Sunday, August 5, 2012

Holwell Sports 0 Basford United 2

It’s Sunday lunchtime and I’m sat in a Portuguese bar in the resort of Balaia, in the Algarve. Sticky jnr, ‘The Skipper’, Will and ‘Gangsta’ are playing darts. ‘Dafty’ and Sticky are chatting to a dad and lad from Doncaster, who are slumped on a sofa watching the Hungarian Grand Prix.

A picture hangs on the wall of former Portuguese international winger Luis Figo. I mention to ‘Dafty’ that seven years ago, at a supermarket just round the corner from this bar, I nearly bumped into Figo, who passed me as I entered the shop front door. He clearly thinks this is a tall story.

 I shout to the barman: “Hey mate, is it true that Figo has a villa round here somewhere?” Yes”, replies ‘Manuel’, “he owns a property across the road behind Club Med. He was here a couple of weeks ago. He once came in my bar with Raul and Zidane.”

It’s a drop-your-bacon-sandwich moment. Can you imagine dropping into a deserted bar, on your way home from the beach, for a thirst-quenching beer, to find three Galacticos sat on bar stools chewing over the crud. Now that would be a story to tell.

The ten day stay in Portugal went without incident. ‘The worse skin rash in the world’ failed to make an appearance (a Portuguese pharmacist’s words from 2010, not mine). I had a slight skirmish with a king prawn, whilst sharing a dish of Paella with ‘Dafty’ in some posh gaffe in Albufeira old town, close to the water’s edge. Blood spurted out of the prawn splattering flecks all over my brand new white cotton shirt (from Next, £25 in the summer sale).

Mrs P and I spend a pleasant Friday evening together. We have a tea-time beverage in the picturesque setting of the garden of the Plough at Normanton on-the-Wolds. I successfully manage to negotiate a Marks and Spencer’s Paella without any further spillage to report. Insomnia rears its ugly head; fortunately Sticky junior is on a sleep-over in Cotgrave. I leave Mrs P in peace and grab a couple more hours in ‘Angry Kid’s’ bed.

I wake up to the news on the Lincolnshire Echo’s sports reporter’s Twitter feed, that on police advise, Lincoln City have been forced to postpone their pre-season friendly against Leicester City. Police intelligence (I didn’t know they had any) suggests that the ‘Baby Squad’ intend to wreak havoc in the city centre.

I make a brew and have a bowl of Mrs P’s Special K Red Berries. 6 Music’s Breakfast Show is playing Lush’s 1996 Brit Pop hit ‘Single Girl.’ Murphy is banished to his cage after dive-bombing Mrs P during the Women’s Double Sculls.

I rouse ‘The Skipper’ from his coma. He’s blagged a ticket for the Olympic football quarter final clash between GB and South Korea at the Millennium Stadium. I drop him off at JK’s, who I’ve not seen in ages. We have a catch-up and watch a re-run of the Olympics opening ceremony. I’m tickled by the Daniel Craig sketch at ‘The Palace’ and Mr Bean at the concert.

Thought I’d keep it fairly local today as I’ve a heavy schedule coming up. I’m planning on going to Parkgate, nr Rotherham, for their FA Cup extra preliminary round tie with Runcorn Town next week, and then up to Fleetwood for the Carling Cup game versus the Tricky Trees of Nottingham.

I scour the internet looking for a game to view on my long weekend away in north Wales at the beginning of September. White Van Man and I were banking on Caernarfon Town being at home on the Saturday. Our plans have been scuppered, as they’ve brought the fixture forward to Friday evening.

Bloody hell is that Mrs P’s car pulling in the drive? I best look busy. I dead head the marigolds, feed all the hanging baskets and give the bathroom a good old rub down. I wolf down a bacon sandwich. Murphy is perched on the clothes horse in the lounge having a good old peck at someone’s underpants.

Mrs P says goodbye; she’s off for some retail therapy with her mum in Newark. I’m soon tooting my horn outside the house of the Daily Mail’s number one reader. A rather trendy bloke, wearing a fetching green sleeveless jacket, steps out of the back door. If I didn’t know him better I’d have thought he was going clay pigeon shooting rather than a football game.

