Wednesday April 10th 2013, Kick off 6pm at the Ibis Sports Club, Scours Lane, Tilehurst.
Reading League, Senior Division.
Highmoor Ibis Reserves (White/Blue) 3-2 Marlow United (Dark Blue/White Hoops/Dark Blue)
Admission – free, attendance – about 8 interested, many others viewed for short periods, nothing for sale
Bar in club available to use.
A well used term amongst ground hoppers which refers to early and late season, before and after clock changes when it is possible to watch early evening games at clubs who do not possess floodlights, usually clubs at Step7 and below. Some leagues have their clubs kick off at 6pm, some at 6.30pm, but the ‘actual’ kick off time can be at the discretion of the ref, so be careful, check the venue if you can, and get there early just in case!
My local league, The Reading League has a reputation for venues to be switched at the last-minute. I’ve only watched 3/4 games in this league but already I get the feeling that’s it not that well run.
Having said, we had three appointed officials for this one, none representing the two clubs, and we had kick off at exactly 6pm. The ground is part of the Ibis Sports Club complex, shared with other sports, and with another football pitch running along side. It’s located down a drive behind Hellenic League Reading Town. HI 1st team played here before their promotion into the Hellenic League and the use of Palmer Park Stadium.
I fell into conversation with another fella, standing near the half way line, he looked like a hopper, big bag parked by his feet, apparently housed within it, a warmer coat, extra sweater etc, and he was, also local, watching this league and other local league games regularly. Actually we discovered later in the game we had chatted at Woodcote and Stoke Row FC during silly season in April 2012. And I used to be so good at remembering faces!
Sometimes the experience at this level can be joy. Lovely picture postcard village green, late summer or late spring sunshine. Players just playing for the love of the game. Todays adventure didn’t meet that expectation, drizzle starting falling before half time, some of the players, particularly on the HI side had an aggressive attitude towards the officials, and after a lively start the game rather stagnated.
MU are one of about three teams still with a realistic chance of the title. Today they didn’t really do themselves justice. For the record, the scoring went 1-0, 1-1, 1-2, before two excellent late strikes by the speedy sub Michael Peacock won it for Highmoor, Marlow frankly hadn’t done enough to win it on this grey Berkshire evening. Still, it was free, it was another ticked from my list, and I was home by eight, another plus when embracing the ‘silly season’ 🙂