Sunday, 10 December 2017


Beeston Rylands  4  Keyworth United Reserves  5

Nottinghamshire Senior League – Division One

“If the first thirty seconds are anything to go by, this could be a very long hour and a half…”

The famous last words of Steve who was on the phone to his good lady, just after the Keyworth full back had found a back garden with an attempted ball down the touchline.

Nostradamus need not worry, Steve’s prediction did not quite unravel in the way he expected, but more on that later, first, this was always going to be a challenging day on the football front, the weather Gods had not been very kind to us.

Snow and frost in the previous 24 hours had blitzed the Midlands and North, so finding a game was going to be a tricky exercise, especially if I wanted to get a new ground in. Kiveton Park went by the wayside early doors due to a frozen pitch, the artificial pitch that Caribbean Sports used was fine, but the visitors could not raise a side, Hepworth was under so much snow they couldn’t find the ground, let alone do a pitch inspection, so that left just the two.

They were Thurcroft Miners Institute and Beeston Rylands, with Thurcroft being my initial choice in the run up to the weekend. The visitors, Boynton Sports, received confirmation all was ok at the Thurcroft Sports Hub, so off I set, knowing that Steve had got an affirmative from Beeston and was on his way to the edges of Nottingham.

It was when I drove into the car park at Thurcroft that I sensed something wasn’t quite right, players were milling around in that limbo like fashion, and it soon became clear that the referee was unhappy with parts of the pitch being frozen. But, Thurcroft offered the alternative of a second pitch on the complex, but again, after much striding and heel digging by the somewhat picky official, the game was officially off.

I admit, I might have broken the odd speed limit, getting to at least 75 mph on two or three occasions on the M1, but a clear run and thanks to Steve guiding me into the car park via the maze of roads that is the housing estate where Beeston Rylands play, my scheduled 2pm arrival was now more like ten to two.
Beeston Rylands joined the Notts Senior League at the start of this season from the Notts Amateur Alliance where they were champions, and deemed to be a strong side, they joined the league in the middle division of the three, and to be fair that placing seems justified as the club sit in a comfortable mid-table position.

The Facilities
The ground at Leyton Crescent is a council facility comprised of a couple of pitches and a dressing room complex at the top of the site by the road. No rail or rope was in place, but it had a somewhat rural feel to it being located on the very edge of the urban life that is the busy Nottingham suburb. My original thoughts at the start of the season were to visit on the train and sample some of the excellent pubs that Beeston has to offer, but with it being a port in a storm kind of day, that experience will have to wait.

Bizarrely the pitch was fine, no sign of any frost and the temperature felt relatively mild under the circumstances. We had a game, but after thirty seconds, Steve felt suitably informed to make his prediction.

More Autumn Than Winter?
So, what really happened after the initial hoof into the back garden, was a quite brilliant game of football, played by two committed sides and very well refereed by the young official.

The visitors raced into a two goal lead before Rylands pulled a goal back. That only spurred on the away side to go up the other end to make it 1-3, and that was hot it remained at half time. We were both ready for a beer at this point, and with no refreshment facilities at the ground, I shot up the road to a shop and picked up some cans of Carling to see us through the second period. A fridge was not deemed necessary to keep them cool as the snow showers started to fall on the open expanse situated close to the banks of the nearby River Trent.

Not A Speck Of White Stuff In Sight
A screamer of a shot made it 4-1, but then Rylands rallied and it went 4-2 and 4-3, were we in for a monumental finish? Keyworth restored the two goal advantage but then Rylands, who refused to give up, pulled it back to 5-4.

That was how it finished, and what a superb game of football, one that neither of us really wanted to see come to an end. Credit to all involved for putting on a great spectacle.

As for Steve, as the final whistle blew, he turned to me and said, “Well that was crap….”, with more than a touch of irony in his voice.

We’re planning on going to a game together on Wednesday, and the first choice match is one that Steve suggested might be a really entertaining spectacle. On that basis I’ll take my sleeping bag then….

Beeston Rylands FC

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