothing to compare
With this patched up, worn-out football pal o’ mine.
Just a patched-up worn-out football, yet how it clings!
I live again my happier days in thoughts that football brings.
It’s got a mouth, it’s got a tongue,
And oft when we’re alone I fancy that it speaks
To me of golden youth that’s flown.
It calls to mind our meeting,
’Twas a present from the Dad.
I kicked it yet I worshipped it,
How strange a priest it had!
And yet it jumped with pleasure
When I punched it might and main:
And when it had the dumps
It got blown up and punched again.
It’s lived its life;
It’s played the game;
It’s had its rise and fall,
There’s history in the wrinkles of
That worn-out football …

J. Milton Hayes (1884-1940)


Saturday 1st August 2020 k.o.:- 1.00pm

Wombwell Town 0 Belper Town 2
Referee:- A Royston attendance:- 186 hc
Admission:- (donation) £2.00 programme:- free teamsheet
Lovely large old fashioned ground with a deceased running track around the outside. There were the usual wholesale personnel changes and the match itself was pretty tepid, but it was good to get back into the swing after 137 days without football and good to meet the array of hoppers who had also made the pilgrimage.


Sunday 2nd August 2020

Rutland League Division 2 (at Bourne)
Bourne (won toss) 183 for 7 (40 overs) 
Lost to
Stamford 186 for 7 (36.2 overs).

Bourne play at Abbey Lawns, a privately owned charitable foundation in the town which also hosts football (Bourne Town FC), tennis, bowls, pétanque and an almost Olympic sized outdoor swimming pool. The cricket area is beautifully maintained and provided a good surface for today’s closely contested fixture between close rivals. Bourne’s total included a careful 122no by captain Sam Evison, who saw his side slump to 67 for 6 after fifteen overs, but it was not enough as visitors Stamford triumphed with twenty two balls to spare. Good match!


Wednesday 5th August 2020

A cycle ride from Whitwell on Rutland Water round to Sykes Lane and then across the causeway to Normanton with daughter Claire and grand daughter, Lydia (5),. A coffee and cake (and ice cream for Lydia followed by a paddle) and then back by the same route to Whitwell. 6.39 miles.

Lydia Alice

The Rutland Water sightseeing ferry which calls at Normanton Church on it’s way around the reservoir.


Friday 7th August 2020

On one of the hottest days of the year, this was a gentle walk from Tansor to Ashton-in-the-Wold then onto Oundle for lunch at the Nene Valley Brewery pub on The Wharf and back via Cotterstock to Tansor. John Wake, formerly doyen of cricket at Oundle School, caught up with us on his bike as we approached Ashton and told us the story of the double murder of an elderly couple at Western Lodge in 1952. A murder that remains unsolved to this day! The couple were in their sixties and lived on the outskirts of the village, which, at that time only housed around twenty souls. Even after the intervention of Scotland Yard, no murderer was ever discovered, although the likelihood is that it was someone from the village! We passed the Oundle School shooting range at Elmington and, after a fine repast, we saw several people swimming in the Nene across the town bridge. Then it was back to Tansor! Six stiles and six and a half miles.

John Wake, retired master in charge of cricket at Oundle School on his bike on his way home to Barnwell.

Western Lodge where the double murder took place in 1952.

The Chequered Skipper Inn in Ashton-in-the-Wold

Ashton-in-the-Wold church, which, strangely has no tower or spire!

Son, Michael, who found the walk overlong!!!

The spire of Oundle Parish Church

The Wharf at Oundle, where we enjoyed a substantial repast!

Grand Dad with grandson, Freddie!


Friday 7th August 2020

Stockton Charity Cup FINAL
Stockton FC 3 Harbury Albion 0

Referee:- John McCabe Admission:- charity collection
Attendance:- 93 (despite the stupid FA who think it is good to ban football fans, whilst anyone can go to watch a village cricket match!). A friendly match in deepest Warwickshire on a very warm evening which brought the locals out if only to enjoy the bar at the ground.


