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Ham v 'Sham : May 7-13 Matchgoing

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    Ham v 'Sham : May 7-13 Matchgoing

    I'm slightly disappointed as the game I am seeing this weekend, Hambledon v Hersham in the Surrey County Intermediate League (Western), looked like it was going to be a title decider until the hitherto unbeaten hosts lost their game last weekend handing the title to Saturday's visitors.

    It still looks an attractive tie and Hambledon apparently have a good set up for the twelfth tier. There's even talk of a programme being available, which is normally not a big thing for me but it will be the first I've seen since the most recent restart so will be a novelty.
    Last edited by Ray de Galles; 06-05-2021, 17:49.

    Assuming the weather doesn't intervene I'll be at Springhead v Heyside in the Manchester League Gilgryst Cup. I've not worked out the current placings in the group but the hosts have assured me there's plenty riding on it.


      Tewkesbury Town Pumas u10s are at home for the 3rd week in a row, this time against Ashton 88 Hornets u10s.

      We played this team away in our very first game of the season back in September and lost 7-1. We were 3-1 down with 3 mins to go though and really badly crumbled after they scored their 4th on the break.

      Annoyingly, I'm going to be refereeing again as, despite attempts to book one this week, all have been appointed by the Worcestershire FA and I don't know any personally.


        East Molesey 90/3 (11.3) Old Rutlishians 87 all out (16.0)
        Surrey Championship T20 Cup
        The Memorial Cricket Ground

        A bonus Friday night match as I realised my local team's first competitive fixture was starting at 5:45pm and, having had a dreadful week in work, I met a few friends to see it over a few drinks.

        As reigning red ball champions of Surrey (though they won that title back in 2019), The Moles made short work of seeing of their opponents from three tiers lower. There was a distinct gap in class but Old Ruts made it an entertaining few hours.

        The highlight was probably a couple of sixes launched in to The Thames by EMCC's pro, Himmet Singh, who was with Royal Challengers Bangalore in the IPL two years ago.

        Last edited by Ray de Galles; 07-05-2021, 22:20.


          I didn't receive a Covid clearance form today, so I'm obviously not needed as a volunteer any more. It's fair enough ,I'm sure there's lots of people willing to do the job. Anyway, we're playing shit at the moment, and a 6 O'Clock kick off is a pain in the arse.


            Perth Glory v Melbourne Victory, A-League, Sunday 9th May

            The government announced on Thursday that this game can now be played in front of a crowd after Perth's mini-lockdown last week saw Glory's midweek defeat to Melbourne City played behind closed doors.

            Bugger all to play for in this one, apart from both teams looking to avoid the wooden spoon. Glory started the season as the great entertainers and set an A-League record when they scored 18 goals after only 6 games. Since then they've only scored another 9 goals in their next 12 games which sees them third bottom with zero hope of making the finals. Melbourne Victory are even worse and their snake-in-the-grass caretaker manager Steve Kean publicly blasting incoming coach Tony Popovich for contacting the Victory players informing them if they're going to be part of his plans for next season, whilst not consulting him first. Oh, the irony!

            With both defences being utterly shite I'm hopeful of seeing a few goals. Covid restrictions mean only 75% of the stadium capacity is allowed in, and gatherings of over 1,000 people requires a facemask to be worn. I'll bring my mask along, but there's a good chance it won't be needed.


              Wilmslow Albion 4-2 Hindley Juniors
              Manchester League Murray Trophy

              With no suggestion that the rain was going to ease up and with Wilmslow's Oakwood Farm ground providing a spot of cover I decided that Springhead's home game next Saturday looked a better prospect than today's against a team I saw concede ten in December. Inevitably I missed a thriller - it finished 4-4.

              I was nonetheless treated to some great entertainment, albeit a game not as close as the scoreline suggests, both Hindley goals coming in the last few minutes. Nor was the cover required. The rain eased off shortly before kick off by which time I had joined the groundsman and a couple of others on the pitch armed with a brush to try to clear as much of the lagoon which had formed in one corner as possible. Our efforts were largely in vain but fortunately the ref turned a blind eye and in spite of Wilmslow utilising both wings to great effect, the moment I captured below was, disappointingly, the sole occasion a player from either side took a dip.

              The Murray Trophy is for teams below the Premier Division of the Manchester League. Wilmslow from Division One proved to be of a class as well as a league above their opponents. A well struck shot from outside the box took a wicked deflection to loop over the keeper's head to give them an early lead. Good football through the middle and a tidy finish made it two. The third was a sliding finish at the far post following a tremendous run and cross from the right.

