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

Saturday, 13 May 2017

Crap team name but not a bad football side

Saturday 13 May 2017, AFC Your Shirts 3 Cockfield United 3 (AFC Your Shirts won 3-2 on pens) - at Church Road, Old Newton, Club Colours Cup Final

Cup final between Division 4 of the Suffolk and Ipswich League winners (Your Shirts) and the runners up from Division 3. Cockfield got off to a great start and were soon 2 up, the game threatened to get out of control as the young ref did not seem to want to book anyone and his assistants seemed to be already on holiday!

A third goal was added before the break and it seemed game over, but both teams came out much calmer in the second half and it was Your shirts who now took control of the game and they got 2 back and had plenty of chances to add more goals but it looked like the clock would beat them but with a minute left they got the equaliser their play deserved.

The extra time was a bit of an anti-climax and so it was to be decided on penalty kicks - 12 taken and 7 missed but it was AFC Your Shirts who came out on top.

The game was played at Church Road, home of Old Newton United, a good little set up, thriving clubhouse, roped off pitch, cracking playing surface and a small shed/beach hut cum stand to fit about 8 spectators in!

So AFC Your Shirts - crap club name but not a bad footballing side.