Saturday, 20 August 2011


Tuesday 16th August
CML North
Westella & Willerby 6 Easington United 0
Wednesday 17th August
Easington Utd Casuals 0 Patrington FC 5

The morning after our opening win dawned bright and there was a definite spring in my step as I cruised through the normally onerous task of cutting the grass and strimming the edges.
The day got better, courtesy of an afternoon/evening spent in the company of friends at a nearby party as well as news of a first ever Super League win at Odsal for Rovers.  As I retired for the night, even missing out on Matthew Rudd's Q Radio 80s show couldn't detract from what had been a first-rate weekend.
And there was so much to look forward to in the week ahead.  Tuesday's first CML game under lights would see us travel to new "local rivals" Westella & Willerby, while on the same night The Tigers - buoyed by a first win of the season at the weekend - were at "strife-torn" Leeds.  The following evening I'd have my first chance to catch sight of some of the new faces at the other end of our three-team set-up when Maccer's Casuals entertained Patrington in a friendly.  And on Thursday there was a rare bit of national TV exposure in the offing for my adopted Scottish club Hearts as they entertained Spurs in the Europa League.  I was almost giddy with anticipation...   
The warning signs began to appear on Monday with news that both Blounty and Frosty were set to miss the 'Ella game.  Two big players.  Two big misses.
A trawl through the footy message boards set the next round of alarm bells ringing - City fans almost falling over themselves in predicting not only a comfortable away win at Elland Road but indeed the start of a long struggle against relegation for "TWS".  I hadn't seen such over-confidence since Rovers' trip to play Hull at the KC Stadium in July 2010.
Thus there was a certain trepidation coming over me as along with Groundsman Brim and the Elder Slushette we headed off for the swanky new Sports Village facility at Bishop Burton College.  Burnsy confidently predicting a good night for the Tigers on Radio Humberside's Sports Talk only reinforced my feeling that the night would hold some unpleasant twists...
Westella & Willerby were the third club in the East Riding to attain FA Charter Standard Community Club status.  They did so in 2003 and now boast 23 teams.
Officially formed back in 1920, it's thought the club actually originates some ten or so years before that date.
The club were long-standing members of the East Riding County League, wherein they enjoyed success in the 60s.  A lean period in the 70s was followed by a move towards youth development and it is the results of this that have been shown so strikingly in recent years.
Founder members of the Humber Premier League in 2000, 'The Friesians' (a nickname originally earned due to their traditional black & white kit and their founder's favourite breed of cattle) made the switch to the CML in 2008/09.  Therein they gained promotion to the Supreme Division at the first attempt, finishing runners-up to Louth United.
Last season saw them in the mix for honours until a poor run-in evenutally cost them.
Despite having a spanking new(ish) facility at the Hill Top complex, 'Ella are unable to use it to accommodate their Central Midlands League side as the ground does not meet regulations.  Thus, for the past three years they've "rented" grounds at Blackburn Sports in Brough and, since last season, Bishop Burton College.
And at first viewing, the venue looks impressive enough.  A 4G pitch, two full-size grasspitches and all floodlit.  Streamlined buildings housing a nearby gymn and the not so nearby changing rooms, with the pitches themselves bordered on one side by trees and barriered off by wooden fencing, giving them a rustic feel in keeping with the setting.  Very nice - but at £3 entry, you'd perhaps want a bit more shelter come the winter months.
As it was a crowd in the region of 40 were present on a nippy late summer's evening to watch the first of the CML North Division's six East Riding "derbies".  Unfortunately, this one was to prove something of a one-sided affair, as my official match report explains.
If events unfolding in front of them weren't disappointing enough for the large contingent of Ezzie folk present, those of us with Tiger tendencies also had to stomach regular depressing updates from Elland Road as City crashed to a 4-1 defeat.  Bad Day at Black Rock sprang to mind!
Having the Elder Slushette with men meant I couldn't partake of the post-match hospitality on offer at the nearby pub, The Altisidora.  Shame as I've know it have some fairly decent guest ales on whenever I've called before.
Instead, we headed straight home to the accompaniment of the usual morons who call Radio Humberside at times like this.  Still, as bad as we were feeling, news of a 5-0 reverse for Grimsby Town in the Conference at Braintree put things into some sort of perspective.
The following evening it was a more laid back affair on offer at Low Farm where the Casuals entertained Sunday League side Patrington FC, a team that included several of our first and second-strings.
To their credit, Maccer's men gave a decent account of themselves up to the break and were a tad unlucky to walk off a goal down.
Unfortunately, the usual chopping & changing that accompanied friendlies meant a more disjointed Casuals display after the break and only some desperate defending and a string of excellent stops from the new triallist keeper kept the score down.
But if I thought that Wednesday would see the last of my week of drubbings I was mistaken.  No sooner had I parked myself in front of ITV4 the following evening, cushions plumped, glass charged and the first strains of, "H-E-A...R-T-S" ringing round the living room than Spurs had put this Europa League tie to bed.  A second 5-0 home defeat in as many nights.  Just what had I done to deserve this?

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