              Hindley never gave up though. They'd had a great chance to pull one back at 2-down - hesitation in front of goal allowed Wilmslow's keeper to pull off a fine save - and came out strongly after the break, hitting the bar with a cross-cum-shot and seeing a header from another miss by inches when really it should have gone in. The fourth goal killed them off though, a curling free kick which the keeper should probably have done better with. There followed half an hour in which Wilmslow contrived to miss chance after chance before Hindley's late flourish deservedly gave them something to show for their efforts.

              Last edited by Artificial Hipster; 08-05-2021, 19:16.


                Tewkesbury Town Pumas u10 0-7 Ashton 88 Hornets u10

                Think the less said about yesterday's performance, the better. My boys don't like playing in the rain and they also aren't very good when a couple start stropping over little things. Our keeper had arguably his worst game since the return from lockdown and we even missed a penalty by hitting the bar.

                We'll leave it there and move on.


                  Originally posted by Artificial Hipster View Post

                  My gawd that is an image of immense beauty! The whole tableaux (spectators and all) should be recreated like the Tom Finney statue to live on in perpetuity as a representation of where the world is in 2021.

                  I was fascinated by the fact that there was a filthy pillow atop the traditional heavily-soiled mattress until I realised it was a bag of sand. A playful, situationist visual prank that just complete the piece wonderfully.


                    Hambledon 1 Hersham 2
                    Surrey County Intermediate League (Western)
                    Badger Park

                    The enforced requirement to search out ever more obscure venues really pays off when you find grounds like Badger Park. It's in an absolutely beautiful spot down winding country lanes and was a far more bucolic setting than I anticipated. This was demonstrated by the fact it was the first time I can recall seeing ramblers in the environs of a match as they made their way down the rolling fields around the pitch.

                    The wooden chalet-style clubhouse and rustic-looking dugouts added to the pastoral vibe of the place and the beer tent and tea in proper mugs added to the village fete atmosphere. That said, someone at the club has a very professional attitude as they were selling programmes, badges and merchandise unlike any other club I've seen recently in the eleventh and twelfth tiers.

                    The hosts gave Hersham a guard of honour to acknowledge their title win but other than that the game was played by both sides as if it was the title decider everyone had expected it to be. The commitment the two teams displayed was full-on but never over the top. Hersham took the lead after around five minutes when the ball bounced around the six yard box with no defender taking charge before it was finally turned in. The Dons equalised ten minutes later with a long range deflected strike after a free kick was cleared to a waiting midfielder. The visitors scored what turned out to be the winner before a half hour was out with a precise finish from the corner of the area after more defensive prevarication.

                    The rest of the match was very open with Hambledon desperately trying to secure an equaliser and Hersham having plenty of chances to add to their lead but not converting them.There was a certain amount of tension though as their strikers got closer and closer to hitting my car that was parked behind one end. Someone a few feet from me in the crowd even commented to his son that my vehicle was leading a charmed life.

                    The league trophy and medals were laid out on a pitchside picnic table near the final whistle and it was a nice reminder of how pleasing it is to see silverware presented at the end of a season, even for a neutral. It was especially gratifying that the newly-crowned champions celebrated the lifting of it with a chorus of 'Hersham Boys'.


                      Originally posted by Ray de Galles View Post

                      My gawd that is an image of immense beauty! The whole tableaux (spectators and all) should be recreated like the Tom Finney statue to live on in perpetuity as a representation of where the world is in 2021.

                      I was fascinated by the fact that there was a filthy pillow atop the traditional heavily-soiled mattress until I realised it was a bag of sand. A playful, situationist visual prank that just complete the piece wonderfully.
                      Joyous isn't it. The look of mild disbelief on the young defender's face while everyone else watching has already long since resigned themselves to the inevitability that we've made our beds and sooner or later we're going to have to lie in them.


                        Originally posted by Ray de Galles View Post

                        My gawd that is an image of immense beauty! The whole tableaux (spectators and all) should be recreated like the Tom Finney statue to live on in perpetuity as a representation of where the world is in 2021.

                        I was fascinated by the fact that there was a filthy pillow atop the traditional heavily-soiled mattress until I realised it was a bag of sand. A playful, situationist visual prank that just complete the piece wonderfully.
                        Seconded, a brilliant image AH.

                        New puppy means an enforced break for me for at least a couple of weeks, can't wait til he's vaccinated and I can take him to a game.


