Saturday, November 13, 2010
Graham St Prims 0 Greenwood Meadows 0
It’s Sunday afternoon. Sticky Palms is on the front drive hand-washing the ‘Rolls Royce’ and ‘Sally Gunnell.’ Mrs P is in the back garden hoovering up leaves that have fallen from the copper beech and silver birch trees.
Finley Palmer is giving Mum a helping hand. He flicks a leaf up with his right paw, bunny hops and snaffles it up in mid-air. He’s the rabbit world equivalent of Wayne Rooney.
I sidle down the back passage to check on the little fellow. He’s laid out on the grass next to Mrs P, basking in the late autumnal sunshine. Suddenly he’s up on all-fours. He scampers across the lawn and dives under a hedge.
I march down to the bottom of the garden. I’m shouting his name out and whistling. There’s no response. It’s half an hour since I last saw him. I’m beginning to panic now. I’ve checked-out his usual haunts – under the shed, next door’s garden and in the ‘grassy glade’ – nothing, not a sausage.
The sun’s disappeared, the cold and dark is beginning to set in. I’ve knocked on neighbours’ doors, searched their gardens – there’s naff all response, no sightings. I’m flapping readers. Where is he?
Mrs P knocks up some ‘Missing Rabbit’ posters. We deliver them to households close by. I can’t eat my Sunday roast – it’s pork belly on special offer from Marks and Sparks. I take one final look around the garden. I walk past his empty cage. A bowl of half-eaten food sits on the sawdust in his bedroom.
The kids are watching the ‘Strictly’ and X-Factor results. Sticky Palms is in bits. I can hear the howling wind and the pitter-patter of rain on the window. God, I hope he’s alright. What if he’s been cornered by a fox, cat or rat? I hardly sleep a wink.
I’m up at first light. I grab my torch and scour the garden. It looks like he’s gone forever.
I’ve had a few sympathetic texts ranging from ‘have you found the little man yet?’ to ‘has the crafty, devious little so-and-so arrived home yet?
I’m sat at work feeling all sorry for myself when the display panel on my mobile phone lights up – it’s Mrs P with some terrific news. After a night on the tiles Finley has returned home. I breathe a huge sigh of relief and fill up the teapot.
Eight hours later, I walk down the passageway, towards his yard. It’s an emotional reunion. He wraps his paws around me and nibbles my ear – welcome home son.
The rain returns on Tuesday. I scan the web for a local game. Radcliffe Olympic v Bardon Hill tickles my fancy. Olympic run out 4-0 winners at a rain-sodden Wharf Lane. The scoreline flatters them somewhat. It takes two goals in two minutes, early in the second half, to see off the visitors.
I have a quiet night in on my lonesome on Friday evening. Mrs P is on a shindig in Nottingham with the girls. She can’t last the pace these days. I guarantee she’ll be on the 10.30pm bus home.
I’m laid out on the sofa watching Ken Loach’s brilliant 2009 film ‘Looking for Eric.’ I don’t quite make the end. The noise of Mrs P opening the front door stirs me from my slumber.
It’s a full on day (Saturday). I’m back home from helping out with junior’s papers again. I rustle up a couple of poached eggs, before flying out the door towards D H Lawrence country.
I scout a player and offer him a 6 week trial. I’ve had a barren run in the last few weeks; this boy was worth the wait.
I shoot across to the Manor Farm Recreation Ground in Toton. ‘The Skipper’s’ team have a league game. We play against a stiff breeze in the first period and are well below par.
The coach of the team asks if I want to say a few words at the break. It’s not out the FA coaching manual, folks. The boys get a bit of a hair-drying. The penny seems to drop, as we control the game in the second period, running out comfortable 3-1 winners.
‘The Skipper’ and young Garts speed off to The City Ground for the clash between Forest and an unbeaten QPR. Sticky Palms has a date in Spondon that has been on his radar for a few years now.
I’m straight onto the A52 and parked up in Borrowash within 15 minutes. It’s a bit of a one horse town. I’d spotted a Co-op on the corner of the high street. I’m starving Marvin. The doors are locked though; the shop is having a makeover. I’m denied a ‘Meal Deal.’
Seventeen year old Hollywood actress and Nashville born singer, Miley Cyrus, made a surprise visit to neighbouring Spondon on Wednesday. She visited a local school and the Asda superstore, to promote her new range of clothing. Lucky she didn’t try popping into the Borrowash Co-op for a two for a tenner special offer on Jacobs Creek Cabernet Sauvignon.
Dressed in thigh-high leather miniskirt and rock chick biker jacket, Miley sang her hit ‘Best of Both Worlds’ as two pupils joined her on stage – it’s a NO from me.
I finally pull into the car park of the Asterdale Sports Ground at 2.45pm. Borrowash Victoria and Graham Street Prims play within spitting distance of each other. The Vics are entertaining Gedling Miners Welfare.
Graham Street Prims were originally founded in 1904, being formed from a Methodist church.
I came to Borrowash three years ago. I went away without any snaps when my camera malfunctioned. Fate strikes an ugly blow at the turnstile today, when history repeats itself and the battery dies an untimely death.
It’s £5 on the gate, including a well produced programme. I walk past an old, covered stand with black tip up plastic seats behind the goal.I position myself to the right of the Greenwood Meadows technical area. I like to study their manager Nev Silcock.
Prims play in a strip similar to Sunderland, Greenwood are more Plymouth Argyle. The first half is pretty turgid stuff. Prims allow the visitors a ton of possession and seem content to catch them on the break.
A lot of the Greenwood players are familiar to me: Craig Meakin is one I had with me at Notts County when he was 15. He’s still good on the ball but needs to work on his discipline.
The biggest disappointment is striker Alex Haughton who looked the part at Grantham Town earlier in the season, but appears on this outing to look sluggish and lacking match fitness.
Nathan Robinson looks busy in the engine room though. He ends up in a heap on the floor after coasting past three players on a mazy run and is denied a penalty. Both teams have half chances but are poor in the final third.
I give Mrs P a tinkle at the break just to make sure Houdini hasn’t made a break for it from his cage. The good lady informs that the Pies and the Imps are both losing, whilst it’s deadlock at The City Ground.
I strike up a conversation with Danny Prance’s dad. His lad is warming the bench today for Greenwood ,as he continues his rehabilitation from injury. His father is disappointed that the boy hasn’t started the game. He says he is an impact player.
He manages to scoff his way through an entire packet of Minstrels. Poor old Sticky Palms doesn’t get a whiff of one. Finley and I often share a chocolate drop.
I manage to grab a quick chat with Nev. I suggest they pop a few more shots off. He has a calm exterior and seems confident that they will win the game.
It’s all Greenwood. You sense that they are minutes away from opening their account for the day. Haughton hits the post. Prance and Lee Day are thrown on by Nev. They have an immediate effect on the game. Day plays Prance in; he unleashes a shot which bounces off the frame of the goal.
Prance plays with some fire in his belly, as if he has a point to prove. His father is a nervous wreck whenever his son gets on the ball. Maybe they weren’t Minstrels he was eating after all.
Danny Boy puts a header over the bar and sees a shot trickle the wrong side of the post. The home side seems content with a point. They even play out a short corner in stoppage time, just to run down the clock.
Prims give Greenwood way too much respect. After all the visitors have an average age of just 21 years old.
Man of the Match: Finley Palmer