Thursday, 5 May 2011

A Win for the Winslow Boys

Hopperational details
Date & Venue
Tuesday, May the Fourth (Be With You) at Ampthill Town FC, a step 6 venue (Spartan South Midlands Div One)
Winslow United 2 The 61FC (Luton) 0
Spartan South Midlands Division Two Cup Final
(for teams in this step 7 league)
Lifetime list #398, and I am here for practical reasons of distance and time.
This match in one sentence
Winslow United scored a good goal and a scruffy one before the interval, and then defended well enough when necessary to resist the attempted comeback.
So what?
Winslow United get their name on this trophy for the second time – their last win was in 2003-4.
The drama unfolds
Winslow began to look the more threatening of the two sides from the early stages, and here is a scene-setter clip.  The backdrop of trees behind the ground’s main stand was looking as gorgeous as anything I’ve seen on my hops.

The buildup to the first goal after 32 minutes had an element of controversy.  In a moment of confusion between ref and lino, both sides thought they had a free-kick.  61FC thought they had one for offside, but the lino had flagged for a foul in Winslow’s favour.  Winslow tried to take it quickly, but the ref called them back, I think because it had been taken from the wrong place.  However, they seemed to be allowed to take it quickly again and a neat curling shot was soon nestling in the back of the net from number 6.  1-0

Three minutes later, this happened – and to be fair the ref is well placed and he got this one right.  2-0 at half-time

In the second half, 61FC managed to pose more of an attacking threat and a goal would have made the game more interesting for the neutral!  They came close-ish on a number of occasions, such as the following:

However, as time began to run out, Winslow looked just as likely to add a third.  Another powerful freekick from number 6 (who is a name as well as a number, I am sure, but I don’t know what it is – sorry!) whistled just wide after 80 minutes, and the last few minutes had the air of inevitability about them.  Final score 2-0

Alternative activity of equal excitement for tourists in Ampthill
How about the smack of leather on willow at the cricket club next door?
A snippet from the programme

Here is each club’s “Route to the Final” for the records, with both finalists not having a home-tie all season.
Round One
Risborough Rangers 2 The 61FC (Luton) 3
Totternhoe 1 Winslow United 3
Round Two
Bletchley Town 0 The 61 FC (Luton) 3
Aston Clinton 1 Winslow United 3 – (Aston Clinton were the holders)
Kent Athletic 1 The 61FC (Luton) 2
Padbury United 0 Winslow United 2
(This season's league champions Padbury United got revenge for that semi-final defeat by beating Winslow United on the last day of the season, and Aston Clinton's win on the same day meant that they pinched the final promotion spot.)
What I learned today

This ground is in a splendid setting on the edge of Ampthill Park, which has an interesting history.  Henry VIII sent his first wife, Katherine of Aragon, to live there in 1532 after annulling the marriage, and used a hunting lodge there.  Many of the mature trees date from plantings by Capability Brown.  However, the sandstone which causes this ridge to stand out from the lowlands around it is easily eroded and the park is in some need of restoration after a few centuries of use for leisure purposes.  Part of the plan will be to restore grazing by animals – trees have moved in (so to speak) and obscured the views in certain areas that were part of the original design.
What Next?
Something on Saturday for #399.

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