Sunday, 2 February 2014

football in a cage

Saturday 1st February 2014
Peterborough & District League Premier Division
Uppingham Community College, London Road, Uppingham, Rutland

For a second consecutive Saturday my football game of choice is in the Peterborough & District League (PDL). I had no plans for watching football today, but for some reason I checked the fixtures during the middle of the week, and noticed a change of venue for this fixture. Oakham United currently play their home games at the Vale of Catmose College in Oakham itself, but with all the wet weather they have hired out the 3G pitch at Uppingham Community College. I knew of the establishment but was not aware they had installed an artificial playing surface in the grounds, and as far as I am aware this venue has not been used for any open-age football before, and unless it is hired out by any of the local non-league clubs, will probably be never used again. With this in mind it would be foolish of me to miss this opportunity of "ticking" this venue to watch a game of football, especially as one of my aims is to watch football at two hundred different venues in Leicestershire & Rutland.

Uppingham is a market town in Rutland, located approximately half way between Leicester and Peterborough and six miles south of the county town of Oakham. The journey from my home on the other side of Leicester took around an hour, though about half of that was trying to find a way across the city due to several routes being gridlocked. Once I crossed to the other side of the city centre, traffic was light and I arrived in Uppingham twenty minutes before kick off. The community college is located on the southern edge of the town, and as I later found out is also home to Stoneygate RFC who have moved here from Covert Lane in Scraptoft. 

On paper this game had away win written all over it with Oakham in the lower reaches of the Premier Division table, while their opponents from Peterborough sit top of the pile and are in a battle with King's Lynn Town Reserves for the league title. I have seen both these teams before at their respective home grounds - Netherton in May 2012 when they beat Uppingham Town and Oakham in February last year. In snowy conditions they beat Leverington Sports. 

Arriving at the college there was noticeable factor that would make the game interesting as it were, and that was the wind which was heading in an easterly direction towards the far goal. The first two goal kicks from the Netherton keeper didn't reach the half way line and flew outside of the cage. Despite playing into the wind Oakham didn't take advantage and it was the visitors who opened the scoring in the dying seconds of the half. The opening few seconds of the second half made the trip worthwhile as those who were there witnessed probably their goal of the season. At the kick off the ball was touched to the visitors #4 who hit a superb strike into the wind that dipped over the Oakham keeper and into the net. Having watched over 800 games of football over the years this was the first time that I have seen that happen. From then I expected Netherton to push on and add a few more goals, but the game became sterile and it wasn't until the latter stages that they added a third. 

The game attracted a decent attendance of around 40 with a few number of them being hoppers. Also in attendance were SRSN (Stamford & Rutland Sports Network).   

websites / social media:

Oakham United - official website - twitter
Netherton United - twitter
Peterborough & District League - FA Full Time site - twitter

29 photos can be viewed in the slideshow online below:
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