Yesterday I had a text from Nicktor asking if I’d like to go to watch a game of football tonight. Aldershot weren’t playing so he suggested we go to Hartley Wintney and watch their FA Trophy game against Wesfield (which I think sounds like a shopping centre but is, in fact, in Woking). Of course I said yes.
Mind you, at lunch time it was suddenly pouring with rain after a lovely morning of sunshine, meaning the girls didn’t go to the park as soon as they would have preferred. Then, when the rain eased off and we left, the still drizzly rain kept Freya and me under the shelter of a big tree while Emma ran back and forth after her ball.
But, as the day wore on towards night, the rain went away and left the dry but cold that we’re used to at this time of year. As we waited for Nicktor I listened to The Beatles White Album with Freya on my lap. When we reached Everybody’s Got Something to Hide Except for Me and My Monkey, my gusto singing meant her tail would wag and she’d look up at me. At first I wondered why then I realised and sang even louder.
The amazing thing about Hartley Wintney is the fact that they have an amazing club house. A fully functioning bar with some decent beer on tap (I’m ignoring the nonsense beginning with ‘F’) and all warm and toasty. We were early and took full advantage of the cosiness on offer.
Nicktor had been before when his boys were playing for the Haslemere Under 14’s team. They played on the HW ground back then so this wasn’t Nicktor’s first trip. Mind you, he insisted that he didn’t feel right about ticking the ground off as a new one when he watched a bunch of young kids playing rather than a real, albeit non-league, game.
So, after a few beers, we took our place against the fence, delightfully siting ourselves between the two dugouts. This was a bit of an eye opener for me. I was quite surprised at the amount of abuse hurled at the poor referee by the HW manager. And this poor linesman heard a lot of stuff he really shouldn’t have had to.
In fact, we were both quite surprised because if a player abuses the referee he can be booked and, if any dissent is bad enough, sent off. Apparently managers can swear and abuse with impunity. I reckon this sort of behaviour should be stamped out.
And speaking of ‘stamping out’…there was an incident in the first half which occurred in front of me which I was not happy about. It was at the left of the photo above (pity I didn’t have my phone ready) and was a tackle on a Westfield player. He was left sprawled on the ground and the HW player who had also fallen over but regained his feet, walked over the prone player on the ground.
It was blatant and obvious and in plain sight. How the referee didn’t send the player off I’ll never know. It was also right in front of the Visitor’s bench so, naturally, there was a great uproar over both the foul behaviour and the lack of suitable punishment.
Mind you, like a lot of things in sport, it was evened out in the end because there was a pretty bad tackle in the second half (it was too far away from us and Nicktor had just handed me a Werthers so I missed it) which caused an equally great uproar. The referee booked someone and the game continued but, as the member of the Westfield coaching staff told a member of the HW coaching staff, it made them even.
Apart from the abuse from the coaching staff, the game was a lot of fun and we enjoyed it a lot. It helped that we weren’t supporting either team so could just enjoy it for the game.
Of course, it was also lovely seeing Nicktor. It’s always lovely when it’s just the two of us.
Oh, and the score was Hartley Wintney 2 – 1 Westfield.