An early start this morning for the first game of the Central Midlands League Football Bonanza 2010 which kicks off at 10.30am. This is going to be a long day which eventually sees me travel 157 miles in total for 3 games over 12 hours. So to the checklist: Ticket, check, camera, check, kit kats, check, warm clothing, check, music for the journey courtesy of DJ Greedy G, (plenty of top notch ska and reggae available here), check. The satnav is loaded with the post codes for the venues and off I go. The first venue is Low Farm Recreation & Sports Ground home of Easington United. Only 57 miles from home it takes an hour and a half to get here as you head towards Spurn Point with more speed restrictions than the M1! I've been following the fortunes of the Eastenders through the absolutely excellent blog of Richard Lusmore, 'A Game in Four Quarters'.
I find the parking at the local school and then make my way to the ground. I give a hearty greeting to the guys selling the programmes outside the entrance and it is only a minute or so later I realise why they were giving me odd looks. I did not pay them the entrance fee or show them my ticket I had in my bag! I head to Rob Hornby's programme stall and pass on the bag of programmes I promised him and he gives me my programmes for the three games today and the certificate of attendance. There are plenty of people already here and I get a few photos.
There are no stands here and the only cover is an overhang on the side of one of the buildings. Fortunately the day is not wet and we do not need any shelter. The buildings consist of the dressing rooms, toilets and tea hut, with hard standing behind the goal at the end of the ground we came in. It is fully railed off with a further pitch beyond the main pitch. The Club have put up a couple of gazebos and it is the food one I head for first. A lovely bacon bun is bought and I find a bench to eat my breakfast. This gives me a chance to look round and I'm impressed with this neat ground, plenty of tlc is visible and it is a credit to the hard working team who help run the Club.
I then have a wander around and in the other gazebo there is a tombola stall and memorabilia for both the home and away teams to buy. I duly obtain my badges and then have a look at the badge stall but I do not find any that I am missing. I wander back to get a coffee and sit drinking this taking in the scenery. I then spot PonteCarlo who I do not actually know but have seen at the Pontefract game I attended last season but did not get to speak to him as he seemed very busy on the night. So I go over and introduce myself and he in turn introduces me to a trio of Scarborough Athletic fans, Neil (Seadog on the Kempster site), Bill and Stevie Wonder (who I do not think is really called this but he has some sunglasses on which makes him look like the soul star).
I end up watching the game in the company of these guys which made it a pleasant time for me and these really are nice guys. The game has been well covered in other blogs so I'll only cover it briefly. The Eastenders are into top gear straight from the off and on 9 minutes they score with a good header from Paul Morrill. After 20 minute it is 2-0 as Craig Havercroft receives a good ball from Havercroft and he scores from 25 yards but the keeper should have done better. The keeper was at error again as Jamie Cousins scored the third from close range on 35 minutes. Hutton never really showed as an attacking force and the 3-0 half time score was a fair reflection of the game. To be honest the second half was fairly flat with the best moment coming from Hutton's Mark Frampton who hit the crossbar from about 25 yards out. There was no addition to the score and on the final whistle the legion of hoppers were dashing for the exit. I made a more leisurely exit and by the time I reached the car park it was pretty empty.
Just a couple of final observations. The Eastenders should be proud of their hospitality for the day and I hope they felt it was a worthwhile exercise for them. I also noticed that Lush was questioning the reaction of the hoppers to the game. I know where he is coming from, it seems to me that to some, the game is incidental to the visit to the ground but for me the day is the ground AND the game. I do not get involved as much as when I go to see the Foxes, but I still applaud good saves, tackles, goals and have a go at the refs for baffling decisions. Don't be disheartened Rich, I think everyone had a cracking morning with you, it just seems that some express it in different ways.
More pictures of Low Farm here.
Easington United 3-0 Hutton Cranswick United