Sunday, October 16, 2016
Cradley Town 3-0 Dudley Sports
Three pints of real ale at the Borough, in Lancaster city centre, with its leather sofas, chandeliers and antique tables, fail to lift my spirits. It's the night's talking point. I fire a tweet off to the Club asking for email contact details. They say they'll look into it. The player's Dad tweets me - he is distraught. I'm hoping Lancaster City act fast, so I don't have to take it further with the Lancashire FA.
It's Sunday afternoon and I'm slumped in a chair in the back room of the King Billy, which is nestled in between high-rise flats in inner city Sneinton. I sink two pints of Snake Eyes from the Black Iris Brewery, situated in Shipstone Street, Nottingham.
A visitor invades my Twitter timeline. The clown is from the 'Groundhopping Gestapo' - to be honest he's reminiscent of Corporal Jones from Dad's Army - I block the blithering idiot after clocking a tweet he sent to his flock, flaming me.
The Taxman is a late withdrawal from the East Midlands Counties League fixture between West Bridgford and Dunkirk. White Van Man rocks up, before kick off, on a chilly evening, sporting a pair of shorts - I'm wearing a thermal vest. We're treated to a 4-4 thriller, with the game being played at a furious pace but in a wonderful spirit.
I catch a good football question thrown out there by Perry Groves on talkSPORT. Who is the first player from the USA to score 50 goals in the Premiership ?
I pop into Keyworth Cricket Club's HQ at Platt Lane on Friday evening for the Junior Presentation Evening. It's great to bump into folk who I've not seen in a while. I help out a bit with the Under 10s and Kwik Cricket teams - to be honest it's banter and encouragement, I can't coach for toffee. I did spend over 20 years playing for this great Club - and have taken away so many memories, with long-winded stories to tell.
I'm sulking on Saturday morning after taking a good gubbing at Pointless from Ms Moon last night. I'm down the tip for 8:00am on the dot, where a very friendly chap helps me unload the rubbish from the 'Rolls Royce.' I drop into Morrisons to pick up some bits and bobs for supper - Brian Matthew is playing 96 Tears by American psychedelic rock band the Mysterians - it's head and shoulders above The Stranglers cover version.
Ms Moon has shot over to Colwick to pick up her Mum. Auntie Val is off to Cornwall on her holibobs with her son and daughters. The meeting point is the Windsor Castle in Lye, near to Stourbridge. Poor old Sticky is relegated to the back seat of the on-loan Merc, as the 'Queen' waves on the throne with her walking stick in the front seat. Graham Norton plays the excellent Tom O'Dell's (born in Chichester, Sussex) new single - 'Here I Am.'
We stick the car in Lye Town's ground - it's a corker if you haven't been. No disrespect is intended to the local residents, but you wouldn't expect to unearth a jewel in the crown like the Windsor Castle around here.
We've booked a table for five. Sticky is already necking a pint of 'Mellow Yellow' when the rest of the 'Moon clan' tip up. Ten real ales are on show from the Sadlers Brewery. We're shoe-horned into a snug corner table. I shout up a 'Double Decker Windsor Club' sandwich that even Scooby Doo would struggle to polish off. We wave off Auntie Val and Ms Moon's sisters.
Cradley Town's ground on Beeches View Avenue is only a couple of miles away. Cradley is a village in the Black Country and Metropolitan Borough of Dudley, with a population of just under 13,000. It was once the centre for iron-making, with nearby Cradley Heath once producing the anchor chain for the ocean liner, RMS Titanic.
Former D***y County footballer, Steve Bloomer, was born in Cradley. He was named in the Football League Top 100 Legends, after scoring 317 goals in 536 appearances in the old Division One (now Premier League) - second only to Jimmy Greaves. There is a bust erected of him at the i-Pro Stadium. He also scored in his first 10 appearances for England - a record held to this day.
Cradley Town FC were founded in 1948 and are nicknamed the Hammers. Players to have made it into the Football League include: 'the 'Flying Postman' John Williams ( remember him beating Notts County's Kevin Bartlett in a sprint-off at Wembley at the 1992 League Cup Final to win £10,000). Larger than life goalkeeper Alan Nicholls played for Cradley having been released by Wolves. He made 65 appearances for Plymouth Argyle before tragically losing his life in a motorcycle accident at the age of 22 years old.
I fish out of my pocket the tried and trusted ten year old dictaphone. The 'Hold' button has fallen off. It's a gonna. I have to Google how to use the Voice Memo on my i-Phone - that's how thick I am, folks.
The ground is situated in the middle of a housing estate. Ms Moon shoots off to fill up with diesel, as I trek up the gravelled path towards the ground. The incline is steep, when I finally reach the summit I'm very kindly pointed towards the turnstile by a friendly secretary.
Blimey Charlie, the ground is a belter, probably the best of the season with its Club Shop, Snack Bar, and the red and black painted corrugated iron stands. The views out to the Worcestershire hills are breathtaking.
The sun's out and so are the teams. Ms Moon is fuelled up. We stand opposite the dugouts on this three-sided ground. Cradley are full of confidence after two wins on the bounce, they play like a team, encouraging one another. They score an early goal and increase their lead with a smart finish from their best player the No.10 jacket.
It's 2-0 at the break, but all I can think about is that box of Family Circle - I'm having a sugar rush despite the 'Scooby Snack.' Ms Moon has wandered off up to the Tea Bar to grab a couple of hot drinks. I've clocked a bloke wandering around the ground with a pint glass full of raffle tickets. I've a feeling it's going to be our day. I ask for the numbers, my ticket is a strip out - it's a formality, Ms Moon has the winning ticket.
Cradley bag another as the game peters out. The officials have done well despite the 23 year old ref getting earache off a whinging Dudley Sports manager as the teams walk off at the break. The father and son (only 16 years old) assistant refs have done well too.
Attendance: 50 odd
Man of the Match: Scooby Snack
Quiz Answer: Clint Dempsey