Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Soaking it up!

Saturday 20th March - Thorne Colliery (home) Won 2-0

I’m suffering from “Blog Block”. It’s now Wednesday night and I still haven’t composed more than a couple of lines to describe Saturday’s latest “ground-out” victory in the CMFL.
At first I thought this was due to recent “Blog Overkill”, especially around the time of the Bonanza. Then I wondered whether it was my preoccupation with producing a second programme in as many weeks. Finally I began to suspect it was down to the onset of “man flu”, brought on by a couple of hours spent at a dark, damp and dreary Low Farm on the day in question...

The result of four late nights and three early mornings

...But then it came to me. The real reason why I’ve struggled to write anything meaningful about Saturday’s 2-0 win over Thorne Colliery before now is simply because there’s no way I can do so without being complimentary about Charlie Holden. And that doesn’t sit very well!

"Fans Favourite" aka Tosser Chaz
(But a bloody good keeper)

I might as well come straight out with it. Our goalkeeper was simply magnificent on Saturday. There, I’ve said it. Of course, by the time you read this, Charlie will no doubt have told all and sundry just how magnificent he was via one of his thousand or so daily Facebook postings. But I suppose there’s nothing better than reading and/or hearing it from someone else.
In heaping such praise on the self-appointed “Fans Favourite”, I must temper it by also stating that as good as his display was against Thorne Colliery, it pales into insignificance when set against Kevin Appleyard’s performance in the 2002 ERCFA Senior Cup semi-final against Bridlington Town at Dene Park. Captured for posterity in Craig Ellyard’s “Now Then!” book on East Yorkshire football, Appleyard’s performance that night was the nearest thing I’ve ever seen to a real “one-man show” on a football field. Compared to that performance, Charlie’s on Saturday was, well, “alright”!

The Elder Slushette (right) has the best seat (next to the Choccy tin)
while Thommo realises he should be somewhere else!

On the back of the Yorkshire Main result and in a week in which Hull City Football Club occupied the sports pages of the nationals again, my main concern in preparing the programme for the upcoming visit of Thorne Colliery was how to do justice to Andy Medcalf’s and Burt Graham’s sterling efforts with their respective cameras the previous fortnight. Between them they’d captured almost 300 shots of Bonanza day and many were worthy of publication in the match programme. It was just a case of whittling them down!
A fine week’s weather ensured there would be no danger of a “wasted effort” programme-wise (a la the Parkhouse game) although significant rainfall Friday night did leave the ‘Pitch across the Ditch’ somewhat damp ahead of the visit of Haltemprice Reserves for a County League Division 5 fixture.

AG: "Eh up Chav, their skipper's touching the lino up"
CH: "Nah, he's seen his name-tag hanging out the back of his shorts"

On Friday evening - as I awaited what would turn out to be a significant night the Mighty Robins at Headingley Carnegie - I fielded a couple of calls from concerned Hoppers, one from “South Derbyshire” and the other from London, both enquiring about the prospects of the game going ahead. I assured both gentlemen that there was no problem but that I would go down on Saturday morning and have another look. This I did and as I departed to take the Elder Slushette to her Dance Class I left instructions with Mrs Slush on the message she should relay to said Hoppers. This she did. Neither came. I ask you!

The calm before the storm...

The rain that both Hoppers had mentioned the previous evening finally returned to this corner of East Yorkshire at midday – and would stay with us until well into the evening.
The return to three o’clock kick-offs allowed those who wished to do so to take in the Casuals’ game across the ditch. Unfortunately, for the half-a-dozen or so squad members who braved the elements to check up on their club-mates, a late kick-off meant they got about five minutes action in return for their soaking!

"Haltemprice? Straight on, past the en suite, yours is third on the left..."

It’s always amusing when Low Farm stages these types of “double-headers” to watch the reaction of the visiting team for the “junior” fixture. From an initial look of pleasant surprise at the surroundings on arrival in the car park, this usually changes the minute you explain that they’re not actually on this pitch or indeed in these changing rooms and direct them instead to the portacabins at the far end. “No there are no toilets”. “Showers? Who are you trying to kid?” I know, I know, in this day and age all changing rooms should at least possess running water etc. But the “P.a.t.D.” is only meant to be a temporary arrangement, tying us over until the major development of Low Farm is complete! We’ll look at it again in five years time!
As for our visitors on the main pitch, the greeting their first member uttered was to be expected: “Eh, it’s a fucking long way aht ‘ere intit?”
Next week Burt's going to invest in a camera that works in wet weather! 

