Four more games in the last week have taken me up to a modest seven for the season and a frankly ridiculous 6,472 in total. The results were: Hendon 3-1 Maidenhead United, Banstead Athletic 0-3 Tooting & Mitcham United, Carshalton Athletic 2-1 Corinthian-Casuals and Kingstonian 4-1 Dulwich Hamlet.
Hendon’s friendly on Tuesday evening was played at The Hive in Edgware, where Barnet will be playing their Conference Premier fixtures this season. It looks like a nice little ground and, being so convenient to get to – a short walk from Canons Park or Queensbury tube – I’ll probably go there a few times in 2013-14.
Maidenhead took a 23rd-minute lead with a classic ‘up and down’ free-kick on one of the caged pitches but an enterprising Hendon side won 3-1. Fortunately it wasn’t as hot as it had been during the day but it was still hard work standing for a couple of hours. It’s probably my age. Saturday ’s game, another friendly, featured Banstead and Tooting.
It was played on the training pitch next to Banstead’s Merland Rise ground. The main ground was open, so I went through before kick-off, curious to see if the seats in the stand were still those that had come from the old Wembley Stadium. I remembered them from my last visit, red plastic seats with a Wembley imprint on them the size of a five-pence piece. Yes, they were still there.
I had another two hours standing in the sun (gasp) but Tooting put on a good show, scoring three and firing in shots from every angle. Then it was back to Purley for a family dinner. My niece and her new husband have invited me up to the North-East in October and I hope to take in a Northern League game at Consett.
I had two games yesterday in the Geoff Harvey Memorial Vase, named after a former Chairman of Corinthian-Casuals who passed away in 2009 and was instrumental in keeping that famous club operating in the ‘80s and ‘90s. On another baking hot day we had the ‘Match for Third Place’ at 11am between Carshalton and the Casuals and the ‘Final’ at 3pm between Dulwich and Kingstonian.
Carshalton edged the morning encounter 2-1 with a team vastly different to last season’s and Kingstonian’s No.10 had scored a hat-trick by the 26th minute as they beat Hamlet 4-1 to lift the Vase. It was marginally more comfortable sitting in the stand than standing behind the goal but for me it was far too hot for watching (or playing) football. How I long for those wet and windy afternoons!
All being well I should be down in Bournemouth next weekend. AFC Bournemouth have a friendly with Bristol City but, if it’s still hot, I might go for Bashley v Hampton.