Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Cotgrave Welfare 1 Keyworth United 0
It was a wet, wild and windy day on Sunday morning. Sticky junior was due to rest on the rota, but was drafted into the team at lastminute.com. We had to troop down ‘The Lane’ to support him. I had been due to scout elsewhere, but I’m not feeling the love right now.
Along with Athers and Dave I watched the U12s and U13s battle away against the elements. They hardly got out their halves in the second period; such was the ferocity of the wind. They both came away with hard earnt points, although the U12s were cruelly robbed of a win, with a last minute equaliser for AFC Vernon.
‘The Skipper’ went to Laser Quest in the afternoon and Mrs P dragged Sticky junior around Nottingham on a shopping spree. I was left with the simple task of sweeping up a few leaves and cleaning out my best friend’s house: Finley our pet rabbit.
The coast was clear to write the Caribbean Cavaliers blog from Saturday. The first hour was a very enjoyable game but it lost its way in the final third. It was scrappy and littered with petty fouls. Goal scoring opportunities were limited. But I had a cracking day and hooked up with some good mates that I’d not seen in a while. One gave me a piece of advice that is going to change my lifestyle.
Saturday night was spent in the kitchen listening to Five Live and rustling up a smoked salmon risotto. I’d give it a ten out of ten.
It was my turn on the training roster to go to Radcliffe-on-Trent on Tuesday evening. I never complain, as it results in a trip to the delightful Horse Chestnut Tree public house. I had a pint of Sharps from their Cornish brewery.
Mrs P was watching Holby City when I arrived back. I got the hump and sat in the kitchen, eating my Young’s cod, chips and mushy peas. I listened to Watford and Forest. Even old Radio Red was less than impressed.
It’s Wednesday morning and I’m trawling my way through the Non League Paper during breakfast. I nearly choke on my Corn Flakes when I realise my intended game between Histon and Ebbsfleet is postponed due to the latter’s involvement in the FA Trophy.
I’m hammering a text out to my co-pilot and no.1 pishhead, Trumpy Bolton with a list of alternative venues for Saturday’s outing. He’s still pausing for thought, between beers.
I’ve an important, private appointment this evening. There’s just time for spaghetti bolognese.
Mrs P is all set for Relocation Relocation and Grand Designs, Sticky Palms is off to a secret location, to meet an old flame.The meeting goes well, very well. So well that I’m late for the start of the match.
Cotgrave is in the borough of Rushcliffe in south Nottinghamshire and has a population of just over 7000. It lies on the Grantham Canal, but is better known for its old coal mine and the influx of Geordies and Mackems who arrived on its opening in 1968.
The village has had to re-invent itself since the colliery closed over 15 years ago. Money has been pumped into the community and The Woodview is a ground that has benefited from this.
My mate, Kev ‘Wishy’ Whitehead is secretary at the club but sadly he’s absent tonight. He’s probably watching Man Utd v Inter Milan, like most of the country.
I come into Cotgrave off the A52 and past the Cotgrave Place Golf Club, where I’ve attended many a party and wedding. I take an envious look at the Rose and Crown and I’m tempted to stop off for real ale. There’s no time; I’m going to miss a kick-off for the first time in forty games this season.
I pull into the Welfare car park and walk through the gate. I see Dave Hayes from Keyworth who tells me that there’s five minutes gone and Woolwich has already wasted two good chances for The Greens.
The temperature is mild and the air is still. I recognise a lot of folk from Keyworth. I’m not feeling particularly sociable and keep myself to myself, but do manage a word with Keyworth United legend Robbie Marchbank, who’s talking to referee Dave Southern, who I saw officiate so brilliantly up at Awsworth earlier in the season.
I take a stroll around the ground, where I’ve competed for so many years at cricket, and enjoyed the pleasant company of all at Cotgrave Cricket Club. I think of Biffa, what a character he was. His brother Tony is on the subs bench for Cotgrave tonight.
I nearly lose my footing behind the goal as the ground becomes boggy and soggy. I have a quick chat with the excellent Lee Collinson’s dad, who like me, is trying to find the best vantage point.
