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August 2021

Let No One Steal Your Dreams

Let no-one steal your dreams 

Let no-one tear apart 

The burning of ambition 

That fires the drive inside your heart 


Let no-one steal your dreams 

Let no-one tell you that you can’t 

Let no-one hold you back 

Let no-one tell you that you won’t

Set your sights and keep them fixed 

Set your sights on high 

Let no-one steal your dreams 

Your only limit is the sky 


Let no-one steal your dreams 

Follow your heart 

Follow your soul 

For only when you follow them 

Will you feel truly whole 


Set your sights and keep them fixed 

Set your sights on high 

Let no-one steal your dreams 

Your only limit is the sky

by Paul Cookson




Monday 2nd August 2021

Past the parish church of St James on a warm and sunny morning, down church gap, across the fields and the railway line, alongside the meandering, weed encrusted River Welland, to Thorpe by Water, whilst a cow and her calf disinterestedly glance over at the passing strangers, and onwards to Lyddington, just brushing the edge of the village, before pressing on to Caldecott across more fields and over yet more stiles. The church of St John the Evangelist was actually open for once and, inside, the war memorial noted name, rank, regiment and date of demise. Captured Maureen and Alison on the barely discernible embankment of the former railway line from Rugby to Peterborough, on our way back past Fairchild’s Wood and alongside The River Welland again, with St James’ church just visible above the tree line, Gretton Weir was weed choked and then back to Gretton Green. With Alison and Maureen, 17 stiles and 7.86 miles.

Maureen Owens and (right) Alison Merricks

Gretton Village Green


Thursday 4th August 2021

Today’s meander from Gumley in Leicestershire, started out from The Bell Inn, with a very Grettonesque village library just across the road. Following The Jurassic Way to Saddington, past The Parish Church of St Helen and along a fairly steeply undulating route, taking in Saddington Reservoir and a couple of thoroughbreds. In Saddington itself, the occupant of Loafabout Cottage seemed to be loafing about long after shuffling off his mortal coil! Onwards to Smeeton Westerby, crossing The Grand Union Canal and catching up on village history, then, down a track which eventually brought us back to The Grand Union canal and into Foxton Locks, where a fine draught of Thomas Lister was eagerly quaffed before the short excursion across the fields and back to Gumley. With Alison Merricks, nineteen stiles and 7.66 miles.

Saddington Reservoir, constructed to feed The Grand Union Canal


Saturday 7th August 2021

Emirates FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round

Beckenham Town 0

Colliers Wood United 0

Referee:- Dane Johnston. Attendance:- 172

Admission:- OMGDS £5.00 (£8). Programme:- £2.00

The train took the strain from Kettering and the ground was less than five minutes walk from Eden Park Station. Very warm welcome, but sadly no draught ale in the bar! A neat and well maintained ground, with seats on both sides and plenty of additional cover, but the match itself was nothing to write home about. The only incident of note was a 70th minute penalty to the visitors which was smashed against the angle of post and crossbar.

Graham Ross, formerly of Desborough, was at the match. He moved to be closer to daughter and grand daughter in Beckenham.


Sunday 8th August 2021

Rutland League Division 2 (at Uppingham)

Newborough (won toss) 164 all out in 40.1 overs

lost to

Uppingham 165 for 4 in 26.0 overs

A damp start and a few showers during the first innings, but the match was comfortably completed with a handsome victory by six wickets for third in the table, Uppingham against top of the table, Newborough.


Monday August 9th 2021

Pre-Season Friendly

Stevington 0

Bedford A6 1

Adam Drackulic 31,

Referee:- Luke Damon. Attendance:- 14

Admission:- F.O.C. Programme: NONE

Stevington will be playing in the top division of The Bedfordshire County League this season, whilst newly formed Bedford A6 will be playing Sunday League football. However, I suspect there will be several players playing in both teams as the season progresses. Tonight, the visitors were demonstrably the better side in a very ordinary contest. With John Main.

After the match on the way home, there was a torrential downpour which necessitated stopping the car in a lay-by whilst the worst f it passed over head!


Tuesday 10th August 2021

Kershaws Cambridgehire County League Premier Division

Cambridge University Press 1

Jack Chandler 57,

Cherry Hinton 0

Referee:- Vitalii Burnus. Attendance:- 89

Admission:- F.O.C. Programme:- NONE

The pitch was beautifully manicured, with a wood down one side and a conservation area and, on the other side, the sprawling buildings of the university press. There was a good crowd to witness this opening fixture of the Kershaws League and two strong sides cancelled each other out until an exquisite volley from the edge of the area, by Jack Chandler, settled matters, just before the hour mark.


