Sunday, 13 October 2013

Blogged off...

It's been a while...
It’s been some time since I last felt the urge or indeed had the time to update the blog and for this I can only apologise.  I appreciate that the number of people who’ve actually been affected by this is minimal but I still think the point required recording.
The secret of a good blog is its topicality and unfortunately that’s where I have consistently been found wanting and particularly so over the second half of last season.  Indeed, so far behind had I slipped that I actually contemplated wrapping up altogether. 
To add to my increasing apathy / fustration, there wasn't that much stuff coming out of Low Farm from March to the season’s end that actually merited plenty of words.
At First team level the main talking points surrounded a hectic end to the season, due to a fixture backlog caused by the horrendous weather of winter 2012/13.  This saw us play seven games in 17 days, making a run of one defeat in the last eight games even more creditable.
The defeat came at champions Dronfield Town on the day they clinched the title and I must say it was something of a pleasure to be there...despite the 6-0 scoreline!
The real highlight of the season’s run-in came when Harworth visited the Farm.  Despite both teams playing things down, the game provided our lads with the first real chance to “right” what they saw as the “wrong” of Scrooby Road back in August.
However, with 25mins remaining, any hopes of doing so looked remote as a well-drilled Harworth side led 3-0.  Then came one of those famous Farm fight-backs; goals from Eli, Jordy, Lewis and Andy G in the last minute prompted delirious scenes both on and off the pitch (check out THAT picture!!).
The low point came with concession of double-figures at home to pre-season title favourites AFC Mansfield – one of those occasions when no blog post is necessary.  That said it was funny to see the visitors’ back four slump to their knees when Eli slammed home our spectacular last minute “consolation”.  Something about loss of a clean sheet bonus...
We finished the season with a goal-fest against Bentley Colliery, an 8-3 win ensuring we matched the previous season’s points tally if not the league position. 
The Reserves proved to be the season’s success story.  A third paced finish and a superb run to the final of the East Riding County League Senior Cup constituted an excellent first term in charge for Gav.
I managed to catch snippets - the first half of the win over Molescroft on the pitch across the ditch and most of the narrow win over a spritely North Ferriby United Academy side.  Sadly, I wasn’t able to make it to the spectacular 6-1 drubbing of Premier Division side Park Athletic in the league cup semi-final at Long Riston.  It was the Stiffs’ fourth win over top-flight opponents en route to Queensgate and set them up for a crack at the all-conquering Wawne United Reserves in the final on May 4. 
We hired a coach for the final and a First Team win the previous night at Welbeck ensured there was a buoyant mood among the lads spilling out of The Granby and onto the coach in pursuit of a first ever win in this particular competition.
Several pints of Tetley Cask and Tom Wood Lincoln Gold (both on fine form) had lubricated the vocal chords and despite lowering our standards to smooth-flow John Smiths in plastic glasses in the Queensgate clubhouse, this remained the case as we entered the grandstand.
Of course, the mood of most present had been helped by the dramatic final moments of the Championship season – including the amazing 15-minute wait to see whether Big Nick’s penalty miss against Cardiff would cost Hull City their automatic place in the top flight.  You’d probably have to go back 30 years to find me as supportive of a Leeds United side as I was of the one that managed to do us a favour at Watford!
And so to the day’s main event, which proved almost as dramatic.  Premier Division champions-elect and ERCFA Intermediate Cup holders Wawne underlined their credentials with three unanswered first half goals, leaving us to retire to the clubhouse and top up our plastic glasses.  The second half promised to be a long 45 minutes. 
But then Hutchie almost single-handedly took the game by the scruff of the neck and in the space of twenty glorious minutes we were level.
The banter in the stands did its best to match the on-field entertainment.  It was turning into one of the best sporting days of the year...then Matty Crane curled home a spectacular injury-time free-kick and the cup was Bransholme-bound again.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the remainder of the campaign proved an anti-climax.  With injuries mounting, the Reserves were thankful for the gift of the points from a potentially tricky third v fourth meeting at home to Haltemprice Rangers.  Sadly, a midweek defeat at Walkington had already scuppered hopes of a top two finish.
