Tudor Sports (in blue) finished with a flourish.
By David Barber - Monday, 23 July, 2012
The superfan is still finding games are being called off.
Banstead is a village in east Surrey near Sutton. In the mid-1960s I saw Banstead Athletic clinch the Surrey Senior League title with a 6-0 slaughter of Wandsworth at Merland Rise and start the following season’s Spartan League campaign with a 2-1 win against Crown & Manor at the same ground.
Saturday’s pre-season friendly with Tudor Sports, another one of those games with three periods of 30 minutes and rolling subs, was played on the pitch next door to the main one and attracted a crowd of 16.
This kind of game can often be good to watch, because all the players are trying hard to impress the manager enough to be included in the starting line-up for the opening league fixture. After an even first period, Banstead really turned on the style in the second to leave their fans cooing with delight. Apart from the ones asleep on the grass, that is.
Their No.9 bravely gave them the lead, taking a whack to the left shin for his pains, and they might have added three or four more. I have to admit that, up to a week ago, I’d never heard of Tudor Sports. But they play in the Kent County League and came good near the end on Saturday, missing one sitter from two yards out and then equalising on 89 minutes.
The weekend was dry, sunny and much more summer-like. I went to Tolworth for yesterday’s double header in the Geoff Harvey Memorial Vase – featuring Corinthian-Casuals, Dulwich, Kingstonian and Tooting – and was astonished to be told the games had been cancelled “in case the pitch got messed up”. So we’re technically 23 days into the season and I’ve still only seen three games.
I haven’t been up to Newcastle since 1983. I was liaison officer to the Hungarian U21 team that played their English counterparts at St James’ Park and, before the game, had the privilege of chatting with Magpies and England legend Jackie Milburn in the boardroom. He asked me to write the team changes down on his programme.
I’m up there again at the weekend to see Dunston UTS, The FA Vase holders, play Gretna in a friendly on Saturday and two Olympic tournament games – Spain v Honduras and Japan v Morocco – at St James’ Park on Sunday. I’ll be staying in Gateshead.
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