Wednesday 12th August 2021

Staffordshire County Senior League Premier Division

Redgate Clayton 1

Dave Ash 67,

Silverdale Athletic 0

Referee:- John Burgess. Attendance:- 85

Admission:- OMGDS £1.00 (£3). Programme:- NONE

A regulation county league ground with no cover, but a railed pitch that dropped quite steeply towards the far goal and the woodlands beyond. There was a bar and tea and coffee and a fairly average match won in the 67th minute with a strike from Clayton’s Dave Ash after we had despaired of ever seeing the ball hit the back of the net! With John Main.


Saturday 14th August 2021

Ebac Northern League Division 2

Willington 0

Billingham Synthonia 1

David Onions 84,

Referee:- Tim Craig. Official attendance:- 74

Admission:- OMGDS £3.00 (£5). Programme:- £1.00

What a wonderfully atmospheric ground, straight out of the 1950s, redolent of cloth caps and warm beer and gently declining with age. These two teams once graced the higher echelons of the league, indeed, nearly fifty years ago, the hosts held the mighty Blackburn Rovers to a goalless draw on this ground in the FA Cup. Sadly, things went badly wrong for them in today’s closely fought tussle. With twenty minutes to go, they had a man dismissed for two bookable offences and then, they conceded the only goal six minutes from the end.

I had been scheduled to visit Darlington FC of The Vanarama National League North, but I had a telephone message whilst on board the train to Darlington, to say that the match had been postponed after a COVID-19 issue at the club. I stayed on the train until Durham and got a taxi from there to Willington.


Monday 16th August 2021

Northern Premier League Division 1 Midland

Coleshill Town 2

Kai Tongue 56 (pen), Liam Molesworth 57,

Cambridge City 1

Michael Davis 73,

Referee:- Kurt Bartlett. Attendance:- 185

Admission:- OMGDS £7.00 (£9). Programme:- £1.50

On a cool evening and a 3G surface, these two teams produced a competitive encounter which looked unlikely to produce goals until the hosts struck twice in a minute around the hour mark. Cambridge City, whose new ground is scheduled to open in January, pulled a goal back with fifteen minutes to go, but an equaliser proved elusive. With John Main and Paul White.


Tuesday 17th August 2021

Uhlsport United Counties League Division 1

Holwell Sports 2

Harry Allcock 11, 41,

Birstall United 4well Sports, Birstall United, Barnwell Country Park,

Paul Pallett 48 (pen), 87, 89, Dominic Watts 63,

Referee:- Gregg Hargrave. Attendance:- 76

Admission:- OMGDS £3.00 (£5). Programme:- £1.00

Neither of these teams have started the season well, but, at Holwell’s neat, quaint ground, just outside Melton Mowbray, the hosts must have felt pretty pleased with themselves at the interval with a two goal advantage and little in the way of opposition! What a change in the second period. Birstall were level by the hour mark, ran the home side ragged and popped in two more goals within a minute right at the death. A lesson for the hosts, don’t take your foot off the gas!

This was my only visit to Holwell Sports since my first visit there on 24th February 2009, when they beat Radford FC 3-0 in The East Midlands counties League (attendance: 85). I have been back twice, but each time the match was postponed!


Wednesday 18th August 2021

Lunch at The Sondes Arms in Rockingham and a wander around Barnwell Country Park with Mike and Bec and Charlotte and Claire McGeown plus a full squad of mini McGeown’s #nextgen

From left: Kingsley, Lydia, Tess, Sonny and Freddie


Tess, Lydia and Sonny

Lydia and Tess


Wednesday 18th August 2021

Pitching in Northern Premier League Division 1 Midland

Corby Town 2

James Tague 48, Steve Diggin 56,

Wisbech Town 0

Referee:- Luke Scott. Attendance:- 379

Admission:- OMGDS £6.00 (£10). Programme:- £2.00

A rare visit to Steel Park, where basement boys, Wisbech Town, fresh from a 0-4 home thrashing by top of the table, Coleshill Town, started brightly and their big defenders snuffed out most of the home attacking threats. Shortly after half time, however, the hosts scored and just before the hour mark, veteran, Steve Diggin, doubled the score and there was no way back for the visitors. With grandson, Freddie.