Saturday 8th August 2020

Pre-Season Friendly
Buntingford Town 3 Westmill 3

Admission:- F.O.C. Programme:- none
Attendance:- 52
An entertaining encounter which was loosely refereed (each half lasted 50+ minutes). The visitors were on top for long periods and 3-1 up until a late come back by the hosts! A well appointed ground with the club house raised to provide a good viewing perspective! Good to see Dave Higgins there! Although the ground is not enclosed and is in the middle of a public park, it wouldn’t take much to improve the facilities up to step six or five.

This header flew straight into the net!


Sunday 9th August 2020

Rutland & District Cricket League Division 2
Werrington 346 for 9 (40 overs)
Bourne 197 for 7 (40 overs) by 149 runs

A second officiating visit to Bourne in as many weeks and a second defeat for the hosts, who lost the toss on a batting paradise of a wicket and conceded at eight and a half runs an over! They came back determinedly and claimed four batting points, but were never in the hunt for victory!

Interestingly coloured stumps at Bourne CC


Tuesday 11th August 2020

Pre-Season Friendly
Harpole 2 Wellingborough Town 0

Attendance:- 59 Admission:- F.O.C. Programme:- None
On a sweltering evening just outside Northampton, in the village of Harpole, the hosts, some two steps below their opponents, comfortably took a contest littered with substitutions. It felt like half the village – or maybe more – were in attendance as the car park was overflowing and the street outside was jammed with parked vehicles. Only bottled ale in the bar, but this is a small venue, well worth the visit. With John Main.

Not a covered standing area, but the dugouts for the teams!


Saturday 15th August 2020

The enclosed village of Boughton in Northamptonshire, temporary home of Hardingstone CC. Tarmac criss-crossed the cricket field and cars passed at regular intervals, making fielding interesting! The wicket was temperamental, but the hosts made a pretty good fist of it, posting 178 for 8 off their forty overs. Stewart’s & Lloyd’s CC from Corby were the visitors and they slumped to 17 for 3 off eight overs, before the rain intervened and the match was washed out without any possibility of a result.


Thursday 20th August 2020

Pre-Season Friendly
Deanshanger Athletic 1 Stoke Hammond 2

Referee:- Tony Hawkins. Attendance:- 26
Admission:- F.O.C. Programme:- NONE
Both of these teams play in The North Bucks & District League, with Stoke Hammond a division higher than the hosts. The clubhouse was well patronised in the fine weather, but not many made the longish trek to the neat railed off pitch at the far end of the playing fields. The usual mix of substitutions blurred the flavour of the match which tailed off into oblivion with the visitors taking a late strike to clinch victory! With John Main.


Thursday 20th August 2020

Pitsford Water
A lovely day, warm with a welcome breeze and my grandchildren – Freddie, 10, Tess, 6, and Lydia,5, and Lydia’s mum whose age, I forget, enjoyed a cycle ride of about seven miles around Pitsford Water. There were tantrums and accidents but they all made it safely round and we repaired to The Windhover, an excellent hostelry in nearby Boughton for a sumptuous repast. My daughter took the girls home, but Freddie and I returned for a second circuit of Pitsford Water – this time at some speed, completing the course in 50 minutes. Understandably, Freddie was justly pleased with himself! Cracking day out and the weather was just lovely!!!


Tess and Lydia (right)

Lydia’s Mum, Claire, battling on spiritedly




Saturday 22nd August 2020

Pre-Season Friendly
Roade 6 Wellingborough Town 3

Referee:- Russell Tunney. Attendance:- 45
Admission:- F.O.C. Programme:- none
Very friendly welcome at this well appointed Northants Combination ground and a welcome draught of ale in the bar prior to the match. Roade were worthy victors in a game where the visitors struck the first three goals and led 3-1 at the interval. The second half was a different story with a barnstorming performance from the hosts and five unanswered goals! Also in attendance, Neil Morris, Laurie Owens (President of Wellingborough Town) and Craig Saul who is the Barnet FC match announcer!