There’s no Barthez in goal tonight; he’s sunning himself in the Canaries, supping John Smiths Bitter and spending endless time in internet cafes monitoring message forums.
The Keyworth chairman is amongst the crowd as is reserve team legend, Keyworth Tavern lounge- side season ticket holder, the cigar-smoking Alan ‘Jacko’ Jackson. We could have all watched Man Utd or ‘The Arsenal’, we all chose not to.
Keyworth look up for it, which is more than can be said of my last viewing of them at Christmas at Clifton, where they were abysmal. They’ve shored things up. Cooke, Collinson, Ravenscroft and Stanley were all missing at Green Lane. The youth policy is having an early night.
I can hear Simon Miller, the Keyworth left back shouting and yawping that you can “throw a blanket over it” – The Greens are too close together. I thought Big Ron Atkinson was commentating for a moment.
Keyworth zip the ball around the park and work for one another, but their finishing is woeful. One goal would probably lead to two. Leading scorer Woolich is a frustrated figure, but persists in snapping at the heels of the Cotgrave defence.
Sean ‘Billy’ Bremner controls the traffic in the middle of the park. He never appears rushed or hurried and plays with discipline and intelligence.
A ball is swept out from left to right and finds an advancing Matt Tead. He has bags of time to get the ball out of his feet and adjust his body, ready for a shot. But everything is hurried as he slices horribly wide.
Collinson prevents a certain Cotgrave goal with a courageous block, hurling himself at the ball. He is Keyworth through and through, just like his father was.
Keyworth’s cause is not helped by a shoddy linesman who makes mistake after mistake. On one occasion he apologies to a courteous Matt Tead who questions the decision in a respectful manner.
There’s no quarter given in this local derby as the challenges come thick and fast. Keyworth manager Dave Fisk and his faithful sidekick John Heath egg on their team and get under the skin of the opposition.
The referee is struggling though; he’s ball-watching, as players are clattered with the ball long gone. Both sides are guilty of this charge. It’s local bragging rights, what do you expect?
It’s no goals at the break. White Van Man has blagged a ticket for the Theatre of Hate. United are one up he tells me by text. I mimic a Harry Hill yawn.
The lady behind the tea bar is a friendly sort. I stun all my followers and order a cup of coffee. It’s a Dowe Egberts and I’d give it a seven out of ten. It’s accompanied by a Twix Bar. I’m in celebratory mood over my secret rendezvous, about an hour ago.
Keyworth play with no energy or ideas in the second half. They have run out of puff as Cotgrave begin to show their mettle. Despite this Cooke forces a point-blank save from the Cotgrave’keeper.’
Cotgrave turn their attentions to the vulnerable Keyworth left hand flank. Graham their full back comes storming down the right wing, he plays in the industrious, former Keyworth striker Mickey Shaw (Sticky junior’s sports teacher) who finishes emphatically with a low drive into the corner of the net. The goal is breathtaking and not befitting the game. I’m Mickey’s lucky charm, I saw him bag two up at Kimberley last season.
Keyworth try and freshen things up but it’s too late for the subs to have an effect on the game. They get in good positions but don’t pass the ball quick enough. One or two look to be treading water. They fade badly and don’t have the fitness levels or energy of Cotgrave.
Cotgrave skipper ‘Ebo’ is immense and wants the win so badly. Wing wizard Nicholls snatches at two good chances.
Woolwich completes a miserable evening by heading over a gaping goal. Sticky has yet to see him score in three outings and yet, last season he hit the onion bag no less than 34 times,
I spend the final 10 minutes chatting to a lovely Scottish guy called John Ferguson who used to be Cotgrave manager and is now treasurer. He phones his missus up at the bingo hall to tell her that it’s a full house tonight for Cotgrave Welfare. He collects all the corner flags in at the final whistle. I keep bumping into people like him, Wayne at Cavs and Swifty at Pelican.
Man of the Match: Mickey Shaw ( it should keep Sticky jnr in the school team for a while)