Borrowash Victoria 0 Ascot United 3
As mentioned before, I have two main hobbies. Non-league football and amateur dramatics. Occassionally, one gets in the way of the other. Due to performing the play 'Table manners', I was going to miss the FA Vase 4th round and any potential replays. But then the snow came! As annoying, irritating and dangerous as the snow and ice is (I fell over twice last week), it actually did me a favour. So many matches were postponed from the two Saturday's that I missed, I was able to get in this 4th round tie.
For some strange reason, when buying my advance tickets online to get a cheaper price, I could only get a return to Derby, it wouldn't allow me to buy advance tickets to Spondon. So I decided to buy a return from Derby to Spondon once I reached Kings Cross. I approached the tickt desk and asked for this return. "Where" bellowed the ticket clerk. I spelt out Spondon for him, "Never heard of it" he said staring me straight in the eye as if this was some kind of crime. I just shrugged at him as he typed it into the computer. "Well it does exist" he finally said almost begrudgingly. I paid my £3 & left the clerk starring suspiciously at me.
The train from St Pancras to Derby was 3/4 empty and due to the unusual peach and quiet, it verged on the civilised.
At Spondon station, just me and a guy in a blue wooly hay got off the train. He's a hopper I thought as he stared up and down the road for some kind of inspiration on which route to take. I had examined the walk on google maps satellite view, so knew where I was going.
I quickly stumbled across a chippy where I bought a steak & kidney pie with chips. Very nice, but it should just be called a steak pie as you can never find any kidney for love nor money. No complaints though, the further north you go, the more generous the porton of chips. I enjoyed it as I walked along the road about 100 yards behind the guy with the wooly hat. Now I'm not sure if he was going to the game but if he was, he missed theturning to Borrowash road.
The ground is right next to Graham Street Pimms FC. I find it hard to understand how 2 clubs can be literally right next to each other and both continue to exist and pull in support. Graham Street were also at home, if they'd brought their kick-off forward by a couple of hours they would have picked up a decent crowd as double headers are always popular.
Have to say, this is my kind of ground. It's the raised banks that always floats my boat and these gave this ground a sort of bowl feel. There is a stand on the near side and also a seated area behind the near goal. Hard standing surrounds 3/4 of the pitch. A reasonable clubhouse that was positively heaving with people, the tea hut was also very efficient. The toilets are in a block on the far side next to the players changing rooms. It has the most vast urinal area that I've ever seen at a club at this level. Through me for a brief moment, not the sort of thing I like to make a decision about!
Despite arriving at 13:55, the club had run out of problems. The printers had apparently let them down. One official was taking names and addresses and kindly offered to post a copy on to people. A programme is not life or death o me. Listening to some conversations in the clubhouse, you would think that some people had had their life savings swindled from them. Some of the comments I heard, I'm guessing from fellow groundhoppers made me shake my head with bewilderment. I don't think enough appreciation is given to clubs that really struggle to get volunteers on board. One guy was even complaining about the bad reception he had received on bursting into the boardroom to ask for a teamsheet. Yeah, I wonder why that might be!
So to the game, Ascot were easily the better team. They actually played some delightful stuff with 2 or 3 outstanding individual performances. Borrowash haad a couple of good chances but really cannot complain about the result. Ascot scored halfway through the first half and then got aother 2 in the last 20 minutes, the last one a penalty. The Borrowash keeper made a couple of blinding point blank saves which made up for the most erratic kicking display I've seen in quite a while.
The nice thing is, there should be another Vase match next Saturday, weather permitting......