Sunday, August 12, 2007
Barrow Town 2 Racing Club Warwick 3
It’s Saturday August 4th and I’m cockahoop. I’ve just spent a week with the family and the out-laws in sun-drenched Devon and am feeling relaxed and refreshed. I press 302 on the BBC Ceefax service to be greeted with some fantastic news: Leeds Utd have been docked 15 points; I’m doubling-up with laughter. More on them in the next blog.
According to Radcliffe Olympic’s myspace site they are to play a friendly in the delightful village of Barrow Upon Soar, Leics. I’ve got to admit I had a late one last night, it was The Keyworth Dream League Auction, a few bevvies up The Sal and a curry on the way home … perfect.
Barrow is a 20 minute drive through rolling countryside. Tthe sky is cloudless. The Navigation Inn, on Mill Lane, is one of my all-time favourites and backs on to the canal. Canoes and barges meander down the water, families partake in picnics and Sticky downs a Star Bitter (a pint before you start .. Drew) from the Belvoir Brewery.
Even though the ground is only half a mile down the road I somehow manage to end up in Quorn. A quick u-turn and I find the narrow turning into Riverside Park Unfortunately the game is off but they are to play Racing Club Warwick on Tuesday evening.
I return three days later, a Nuclear Scientist has come with me, despite me explaining to him that it’s Barrow in Leicestershire and not Barrow near Sellafield where I’m going.
It’s a fine-looking ground and they appear to have had, like my local club, a grant from the Football Foundation. The ground is encircled with trees; the traffic is noisy from the nearby A6 by-pass. Entry is free and we retire to the bar for a swift one.
Manchester Utd goalkeeper Ben Foster used to play for the visitors; he made eighteen appearances back in the 2000/2001 season. Ferguson spotted him playing for Wrexham, whilst on-loan from Stoke City. Sir Alex was only at the game because his son Darren was playing.
Racing Club play in a league above Barrow but from the first half performance this was difficult to tell. They are ordinary and it is Barrow who plays all the football.
Barrow storm into a two goal lead, the second goal is a beauty. The Barrow left winger teases two Warwick players and floats a cross to the back stick where his team mate heads home.
Warwick undeservedly pull one back on the stroke of half-time. Barrow play in yellow and Warwick in amber, the referee is not happy and Barrow have to change their shirts to blue.
The refreshment bar is awesome, and despite it being only a friendly we are treated to an array of hot food. It’s getting chilly now and I nip back to the car for my hoodie. It’s surrounded by cows: where the bloody hell did they come from?
A bucket comes round at half-time with contributions required to pay the match officials, we toss a fiver in. The referee has been excellent, and he’s hoping to be on the league list this season. Warwick improve in the second half and run out 3-2 winners, even managing to miss a penalty after a reckless challenge by the Barrow defender.
I meet a fellow groundhopper who has failed to renew his Forest season ticket for the first time in ages. He is visiting a lot of grounds that I intend to go to this season. He recommends a few in Leicestershire that I will visit. He tells me the Barrow Town manager has come from Coalville Town and brought 12 new players in.
On tonight’s evidence they are going to be difficult to stop in The Everards Brewery Leicestershire Senior League and I will catch up with them later in the season.