Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Staveley MW FC 2 - 2 Belper Town

Me and the Duchess made the short trip to Staveley last night to have another look at the Belper team Andy and Danny are building in time for the new season (15th August - can't wait!!)

The weather was absolutely awful. It rained very heavily through most of the first half but the pitch stood up to it very well and, given the conditions, the two teams put on a decent display.

8:15 pm on a July evening, at a football match and they had to put the lights on cos it was so dark - one expects this in November maybe but not in July for gawd's sake!

Anyway - with 4 or 5 first team "regulars" on holiday or otherwise unavailable, it was a new line up which took to the pitch. The rain made it difficult but there was some very good play from both sides although to be honest - both teams gave the ball away a little too often!

Belper goals came from Ant Wilson - he followed in a team mates shot (didn't see who) from outside the box and tapped in after the keeper parried the ball. The second was very similar, a shot from outside the box deflected off a defender and the keeper got a hand to it but Asa Ingall was following in and put the ball over the line from very close range (came off his knee or shin to be fair!)

The Staveley goals were also similar - the first a back post header after a decent cross - but the guy was totally unmarked - and a shot from close in, but at the opposite far post with the player again unmarked. Nothing goalie Leigh Walker could do about either of them.

The players who impressed me most were 2 of the triallists - Nick Hall - in central midfield - and a player I believe Belper are anxious to sign - and a centre back by the name of Burgin who certainly looked the part - big, mobile, nice touch and he won just about everything in the air.

If they are added to the squad it will be interesting to see how they can be accommodated when the "regulars" return.
I didn't take the camera - it was way too wet - and Snapper Harrison couldn't make it so I'm afraid there's no pics to show but maybe next time.

Anyway - that's for later - right now I gotta go. I'm nipping out to pick up my oldest friend (literally the oldest - he's 93 in a month or so!) and we'll have good old natter about his recent holiday in Crete.
Laters (as my son says!)

Sunday, 26 July 2009

Belper Town 2 - 1 Ossett Albion

Saturday - After a morning spent mowing the back lawn (or rather the clover and daises on our back garden) we sauntered down to watch Belper play Ossett Albion, a team from the Northern section of our league.

Belper won 2 - 1 with a last minute penalty - here's the ball hitting the net, courtesy as ever, of Tim Harrison

The rest of Snapper's pics from this game are here - excellent job once again.

(I've stopped taking my camera to games because I just can't compete with the "Master"!)

Anyway - on a very warm afternoon this was a closely fought contest - as the scoreline suggests. I guess, bias aside, Belper probably just about deserved it although both sides could and should have had more goals.

"Stand out" performances for me came from Asa Ingall - basically playing the midfield holding role which Kris Kotylo fulfills so well and Richard Haigh - solid as ever in the centre of defence.

Great strike from Adam Burley to open the scoring - matching Aaron Pride's effort on Monday night v Derby but second half, we gave them an equaliser through a mis-placed back pass. The last minute penalty, given when Ant Wilson was brought down just inside the box sealed the game although I have to say that opinions among the spectators differed as to whether it was a genuine penalty or not. I suppose it doesn't really matter that much - it would be different of course if it had been a league game!!

Another good work out and the team played some excellent football in parts. A couple of the "new faces" look like they could turn out to be very good signings and it was good to see young Aaron get a part of the game again - he looks very confident in all he does. A real prospect.

Next game is on Tuesday - away at Staveley - which is fine for the Duchess and me - it's about 20 minutes to Staveley from here rather than the hour journey to watch Belper at home!

More follows after the game of course - right now I gotta go into town to collect a copy of "Norton 360" (Internet Security software) I ordered from one of the stores. (I can actually buy the product cheaper from John Lewis in town than I can download it from the Symantec website.... crackers innit?)


Friday, 24 July 2009


We now work from 8 am and not 8:30 am...
... And it was a steak pie cos they had no Beef & Onion
(Pedantic? Me? No! I'm just a huge fan of accuracy )

Post Holiday Blues....

Trying to beat off the post holiday blues, the Duchess and I took ourselves off to Derwent Dams last night, "after tea."

Innit pretty?!

After almost a week back to Sheffield and the same old, same old, it made a nice change to just have a lazy look around one of our favourite parts of Derbyshire.

Best of all was it wasn't that busy - we hardly saw anyone else up there but on the drive back, through Baslow, Hathersage and Grindleford, we were "buzzed" several times by madmen on motorbikes who ignore speed limits and double white lines and with their lights on main beam, dazzle the drivers they come tearing up on.

"Think Bike!" signs are everywhere - and why? Because most of the stupid b*st*rds generally don't think for themselves.

