Saturday, 10 May 2014

Harrow Hill 3 v Hardwicke 0 - Gloucestershire Northern Premier League Div 1

Saturday 10th May 2014
Larksfield Road, Harrow Hill
Gloucestershire Northern Premier League Division 1
Harrow Hill (0) 3
Matt Jackson 48, 68
Shaun Tingle 62
Hardwicke (0) 0
Attendance 42
Left click posted images to enlarge
Harrow Hill:
Lee Barnard, Matthew Jackson, William Barker, Marc Gunter, Charley Mason, Daniel Mason, Darren Weyman, Scott Morgan, Adam Tingle (Nicholas Hopkins), Ricky Tingle, Shaun Tingle
Nathan Barnett, Mark Carter, Paul Carter, Laurie Connor, Jordan Dowdeswell, Sam Hill, Robert Hine, Dave Loftus, Jamie Reid, Jack Twyman, Tobie Webb
Subs - Michael Griffiths, Lee McGuinness, Ashley Potter
Welcome to Lilliput.
Harrow Hill were formed in 1932 and as recently as 2009 the club were members of the Hellenic League, they had to resign due to financial problems in 2009, when they took over their reserves place in the Gloucester Northern Premier League, Division 2. They won promotion to Division 1 in 2010/11, having finished as runners up to Frampton FC.
Hardwicke were formed a year later and have played in the Stroud League and Gloucestershire County League and the Gloucestershire Northern Premier League.
This was the final game of the 2013-14 season for both teams, in which Hardwicke finished 8th in the league table and Harrow Hill 9th. Two emphatic results on Thursday night had already dictated that the home side couldn't catch todays visitors in the league, namely: Cheltenham Civil Service 6 v Harrow Hill 0 and Hardwicke 9 v Bredon 1.
Incidentally, Bredon finished bottom of the table with just 5 points and a goal difference of -103, while Cheltenham Civil Service took runners up spot on goal difference from Broadwell Amateurs, 8 points behind Division 1 champions Cam Bulldogs, who play at Hamfields Leisure Centre, next to Berkeley Nuclear Power Station, on the banks of the River Severn.
Of course, you're all students in the science Association Football statistics and minutiae and probably knew all of the above already, but here's a very interesting fact you might not be aware of:
The village of Harrow Hill, used to be called Harry Hill and the TV comedian of the same name, sometimes wears a badge just like the one depicted below (which the football club presented to him in 2008), on the lapel of his double breasted suit, while appearing on his show 'TV Burp'.
You can thank me when that newly acquired wisdom gets you out of a hole in a pub quiz any time soon.
Harrow Hill's programme, not that they had any today, much to the chagrin of a diminutive paper chasing member of our 'Gang of Four' tour party, was called 'the Harry Hill Review'.
So how did we end up near the top of a steep hill, in the middle of the Forest of Dene, watching this particular 'end of the season, with nothing to play for' game, on an occasionally wet, but continuously windy afternoon, via dinner and a few pints in a pleasant country pub called the New Inn, in the village of Shortstanding?
Well, eagle eyed observers will have noticed a column in the right hand sidebar of this blog titled THE66POW FORTHCOMING TRAVEL PLANS 2013-14, and one of the entries there was: Saturday 10th May - Abertillery Bluebirds v Cardiff Grange Harlequins - Welsh League Div 3 - 14.30pm. Which last night had the words SUBJECT TO A 10AM PITCH INSPECTION added onto it, as South Wales became submerged under water, especially in the Valleys.
So our party leader, Colin Picken, had painstakingly assembled a list of alternative games and plan B's en route to Abertillery, or not too far off of the beaten track, just to be on the safe side.
At around 10.15AM the inevitable news came through that our original game was off and the back seat of the car turned into mission control centre.
League websites, Twitter feeds and forums were visited in abundance and several club secretaries had their Saturday mornings disturbed as we browsed our way through the vast array of resources available to modern aged travellers.
Long gone are the days of carrying a bag full of 2p pieces and queueing at the only available payphone for miles around, hoping somebody will be manning the phones at some distant and isolated football ground.
Or even worse, arriving just as the visiting team coach is leaving the club car park while the 'GAME OFF' signs are being put up.
Granted, most of the football clubs I watch haven't ever had a club coach or a car park to speak of, but I'm sure you'll get my drift.
We convened at Strensham, Services on the M5 for overpriced refreshments, and as Harrow Hill FC, near Drybrook in Gloucestershire was only around 45 miles away and we could get there for comfortably for 12.30pm, we decided to Larksfield Road ground and check out the lay of the land, before doing anything hasty like pushing on further towards the South Wales coast on the pretext of a few "It might be on if we don't get any more rain" type answers.
Our 'Reci' to Drybrook had us all nodding in agreement, no need to go anywhere else, inadvertently we had stumbled upon what could would be called in Groundhopper parlance ... 'a hidden gem' ... not that I'm a Groundhopper, you understand, I'm just a football supporter!
Larksfield Road football ground, stands in a natural grass bowl, it has railed fencing all around the pitch, a covered stand that was positioned just right to keep out the biting wind that was prevalent this afternoon, an elevated and covered standing area outside a building that doubled up as a bar, function room and dressing rooms and, not that they would be needed today, floodlights.
We did our own pitch inspection and it was obviously fine. Quite what the club official who turned up while we were seeing if the playing surface would take a stud and perusing the facilities thought of us, when he arrived, is open to conjecture, but he was friendly and full of helpful information.
So we made the aforementioned public house our base camp and put the world to rights over a few choice ales and a generously proportioned dinner.
Harry Hill?
On our return to the ground, it was fairly busy in the rickety old (and a bit fusty smelling) clubhouse, which was filling up with people who were attending the club's presentation night in the adjacent, neatly decorated, function room, straight after the game.
Hardwicke FC were stopping behind too, it was obviously going to get noisy and very messy later on. Most of those present either watched out of the clubhouse window or just carried on drinking when the game got started.
Initially, both sides struggled and made hard work of the strong wind that was blowing straight across the pitch, but after a while, a half decent game of football broke out, to say that the 'going through the motions, 'nowt to play for' season is now officially open.
The game was goalless at the interval, both teams had created enough chances, without troubling either keeper too much.
But you could sense that there were goals to be had at some point, though, to be honest, the visitors looked like the team most likely to succeed at the halfway point, given the amount of possession they had enjoyed.
But it was Harrow Hill who were to claim all 3 points, in a second half that was evenly matched and end to end, but Hardwicke were having one of those days, when nothing would go in for them.
Matt Jackson opened the scoring 3 minutes after the break when he nudged the ball home from close range after Hardwicke's keeper made a hash of trying to clear his lines.
On 62 minutes, Shaun Tingle cut in from the left flank, took a few strides towards the Hardwicke penalty area and, with everybody expecting a cross, took aim and buried a great shot just inside the right hand upright.
The game was effectively over in the 68th minute when Matt Jackson thumped the ball home, directly from a 25 yard free kick.
You don't stop those!
The home side took their foot off the gas a bit towards the end of the game, but try as they might, Hardwicke just couldn't get a goal back, no matter how hard they tried.
FT - Harrow Hill 3 v Hardwicke 0