Thursday 19th August 2021

Royal London Cup FINAL at Trent Bridge

Durham won the toss

Glamorgan 296 for 9 (50 overs)


Durham 238 all out (45.1 overs)

by 58 runs

An excellent day’s cricket, rather let down by the poor attendance (7,200) but the hospitality was superb and one or two of our party were a tiny bit the worse for wear at the end! Durham were the favourites, but Glamorgan batted doggedly through their overs and posted a challenging total. Then they bowled with determination and every time Durham looked like getting into their stride … they took a wicket. In the end, they deserved their victory, but poor planning by the ECB meant that the finalists were only known two days before the date of the cup final itself!

from the left:- Eddie McGeown, John Lord, Phil Evans (with Sonny, in front), Jim (with Kingsley in between him and Garry Miller, Freddie McGeown, Mike McGeown, Liam McGeown and Ian Widdowson.

A spontaneous and impromptu speech by Daz Bibby before the match in fond memory of Graeme Askham, whom we all knew and are so very sad that he is no longer with us!

John Lord and Eddie McGeown

from left:- Sonny, Kingsley and Freddie

Daz Bibby with a half hidden Gary Miller

Phil Evans, Gary Miller and Ian Widdowson


Saturday 21st August 2021

Vanarama National League North

Gloucester City 4

Danny King 45, Fabien Robert 56, Kevin Dawson 76, Matt McLure 88,

York City 0

Referee:- Darren Rogers. Attendance:- 2,039

Admission:- OMGDS £11.00 (£13). Programme:- £2.50

Gloucester City’s interesting new stadium (and this was the opening league fixture with spectators), appears to have many of its structures derived from haulage containers with a wooden fence to surround it all. On the field, however, the team performed like a well oiled machine, slow to get going, but a goal right on the interval led to a second half onslaught which produced a further three strikes and York were a well beaten side come the final whistle! Plastic pitch! “Prorsum Semper”? I think it translates as ‘always going forward’.


Monday 23rd August 2021

Out past the playing fields ‘silent as a peak in Darien’ at this early hour, past the new houses being erected next to the pocket park and out across the fields to Harringworth Lodge, silent and weed strewn. Onwards to the escarpment atop the valley and a view of the Welland Viaduct and Harringworth church, whilst alongside the path, a cow with crazy horns loitered. At Spanhoe airfield, a small plane glistened in the sunlight. Through the quarry and down to Turtle Bridge and from there along the Jurassic Way into Harringworth and the parish church of St John The Baptist. Through a great arch of the Welland Viaduct, past a group of resting sheep, across more fields and along the road to Thorpe by Water, catching a glimpse of a small pied-a-terre, then, under the old railway line, through a new set of gates, rendering TWO stiles redundant, more fields and over the railway line and back to the welcoming sight of St James’ tower. Six stiles and 12.18 miles.


Monday 23rd August 2021

U23 Premier League 2 Division 2

Birmingham City U23 0

Newcastle United U23 4

Charlie Wiggett 13, Dylan Stephenson 39, 83, Niall Brookwell 80,

Referee:- Tom Bishop. Attendance:- 181

Admission:- £3.00. Programme:- Free team sheet

Newly promoted Birmingham City were no match for a rampant Magpie side, who slotted in two goals in each half and really could have added several more. The match was played at Nuneaton Borough’s Liberty Stadium.


Tuesday 24th August 2021

Carabao EFL cup 2nd Round

Brentford 3

Yoane Wissa 60, Bryan Mbueno 75, Marcus Forss 86,

Forest Green Rovers 1

Jack Aitchison 9,

Referee:- Will Finnie. Attendance:- 12,137

Admission:- OMGDS £5.00 (£10). Programme:- £2.00

The Caracrap Cup provided a first opportunity to visit Brentford’s Community Stadium, wedged in between the railway and the M4 and an entertaining encounter, in which the minnows dominated the first half and took a 1-0 lead into the interval. The hosts brought on some of their big guns in the second half and eventually blew them away, but it was a plucky performance by the visitors, who had a defender dismissed for a two footed tackle, midway through the second period. With John Main and grandson, Freddie.

The M4 was closed leaving London and we were trapped in the queue being directed off the motorway. We negotiated our way round to the A40 and A406 (North Circular Road) and thence to the M1, but it was 1.20am before I decanted Freddie back in Kempton Close!!


Wednesday 25th August 2021

Chromasport Northants Combination Division 3

Corby Pegasus Reserves 1

Keane Jordan 72 (pen),

Kettering FC 2

Jordan Capps 9, 41,

Referee:- Stephen Hoare. Attendance:- 27

Admission:- F.O.C. Programme:- NONE

After the impressive Community Stadium at Brentford last night, tonight’s encounter took place in the more prosaic surroundings of the brooding, burgeoning, tree lined West Glebe in Corby, where two first half strikes from Jordan Capps won the match for the visitors despite a late, second half, Keane Jordan penalty for the hosts. With John Main.


