Monday, August 20, 2018
Newark Flowserve 4-1 Heanor Town
I take a stroll down to the city's oldest pub, the Crown Posada, whilst the Princess chills out and gets ready in the hotel room. The pub is mobbed out with folk. I stand on my tip toes scanning the pumps to see what ales are on - I can't see a flipping thing. I clock on the back shelf, in a beer fridge, a small can of Tropicana craft ale from the Tiny Rebel Brewery. I'm gagging for a drink, so shout up one of them. WHAT? Four pounds chuffing fifty. I down the can in two gulps, whilst admiring the stain-glassed windows, before slipping out of the door and heading down a jam-packed Quayside.
We have a cracking night in the Toon, apart from being ripped off for £18 in The Botanist for a gin and prosecco. Match of the Day is viewed in bed, sharing kebab meat and chips - does anybody else do this? We're greeted with darkened skies and pouring rain on Sunday morning. Blakes on Grey Street does the best breakfast in the Toon. There's no point in hanging about after, so we head home down the A1. I'm in Castle Rock's Willowbrook on Gedling Road by 2pm, slurping a couple of ales while watching Liverpool tonk the Iron 4-0.
Ms Moon watches a couple of films on Netflix as I smash out the Blyth blog. I'm astonished again to see 3,000 hits on the blog counter. I can't wait for the Vlog to start in October, as a YouTube Channel should reach a larger audience.
It's Tuesday evening and I'm chugging down the A52 towards the old coal mining village of Cotgrave. It's 'El Classico - Cotgrave FC v Keyworth United in what I used to call 'the best League in the World.' (Notts Senior League). 'The Keyworth Georgie Best' (Sticky jnr) is on the bench for the 'Green Army.' The visitors are all over the shop and are soon 2-0 down. They pull a goal back and are in the game until on the hour. It's gutless performance in final 30 minutes, where many throw the towel in, preferring to whinge, moan and point the finger of blame at one another.
I'm back in Cotgrave the following evening as a Keyworth Development team take on Cotgrave Reserves. 'Georgie' and 'Our Joe' are playing along with a few other boys I used to coach back in the day. They're are 3-0 down at the break with a Keyworth player sent off. A spirited second half sees them stick together and earn a 45-minute clean sheet. I'm not surprised that the Keyworth first team manager and assistant have popped down to view proceedings, and to see what's in reserve - I would of done the same after last night's omnishambles. 22-year-old Josh Stolworthy is outstanding in the heart of Keyworth's defence.
It's Friday evening and I'm shouting up a Fruit 'n Flame Pepper and Strawberry real ale at the Fox and Grapes in Sneinton. Ms Moon joins me for a glass of bubbles, before we part company. I peg it up London Road and wander onto Meadow Lane. Notts County owner 'Big Alan Hardy' has made it £10 a ticket for tonight's game versus Yeovil Town - I guess it's been brought forward due to the Test match starting at Trent Bridge tomorrow.
I'm sat up in the Gods of the Derek Pavis Stand, next to the Directors' Box. The last time I was here the Sky Blues of Coventry passed the Pies off the park. The owner has backed Kevin Nolan in the transfer market. He has revamped his forward line, but not a creaking defence. 'Big Al' has splashed the cash on a new DJ. He includes The Smiths and Empire of the Sun in his set. I notice Hardy breakaway from an interview to shake hands with ex Pie Carl Dickinson who now plays for Yeovil.
The Pies are shambolic in the second half. It ends up 4-0 to Yeovil, who are made to look like Brazil. The remaining few thousand supporters, housed in the Pavis Stand, sportingly applaud off the visitors - it warms the cockles of my heart. 88 Yeovil supporters will enjoy the 200-mile coach journey home.
Saturday morning is spent hoovering and cleaning up as we have guests this evening - Mr and Mrs 'Taggart' are staying over. No doubt it'll end up messy, with a sing-song on You Tube. Newark is predictably in gridlock. I jump out of the car and arrange to meet Ms Moon outside one of our favourite hostelries, the Prince Rupert, on Stodman Street. I need to tick off another Good Pub Guide entry on Town Wharf.
The Castle Barge is a floating pub. Below the deck is a cosy bar with Lincoln Green ales. I have a pint of Archer, whilst listening to Brick House by The Commodores, a single that peaked at 32 in the UK singles chart back in 1977. Lunch at Rupert's is sublime, although a wasp has taken a liking to my aftershave (Brut). Flowserve's ground is a short drive away in New Balderton.
It's £4 on the gate, £1 for an excellent programme - I particularly enjoyed the focus on hotshot striker Sam Agar, who is a soldier. His miscellaneous dislikes tickles my ribs. There's quite a few folk knocking about and by all accounts a big investment is being made in the Club's development. I'm saddened to hear of the recent passing of the groundsman Colin Briggs. His pitch looks a picture, with clear evidence of his tender loving care. Rest in peace, Colin.
Heanor Town from Derbyshire are today's visitors; a club I absolutely adore and enjoy visiting. The team is unrecognisable from last season.I strike up a conversation with a chap standing next to me. His uncle was called Billy Cobb who became the first player to score a European goal for Nottingham Forest versus Valencia in the 1961-62 Fairs Cup.
The teams are announced over the PA system. The guy on the microphone is the consummate pro. The Highwaymen of Newark emerge from the dressing room to the tune of Stand and Deliver by Adam and the Ants.
Flowserve are unfortunate to go in at half-time at 0-0. They've hit the woodwork twice, with 'Soldier Sam' a constant thorn in Heanor's side. His strike partner, Jordan Thomas, the youngest player to have played in a competitive game for Lincoln City at aged 16 years old, has hobbled off injured. The raffle numbers are announced during the break; we won't be claiming owt this week. The DJ spins Winner Takes it All by Abba.
Come end of the season Newark Flowserve should be in the mix for the title chase with a Champions League spot a minimum target. Another great day out and met some lovely people.
Men of the Match: the Yeovil 88.