Doveridge 3 Holly Bush United 1

Saturday 27th June 2009
Doveridge 3 Holly Bush United 1
Bill Redfern Memorial Cup Final
At: Osmaston Polo Ground
Kick-off: 7-30 pm
Attendance: 90 (headcount)
Weather: warm and sunny
Duration: first half: 46:44; second half: 48:40

I was delighted when John Brailsford, the Summer League Secretary, accepted my offer to produce a programme for this game. So with printed programmes in the car, I set off in lovely sunshine for the eagerly-awaited 2009 Bill Redfern Memorial Cup Final between second-placed Holly Bush United and third-placed Doveridge.

Bill Redfern’s commitment to the Summer League totalled 64 years which was a remarkable achievement by any standard and very unlikely to be surpassed. He attended the inaugural meeting of the League at Church Broughton in 1929 and was a member of the League Council, holding the posts of Vice Chairman and Chairman and was elected President and a life member in 1971. Up to his death in 1994 at the age of 86, he continued to attended meetings and matches.

On the way up the A515 towards Ashbourne, I noticed a few spots of rain on the windscreen and the odd car travelling south with lights on. “Oh no,” I thought and pondered another evening of football in the rain. I needn’t have worried as the game was played in nice dry tee-shirt weather.

The Osmaston Polo Ground looked superb as it did 13 months ago when I made my previous visit. The ground was located a few hundred yards south of the Shoulder of Mutton pub on the road to Wyaston. At the entrance was a roped off area for car parking with the pitch running lengthways in the middle of a large field down towards an elegant pavilion and roped off down both the left-and right-hand touchlines. There was also a small wooden stand seating 3 or 4 people at the most on a wooden bench. To the left, a cricket match was drawing to a conclusion as I arrived about 7 pm and to the right of the Summer League pitch were the markings of another football pitch used for winter football.

I met John Brailsford at the entrance and it was nice to have a chat with him having exchanged plenty of emails of the past week or so while I prepared the programme. His help was invaluable – thanks John!

Doveridge, third in the league behind leaders Bradley with 32 points from 16 games, went into the final on the back of a run of seven straight wins. Included in that run was their 6-3 victory over Alton in the semi final of this competition which I saw earlier in the month at Rose & Crown.

With four wins out of their last five games, including victory over Coach Rangers in the semi final, second-placed Holly Bush United, who play their homes games in Church Broughton, were also in excellent form, They had a league record of 34 points from 16 games, seven points behind leaders Bradley.

Presumably Holly Bush skipper Ben Adcock won the toss as, after the teams turned round, Doveridge got the action underway defending the Pavilion End. I opted to watch the first-half action with the sun on my back close to the wooden stand.

The game’s first chance came after just 20 seconds. Chris Smith of Holly Bush (white shirts, black shorts and white socks) got on the end of a deep left-wing cross and hit a first-time volley wide of the near post. Smith again got into a good position and shot straight at the well-positioned Doveridge keeper Gary Hollins.

We didn’t have to wait long for the opening goal and it was Doveridge (wearing a Brazil-like yellow shirts, blue shorts and white socks) who took the lead in the 6th minute. Will McCann took the ball down the left and crossed low into the area where Kev Gadsby fired who via a Holly Bush defender.

Holly Bush were soon awarded a free-kick 30 yards out which Tom Rushby curled over the wall and bar. Good work by Luke Billinge set up another chance for Tom Rushby who fired straight at Hollins.

In a game that certainly flowed from end to end, Doveridge came inches away from doubling their lead. George Avery crossed from the right and Gadsby got in a downward header which the diving keeper Piers Beeston kept out. The assistant over on the far side got a good view and indicated the whole of the ball hadn’t crossed the line.

In the 17th minute, Doveridge were awarded a penalty when Mick Skellern went down inside the area under the challenge of Tom Rushby. Holly Bush were clearly unhappy with the decision and no doubt felt justice was done when Beeston stretched out his left hand to turn round McCann’s spot kick.

Less than two minutes after Beeston’s marvellous save, it was the turn of Holly Bush win a penalty. Tom Rushby, felled by keeper Hollins who was trying to recover a loose ball, picked himself up and sent the keeper the wrong way to level things up.

However, no sooner had Holly Bush’s celebrations died down, Doveridge regained the lead in the 23rd minute. McCann chipped the ball from the left towards the far post when Gadsby headed home.

Tom Rushby got in where it hurts and bravely got in the end of Adcock’s free-kick to send a looping header over from inside a pack area. As the interval approached, Tom Rushby pulled the ball back for Billinge who saw a well struck shot blocked in front of goal by a defender.

