Over the fence

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Monday April 1st 2013, Kick off 12pm at The Dog and Duck Ground.
United Counties League Premier Division.
Wellingborough Town (Yellow/Blue) 0-1 Irchester United (All Red), att 130, admission £6, programme £1.

Then over the fence for;

Monday April 1st 2013, Kick off 3pm at the Victoria Mills Ground.
United Counties League Division One.
Whitworths (Red/Black Stripes/Black) 1-3 AFC Rushden and Diamonds (White/Blue), att 581, admission £4, programme £1.

Having driven home from the Easter hop in Yorkshire just 24 hours previously, the sensible decision would have been to stay at home, or go to a local football match. Well I’m not sensible, and this was far too much of a dangly carrot to resist, two tick grounds, side by side, with no need to move the car in between, a no brainer.

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It was still cold, bitter cold, perhaps even more so than the chill wind that blew around Yorkshire at the weekend. I was hoping that the match would warm me. Taking down the line ups pre-match from the WT secretary, I noted the name Joshua McGoldrick on their team sheet, is he ‘son of’ I enquired. Yes he said. Eddie McGoldrick had been a decent tricky winger signed from Northampton Town, famous at Palace for his Charlie Chaplin esque tache. He’d been part of our promotion winning side of 89′. By pure coincidence he was a guest at the Palace game 5 days later, being introduced on the pitch. I didn’t see him at the Dog and Duck!

Joshua, son of 'Eddie 'Charlie' McGoldrick.
Joshua McGoldrick.
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Any hopes this game would warm me, were misguided, as an awful ninety minutes was played out before me. But thankfully at a very tidy venue.
AFC Rushden and Diamonds had moved in this pre-season to meet the ground grading regulations required for United counties League status. Last season, their first since forming from the ashes of the ex league club, they played as an U/18 side in local youth football. Since the Diamonds moved in the ground has been upgraded and probably now would possibly be the best venue in the league, with a large attractive stand to the left of entrance and covered terracing behind the nearest goal.

Going into the game, WT were sitting about 5th bottom of the table, visitors IU rock bottom with only one league win to their name all season. The game was won early on by the ‘Doughboys’, with a strike from Jon Mitchell after seventeen minutes. Nothing much happened after, the game as cold and lifeless as the weather and my bones!

WT’s curious nickname was apparently derived from the local dish ‘hock and dough’ which apparently is Pork scraps, such as hock or rib meat, with sliced potato, onion, stock and herbs baked in a dish the sides and part of the base of which are lined with suet pastry. Hmmm tasty, that would have warmed me up, if only!

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So at games end, all I needed to do was exit the drive for WT, and walk up the other side of the fence for the drive of Whitworths FC. Although the afternoon game was to be from the lower division, it was to have a much higher profile, and gate. AFC R&D had 1,000 at their home game back over the fence the previous Saturday, and Whitworths were hopeful of a very decent turnout. Twenty or Thirty that had been at the WT game also attended at the Victoria Mills Ground

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The ‘Flour Men’ of Wellingborough Whitworths get their name from the history of the manufacturer, who had built a mill in their early days, see >
http://www.whitworths.co.uk/our-history

Whereas the Dog and Duck was a well established ground with substantial main stand, the Victoria Mills was a more homely affair. Low slung covered areas on all four sides of the ground were well occupied by kick off, as nearly six hundred, the vast majority supporting AFC gathered for their bank holiday entertainment.

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This game was a much livelier affair, and although maybe the standard of football never reached any great heights, the wind had dropped and the temperature was up as a consequence, a small mercy. Two scrappy first half goals for the Diamonds from Wisniewski and Newman, had them looking comfortable at the break, both goals had ricochet around the area before hitting the back of the net and most of the crowd were unsure at the time of the goal scorers. Diamonds looked a very young team, clearly they were trying to play as many of their U/18 side from the previous season, although Chris Hope, captain and survivor from the old clubs league days was directing operations well at centre back. Plenty of huff and puff from Whitworths, but already they looked slightly out of their depth, or perhaps the much bigger crowd than normal had them clinging to their shells?

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RD took firm control on 72 minutes after one of the few flowing moves of the game resulted in Jake Newman tucking away his second goal of the game, 0-3, and frankly game over. The sun then decided to shine on Wellingborough for the first time of the day. To be fair to Whitworths they never gave up, and their hard-working striker Cavell Jarvis was very deserving of his tap in on 90+3 after some confusion on the five yard area amongst the R&D defence. With the way the league is shaping up, it already looks like the young players of R&D will be in the Premier league of the UCL in 13-14, and probably before long, with a stronger foot on the pyramid ladder after that. I wish any fan owned club well.

At half time, whilst doing a circuit of the ground, I was stopped in my tracks by a couple of lads who’d recognised me from the NCEL hop the previous weekend, both from Tamworth, Tamworth FC fans. Paul displayed his collection of badges from his ground visits on his jacket and hat, and was happy for me to snap him for posterity. As his friend said, keeps the badges ‘alive’ rather than stuck in trays at home, good point I thought, as I contemplated my 500 or so that I have doing just that.

Paul and badges
Paul and badges

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