As for the Casuals, they saw no fewer than four fixtures “conceded” by their opponents, helping them to a creditable 6th placed finish.  I got to see them just twice – a midweek defeat by Leven and a fine win over title hopefuls Newland Young Boys.  
Away from the Farm, I managed to catch a couple of City games en route to promotion.  Unfortunately, the ones I attended were games that will barely warrant a mention when people talk about the campaign as a whole.
That said the defeat by Nottingham Forest on March 16 was at least accompanied by an excellent game and an atmosphere improved considerably by a 3,000-strong travelling contingent.
If the Forest defeat was a disappointing setback, the Friday night bore-draw against already relegated Bristol City was enough to really set nerves jangling – especially when it was followed up by defeat at Barnsley in front of 5,000 expectant travelling Tigers supporters a week later.  The wobble was well and truly on...
Thankfully, the finishing line was crossed – well, stumbled over – at the KC Stadium on Saturday, May 4.  As already mentioned I watched the drama unfold on the big screen in the Bridlington Town clubhouse while preparing to watch our Reserves take on Wawne in the aforementioned County League Cup Final.
On the rugby league front, after my early season witnessing of Rovers’ win over Warrington, my remaining attendance was limited to the Good Friday derby at the KC Stadium and a couple of trips to MS3 Craven Park.
Not surprisingly, the former proved the most enjoyable as a Dobson-less Rovers triumphed 23-10 over an inept looking Hull side.
Delightfully, with Rovers romping the second half we were again treated to the all-too-familiar “KC Walk” of the “Old (Not so) Faithful”.  Thus, as the game moved towards a close large areas of empty seats became apparent, with only those housing the 3,500 Rovers fans in the North Stand remaining full to the hooter along with a good 1,500 or more in the upper West.
Ah, the Brooklyn Beer on tap in the Pave Bar afterwards didn’t half taste sweet that evening!
Unfortunately my two visits to Craven Park proved less successful.  Despite being back in my old home, the East Stand, for the return derby it was the Dullers who enjoyed the bragging rights this time round.  At least we stayed to the end!
The final game of the regular season (Rovers having made it into the play-offs via an eighth placed finish) saw supporters allowed onto the South Stand terrace for a quid, thanks to a tie-up with the Hull Daily Mail.  Well, with the sun shining once again during this seemingly never-ending summer, I wasn’t going to look that particular gift horse in the mouth.
The game should also have provided the last chance to see Michael Dobson in action at the ground he’d called home for the past seven years.  Unfortunately, injury put paid to that and despite a blistering start, a youthful-looking Robins side were beaten by struggling London Broncos.  Not the finish I’d hoped for then...and with the sun blocked by the tree-screen, it was bloody cold on that terrace too!
Away from the sporting front the period since my last post has also seen the Slush Family enjoy its first trips to foreign shores, courtesy of a bracing “Dutch Dash” to Amsterdam via North Sea Ferries in March and a ten-day break in Ibiza’s Port Des Torrents in June.
Even these supposedly family-time forays didn’t prove sport-free.  Our day-long stroll round the city of the famous Ajax club coincided with Holland’s World Cup qualifier against Romania which was taking place at the Amsterdam Arena.  Meanwhile the first part of the return crossing on the Pride of Rotterdam was spent watching England’s potentially damaging draw in Montenegro.
As for Ibiza, despite my best attempts – honestly - I couldn’t quite manage to steer clear of updates on the ICC Champions trophy, Yorkshire’s ongoing attempts to mark their 150th anniversary with a first County Championship since 2001 and England’s disastrous U21 Euros campaign in Israel.
Having said that the regular trips up the West End to watch the sunset from outside the legendary Cafe Del Mar and Mambo’s could pretty much help you take your mind off anything other than simply how good it was to be alive!
So there you have it, a brief summary of what could have been some twenty-odd posts had I had either the time or inclination. 
Perhaps I just need my blogging mojo back...



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