Friday 27th August 2021

A Bicycle Ride

Starting out from Normanton, past the half submerged church and along the cycle track across the causeway – the easy part of the journey – stopping for a group photo by the sculpture at Sykes Lane and then pressing forwards to the Hambleton Finger, where at the tip, the road slides gracefully into the water. Nineteen miles completed, it was time for lunch at The Horse and Jockey in Manton, atop the railway tunnel and then, the last leg back to Normanton … exhausted! With son, Mike and grandson, Freddie and youngest son, Liam and his wife, Beth, twenty-three and a half miles!

The half-submerged Normanton Church

from left: Freddie, Ed (hidden), Liam and Beth

The road down the Hamilton peninsular ends – or continues – into the water!

Hamilton House Conference centre

St Edmund’s Church at Egleton

Michael in front and Freddie behind

The entrance to The Manton Tunnel

A fine pint of “Jockey”.

Beth and Liam

Mike and Freddie


Friday 27th August 2021

Uhlsport United Counties League Premier Division South

Lutterworth Town 5

Daire Tendai 7, 11, 16, 28, 63,

Long Buckby 4

Adam Shaw 62, 68, Haydn Price 79, Tom Yorston 87,

Referee:- Mark Shapland. Official Attendance:- 125

Admission:- OMGDS £3.00 (£6). Programme:- NONE

This game appeared over in fifteen minutes as home skipper Daire Tendai rifled in three superb strikes. He added a fourth before the half hour mark and at half-time, the hosts looked unassailable. Long Buckby kept plugging away and pulled a couple of goals back, either side of another scorching strike from Tendai. Two further goals were bagged by the visitors, but it wasn’t enough to avoid defeat. A very entertaining encounter! With John main and Mark Wilkins.


Saturday 28th August 2021

Isthmian League South Central Division

Bracknell Town 2

Timi Eweka 54, Shamar Moore 74,

Sutton Common Rovers 1

Kiyo Brown 22,

Referee:- Stephen Rea. Official attendance:- 267

Admission:- OMGDS £5.00 (£8) programme:- on line

Free team sheets available.

Bracknell have invested considerably (some day as much as £3 million) in Sandhurst Town’s ground, mainly from the proceeds of the sale of their own ground. The effect is interesting, but largely soulless, much as the fare on the field was, in this match. The visitors took a deserved first half lead, but two second half strikes from the hosts ensured that the victory and the points went their way!


Monday 30th August 2021

Southern Counties East League Premier Division

Erith Town 1

Dan Palfrey 11,

Holmesdale 0

Referee:- David Rowland. Attendance:- 64

Admission:- OMGDS £5.00 (£8). Programme:- £2.00

The Erith Stadium is home to Bexley Athletics Club, as well as Erith Town FC and is largely a ground with viewing and plenty of seats, but only down one side (and a view across to The QE II bridge in the background) and with basic tea and coffee making amenities. For all that, the welcome was friendly and team news was freely available -as was cake from the directors at half-time. The match was a dour affair with an eleventh minute goal separating the sides when a draw might have been a fairer result.


Monday 30th August 2021

FA Youth Cup Preliminary Round

Woodford Town U-18 5

Asher Barnes 6, 14, 35, Alex Boloman 50, Albert James 71,

Potters Bar Town U-18 0

Referee:- Gheorgh Mirara. Attendance:- 99

Admission:- OMGDS £3.00 (£7). Programme:- NONE

A very basic stadium with a running track around it and all the playing action taking place thirty or forty yards away, across the grass and running track. A low slung stand, seating maybe a hundred spectators and a bar made up the rudimentary facilities. Very helpful staff provided team and match information and the hosts gave no quarter to a visiting team apparently decimated by players away at The Reading Festival, with Asher Barnes ruthlessly striking a first half hat trick!

Tuesday 31st August 2021

Combined Counties League Premier Division North

Wokingham & Emmbrook 1

Jake White 65,

Ascot United 2

Harry Laflin 38, 58,

Referee:- Joseph Kasper. Official Attendance:- 230

Admission: OMGDS £4.00 (£7). Programme:- £1.00

Since the demise of Wokingham and the loss of their ground, Emmbrook CC have housed the re-incarnation on the edge of their cricket field. There was a thriving and well patronised bar with plentiful food and a large gathering had congregated for this local derby. The hosts have not enjoyed the best of starts to this season. They have a dismal league record of four defeats and, this evening, they were beaten, again, by a far superior Ascot side. The match boiled up in the second half with tempers raised and five bookings. It was feisty and tempestuous as local derbys can be, but the visitors prized away the victory and the points.

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