Semi-retired Jacko complains that domestic chores have interrupted his hectic Olympic Games TV coverage. He’s spent more time in his armchair this week than Jim Royle. Next pick-up is a chap I’ve not seen in months. I’ve missed his moaning, groaning and complaining: It’s The Taxman of course. Coming to think of it I’m surrounded by the Revenue, as Jacko too, is on the payroll.

There are tales of woe from the pair of them as we travel onto the A606, driving through the villages of Upper Broughton and Nether Broughton. We take a right hand turn and head towards Old Dalby, passing the Belvoir Brewery on our left.

The Taxman shouts the round up at The Crown Inn. We guzzle a pint of Wainwrights golden ale from the Thwaites Brewery in Blackburn. We’re sat in the beer garden for all of five minutes before scurrying back into the pub to avoid a sharp shower. The Taxman announces that his son has just signed on for the Holwell Sports youth set-up.

We tip up at Welby Road five minutes before kick-off. Melton Mowbray is in north-east Leicestershire and has a population of 25,000. Famous people from the town include Monty Python star Graham Chapman and former NFFC winger Paul Anderson. It’s the home of the pork pie. Stilton cheese is made down the road at Long Clawson. Pedigree Pet Foods are a major employer in the town.

Jacko waves a £5 note at the gateman, believing that he’ll be admitted at the concessionary rate of £3. “How old are you mate?” “60”, replies Jacko. “Sorry, it’s 65 for an OAP mate”, says the turnstile operator, snatching the fiver out of Jacko’s grasp.

I came to Holwell a few years back for a pre-season friendly against Huntingdon Town. The impressive ground remains pretty much the same. The changing rooms are tucked away in the corner of the ground. A green-painted rail runs along the pitch perimeter. A small stand with blue tip-up seats is situated along the nearest touchline, adjacent to this is the tea bar. There is an open end behind the far goal. The dugouts run along the opposite touchline, with a covered terrace behind the nearest goal. It’s still pelting down with rain as we take our seats in the stand.

I notice Basford secretary Chris Munroe sitting with his son. Holwell Sports play in Murphy’s favourite kit, green and canary-yellow stripes, (WBA away) while Basford wear an all navy blue strip. Basford United are from inner city Nottingham. They are hot favourites to win this league after gaining promotion from the Central Midlands League. In their ranks they have a player called Darren Garmston, who a few seasons back scored one of the best goals I’ve ever seen hopping for Dunkirk away at Stratford Town.

The Taxman has seen enough after ten minutes and retires to the lavatory. He’s missing nowt, as the game has no pattern or quality. ‘Gammo’ is denied the space he thrives upon as a youthful-looking Holwell close Basford down. The best chance of the half falls to Holwell. A left footed in swinging cross from the right wing is wastefully glanced wide by the Holwell forward.

Where the hell has ‘Captain Slackbladder’ disappeared to? Oh no, I don’t believe it, he’s only gone and bumped into another taxman. Three of the buggers, out of a crowd of 50. They’ll be talking about P60s, P46s & R40s .

 I fancy Basford to push on. I make my excuses and head over towards the goal they will attack. I grab a quick chat with one of their coaching staff, Danny Boyes, who is a well known figure on the local football scene. Former Sheffield Wed and Huddersfield Town defender Craig Armstrong is amongst their coaching staff.

Soon after the restart Basford take the lead. Theo Smith rounds the ‘keeper and rolls the ball into an empty net. Smith scores his second of the afternoon shortly after, tucking away his chance at the far post following a cross from the right.

‘Jazzy’ Westcarr runs riot down the right wing, having switched positions with Theo Smith. 22 year old centre forward Aaron Hooton has also caught the eye, with his clever hold-up play and deft touch. A 25 yard thunderbolt from rookie Holwell midfielder Tom Muggleton (son of former Foxes ‘keeper Carl) is tipped over the bar by Jake Want. I’ll definitely be viewing Basford again, now where’s the toilet?

 Man of the Match: Jarrod Westcarr

Attendance: 52

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