After McCann fired into the side netting, Doveridge appealed for yet another penalty, this time unsuccessfully, for a challenge on Skellern.

Holly Bush went agonisingly close to an equaliser in first-half stoppage time. Ben Rushby hit a 20-yard right foot volley which thumped the bar.

At the interval, I changed position and stood next to the other travellers in the crowd – buncranaboy, dottirofhod, veteran, yorkieexile and modelhobbies – along the same touchline but closer to the car park end.

Holly Bush made a change for the start of the second half, which they got underway now attacking the car park end. Doveridge went mightily close to extending their lead at the start of the second half with a free header in front of goal that ended up over the bar.

However, the Doves did find the net in the 51st minute to make the scoreline 3-1 in their favour. McCann got on the end of a right-wing cross and bundled the ball home at close range. A good move nearly led to another goal when George Avery fed Gadsby at the near post who hooked the ball over the bar.

Another substitution for Holly Bush came on the hour. Either side of the change, Tom Rushby tried his luck with a couple of 25-yard free-kicks.

Not satisfied with a two-goal lead, Doveridge pressed for a fourth goal. Ian Thomas fired straight at Beeston from just outside the area before they were awarded another penalty in the 71st minute. This time Gadsby went down inside the area and he got up only to be denied by another superb save from the diving Beeston who guessed correctly to turn the spot kick over the bar.

Holly Bush couldn’t find a way back into the game and did concede a late fourth goal in the 89th minute. The lively McCann got to the right bye line and pulled the ball back for Avery to fire across the face of goal and into the far left corner.

After the full-time whistle the players gathered in front of the pavilion where Doveridge skipper Stuart Hall received the trophy from Bill Redfern’s son Gordon.

Doveridge (yellow/blue/white): 1. Gary Hollins, 4. Dan Chatfield, 5. Stuart Hall (capt), 6. Ian Thomas, 7. Will McCann, 8. Anthony Bettenay, 10. Kev Gadsby, 11. Duncan Ede, 12. Ben Vernon, 15. Mick Skellern, 16. George Avery. Subs: 9. Chris Moult (for Gadsby, 90), 18. Mick Brewster (for Hall, 76), 37. Sam Chatfield (for Vernon, 82).

Holly Bush United (white/black/white): 1. Piers Beeston, 2. Steve Preston, 3. James Crawford, 4. Chris Smith, 6. Karl Cockbill, 7. Tom Rushby, 8. James Beech, 9. Luke Billinge, 11. Ben Rushby, 14. Ben Adcock (capt), 16. Gaton Jamieson. Subs: 10. Matt Lyle (for Crawford, 60), 12. Andy Sessions (for Lelan, 90+1), 16. Godwin Lelan (for Preston, ht).

Referee: Rowland Smith.
Assistants: Jim Conway and Chris Cope.

Saturday 20th June 2009

Sandefjord Fotball 0 VĂ¥lerenga Idrettsforening Fotball 2
Norwegian Tippeligaen
At: Arena
Kick-off: 4-00 pm (3-00 pm BST)
Attendance: 7810
Admission: 200kr; Programme: 20kr
Weather: sunny and showers
Duration: first half: 45:54; second half: 47:54

Monday 15th June 2009

Holly Bush United 1 Coach Rangers 3
Summer League
At: Church Broughton Recreation Ground
Kick-off: 7-30 pm
Weather: mixed bag of rain and sunshine
Admission/Prog: no
Attendance: 25 (headcount)
Duration: first half: 40:17; second half: 42:10

0-1 Callum Woolley (30)
0-2 Richard Cresswell (47)
0-3 Richard Cresswell (49)
1-3 Ben Adcock (76)

Wednesday 10th June 2009

Alton 3 Doveridge 6
Summer League Bill Redfern Memorial Cup Semi Final
At: Rose and Crown Ground, Boylestone
Kick-off: 7-30 pm
Attendance: 25 (headcount)
Weather: rain
Duration: first half: 45:15; second half: 47:16

Thursday 4th June 2009

Catforth 1 Ribchester Rovers 0 (after extra time)
Catforth and District League Barron Cup First Round
At: School Lane
Kick-off: 7-00 pm
Attendance: 19 (headcount)
Weather: sunny
Duration: first half: 45:16; second half: 45:00; ET: 10:12 and 10:14

Prior to this evening’s game, I’d only ever watched eight games in the glorious month of June out of a lifetime total of approaching 2600 games. On the list are three play-off finals, a couple of World Cup experiences in Dallas back in 1994, that bizarre game at Moreton the year before and more recently a game each in both the Derby/Ashbourne Summer League and Women’s Euro 2005.

