Saturday, 22 July 2017

West Bergholt looking good

Saturday 22 July 2017, West Bergholt 3 Wivenhoe Town 0 - Pre-season friendly, Lorkin Daniell Sports Field

A short trip to North Essex for this pre-season friendly. Nice set up, pitch behind the village hall which had it's social club open - with a full bar!

The set up was not surprising but what was a slight surprise was that West Bergholt won the game quite easy. They play 2 divisions below Wivenhoe but today they looked the higher placed side, they played good passing football, looked more of a team and were far fitter.

For Wivenhoe, they have very  little time to get a team together, and on their showing today it may be a very bumpy season ahead.

Thursday, 20 July 2017

New home - almost

Wednesday 19 July 2017, AFC Rushden & Diamonds 2 Northampton Town 0 - Pre-season friendly, Hayden Road

This game caught my eye when I spotted it would be played at Hayden Rd and that Northampton were now sending their 1st team.

Football wise, a good game and Rushden were very impressive and should be looking to challenge for promotion - ground wise - still plenty to do to get Hayden Rd up to the correct grading, excellent ground for the level Rushden & Higham Utd play at. Large crowd of over 800 so the ground can cope - Only 3 car park spaces! But plenty of on street parking close by. Main stand is now closed- shell intact and looks in good condition but the rest of stand is waiting to be ripped out and replaced. A few steps of old concrete terracing on 3 sides of ground, 100 seat small stand on dug out side. Behind one goal has new hard standing and waiting for a stand to be built on that end. New turnstiles fitted but were not operating tonight. Portakabins from Wellingborough in place but not yet open. small club bar.

Small town but ground has a good old fashioned inner city feel, can see Rushden doing well on football pitch and they are hoping to be playing league games here by October (starting season at Kempston). Do worry what will happen to Rushden & Higham Utd in the future, maybe like Kingstonian they will find themselves homeless in the future - or is a merger best plan. Hayden Rd was the former home of Rushden Town who became part of Rushden & Diamonds in 1992.

Saturday, 8 July 2017

Annual seaside trip

Friday 7 July 2017, Southwold Town 0 Ipswich Town U18s 2 - Friendly, The 'Common'

Lovely setting for a game, and we got see Kieron Dyer back in a blue shirt! Not a bad clubhouse either.

Sunday, 28 May 2017

European competition - oval ball style

Friday 26 May 2017, Northampton Saints 23 Stade Francais 22 - European Champions Cup, Play-off, Franklin Gardens

Thought I would watch some oval ball action and with such an important prize expected a full house and a close game, My first visit to Franklin Gardens and was impressed with the ground if not the prices or the length of queues in the food village. Such an important game and with all tickets at just £19, was surprised the attendance was 4,000 lower than their average for league games.

The ref had a nightmare and the crowd soon got on his back but they may have just been looking for excuses as the Paris team dominated the first half, with all the good play coming through Genia and the Saints just hanging on in contention thanks to the penalty kicks of Mallinder.

Not sure anyone expected what happened in the second half, a sin bin for a French player and Saints got a try back but then a yellow card followed by a harsh red for Tom Wood would have thought any hope of a comeback were finished but Saints got a late try and great touchline conversion from Mallinder and then held on for the last 4 minutes- great win, great prize, great atmosphere.

This is the last play-off match for the 20th place in the Champions Cup as from next season the place will go to the Challenge Cup winners - ( if the change had been made this season it would have been Stade Francais getting that prize!)

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Belgrade Football grounds

A recent weekend in Belgrade, Yugoslavia enabled me to see 5 games but I also got the chance to visit some other cracking grounds. Now I just hope to be able to go again in 2018 to see games at some of these grounds;

Red Star Belgrade

FK Sindelic (prison in the background)

FK Obilic - club used to be owned by Serb warlord Arkan

FK Zemun

FK Mladi Radnik