Wednesday, 10 November 2010

They Think Warm Days Will Never Cease ... They Will Now!

Hopperational details
Tuesday 9 November 2010 at The New Croft, Haverhill Rovers 4 CRC 0 in the step 5 Eastern Counties Premier League.  I watched the game in the company of my friend Ian, the man who persuaded me to take a refereeing qualification back in our student days.
This match in one sentence
Haverhill were more effective in their use of the ball and you can’t really argue with a 4-0 scoreline.
So what?
Haverhill improve their record at their new home.  This was ground #350 on my lifetime list and the first time that I have re-visited a non-league club because they have moved to a brand new stadium.  A very neat and tidy place it is too, with a spacious clubhouse and decent parking.  I would have written more about The New Croft but Google keeps diverting my attention to a ring road in Derby named after the fictional namesake Lara.
Who caught the eye on the pitch?
Good night for #9, bad night for #1
There were two moments at the opposite ends of the skill spectrum.  Haverhill’s third goal was a delightful “dink” by their #9 (Dalton O'Brien, I believe), played through for a one-on-one.  Anyone who has played football up front will understand the joy and beauty of a perfectly executed dink, but I’m glad that I don’t have to write the dictionary definition.  The fourth was a comedy own goal.  The CRC keeper shouted, “No cross!” at his defender (as seems to be the fashion these days) moments before a cross came in from his left.  He caught it momentarily before losing control and then palming it agonisingly behind him into his own net.  The five of us standing at that end to gain some shelter from the Siberian airflows shared his pain in a moment of silence.
This match had the same effect on my pulse rate as …
… a three-point penalty on my provisional poetic licence for speeding through Keats’ Ode to Autumn in search of this post’s title.
A snippet from the programme
CRC (standing for Cambridge Regional College) is effectively the development side for Cambridge United and they play their home games in amber and black at the Abbey Stadium.  The programme lists the visiting players by seniority, with one senior player-coach and then “development players” (3rd/4th years), “second-year scholars” and “first-year scholars”.  Five of those listed have already played for the first team at some point.  A two-year scholarship can lead on to a two-year development contract.  Many of them have come from higher-level league clubs or their academies and I imagine that inter-club networking is vital when running a side like CRC.  It seems fairly common that the lads have been given another chance but in a different playing position.
What I learned today
CRC captain Blaine Hudson was seriously injured in a car crash last week and will be out for some time with a dislocated shoulder.  Newspaper reports said that he punched his way out of the overturned car, fearing that is was about to catch fire.  CRC is a side that by its nature is perpetually “in transition” to some extent and Jez George has written on their website that “this is obviously a period when the side has suddenly become considerably younger and less experienced. This is crucial for the conveyor belt of players to continue though and that is why we will always look at the big picture rather than being result orientated.”  CRC were second in this league last year, scoring more goals and conceding fewer than anyone else, but losing out by one point to Needham Market.  Those two clubs, along with Leiston, were the applicants from this league for promotion to step 4 last season, so there is no question of CRC being content with their step 5 grading.

Also, I learned that it is better not to leave your woolly hat at home when attending midweek evening matches in the Eastern Counties in November.
What Next?
Nothing definite to report as yet, but watch this space.

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