Friday, 15 April 2011

Cutting off the Main supply

Saturday 26th March - Yorkshire Main (home) Won 1-0

Sundays after an Easington win the previous day are always enjoyable, no matter what's on the agenda.  Yes, I am that shallow.
And so there was a certain spring in the step as I proceeded to hang out the previous day's team kit the morning after our 3-2 win at Phoenix.  I stopped short of putting them in numerical order but still managed to  get a front, back, front sort-of-pattern going on.  An early sign of OCD perhaps.
Then it was time for the first grass cut of the year.  Usually I find this an odious task.  And that's just retrieving the Hover from behind all the other kelt stored away in the shed for winter...not to mention the significant evidence of the presence of mice over the past few months.  But having got the machine workign again, today I positively slalomed around the various obstacles of garden swing, clothes line prop etc., whistling a merry tune as I did so.
The final part of the day's itineray was preparing Sunday lunch.  With the sun beaming down from a clear blue sky there was only one option to go with - Lemon & Herb chicken served with Mediterranean veg and roasties.  I cooked this to the accompaniment of the Hurts album.  Ah, life's good sometimes.
BBC Radio 5 Live covered the RL Challenge Cup draw live that afternoon.  I missed it but caught news of Rovers' away tie at York City Knights via Twitter.  Given the current on-field problems, they'll take that.
Sunday evenings are now reserved for Holderness-based Hull City fan Matthew Rudd's 80s show on Q Radio and tonight's selection was again top drawer, setting me up nicely for "Waking The Dead" whose villainous character, The Bag Man, was of the type that could have come straight off an album by The Meteors - one of the bands I followed during the Thatcher years.  Forerunners of the so-called Psychobilly movement, their songs  tended not to stray far from all things macabre.  If only their nearest thing to "commercialism", their 1983 cover of John Leyton's "Johnny Remember Me"  (UK Indie No.2) had actually managed to pierce the Top 40 (it reached No.66), Mr Rudd may well have been treating me to this of a Sunday evening.

Not "The Bag Man" but a "big man" all the same

Monday and another week of continuing uncertainty about the future at work was offset by the prospect of the Annual Staff Bash on Friday at The Village Hotel.  A free bar and subsidised room meant a welcome mini-break for Mrs Slush and me.  Something to look forward to.
In the meantime I had the prospect of four cracking looking quarter-finals in the Cricket World Cup to help pass the days, with the Australia-India clash looking a particularly tasty one.
I finished the day with our latest Development Group meeting.  Held at The Haven Arms, it was expected to be a slightly tense affair with more fallout from a weekend of player shortages at Reserves and Casuals level high on the agenda.
Surprisingly, however, it turned into a very constructive and productive evening (aided by a pint of Tom Wood's Best and half a Tring Side Pocket For A Toad) and again restored my belief that the future of The Eastenders is in good hands.
In amongst the topics discussed were the usual ones of coaching courses, sponsorship and future fundraising events in addition to the obvious team matters.  As part of the talks about sponsored events, a walk similar to the "Million Metre Meander" of 2009 proved the preferred choice - despite the "toll" it took on us last time.  The exact route is still to be determined but another stretch of The Wolds Way looks the favourite.

Tuesday started with a bang, or rather a scratch, as the Elder Slushette and her younger sister had a disagreement over a notepad which ended in painful fashion for Junior.  She was still crying as I left for work and the situation proved serious enough for Mrs Slush to fix up an appointment at the local surgery.  Sure enough, she'd scratched her eyeball and a course of drops was prescribed; the first of which brought howls akin to a torture chamber when we tried administering them later that day.  It was like a domino effect - the Younger Slushette screaming at the prospect of the drops, her older sister screaming at her sibling's discomfort and Mum coming out in sympathy.  I had it all on to maintain a stiff upper I can tell you.
That same day had seen an astonishing West Indies batting collapse gift Pakistan a place in the last four of the Cricket World Cup.  Oh, and George Osborne's much-anticipated Budget.  I really don't know why I listen to these supposedly "defining" moments in Parliamentary history, as I always find myself wondering for hours/days/weeks/months afterwards what the hell it means to me.  Traditionally, I've just about worked it out by the time the next one comes round.
More important than the Budget of course was that night's meeting of CML Premier Division leaders South Normanton and title favourites Yorkshire Main under the Lees Lane lights.  I followed events by virtue of @BeatTheFirstMan's Twitter updates and it sounded a belter - Main leading 2-0, then trailing 3-2 before eventually running out 5-3 winners.  I hoped it had taken plenty out of them ahead of their weekend trip to the coast.
I spent much of Thursday (programme printing day in this shortened week) in the company of "Sir" Geoffrey Boycott and Alison Mitchell along with the rest of the 5 Live Sports Extra crew bringing commentary from a raucous Ahmedabad on the Aussies' match-up with the hosts.
As a fan of the "greatest living Yorkshireman" (I was brought up being told regularly at the dinner table: "Love Geoff Boycott and eat your greens") it's always a touch nerve-wracking listening to Boycs when he's in the company of female journos.  It often reminds me of Harry Enfield's George Whitebread character.  Some of his morning exchanges with 5 Live's Sheila Fogarty have almost bordered on Keys & Gray in their tone.  