                          I went over to Manchester yesterday aiming to see two games. I managed this but, thanks to the weather, it wasn't the two I had planned to see. The first game was meant to be a Saturday Morning League game at Audenshaw, but on arrival there were no signs of life and a big puddle in the car park. I then went down to Gatley where another match in the same league was on - Cheadle beating Manchester Rovers 4-0, one of the goals an excellent header into his own goal by a visiting defender.

                          Second up was meant to be Salford Storm, but it seems the meteorological version saw off the football team. Instead I headed to Sale, where Sale Amateurs were hosting Signol Athletic. This was the last match of the league cups group stage, with both sides having won all games to date and so this was to decide who won the group and who got a home quarter final. It turned out to be a 3-2 win for Signol, who always looked the slightly better side.

                          This afternoon I watched Southport Women play Ashton Town. The visitors were 3-0 up in ten minutes but Southport didn't give up, closing the score to 4-3 by half time. Southport equalised with the first attack of the second half and then almost immediately took the lead. A late goal secured a 6-4 win for Southport. This was just the tenth time in a bit over 2500 matches that I'd seen a 6-4, but the third time in nine days after Saddleworth v Todmorden last Saturday and Metalboxonians v Dingle on Tuesday.


                            Originally posted by Southport Zeb View Post
                            Please let this be something to do with PiL


                              Perth Glory 2-1 Melbourne Victory

                              Glory's six game winless run is finally over with a nervy win over a Victory team that just want the season to end. The small crowd of just over 3000 were woken from their slumber on 25mins when Rudy Gestede's overhead kick in the box was handled by a Glory defender and the ref pointed to the spot. Up stepped the much-maligned Socceroos striker Robbie Kruse, who has one of those unfortunate faces in that he always looks like he's moaning no matter what the occasion. Unfortunately for him and his moany wee face, his spot kick was well saved by Liam Reddy.

                              Thankfully the whistle blew to end a dreadful first half and we were finally entertained watching the kids come out to play their mini games as well as being treated to a Mother's Day penalty shoot-out.

                              The second half was a completely different affair when Victory were reduced to 10-men after only a couple of minutes in for a studs up challenge. Glory took advantage soon after when a nice one-two saw captain Diego Castro set up striker Bruno Fornaroli to tap home. A few minutes later Glory doubled their lead when the impressive Chris Ikonomidis volleyed home with a great strike, keeping it low and squeezing it past the keeper's near post. Two goals up, a player up and against a demoralised team, surely it was game over. But Glory are third-bottom for a reason and with only one clean sheet all season it came as no surprise when Victory pulled one back from Gestede, bundling into the open net from a Kruse shot that had rebounded off the post.

                              Victory could sense getting something from this one, and with Glory having taken off both Castro and Fornaroli, their youthful team were now looking very rattled. But Glory hung on and their ultra-slim chance of getting into the top 6 is still alive.


                                Originally posted by Nesta View Post

                                Please let this be something to do with PiL
                                Sadly I think it they take the name from a social club, which in turn takes its name from a long gone factory that I guess made metal boxes.


                                  That's interesting Southport Zeb there was a Metal Box around here, which became Metal Box CBM, then Mauritius Sports, then Mauritius Sports and Pennant, then... ah it's complicated. Here's a diagram. I wonder if there was any relation between the two clubs.


                                    Metal Box was a major British company in the seventies, wasn't it? Up there with the ICIs and the Lucases. So is it likely that these teams were originally associated with social clubs linked to factories of the company?


                                      Ludgershall United Reserves 3-2 Aylesbury Hornets
                                      Aylesbury and District League Division 3

                                      A trip to Buckinghamshire this weekend for Ludgershall United Reserves against Aylesbury Hornets. Ludgershall play at Lower End in Ashendon, about six miles away, at what I imagine is usually a very picturesque ground. Unfortunately, the views of the surrounding Chiltern hills were obscured by an almost constant light drizzle. As opposed to that kind of rain that creeps up and soaks you to the bone without noticing, everything somehow remained relatively dry for Ludgershall's final home game of the season.

                                      On arrival, the locals were bemoaning the state of pitches in the local area. Apparently, Lower End was one of the better examples, despite one of the most pronounced slopes I've seen at a ground.

                                      Ludgershall sit comfortably mid-table, while the Hornets are rooted to the bottom of the Aylesbury and District League's lowest division. The Hornets had only once all season, and have shipped 11 goals twice in six games since the re-strart, including just last weekend against Preswood Reserves.