Sunday 23rd August 2020

Rutland League Division 1 at Oundle
Kings Keys 350 all out (39.5 overs)
Oundle Town 175 all out (27.1 overs)

Kings Keys started with a bang and smote 51 off the first three overs! They continued the onslaught in an innings of 22 sixes which ended one ball short of their forty overs. Oundle started their response with vigour and matched the Kings Keys rate up to the fifteenth over, but an injury to their prolific wicket-keeper opener and a middle order collapse, saw the visitors through to a comfortable victory which not even a mid afternoon cloudburst could disturb!

Umpiring with Bob Gunn (above)


Monday 24th August 2020

Ken Garner Memorial Tournament – Semi-final
Over Sports 3 Longstanton 4

Referee:- Richard Fullicks. Attendance:- 80
Admission:- F.O.C. Programme:- none
There was a gala atmosphere at Over Recreation Ground in Cambridgeshire this evening for the first semi-final, the bar was doing good business with a family feel to the whole occasion. The visitors scored in the first minute and the game, eagerly contested, flowed this way and that but the hosts were unable book a place in the final. The second semi-final is tomorrow (Tuesday) evening with 3/4 place play off on Thursday and the final on Friday evening – all on the same pitch! With John Main.


Tuesday 25th August 2020

Pre-Season Friendly
Mundford 3 Norwich CBS 0

Referee:- Nicholas Hunt. Attendance:- 93
Admission:- F.O.C. Programme:- none
The wind howled and took down a tree across the pitch and on the far side of the cricket field, just before the match. Mundford’s neat little ground hosted a spirited performance from both teams and the visitors who hit the woodwork twice and matched their senior opponents for long periods, were perhaps, a little unfortunate to go away empty handed. Good to see young Daniel Turner there with his dad!

I didn’t realise that I had been here before – not even when I got inside the ground. It was the app on my mobile phone which reminded me that I had been here on 9th November 2016 when Mundford lost 1-3 to Attleborough in The Almary Green Anglian Combination Division 1 (attendance: 126). Since then, Mundford have gone up in the leagues and are now in The Eastern League North Division.

The last time I was here, it was for a night game, which possibly explains why I didn’t recognise the ground in daylight!


Wednesday 26th August 2020

A lovely day for walking. There was a stiff breeze, but plenty of sunshine as grandson, Freddie and I set out from Empingham Parish Church up to the Rutland Water Causeway and onwards to the half submerged church at Normanton before returning to Empingham via a circuitous route. Five stiles and 7.25 miles. Then, we adjourned to The Sun at Great Easton for a sumptuous repast!

Freddie on the causeway

The Causeway at Rutland Water from high up on the road to Ketton

A row of distinguished alms cottages almost in the middle of nowhere!

Empingham Parish Church!

Freddie, dining sumptuously at The Sun in Great Easton!


Sunday 30th August 2020

Rutland League Division 1 (at Barnack CC)
Barnack 201 for 7 (40 overs)
lost to
Kings Keys (won toss) 204 for 1 (25.2 overs) by nine wickets

In the sleepy village of Barnack, not far from Stamford in Lincolnshire, the hosts posted a respectable 201 for 7 off their 40 overs, only to be completely outclassed by the visitors who smashed 204 for 1 off only 25.2 overs with opener, Ashraf smiting 162 which included 21 sixes. True, the Barnack ground is small , as many village grounds are, but this was a brutal innings of intense ferocity and it took the match by the throat and convincingly away from the hosts. The hosts amassed 44 unbeaten runs for the 8th wicket and, possibly worried the visitors who, until then had looked likely to restrict them to around 160. The home team’s bowling was tempered by S Amir who amongst the carnage bowled his eight overs for only five runs and included five maidens! This meant that the remaining 199 runs came from 17.2 overs – an average of over eleven runs per over!

Umpiring with Simon Clark (above)


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