VIEW from the BAR – v Brockenhurst 24-08-19

The View from the Bar

Art’noon! Now, as I write, it’s half-past midnight on Friday night and I haven’t got the faintest idea what I’m going to write about. It happens like that sometimes. A page doesn’t seem like much to fill, until you can’t think of anything to fill it with, and then it seems to take on the magnitude of a polo pitch, or, erm, something else very large and flat.
I’ve already been outside to check the weather in the vain hope that a postponement today might mean I get away with not delivering my promised page, but the clear skies and still air suggest the game’s going to be on, so I’d better come through with something. Erm…
Today’s opponents! That’ll get me rolling for sure. Brockenhurst – I’ve always had a soft spot for Brockenhurst. I’ve almost certainly been there more times watching Cowes than any other ground (bar Westwood, of course), and their Grigg Lane home is definitely my favourite away ground in the Wessex League. Technically it’s not called Grigg Lane any more, but when you’re trying to picture a quirky little old-style Hampshire League ground nestling down a leafy New Forest avenue, the Meadens Skoda Arena just doesn’t seem to conjure the right images. I apologise unreservedly to Meadens Skoda, of Sway Road, Brockenhurst – (I’m doing my best to give them a bit of exposure here by way of recompense) – but it’ll always be Grigg Lane to me. Unless they actually pay to change the name of the road, in which case I might have to suck it up.
In recent seasons Brockenhurst has been the preferred venue for a big Cowes away-day, and several times a sizeable Cowes contingent have done their best to boost the local economy, putting a not inconsiderable cash injection into the area via the tills of The Foresters Arms, The Snakecatcher, and the Brockenhurst clubhouse. It’s not that long before we’re due to play the return fixture against The Badgers, so put 12th October in your diaries and make sure you’ve got your drinking trousers ready…
Progress! Cup progress no less! Yes, great win at Fawley on Wednesday in the Hampshire Senior Cup on Wednesday night, and as a result we have a home draw against Wessex 1 side Petersfield on September 17th to look forward to. It’s been a while since we’ve had much joy in the Hampshire Senior Cup, but there’s some proper tasty draws to hope for in the competition so if we can get past Petersfield there must be a reasonable chance of a trip to Southampton, Portsmouth, Eastleigh or Aldershot on the cards. Of course, we can’t afford to take the Petersfield game for granted, being as they have been something of a bogey side for us in recent times. Yes, yes, I know we seem to have quite a lot of bogey sides, but when they got relegated from the Wessex Prem a couple of years back they only managed four wins all season, and two of them were against us as I recall. Just saying…
One of the plus points of regular trips to Denmark with work is that it frequently gives me the opportunity to take in a game or two while I’m out there, most often at Midtjylland or Esbjerg. On my last trip though, I headed a little further afield and managed to take in two games in a day, first at Silkeborg for a midday kick-off against Horsens, then on to Randers to see them take on Brondby. I have to say, the Danes don’t half know how to redevelop, with their stadiums streets ahead of the soul-less bowls of this country in terms of character and atmosphere. Silkeborg moved to a new ground (from the ramshackle but quaint Mascot Park) a couple of years ago. The new Jysk Arena is a cracking little ground, two-tiered all around, with sections of terracing at each end. It also has a plastic pitch, similar to the Jutland neighbours Nordsjaelland (when the two teams meet, the Danish press have taken to dubbing it ‘El Plastico’). The game itself was awful, and the 300-or-so fans who had travelled up from Horsens went home happy after a comfortable 3-0 win. The 4 o’clock kick-off at Randers was a rattling good game in comparison, in another lovely, modern ground. Brondby had brought well over a thousand supporters, but they were shocked into momentary silence as Randers took a seventh minute lead. The visitors were level again within 30 seconds, and that was the way it stayed until injury time when Brondby thought they’d won it with a 93rd minute strike. The rowdy travellers were again silenced though, as the home side grabbed an unlikely point with the last kick (well, a header actually) of the game. I’ve got quite into the Danish football (as you can probably tell), but there is one drawback – every set of supporters have at least one cheerleader with a drum, which they’ll beat on relentlessly throughout the match. It’s like watching Sholing every game you go to – imagine that!
But anyway, back to the real world and against the odds it seems I’ve filled the page – my work here is done. Enjoy the game.