Thorne Colliery narrowly missed out on the CML Team of the Month Award for February and arrived at ‘The Farm’ on the back of some impressive recent results, including wins over Parkhouse and FC Brimington.
Sadly they hadn’t brought any of their “infamous” Colliery Boys with them, meaning there would be no repeat of the unique Moorends atmosphere experienced back in November.
They did, however, bring Darren Fell along and the scorer of both goals in our 2-2 draw at their place was soon into his stride, a stinging 25-yarder being palmed away by a fully-extended Holden.
That came a minute after Jamie Cousins’ sweet strike had almost given us an early lead. Two minutes in and the game was making us forget the weather already.

Not for the first time in his life Mozzer is left to rue a lack of inches

Chances came at both ends and from one, Gavin snuck us into a 20th minute lead courtesy of a smart close-range finish. As you’ll gather from the grainy nature of the pics, it wasn’t a day for Burt and his extendable lens.

Gav puts his fag out just long enough to notch one

That we took this lead into the break was down in no small measure to the aforementioned “Fans Favourite”. Twice more in the half he denied Fell, both saves from close range headers, the first a truly amazing acrobatic effort that had to be seen to be believed.
And when the keeper was beaten, either the finish was off target, as per Darren Brown on 28mins, or a defender came to the rescue as with Bezza’s superb last-ditch effort to deny the hapless Fell.
Not that it was all one-way and Gav saw a second “goal” chalked off for somebody running across the keeper’s line of vision at a free-kick.
We were going to need that second goal.
Half-time was spent in the pleasant company of Thorne’s Paul & Joy, and Peter & Ben Dettmar, representing our match sponsors. And while Paul, with some justification, bemoaned his side’s lack of good fortune, all agreed that it was turning out to be an excellent game given the conditions.
The mood at the start of the second half was buoyed by news of a rare victory for the Casuals (see previous post) although not-such-good tidings of the Reserves’ trip to Beverley served to take the gloss off things.
Thankfully, Charlie continued to raise local spirits, producing a stunning double-save at the start of the second half; this time Ross Ebbage the unfortunate striker. And the Thorne man’s day was to get a whole lot worse on 64mins when, having just seen Holden save from him again, an altercation between the two prompted a straight red from the otherwise jovial Mr Birkett.
Despite going a man down the visitors continued to probe for an equaliser and it was with a huge degree of relief that the hardy crowd of 36 (head count) greeted Farny’s strike in off the post which confirmed the points with just five minutes to go.

Dooley Cousins can't believe Thommo has made such a mess of this chance

Both Chav and sub Thommo then had chances to extend the lead but, in truth, that would have been very harsh on the visitors.
One plus-point of wet weather games now is that spectators tend to seek the cover of ‘The Shed’, the rather grandiose-sounding Bonus Electrical Shelter, the lean-to erected during the close season. You don’t need many in there before the banter flows freely – especially when, as on this occasion, we were joined by a very happy bunch of Casuals second half!
Young Stan asks his Rhino dad how Hull KR got on last night!
(Never thought we'd see a descendant of Bob Eldon wearing Ezzie colours!)

Some downer was applied to the day by news of City’s late capitulation at Fratton Park and I was doubly peeved when I discovered that several players had forgotten all about their post-match responsibilities. (You’d think they could manage to take a couple of nets down between them!)
With all and sundry (including the Elder Slushette) departed for the pub, I was left at a depressingly bleak looking Farm still struggling to get the result rung through and beginning to feel increasingly sorry for myself.
This feeling was exacerbated on arrival at The Granby with the news that a “communication breakdown” had resulted in most of our opposition and some of our own party having adjourned to the wrong pub. Of course I copped for it all. And for a split-second, standing there soaking wet through, with no money to pay the referee, nobody else to point the finger at and…more importantly…no cask ale to console myself with, I almost felt compelled to end it all there & then. Tender my resignation. Say “F__k it”, and leave all this General Manager malarkey to someone else. But if I did that, what excuse would I have to write this tosh on a weekly basis?
And suddenly, the “Blog Block” had gone…

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