Wednesday, 23 July 2008

Bentley Rythm Ace - Bentley Youth 4 West Midlands Fire 1 - Pre-season friendly - Bentley Road South - 23/07/08

I think I've finally arrived! For a few years now I've been wandering around various football grounds but I've never really considered myself as a bona fide Groundhopper. But this afternoon, after I had cut the grass and fed the cats, I was about to go and catch my bus when I remembered that I needed my waterproof (you never know!), my camera and a copy of The Guardian in case of boredom. How to carry all this...hmmm... and then my eyes lit up on a Tesco Bag for Life in the corner. So that's definitely it, I now carry a Tesco Bag for Life, my name is Dave Cooper and I am a groundhopper!

With the wife and kid up in Scotland this week i had a day to myself, after the guilt trip grass cutting I decide that a trip out to Bilston would be a fine way to treat myself. (Oh yes, I know how to live!) First up a pint of Holdens Special in The Trumpet, a fine little pub which does nightly jazz if that's your thing. They had bingo on this dinner time, I didn't win.
Over the road is the Greyhound and Punchbowl, this has had decent beer on in on other visits but not today, finally onto The Olde White Rose which has been my favourite pub ever in the past but it has gone downhill a bit, the beer was good though and it was nice to sit outside and read the paper on such a warm afternoon.

I turned up a couple of minutes before the scheduled kick-off time of 7pm only to find the game in full swing.

This is quite normal in pre-season, referees will often kick off as soon as both teams are happy to do so. I am aware of groundhoppers who would immediately walk out at this point and not count the game as a "tick". They are probably the same type of hopper who don't count 0-0 draws or who have to touch each corner flag or something, don't get me wrong, I am not disparaging this fine hobby but for me a game is a game whether I have watched 90 minutes or not.

Bentley scored as soon as I got to the roped off pitch, which was in excellent condition. At half-time I found out that the groundsman here has won Staffordshire Groundsman of the year in two out of the last three seasons. I wandered up to a bloke who had a notebook, "He'll know if that was the first goal." I thought, and indeed he did, and indeed it was, and indeed said bloke turned out to be fellow hopper and poster on Tony Kempsters fine non-league forum, Yorkie Exile. His ground (and indeed team) total puts me to shame but we all have to start somewhere and he was a delight to chat to.

Bentley continued to play some nice football throughout the game, they currently play in the West Midland League Division Two, on this showing, and comparing them with what I saw last season, they have a chance of promotion. I have no idea what league the West Midlands Fire Service play in, they used to be a Midland Combination team who played at The Glades in Solihull but I can find no trace of them on the web just now. By just after half-time it was 3-0 to Bentley but this really wasn't a fair reflection of an evenly matched game, the firemen had hit the woodwork (well, strictly speaking, the metalwork) three times. They did eventually grab a well deserved consolation and it all ended 4-1, keeps my seasons average up nicely anyway!

I've just realised, I've missed a glorious opportunity to utilise some great puns, not to mention the chance to use phrases based around firemen's poles and hoses! Good job I'm not that puerile eh!

Attendance - 15 (headcount - a proper headcount this time!)
Admission - Free
Programme - Nope
Public Transport - No. 333 bus from Darlaston.


J Wall said...

Love the insight! Keep up the fantastic work. You do have faithful readers out there!

Dave Cooper said...

That's nice to know!

Boldmere tonight.

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