Saturday 31st March
CML North DivisionEasington United 3 Yorkshire Main 1
It’s safe to say that Yorkshire Main are not the most popular side in the Central Midlands League.
I’m not sure whether this is because of envy at their success – the Edlington side completed a clean sweep of all four trophies last season – or because those associated with the club have a reputation for not endearing themselves to their fellow competitors (although, personally, I’ve always found them easy enough to talk to).
Whatever the reason, any success against Main seems to be celebrated widely throughout the competition and we certainly received plenty of positive feedback following this, a repeat of our previous year’s surprise win.
Making the result more pleasurable was (a) that it was almost as unexpected as that aforementioned 1-0 win; (b) it came on the back of some fairly abysmal home form of late and (c) thanks to the early finish of the Stiffs’ County League game on the pitch across the ditch, the best part of it was watched by a bigger crowd than could otherwise have been hoped for.
The disappointment at Saturday’s rather feeble cup exit had been compounded by the small turnout for the following morning’s Sport Relief Mile. As we assembeld at the start line, I found myself thinking “why bother?” It was a feeling that came to me several times along the three-mile route (thank God I hadn’t opted to do the longer option).
My sense of relief at the finish was palpable (that’s how out of shape I am) and the recovery process continued through the afternoon, aided by an enjoyable couple of pints of John Bull Original bitter in The Neptune, news of a cracking win for Hull KR over the current league leaders and Matthew Rudd giving my all-time favourite song an airing on that night’s Q The 80s. I went to be a happy man - but still had the walking gait of John Wayne the following morning!
|Man on a mission|
Aside from our win at fellow strugglers Thorne Colliery, March hadn’t been a great month for us. The same could be said of Hull City. The home defeat by Southampton had been followed by a hard-to-swallow reverse at former boss Nigel Pearson’s Leicester. And by Tuesday night the Tigers’ play-off hopes had really hit the buffers. A two goal reverse at struggling Pompey was described as the low point of the season so far. How different the mood of the 400 or so hardy souls who populated the away end must have been from the number I’d sat among last season.
It’s funny how the start of the cricket season can suddenly help you forget your footballing woes. Not that England’s Test team had been in inspiring form over the winter. A series defeat at the hands of Pakistan was to be followed by a crushing reverse against Sri Lanka in Galle. Closer to home, Yorkshire County Cricket Club’s AGM had recently elected Sir Geoffrey as the new club president and in Monday’s Daily Telegraph, he was in typically bullish form about his expectations this coming summer. This same no-nonsense approach was also evident on Test Match Special where, according to Michael Vaughan, Boycs’ answer to being asked if he’d ever fancied becoming a judge on Miss World was to say that if he ever was he'd tell 'em he's seen better lookers down Barnsley high street! The great man is coming to Hull next month; I must get myself a ticket.
|Chaz provides his own punchline|
Thursday brought the first round of the ER County League’s President’s Trophy, the H. E. Dean Cup. In recent times this has offered our Reserves a welcome respite from fairly miserable league campaigns. Indeed, it has actually acted as a spur for them to go on and avoid relegation from the Premier Division.
Winners in 2010, the Stiffs had reached the quarter-finals last season. A draw that threw up an opening round tie at Division 5 strugglers Bilton Athletic raised hopes of another cup run this spring. Hmm…
I couldn’t make the game so decided to provide a “live” Twitter feed as and when messages came through from the front. All seemed to be going well as goals from Jimmy D, Stumo and ‘Jocky’ Everitt put us three goals up. You can imagine my horror then when I received subsequent updates informing me that Bilton had reduced arrears to 2-3 with five minutes to go. I was thankful I wasn’t there!
|Packing 'em in at the Farm|
Lifts can come via strange means and the promotion of three thirty-something’s to the squad Mack named to face Yorkshire Main wouldn’t – at first glance - have appeared an obvious one.
But that’s just what it proved to be. For some reason those who assembled prior to kick-off against Yorkshire Main had, as Nicho put it, the sort of “fire in their bellies” that hadn’t been witnessed for some time. It was to show as the lads came from a goal down to claim a richly deserved win.
Making things even more pleasing for the management duo was the contribution of one of the aforementioned new faces – thirty-one year old Jimmy Dawson marking his CML debut with a brace as part of a man of the match display.
A full report of the game, along with more photos, can be found here.
Photos courtesy of Burt Graham.
NOTE: Prior to kick-off, along with all other CML fixtures that afternoon, players, management, officials and spectators observed a minute's silence in memory of referee Roger Evans, who'd collapsed and died at the conclusion of a game at South Normanton the previous week.