"I say what I like and I like what I bloody well say"
Indeed, only that morning his response to news of Michael Yardy's decision to fly home from the sub-continent due to depression had already sparked several calls to the BBC and would provoke a blast from England captain Andrew Strauss.  I don't know why.  As one fellow Tweeter (the estimable @JR_Tiger) later paraphrased them: "Long story short: Boycs never suffered with depression because he was a good player and Yardy isn't."  Truth hurts?!
Thankfully, Geoffrey's subsequent performance in the commentary box was almost gaffe-free, although when he told Mitchell, "I could watch a few of my centuries..." one could almost sense her relief that he didn't then offer to talk her through them!
In the event India progressed with victory in a cracking match that was followed a few days later by Ricky Ponting's resignation as Australia captain.  The end of an era.
Friday began with the Younger Slushette's return visit to hospital where she was told her eye had healed up sufficiently to require no further treatment.  And so she was quickly softened up with a sausage sarnie at the fantastic Amy's Tea Shop in Patrington before being dropped off at her Gran's in time to allow Mrs Slush and I to make full use of our child-free pass.
In Amy's I exchanged a few observations on life with Derek Spruce, one-time goalkeeper and stalwart of Patrington Cricket Club, the 2010 East Yorkshire Premier Diviiosn champions.  Derek - whose son Steve is a former Easington keeper and current "top" local referee (in case he's reading this!) - is always good for a line or two.  Sitting almost as if holding court at a table facing towards the door allowed him to greet every new face in this busy little cafe.  "Ey up, bloody foreigners coming in now" he exclaimed as a party of four "Wezzies" came through the door ("Wezzies" being the term reserved from the numerous inhabitants of the West Riding who have decided to make the east coast their home.  Another is "Comforts" - from the saying, "Come for t'week, never went back").  "Is thoo lost?" he asked.  They smiled politely.
The perfect place for a pick-me-up...whereve you're from
After a detour to upgrade my mobile phone, we were at The Village for mid-afternoon and able to have decent use of the pool, sauna and steam room until it was time for the night's festivities.
Despite some awful mock-Swedish accents undermining what was otherwise a proficient Abba tribute act, the works bash was a cracking "do".  It was made complete for me when the DJ, who only a few weeks earlier had failed to produce Johnny Bristol's Hang On In There Baby for the so-called "70s & 80s Boogie Night", did just that this time around.  Pure quality.  Unfortunately, the sight - and smell - of some woman throwing up the full contents of her three-course meal and free bar excesses over a nearby table ensured Mrs Slush was as far away as possible instead of accompanying me to the floor.  No matter. I was "really dancing". 
And so once again to match day.  I drove home mid-Saturday morning (remarkably hangover-free) to the accompaniment of a slow but seemingly steady England batting performance against Sri Lanka in the last of the quarter-finals.  Little did I know what was to follow.
The Slushettes rounded-up from their various overnight stop-overs and all things sorted at home, I arrived at Low Farm to be greeted by a gentleman who immediately enquired of me as to the kick-off time.  When I told him three o'clock his face dropped.  He then let me know in no uncertain terms that he'd been misled that morning when phoning "a member of the club" who'd assured him the kick-off time was an hour earlier.  Oh dear.  Time for one of Judy's famous cuppa's to alleviate the situation I thought.  (It obviously worked - the gentleman being Leo Hoenig and this is his account of his day by the seaside).

A splash of colour at The Farm
Yorkshire Main arrived at the Farm well-placed for a tilt at the title but with a serious fixture backlog building up thanks to continuing interest in four competitions.  Althugh 19pts behind leaders South Normanton, the Edlington side have nine games in hand.  In addition they were due to appear in the final of the Floodlit Cup the following Wednesday and were also through to the quarter-finals of the Doncaster FA Cup and last four of the CML Challenge Cup.  Beat that Man Utd!
Before kick-off I enjoyed a catch-up with Main's young chairman, Matthew Wynne.  He readily acknowledged the fact that to maintain such high standards would be difficult as the games piled up.  
That said, the visitors don't half boast some firepower to help see them through. Their five goals at Lees Lane had taken their league tally to 72 in 14 games (110 in all competitions); with Curtis Walker (30), Darren Bird (15) and Adam Watson (15) netting over half of them between them.  
So the scene was set for the type of Easington performance I've witnessed so many times over the past two decades - the backs-to-the-wall effort in which at times sheer bloody-mindedness sees you through.  Mike Wilson's team of the Nineties almost patented them.
Unfortunately a bitterly cold wind - allied to other televised attractions such as the Wales v England Euro 2012 Qualifier in Cardiff - kept the crowd down well below the hoped-for figure.  Those who missed out missed a cracker.

Oh flippin' eck!
Knowing that chances could be at a premium, it was therefore felt to be a possible defining moment when Blounty failed to convert Gav's early set-piece. 
Thankfully it wasn't to prove so.  Moments later neat approach play down the left, a touch of the old Gavin magic completely bamboozled full-back Tunney and from his left foot cross, Frosty arrived to head powerfully home.  13 minutes gone and we led 1-0.  
Before too long both Watson and Walker had had chances to reply; Watson being particularly unlucky to see his firecely struck volley come back off the bar.
But in the main (no pun intended) we coped well.  This was the team playing as Mack expected them to play every week.  But don't.
A Main man fouls the main man
The second half started with the visitors - resplendent in an all-orange strip of the sort worn by ourselves in the mid-1970s - passing up a great chance when Ryan Evans fired into the side netting with keeper Charlie for once helpless.  Would our luck be in today?
As time wore on we increasingly looked capable of adding a second on the counter.  And following Tunney's cynical foul on Frosty we very nearly did; the Skipper just not getting to Mozzer's driven free-kick.
You didn't really want to get your head on that!
As the minutes ticked by, the visitors' attemtps became more desperate.  Tunney's late header looped onto the bar.  We were living dangerously.  Referee Dexter found seven minutes' stoppage time from somewhere.  It wasn't to matter.  Main's supply had been well and truly cut off.  A sharp Frost had seen to that!

Action Photos courtesy of Burt Graham & Colin Brammer

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