This season, with my blog in full swing, I fancy going for a first-ever 52-week season, at the same time as trying to stick to the 85-game budget I’d been set my Mrs ‘iwf’ for 2009. So, having been aware of the Catforth and District League, I decided to ‘bite the bullet’ for a first taste of the competition and Catforth itself seems the logical place to start.

The Catforth and District League has been around for nearly 80 years and last year became affiliated to the Lancashire FA (see Garstang Courier article). This season, there are three divisions and three cup competitions including the Barron Cup (see Garstang Courier article for a 2009 season preview).

A fellow traveller called ‘Seagull’ provided me with an assessment of the competition. He wrote: “The setups are basic as you'd expect, but the bulk of them are in lovely settings, with many having great views of the Bowland Fells … I know a lot of people really enjoy it.” He also suggested that teamsheets may be available.

The village of Catforth, an attractive place I thought on a pleasant sunny evening, is located a few miles to the north of Preston and from what I could see boasts a couple of pubs and a traditional red telephone box, but no shop. I’d planned to arrive around an hour before kick-off and then hunt for some tea before the action got underway at 7 pm. But, holdups on the M6 between Thelwall and Wigan meant a delayed arrival, 6-40 pm, and little time for eating or drinking. Players weren’t yet changed so I popped into the village and found the Running Pump, a Robinsons pub on the northern outskirts on the road to Great Eccleston. With more time, I think it would have been a good place for a pre-match meal – all I could manage, however, was a quick Pepsi and bag of dry roasted nuts.

Catforth’s ground is on School Lane and I found it without a hitch from the M55. I exited at junction 1 and followed the A6 north into the village of Broughton before turning left onto the B5269 (signed Elswick) at the lights by the Texaco garage. Half a mile after crossing the hump-backed bridge, having gone through the village of Woodplumpton, it was left into School Lane and the ground was a further half mile on the right. Parking was in the lay-by opposite.

The ground itself was basic as expected. Through the entrance, the pitch (orientated south-east to north-west) was on the left-hand side of a larger field and ran lengthways towards the trees at the far end. It was unroped with no dugouts, hardstanding or cover. Next to the entrance was a portacabin, using by Catforth as a changing room.

I overheard the pre-match teamtalk by the Catforth manager who reminded his team how important the Barron Cup was. Home side Catforth of Division 1, the top division, went into the game in fourth position in the league (out of eight teams) with eight points from five game and just one league defeat. Like the Telford Combination, just two points are awarded for a win. Visitors Ribchester Rovers, third in Division 2, were also having a good season with ten points from five games and also just one league defeat.

I am a collector of team line-ups but, as with the (Derby/Ashbourne) Summer League, none were obviously available. I guess a team card is completed at some point and forwarded to league officials.

Ribchester Rovers (all blue) got the game underway defending the School Lane end in the first half into the low sun setting in the west. Their keeper, in a bright yellow top, certainly needed the cap he was wearing.

Catforth (wearing red shirts, red shorts and white socks) dominated the opening half hour though Ribchester started to threaten as the interval approached. Teams stayed out during the interval and the action was back underway barely five minutes after the half-time whistle.

As the second half wore on, I started to wonder if either side would break the deadlock before the end of 90 minutes. Over to the east, I noticed the sky darkening. Brilliant! rain, extra time and possibly even penalties. Thankfully, the sky brightened up again but neither side could find a goal. Moments before the final whistle, Ribchester’s no. 12 latched on to a throughball played into the Catforth area, only to completely miss-kick a great chance to net the winner.

The referee first had a chat with the respective managers, presumably to agree 10 minutes extra time each way, before calling over the captains – Catforth’s no. 8 and Ribchester’s no.9, a player a called ‘Liam’.

Ribchester got extra time underway attacking the School Lane end and the first 10 minutes again failed to produce a goal. Eventually, the deadlock was finally broken in the 104th minute. Nigel Taylor delivered high curling left-foot free-kick towards the far post from out of the right which the Ribchester keeper could only palm into the roof of his own net. The visitors almost equalised when a long throw from the left was flicked on and no. 12 headed over the bar.

Catforth (red/red/white): –

Ribchester Roves (blue/blue/blue): –

Referee: Kevin Roberts.

1-0 Nigel Taylor (104)