Friday, 6 May 2011

A better Bank Holiday

Saturday 30th April - Thorne Colliery (home) Won 4-2
Monday 2nd May - Bentley Colliery (home) Drew 0-0

Ah, it's good to see smiles back on people's faces.  That genuine spirit of optimism, hope, belief even that good times are on the way back; the misery of recent woes will soon be forgotten and that a better future awaits us all.
But enough of the Royal Wedding.  The Eastenders are back in the groove after a thumping of Thorne and driving a top-of-the-range Bentley to the limit.
Oh and how I needed a weekend like this.
Following the disappointment of the prevous Bank Holiday, which was only partly salvaged by a battling draw for the Tigers at the "Drama Queens" and a much-needed win for the Robins over Quins, actually getting both games played would be a result.
In the event, not only did this happen but we also reaped some deserved reward from both.  Which was nice.
And on 6 Music Radcliffe and Maconie played Otis by The Durutti Column.  Which was also nice.

A fitting cover for Royal Wedding week
The week leading up to our second scheduled "double header" of the season had plenty in it to distract me from some worrying recent events at the Farm. 
Most of the distractions centred on Wednesday, beginning with the story of Barney Gibson who, at 15 years and 27 days, became the youngest ever County cricketer when appearing for the Tykes against the students of Durham, as Yorkshire took a break from competitive action (a welcome one it would appear given recent results). 
Later that same day the CML Premier Division title was virtually decided when Yorkshire Main edged out Bentley Colliery in the top-of-the-table clash.   A thrilling game saw Main win 4-3 in front of a decent derby crowd at Edlington Lane.  As The 66 POW points out in his excellent blog, those who chose to stay at home instead and watch the "eagerly anticipated" first leg of the Champions League quarter-final between Real Madrid and Barcelona on the box missed out.  For aside from a couple of great Messi finishes, it proved to be anything but a classic - give me an Easington v Holmpton "Old Farm" derby circa 1989 any day!
Music's power to transport you back in time came to the fore on Thursday morning as first The Stone Roses' I Wanna Be Adored then The House of Love's Shine On had me back in the late Eighties.  I was younger, I was freer, I was, erm, single.  Looking back, life appeared to centre around occasional jaunts to the centre of the universe that was Madchester, regular gigs at Hull Uni and the Adelphi and weekends of non-stop partying.  Ee, things seemed so much more simpler back then.  Perhaps because they were.  Being involved with Easington United wasn't half as time-consuming back in 1989 as it is now.  Mind you, we were cack at the time!
Nice of them to get things done before the Thorne Colliery game
Mrs Slush arrived home from work on Thursday laden with bunting.  I thought for a moment it was in anticipation of a win for North Ferriby in the EvoStik play-off at Colwyn Bay.  Silly me.  They lost 0-2.
No matter, as Royal Wedding fever had gripped this little corner of Easington and, although it is deemed very "uncool" to say so, I too was quite looking forward to it.  Nobody does the pomp and ceremony side of things quite like us Brits and I'm all for a bit of that.  And Pippa.
Given that much had been made beforehand about Hull's lack of applications for street parties, something that had prompted former resident Paul Heaton to declare in the Guardian that he'd never been prouder of the city, I found it highly amusing to see that the day brought something of a different story.  Good on those who made a day of it.

 Saturday should also have seen the Reserves in action at Low Farm, "slumming it" on the pitch across the ditch against North Cave Reserves.  Perhaps unsurprisingly, the already-relegated visitors informed us on the eve of the game that they were unable to field a team and as such were conceding the game.  Three more crucial points in the Stiffs' fight for Premier Division survival but another serious attack on the East Riding County League's credibility.
No fewer than eleven league games in the top division alone and several other "meaningless" end-of-season fixtures conveniently ended goalless without, it would appear, a ball actually being kicked.  As a club, we'd proposed a rule change at the previous year's League AGM urging stiffer penalties to so-called serial conceders.  It was thrown out and although our Reserves have benefitted from the continuing trend, as a member of the League Management Committee such awarding of points without meaningful punishment to those teams unwilling to take the field simply belittles the whole competition.  Rant over.    
Fortunately there were to be no such calls made by Thorne Colliery who arrived keen to repeat the gubbing they'd inflicted upon us less than a month earlier.  Thankfully they wouldn't.
Starting strongly, we survived an early scare when Lee Mills hit the post when it looked easier to score.  But then Owen got up on his toes to fire in the first and there'd be no looking back.
Three minutes after his first, Thorne's defence failed to clear their lines and Man Mountain took a touch before firing home his and our second.  That first win in five matches was looking on the cards...
Lapses in concentration have cost us dear this season and almost did so again when Marshall - unopposed - headed wide from six yards.  Charlie then produced a fine stop to deny Fell and we made the most of these escapes, Mozzer curling home a beaut of a third goal before the break.  Three-up.  Surely we wouldn't let this slip.
We didn't.  Although never quite reaching the heights of the first half performance, we never looked like loosening our grip on the game.  And victory was assured when Gav finally claimed his long-overdue 100th goal in Easington colours...or was it already over the line?
Farny's initial touch...
...wait for it...'s Gavin...

Four-Nil...but where was the touch?
Disappointingly, the gloss was taken off a very well deserved win, first by a couple of late Thorne strikes, and then by a couple of new holes kicked into various walls in the away changing room.  Hmm, I found it all frustrating given not only the decent relationship we've forged with our opponents but more so given the problems Thorne themselves have been/are currently experiencing with their own accommodation.  Still, I was more than willing to put it down to "frustration" and let the visitors sort it out in-house.  I trust they'll get in touch when they have done...

Is it the ref's footwear or the weeds attracting attention?
Sunday brought yet another defeat for Rovers, away at Wakefield after Blake Green had seemingly won them the game.  And my frustration at that result was increased by my computer's ability to tune into The Eighties on Q Radio.  And when connection was finally secured, it was only the ferkin Bluebells!  Still, A Guy Called Gerald's 'Voodoo Ray' rescued matters.

Where will it drop...
The new BBC drama "Exile" provided good, if slightly disturbing evening viewing (Jim Broadbent being particularly brilliant alongside the always watchable John Simm) but I retired to bed saddened to learn that to further figures from my childhood, Sir Henry Cooper and Ted Lowe, had sadly passed away.  Given historian Richard Holmes' earlier passing, the loss of the sporting duo completed the saddest of hat-tricks.
Where else would you rather be on a Bank Holiday?
The rapid turnaround between home matches - plus the need to cook a "Sunday lunch to die for" - meant the day had been anything but relaxing.  Still, I was in buoyant mood when getting up on Matchday Monday and not only because it was to news that Osama Bin Laden had fallen victim to a game of "Knock Knock" with US Special Forces.
I arrived in good time at the ground and needn't have worried that our visitors may have got snagged up behind the collection of vintage tractors winding their way along the B1445 from Keyingham across lunchtime.
Gav misses out on Goal No. 101
Defeat at Yorkshire Main had left Bentley's title hopes hanging by a thread and so manager Chris Toyne was understandably downbeat when I spoke to him before kick-off.  His manner helped increase my quiet confidence that we could build on Saturday's result.
And we did, despite being denied the points in a goalless draw that was anything but drab.  Programme maestro Andy Medcalf and @Tigerkj64 of Twitter fame helped turn the afternoon into something of a Pompey 2011 Reunited and I think both went home impressed by the quality of football on show.

Like me, they were probably left wondering how none of our 32 attempts on goal managed to find the target.  But having been on the end of several hidings at Bentley's hands in recent times, I took the 0-0 result as a moral victory!

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