Friday, 3 February 2012

Sunshine on a cloudy day

Saturday 21st January
CML North Division
Parkhouse 1 Easington United 3

Being too young to see many of the great Motown acts in their prime, I was once fortunate enough to attend a “Ruffin/Kendricks/Edwards – Former Leads Of The Temptations” concert at Hull City Hall.  How fortunate can be gauged by the fact that on 1 June 1991, shortly after the month-long UK tour, David Ruffin died of a drugs overdose.
One of the highlights of that particular concert was when the aforementioned Mr Ruffin offered a mic to the audience halfway through his classic hit, “My Girl”.  The microphone was taken by one of my companions for the night, Ian “Biz” Beharrell former lead singer with Hull soulsters The Mighty Strike (formerly The Company) and latterly the face of football’s Coca-Cola trailers on Sky.
His rendition of the song was so good that he was not only invited up to perform it live on stage but also asked to join the trio in their limo post-gig where future plans for world domination were hatched.  Sadly, as has happened far too often in Ian’s musical career, circumstances (Ruffin’s death, Kendricks' cancer) dictated that nothing would come of the meeting.

I was reminded of this story on the way back from Clay Cross on Saturday, when newly-acquired goalkeeper Liam Pattison performed his own version of the same song.  Besides endeavouring to keep footballs out of the net, Liam also doubles up as a pub singer under the name of, erm, “Liam Pattison”.  On this evidence it must be said, he’s good…but not THAT good.   
Our keeper’s impromptu set was part of a fairly raucous bus ride home.  And who could blame us for that – this win was a bloody good one.
But I'm getting ahead of myself...

It's a bottle not a mic Patty
The Sunday morning following the Dronfield result wasn’t a great time to be a sports fan in Hull given some of the reading in that day’s papers. 
My twitter feed the night before had carried several links to the depressing lead in The Sunday People, in which City legend Dean Windass confessed to trying to commit suicide.  Meanwhile that bastion of rugby league coverage (ahem!) the Daily Mail carried a story hinting at official cover-ups concerning the recent 'Gleesongate' affair at Hull FC.  At least I could afford a smile at that one – plenty of banter mileage for Rovers fans there!
These stories duly digested, it was up and at 'em with some wag on Radio Humberside’s “Great Outdoors” show suggesting the day was perfect for “staying in the shed and sharpening tools”.  Cuh.  He obviously didn’t have a “pot roast to die for” to prepare, as was my main task with Mrs Slush and the Elder Slushette having headed off to town for some retail therapy.

An away match programme - a rarity this season
A lovely bottle of Cropton Brewery ‘Yorkshire Moors’ helped the culinary operation get into full swing.  Meanwhile, the Younger Slushette’s demands for help with this and assistance with that allowed little or no chance to check on the progress of Craig Sandercock’s new-look Robins side in their first proper “hit out” at home to Wigan.  Apparently only the first half was worth watching anyway?
I did find time, though, to watch the superb BBC documentary, “How The Humber Shaped Our World”.  Telling the story of the area’s fishing heritage and life on the docks, my only complaint was that it should have been at least an hour long
Matthew Rudd’s ‘Q The 80s’ show is a programme I’ve missed out on for far too long, a situation rectified that evening.  And he served up some crackers: Altered Images ‘Happy Birthday’, Spear Of Destiny ‘So In Love With You’, Bow Wow Wow ‘C30, C60, C90 Go’, The Colourfield and Neneh Cherry - eclectic and fantastic!
Cricket was also on the agenda last week in the form of the First Test between Pakistan and England in Dubai.  That would piss Mike off at work, three mornings of listening to Aggers, Sir Geoffrey, Blowers and co harping on.  Unfortunately, thanks to England’s impotence against Ajmal (7-55 and 3-42) and Gul (4-63), three mornings was the maximum amount of coverage any of us got to listen to!
Ah well, it's football you're here for, not creekit...

I'm "Shoulder to Shoulder", just like Rebecca...

Parkhouse Football Club was founded in 1989 from the former Woodthorpe Inn FC.  According to the club website, the title – as with so many other member clubs in the Central Midlands League – had its origins in mining.  It was an acknowledgement “to the former Parkhouse Colliery and the many men that had worked there over the years and who too had a number of successful teams in the forties and early fifties by that name”.
Since 1993, as sole owners of their 3.4-acre Mill Lane site, they’ve developed the venue into one of the most homely grounds I’ve visited.  Combined with the post-match venue, The Woodthorpe Inn, it makes it the first away match I look out for.  And that despite a 7-0 drubbing on our first visit two years earlier!
That defeat marked our first away day experieince in the CML.  For the new lads (with the exception of Shawn), this latest trip into Derbyshire was to be their first with us and, more significantly, their first jaunt aboard The Pistol’s Riding School Express.  I think they enjoyed it.
Given a forecast for high winds (some of which we experienced on the way down, particularly when crossing the Ouse Bridge) and squally showers, we were quite relieved on arrival in Clay Cross.  The wind wasn’t too bad and the skies remained dry.  So far so good.
The appearance of the maroon third strip lifted spirits further and there was a quiet air of confidence around the group.

Good lad Gavin!
Having performed my pre-match duties and met the officials for the necessary paperwork checks, I was invited into the “Bonanza Suite”, Parkhouse’s new hospitality area purchased by use of proceeds from the annual CML Bonanza Ground Hop.  And very smart it is too, the neat d├ęcor being accompanied by fine hospitality and some interesting chat with home secretary Dave ‘Nobby’ Clark and Hospitality Host John Gore.  It was much appreciated.
The details of the game can be found on either our or our hosts’ official match reports.  Suffice to say, it was a very pleasant experience standing in the PCS Stand among the majority of the fifty or so regulars (“Come on Parky!”) as we came from a goal down to deservedly win 3-1.
But of course the real highlight of my day was still to come.  The Woodthorpe Inn, Old Tupton usually provides one of the finest ranges of cask ale in the CML.  Sadly, today there appeared to be just the two – Black Sheep and Morland Old Golden Hen.  I chose the latter and jolly quaffable it was too.
Accompanied by some decent nosh and good chin-wag with home manager ‘Murts’, not to mention news of yet another City away win, it put me in excellent spirits for the trip home.  Even Liam’s singing couldn’t dampen then.

Spot-on for three-one
And seeing as I’ve returned to the musical theme, the Thursday prior to the Parkhouse game was East Riding County League Management Committee meeting night.  Not for the first time this involved sitting in the car for the best part of two hours for a meeting that lasted barely half that long.  Such a drive on a quiet evening has its benefits however and the main one this time round was the chance it afforded me to listen to music without other “distractions” (i.e. wife & kids). 
My choice of CD was ‘Heaven’, the debut release by 2010 X-Factor finalist Rebecca Ferguson.  I’d played it just a handful of times since buying it just before Christmas but this was the first time I could really actually listen to it.  And what an absolute gem it is.
As Neil McCormick alluded to in a piece for The Daily Telegraph, perhaps the best thing that happened to the Liverpudlian songstress was NOT beating Matt Cardle in the final of X-Factor.
Freedom of being able to go out and record a collection of self-penned songs in her own style has made for a fantastic debut set.  As much as I’m a fan of Adele and many of her current compatriots, Miss Ferguson is simply THE classiest female vocal talent around at the moment.  Have a listen to the following and tell me different…

Thanks to Burt Graham and Chris Marsh for the photos

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