Anyway - I'm quite enjoying this early finish on Fridays. The new working hours began the week before I went on hols so this is my first real experience of "Friday arvo off." It's grand. (8:30 am to 4:30 pm Monday to Thursday and 8 am to 1:30 pm Friday for those of you who don't 'keep up')

Chippy later - chips and a Beef and Onion Pukka Pie - then Belper Town v Ossett Albion in a pre-season friendly tomorrow. Perfect - although God alone knows when the jungles that pass for my front and back gardens are going to get sorted out cos it's supposed to be fine tomorrow then raining again on Sunday.

Suppose I could miss the match tomorrow...... Nah - couldn't do that! Daft idea!

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Belper Town 2 - 7 Derby County XI

Missed the first pre-season friendly last Saturday cos we were on our way back from hols but we enjoyed a pleasant evening at Christchurch Meadows last night when Belper took on a Derby County XI.

Not being a Derby supporter, I had no idea if the XI was of good strength or if they were giving the kids a run out. I was assured by a couple of folks in the know that the visitors had 6 or 8 first teamers in the squad.

It was a very good work out for the Belper guys and included fine performances from Richard Haigh and Lee Stevenson although everyone played well in patches. The difference between the two sides was generally in the first touch, the finishing and speed of movement. Belper could (should?!) have had a couple of goals in the first 10 minutes but the finish wasn't quite there and at times, the Belper lads played some really good stuff and put some real pressure on the Derby back four.

Best moment for me came in the 2nd half when young Aaron Pride (a right back with a big future if he carries on like this) picked up a ball just inside the Derby half and moved to within about 30 yards of the goal before hitting an absolute screamer into the net. The keeper got a slight touch but couldn't keep it out. It was a magnificent strike and the look on the kid's face and the reaction of his team mates was fantastic!

On the whole, a good workout for the Belper team and the young players included in the squad will learn a lot from their involvement, however brief. The only way to get better at most sports is to play against opposition that is stronger than you.

Only two "downsides" for me - the crowd of around 750 included a lot of little Derby County "chavs" who spent the match posing around the ground and dropping litter pretty much wherever they went. Totally unconcerned about the mess they were leaving in their wake. They only looked about 12 to 15 years old and were a major irritant. These are the sort of little brats who moan like hell because they are required to wear a uniform to school yet when they are on the loose as they were last night - they all dress the same!

Anyway - a bigger concern was injuries to Danny Hudson and captain "Jasper" Colliver. Danny told me afterwards that he "felt" the Achilles injury which cut last season short for him and so came off as a precaution but Jasper went down, stayed down (unusual - so it must have been bad!) and had to be helped from the pitch to the dug out and then across the pitch at half time to the dressing rooms. We can't afford a major injury to Jasper although he has just over 3 weeks till the proper stuff starts. Here's hoping they're both OK.

Didn't take the camera but Snapper Harrison was there as usual and if you click the link to the Belper web site on the right, then go to the Forum and look for the thread about photos - you'll see his handiwork!

Next match is again at home - next Saturday v Ossett Albion. Looking forward to it.

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Back to Reality

Got back from holiday mid-afternoon yesterday and I'm halfway through editing around 350 photos and videos.

Here's a few to be going on with:-

The new chair "in action"

The Church at West Ashby

The Main Lake at Elmhirst

The last day of our holiday was interesting.....

As already reported, the forecast was lousy so we decided we'd just relax and fill the day without fishing.

First of all we had a visit from the owner of the site - a lady called Anne who is originally from Sheffield and who has become a good friend over the 17 years we've been going to Elmhirst. She popped in for a chat because she hadn't seen us in the 2 weeks we'd been there. She has offered us a few days "free of charge" later in the season if we can manage to get away. This is her "customer loyalty bonus". All we have to do is call her and see what's available and she'll make sure we get accomodated. Very nice that isn't it?

I took the Duchess into Horncastle for lunch and we then headed off to Freiston Shore - another RSPB Reserve near Boston. On arrival, the sky looked a bit "heavy" and as it's a 200 to 300 yard walk to the hide, we decided to stay with the car until the weather made up it's mind what it was going to do.

Good job we did! As the sky all around us darkened, we heard the first claps of thunder and saw the first flashes of lightning. I managed to get some video of the flashes and as the rain started, got back in the car.

Within seconds, it was absolutely lashing it down. The heavens really did open and for around 20 minutes, it felt like we were sitting in the car wash! I had the engine running and the wipers going. We've never seen anything like it!

As it eased a little, we decided to head back to Horncastle and carefully threaded our way through deep puddles and flooded fields before the weather cleared as we headed inland.

Stopped at the chippy in Horncastle and took fish and chips back to the lodge. After we'd eaten and washed the pots, we headed for Huttoft where there is a car terrace. We wanted to have a last look at the "seaside" on our last evening.

Got up at 7 a.m. Saturday morning, packed the fishing gear away, loaded up the car and after saying our goodbyes to friends and the wardens on the site, we headed back to Sheffield, stopping at Ollerton for "brunch" (full English Breakfast!!)

