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Old game I saw

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Mar 10, 2019, 12:20 AM

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Old game I saw or Reply Privately

I meant to post this one at the time, but did not get round to it. It was the strangest game to which I have ever been. Was a pre-season friendly: Hengrove Athletic v Barry Town United. 3rd August 2013 for the record: blistering hot day and when I got off the bus and walked down the lane to the ground I passed a cricket match where all the players were off having a drinks break.

I got to the ground: no admission fee, no programme, only several people wandering round the clubhouse and pitch drinking beer. So I went in, had one myself and sat on a table next to the club notice board on which was attached a long list of 'fines': for players for minor infractions such as being a teeny wee bit nlate for a training session. There was also a massive skittle alley at the back; so it was plain that this was mainly a social club with football being just an 'add-on'.

Shortly after I arrived the game started. The Hengrove players looked to me not to be wholly fit, and showed signs from tiring in the heat. And sure enough, half way through the first half the referee blew the whistle for a 'half half time' drinks break, as though in solidarity with the cricket match up the road.

The game continued, with 90% adjourning to the club house for a pint at half time before the game resumed. Second half was (comparatively) normal, and Barry won 3-0. Well deserved: Barry just come through a horrible time following SL's ultimate last shot and Gavin Chesterfield's subsequent successful court action v the Welsh FA and about to start a new life as Barry Town United in Welsh League Division 3. Pyrrhic victory, but the alternative would have been even worse.

After the game, all again adjourned to the club house; therefore so did I and had another pint. Nobody showed any sign of leaving the ground whatever. Food arrived, and I was told it was for all; but on queueing I was told I'd have to wait for the players (both sides) to have theirs first. No problem; but when I did get my turn I was told the food was free of charge! I made a contribution to the club box on the bar of course. I then discovered why nobody was leaving: it transpired this was the 25th anniversary of the club and there was to be a massive social event (including a huge hog roast) on the ground shortly, and going on well into the evening. I'd have liked to stay but sadly left as I would have missed my bus back to where I needed to be.

A strange and wonderful day out: I'd not have missed it for the world!


(This post was edited by Gladstone on Mar 10, 2019, 12:46 AM)