Tues 7th July 2015, Pre-season friendly.
FOOTBALL IS BACK LADIES AND GENTLEMAN.
I've been so bored these last few months. Rovers' summer transfer business has been slow and the spectre of the Sainsbury's court case looms over us with no respite in sight. The women's world cup was a welcome distraction but these last two months have been slow. So I was delighted to learn about this academy game for a chance to check out a new ground and whet my appetite for Salisbury this weekend.
I decided this was one I could walk to, using the M5 bridge and my innate sense of direction and time management (I set off two hours early and used Google maps). Sadly technology could not save me from straying hopelessly off the route and ending up on some cycle track to Portishead. I rectified this situation by climbing through some bushes, up the side of a stone bridge and emerging onto a single track road, scaring the crap out of a BMW driver going way too fast.
|I am a genius. No doubt about it.|
I eventually arrived at the tiny village and got into the ground about 45 minutes early, in time to rest my legs and amuse myself with the pitch-side advertisement for Bell Tools.
Eventually Dave (of best crowdfunded banner in the history of football fame) arrived and we went to the pub where I listened, astonished, to his tales of transnational long weekend ground hopping exploits. I have much to learn.
Court Hay is situated right next to the cemetery of St George's church, which the club takes it's name from. An interesting choice for a football ground perhaps, I thought as the first ball left the pitch and ricocheted off the gravestones. On the other side from this stands a small tea-toom/toilet and even smaller changing rooms. A good amount of villagers turned out, along with enough bored gasheads and the families of the U-18s players to create a mini Bristol derby on the smaller practice pitch contested by a gaggle of little kids wearing the kits of both Bristol teams. Didn't catch the score of that one though.
The Rovers youth impressed, netting five against a rough and ready Easton side. I spoke to the Dad of one of our left backs who said there are nine right midfielders vying for place right now and the quality really shone through for me in that area. Particularly impressive was our number 17 (no idea of the name) a compact blonde winger who tore up the right side of the pitch with some tidy pace and chased down every ball that came his way with Sinclair-like determination. Later we were joined by an apparent Easton first team regular, who got the call for this match but refused it because he'd only just got back from two weeks in Ibiza and "wasn't gonna get chased about by a bunch of 18 year-olds." So maybe they weren't firing on all cylinders.
|Token match shot|
Tinpot highlights included the fact that the Easton players were all wearing a pair of job lot Southampton socks, a player fouling another then rolling his ankle on his victim's floored bonce and Easton's portly, ageing number 10 trying to wind up a Rovers youngster, drawing a free kick in a dangerous spot and then punting it into the trees behind the goal.
I found it a little hard to take the last 20 minutes in because I'd brought two mugs of coffee during half time only to find that Dave doesn't drink coffee, leaving me to drink both and end up needing the biggest piss of my life. The kind of expert reporting you've come to expect.
|The Deadman End. Not pictured: the world's most determined bell-ringers.|
Overall the match was a good afternoon out in a very pleasant part of North Somerset which gave me a lot of hope for our academy set-up. A new ground and meeting some nice people being worth the absolute drenching I received on the walk back.
|The things I do for the Gas.|