                                      And it looked like they'd be in for another long afternoon, when only a couple of minutes before kick-off, they only had eight players. The first few minutes of the game did nothing to dispel expectations of a cricket score, when Ludgershall had a goal had a goal disallowed for offside and scored a nailed-on penalty a minute or two later.

                                      But gradually more Hornets players arrived, and by the time they reached their full complement, they were level, a Ludgershall clearance being deflected from the edge of the area into the top corner.

                                      Ludgershall came back, and a powerful finish just inside the box made it 2-1 to the home side, but it was a game played in good spirits spoiled by a referee who wanted to be at the centre of things, almost literally, as he barely left the centre circle all game.

                                      With the wind behind them and playing downhill, Ludgershall looked to have put the result in no doubt with a strong opening to the second half. A tidy free-kick made it 3-1, but a saved penalty gave the Hornets hope. They nicked a goal back with about 20 minutes to go, but their considerably older legs began to tire, and for all their endeavour, they couldn't really find a way through a comfortable Ludgershall defence.

                                      The weather wasn't conducive for photos of the surrounding hills, but it did give a moody moors feeling to the game. At times, it felt like it was above the clouds.

                                      More photos:


                                        Reading YMCA 3 Slough Laurencians 1
                                        Thames Valley League Division One
                                        The Cauldron

                                        This was a last minute switch for me as my planned TVL Premier game at Newbury was called off due to opponents Marlow United being unable to raise a team.

                                        This is an increasing problem in the TVL due to their bold, nay foolhardy, decision to complete a full season's fixtures despite all the interruptions this campaign, meaning most clubs have three games a week until the end of June. Luckily, there is no further punishment to sides other than wins being awarded to the opponent, more of which later.

                                        Luckily Mirko Bolesan had already told me he was off to this game a division below so I decided to join him. The names of the two teams intrigued me. Reading clearly have had no actual links to the Young Men's Christian Association for some time and Slough have long since moved on from being the church side they originated as (though I could find no explanation for their full name being Slough Heating Laurencians, a sponsor I presume but I can find no confirmation of that) and the religious monikers gave it the feel of Berkshire's Evangelico.

                                        Given the ground is a field next to a peculiarly remote village hall, a tiny rudimentary caravan park and a children's playground I can't quite work out why it's called The Cauldron. I've certainly been to more fiery footballing venues but it was all very pleasant.

                                        The match was second v third in the table though there were ten points them and they finished the night first and third. The hosts managed to get the ball in the net six times over the match, the first being an inexplicable, thumping headed own goal from a cross to give Laurencians a shock lead. In an eventful game of surprisingly high quality for the twelfth tier they equalised with a stunning 'up & down' free kick and took the lead after a deep, curling ball was left by the visiting defence for a YMCA forward to sneak in and convert. The linesman's flag went up, either for offside or foot up on the keeper but the ref overruled it, having disallowed two other home goals already.

                                        The lack of neutral linemen is always a feature of these games especially when coaches/subs are overseeing their own side's attacks. The home linesman spent the first half actually on the pitch for much of the time and constantly encouraging & coaching his squad mates. It got to a ridiculous level when he threw his arms in the air to appeal for a handball ignoring the fact that this meant his flag went in the air. The ref handled it all pretty well though.

                                        Reading scored a third in the second half after a striker deliciously killed a high ball and finished in one movement. From there it all descended in to a lot of needle and tantrums culminating in Slough's keeper managing to kick out at a home striker for no apparent reason, then put the head on him. He received no punishment for either as the ref was lagging behind play but it really should have been a red card and penalty. The forward was so incensed by the incident that he talked himself in to being sin binned about ten minutes later.

                                        I was speculating to Mirko why there was such agita between the sides with such a large gap between them in the table and the game all but done. The away linesman overheard and turned round to tell me that there was much resentment that Reading had built up their lead through a lot of recent walkovers being awarded while Slough had played all their games even though their side was regularly much-weakened. In his words "We'd have hammered them before the last break".

                                        The ref seemed to pick up on the simmering mood and blew up a little early as things were in danger of spilling over. Writing that, I've just realised that perhaps it's a regular occurrence and The Cauldron is actually aptly-named.


                                          You've definitely seen more than your fair share of niggly games, Ray. With the admittedly stark exception of the gave which finished 9-a-side I can't recall seeing a single card.

                                          I was reading a David Bauckham piece yesterday incidentally which referred to an Ealing Hospital Cup. It seems they may be or may once have been much more prevalent than we'd imagined.