Sunday, 6 January 2013

Getting my Grassroots Done at Castlecroft Rangers

The theatre of dreams is ready ... 

Just over the bar!
Hopperational details
Date & Venue
Saturday 5 January 2013
Castlecroft Rangers 2 Dosthill Boys Club 2
Birmingham AFA Division 6
Venue 502 on the lifetime list. I am here to keep a promise to feature this grassroots club, who have a great presence on Twitter. The chairman is a generous Hopping for Moorfields sponsor too. Win-Win.  I believe that I will go down in the club history as their first hopper.
Pre-match preparation
Mid-table for the home side, as they lead a group of seven clubs separated only by a point.  Dosthill are one of those a point below.  Castlecroft won 3-0 in the reverse fixture earlier in the season.

The pre-match preparation for the home team includes clearing the pitch of dogpoo with the club shovel.

This match in one sentence
Castlecroft had the better of possession and territory but could never open up the crucial two-goal margin, and a late own-goal denied them a win.
So what?
No updated league table as yet, but it is still congested. Castlecroft have some games in hand, which will be fine as long as they pick up some points.
The drama unfolds
With two home subs running the lines (Dosthill have travelled with only eleven including their player-manager) we almost had a first-minute goal for Castlecroft as Patel crossed from the left and Merrick headed against the post, but it was Dosthill who took the early lead as their striker turned to shoot high into the net.  0-1 after 4 minutes

Castlecroft equalised during the scene-setter clip which starts with the village church.  The home side are in the green and white strip.  Prosser won a corner with a strong run from midfield.  Dosthill missed the near-post clearance and Hill was on hand to score from close range.  1-1 after 8 minutes

Castlecroft started to dominate, especially down the right flank, so I moved round behind the Dosthill goal just in time for the church clock to chime the half-hour and for Dosthill to have their best spell of the half down the other end.

Prosser loops a header wide from this attack.

My final two clips from the first half are timed at 42 and 44 minutes.  The second one has a great save from the visiting keeper.  Castlecroft did not manage to take the lead, and this was to prove critical in the final analysis the first half ended level.  1-1 at half-time

Dosthill re-group at half-time
Castlecroft started the second-half strongly (and the Dosthill player-manager became increasingly frustrated and apoplectic).  Number 6 (Wright?) had a shooting chance but hit it straight at the keeper, Merrick glanced a header just wide and then Dann saw a shot from a narrow angle roll along the goal-line.  Here’s the clip starting with a corner soon after.

Castlecroft did take the lead, however, on the hour.  A good save from a shot fell nicely for Hill who finished for his second goal.  2-1 after 60 minutes

The feelings on the pitch started to get tenser and the call from the touchline was for the home side to keep their heads and not get drawn in.  This clip is from the 70-min mark and has a missed chance from a Castlecroft set-piece.

Dosthill had to get forward and this in turn left space for Castlecroft as they sought the safety of a two-goal margin.

The next clip ends with the Dosthill player-manager falling to his knees, and I can exclusively reveal that it was not in reverence and worship of the official who has just given the home side a corner-that-wasn’t after he had done more stout defensive work.

The score was still 2-1 as the game entered the last ten minutes.

Then, Prosser earned a yellow card for a foul in midfield and this happened from the set-piece to cue the dancing in the streets of Dosthill.  Patel is the unlucky player and there was not much his goalkeeper-manager Woodhouse could do about it, even though he’d had  a much easier afternoon than his opposite number.  2-2 after 83 minutes

My final clips show the Dosthill keeper defending a corner, and then the final Castlecroft shot of the game in stoppage time.  When the final whistle came, only one team was celebrating.  Final score 2-2

After the whistle, the home side split into two working parties to dismantle goals and nets.

A pitstop with Chairman Dave at the team’s spiritual home (The Fox at Shipley) also gave me these insights into grassroots football as the two teams socialised, industrial quantities of chips disappeared, and the two player-managers had a drink together

“You really should stop squaring up to people who are twice as big as you.”
“It shows how far we’ve come that we are disappointed with a draw.”
“Your mother cracks me up!”
“It’s hard to get heat into a groin!”
"What's the Wolves score?"

Thanks for having me, folks – I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and hope that the rest of #twitterfc will enjoy seeing you play in these clips.  I will watch your progress with interest, and may well pitch up at an away game sometime!
The programme
Not at this level (but I do have a Castlecroft Rangers compliments slip!).
Something random
Chairman Dave started the #twitterfc hashtag on Friday evening.  The club has many e-connections across the country with like-minded teams and the #twitterfc posts that evening were a humorous insight into how the game works at this level.  Worth a search and some follows.
Hopping for Moorfields Update
The chairman is sponsoring me for every Castlecroft player seen, including the unused subs!  Thanks so much, Dave! In the meantime, unknown to me, Damon of @therealfacup and @robn226 had pledged their support on Twitter as they were following FA Cup Round 3 giantkillers during the day.  Many thanks, gents.  Together with the four goals added today to the running total, the current value of the “pot” has broken the £250 barrier and the end-of-season prediction is now over £550 even before I begin the spring “push” as 2012-13 draws to a close.  My target is £1000.
Mars Bar Watch 2013
Second instalment of this new blog feature.  I feel the nation needs to know whether there are regional variations in this important hopping staple and how to recognise cases of Mars Bar mistreatment or exploitation.

MOTO/BP Toddington Services M1 Northbound – 95p (5/1/13)

Today’s purchase raises fundamental questions of economics.  It was the same standard 58g bar that I had for 60p at Witton Albion last week, but 58% more expensive.  At the till, I was offered instead a slab of Cadbury’s for £1.00.  What is going on in the cut-throat world of chocosupply and demand? Do these people have a tie-up with Clearasil?  At the moment, I may have identified the most expensive Mars Bar in the country and we are very close to the £1 barrier.  I may also have established that I am barmy for buying it at that price and I fall into the cherished cash-rich time-poor demographic.  Second opinions as to my mental state are welcome from suitably qualified professionals.
What Next?
Provisional plan is to randomly “tick off” one of my Step 3 priority grounds next Saturday, but things may change at least once.

1 comment:

  1. thank you so much for coming Graham - we really enjoyed having you with us for the day.