My timing could be better. Today, for the third time this week, I was drenched at a bus stop. It was the only time it rained and it was enough to soak me…though my raincoat managed to keep me dry underneath.
I was off to Eastleigh (where Nicktor works) to (hopefully) see them beaten by the Sometimes Mighty Shots. Eastleigh is not the most direct place to get to from Farnham. (Train to Woking…train to Winchester…finally, train to Eastleigh…all up two hours.) Nicktor met me at the station because he works there. In Eastleigh rather than the station.
We decided to try and find our way through a very big and mysterious estate as a Twilight Zone like short cut where every road ends in a small residents car park. Nicktor was forced to use the satnav to get us out.
Eventually we found the pub we were going to and then, a little further down the road, the car park. In the car park there ensued an odd conversation with a chap in a hi-viz jacket and carrying a hammer. He was the car park guy and we had to pay him. To prove he was the guy we had to pay he went into an elaborate song and dance routine towards the CCTV camera indicating that his boss was watching and we should all smile and wave. We know better than to argue with a lunatic holding a hammer. We paid then walked to the pub.
The Cricketer’s Arms is a lovely pub, improving its grim location on a continuously busy roundabout. Nicktor had booked a table, thinking it would be a busy night. And he didn’t know it was Quiz Night! We were eventually joined by Phil (who Nicktor works with and who joins us in Edinburgh) and another chap who lives in Bournemouth and whose name I can’t remember (though he looked like a poor man’s Ben Elton).
A few days ago I’d had a message from Chris asking if I was going to see the game tonight. When I said yes, he suggested meeting up in the pub before hand. When Dawn heard about it, she decided she wanted to come too (though not to the football). They joined our jolly table and we all had dinner.
We then had a lovely chat about all things International Travel before heading for the mighty Eastleigh Stadium…except for Dawn who kissed us all before going home to a nice warm house. Oh, and Nicktor promised them a return Sunday lunch at Casa Cansfield…without us.
We missed the kick off because I can’t walk very fast these days (I really need those robot legs) and the Away Fans entrance is all the way around the back of the ground. Still, eventually we emerged into the throng around the game. It was rather crowded.
Nicktor was a bit annoyed that we’d be forced to sit down because the terrace was full. I can’t say I was disappointed given I prefer sitting to the constant fear of falling over and the concentration required to do that.
The game was started at a furious pace and promised great things then, following two very good tackles, an Aldershot player was red carded for a rather foolish one. Even so, reduced to ten men we still dominated the game, eventually scoring a marvellous goal before half time.
After the break Eastleigh tried to dominate, throwing everything at us but we still controlled the game despite their attempts to penetrate our goal mouth.
Nicktor was very nervous as the game approached its conclusion. He thought a single goal was not enough. I said if we could just get one more the win would be secure. Nicktor claimed one more wouldn’t be enough. He really was very nervous as the action went from end to end.
It was a more exciting game than this photo seems to indicate.
And then it happened. Eastleigh scored. 1-1. And that was all she wrote. Even with five extra minutes to play, we couldn’t manage to take the lead back. A draw wasn’t a fair reflection of the game but it is what it is and we went home with only a point.
The drive home was uneventful if you ignore Nicktor’s attempts to leave the car park unscathed. I decided to bore him senseless with stories about the Thames Ironworks. I don’t know why. Normally we talk about football.