We arrived home around 2:30 and then unpacked the car, stowed everything away and settled down to wait for Monday morning and the return to reality.

......... What holiday??!!

Thursday, 16 July 2009

It's persisting it down

... And it has been for the last 2 hours.

Because the forecast for Friday (tomorrow - the last day of our hols) is apalling, we decided we'd get a full day's fishing in today. We were all set up and fishing by 9 a.m and we came back to the lodge at 7 p.m as the rain started.

It's been a good holiday on the whole and it's a pity that I have to return to the Effingham Road House of Fun on Monday when the long trek to next year's holiday begins. (Here at Elmhirst Lakes again of course )

As I said - I'll post a few random photos at the weekend.

Til then... G'night!

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Had a good day....

... But we're still on vacation so why wouldn't it be a good day!
This is mainly a fishing holiday but today we took a day off from fishing and went for a drive.

After a lie in and a leisurely shower, we set off toward Skegness because we intended to have 'brunch' at Rachel's Cafe on the A158, just past a place called Hagworthingham. It's a cracking place to eat and well worth a stop if you're out that way.

Next stop was Donna Nook, where you can see the RAF practicing 'flare drops' over the North Sea coast. (A mate who knows about these things says they are practicing dropping 'radar-confusing flares' for when the pilots get to Afghanistan and are attempting to land the plane. The flares apparently confuse ground based rocket launchers used by the Taliban. Sobering thought innit?)

Made a quick 'toilet stop' in Mablethorpe before heading to Sutton-on-Sea for a cuppa and a cream and jam scone (yum!)

Next stop was Huttoft where we parked on the car terrace and watched thunderstorms heading out into the North Sea for an hour or so then a steady drive back to Horncastle.

To round off the day, we've been down to the Fighting Cocks pub, at the end of the street, for Steak and chips and a couple of pints.

Back at Elmhirst Lakes now -relaxed, replete and ready for a good nights kip!
(Haven't figured how to get photos posted via my mobile but I'll post a couple at the weekend - for now - 'thank you and goodnight!)

Saturday, 11 July 2009

Not sure if this will work...

I'm trying to post from my Blackberry but the word "error" appears at various points down the page.
Let's see...

Saturday, 4 July 2009

6 short of a thousand.

That's how far short I am of 1,000 hits on this blog - 6 hits!

Not a massive audience but - hey - I like it!

I'm off on holiday today and since there's no internet connection where we're staying, I might not be able to post for a couple of weeks. We'll see!

Tarra for now!

Thursday, 2 July 2009

36 Hours & Counting.....

....or thereabouts until we set of on our hollibobs. Typical Nortoner luck - we go on Saturday - just as the weather is cooling down and we could be doing a spot of fishing in the rain next week!

The Duchess is at another football meeting tonight, not expected back til late and I'm sorting out back ups of my "work" laptop and the very machine on which I'm typing this.

Been a rare good day at work. The guy who used to be our European Sales Agent (until he retired in December 2005) was in Manchester for a few days and called to ask if he could pop over the hills and visit. Steve is 73 now and an interesting man. We travelled all over Europe together for 20 years or so. He lives in Harpenden but was "oop north" to see his son.

He came over on the 11:10 train and we went for a pint and a sandwich. Steve is a proper "Real Ale" man and so we went to a pub called the Cocked Hat, close by the Don Valley Athletics Stadium. As we ordered drinks, one of our little group of four asked "What food you doing today mate." As he was pulling a pint of Brakespeare something or other (sorry - I'm not a beer person, OK?) the barman replied "No food today mate, no kitchen staff. This boozer's up for sale!" (In a broad and very morose Geordie accent.)

I was going to point out the 20ft long, 3ft high, bright yellow banner hanging on the front of the pub which said - in very large letters "Come Inside for our Great New Food Menu - Served 12 til Late!!" but he seemed to be having a sh*t day and, so we thought "Leave it!" and drank up and headed off to Arena Square, just down the road.

I had a lovely burger and chips and Steve had a ham sandwich and a couple of pints of something called
"Black Sheep" (??I think!!).

Interesting note - the 3 pints and a half of cider we had in the Cocked Hat cost £9.15. Drinks, food and tip for four of us in the Arena Square cost £35 - I think we were ripped off in the pub! No wonder it was empty! Having said that, I mentioned the cost to the youngest member of our gang (He's about 33 years old) and he said - "Dunno £9 for four drinks isn't bad - when was the last time YOU bought a round." As his boss, I thought I took this sly crack very well but just wait til tomorrow - he's gonna have the busiest Friday of his life!!!

Anyway - before I die the death of a thousand perspirations, I'll quit this now and go outside for some air. I love the heat but 21.5 C at 7:30 a.m. today is a tad warm - it's now 28 C according to my thermometer!

Another sleepless night ahead I guess.