Britain had its biggest earthquake in 25 years last week. I was woken up at 1am with a rumbling and a shaking. I thought White Van Man had dropped his secret stash of Pukka Pies.
“The Skipper’s” team came from a goal behind to take the spoils in a competitive local derby against West Bridgford this morning. His coach today knows his football inside out and his management is spot on. Despite the swirling wind, the game is a fantastic advert for Nottinghamshire YEL Football. Joe is made up to be named Man of the Match.
I’ve never been to Borrowash in my life. I have to say it’s a fairly unremarkable place. But its been on my radar for a while now. Groundhopping message boards suggest it’s worth the trip.
I’m driving down the A52. I’m solo today. It’s been four weeks since I was on this same road, roaring with laughter, after D***y County’s FA Cup debacle against a rejuvenated Preston North End. PNE have since beat both WBA and Stoke City.
Borrowash Victoria play in the Northern Counties East League Division One. They are in the bottom three. The Vics were formed in 1911. They moved to The Asterdale over 25 years ago. In 1985 over two thousand people turned up to see Nottingham Forest open their new changing rooms and floodlights. Central Midlands League team Graham St Prims also play on this complex.
I nip into Rai’s Convenience Store, and I’m ripped off for some dead batteries. I get some new ones from Somerfield, but my zoom lens has packed up. No photos today. And I’m proper hacked off!
I pull into the car park, past the deserted Asterdale Social Club. It looks in a state of disrepair. I bump into The Supporter. He used to watch our local cricket club, despite living in Long Eaton. We never knew his name; we just called him The Supporter.
It’s £4 entry and another £1 for a well produced programme. The Robinson Bowl is a mighty fine ground. I take my place in the 250 seated stand.
Staveley Miners’ Welfare were formed in 1883 and are from Chesterfield way. They nearly folded last summer. They have put their faith in youth and are reaping the benefits. The average age of today’s team is twenty years old.
It’s a bright start from Staveley in sunny but blustery conditions. They are keen to get it on the carpet. In contrast Borrowash can barely string two passes together. Surprisingly the Vics take the lead. Midfield playmaker James Pawley rifling a shot home after good build up play.
Staveley never let their heads drop, and stick to their passing game. They miss a sitter and have good claims for a penalty turned down. They get their just desserts just before the break. The referee points to the spot after the Borrowash four jacket makes a clumsy challenge on Staveley’s Lee Gregory. Two Vics players are booked for protesting, including player manager Mark Wilson, who is also their goalkeeper. Ryan Damms makes no mistake from the spot.
I’m sat next to all the Borrowash Victoria players’ wives. They are not impressed with the yellow cards, as the fines will probably come out of the appearance money.
I decide to stretch my legs and bid farewell to The Supporter. Behind one of the goals a lot of earth has been removed for no apparent reason. The dug outs are daubed in the flag of St George. I sit behind the goal that Staveley are going to attack. I’m expecting more of the same from them.
The home team show more urgency and ideas in the second period. But Staveley’s forwards Lee Gregory and Ryan Damms are first-class. Remarkably Gregory cannot force his way into Unibond South side Sheffield FC’s first team. They must have Rooney and Ronaldo up front. Gregory can kill a ball stone-dead, and turn on a sixpence. His delivery and decision-making are excellent. Damms is class act too. He scores his second goal of the afternoon out of absolutely nothing.
Scott Ellis fails to put the game to bed, hitting the woodwork from close range. They are made to pay for that. Another pinpoint cross from Pawley is nodded home by De Reus. Thirty seconds later Damms turns provider, releasing Fores-Chambers who lifts the ball over the advancing Wilson.
It’s been a breathtaking end to the game. And a youthful Staveley MW have fully deserved their win.
Footnote: The Staveley chairman has invited me up for a game. I shall take him up on his generosity and look forward to the trip.
Borrowash 2 Pawley De Reus Staveley MW 3 Damms (2 ) Fores-Chambers
Man of the Match: Lee Gregory