The View from the Bar 

Aha! Good evening again. It doesn’t take long to get back into stride (albeit the faltering stride that frequently sees me pen these notes in the wee small hours before a game). Last Tuesday night was a more-than-welcome return to the Westwood experience of a 1st Team matchday (or evening, perhaps even better). Yeah, okay, so we could have done without the two red cards, each unfortunate in their own way, but it was lovely to see the team digging in, playing for each other and spurred on by the crowd, too. Despite Hamble’s opener, by 8.45 we were looking good bets for the win, after Finn’s stunning free-kick leveller and having spent a good portion of the game well on top. Half an hour later though and a point felt like a win and, on balance, it was a richly deserved point.

  A point too that was followed up with a great win at Hythe & Dibden on Saturday. I didn’t go, no – I haven’t even set foot on the mainland since Friday 13th March last year, don’t forget (although I think I’m going to end up breaking that duck soon). I’m not convinced we’ll end the season up in level-3rd, but it’s nice to be there, and if Max and his charges use it as a platform to greater feats of altitude you shan’t hear complaints about it from these parts. With my seasoned Westwood regular hat on though, I did find it funny when, before our visit to Amesbury on the first day of the season another grizzled old regular commented to me that “it’s not often you get a six-pointer as your first game of the season”. Ahem,,,

  After many years of going to matches in Denmark and seeing as many bikes leant up outside the grounds as cars in the car park, I was interested to notice that the end of Reynolds Close by the fixture board appears to have been designated as an official parking bay for the Beryl electric scooters currently being trialled on the Island. They’ve caught on with some gusto, judging by the numbers of folk I’ve seen whizzing around Cowes. I can’t say I’m not just a little bit amused by the thought of some of our older supporters zooming up to Westwood from the town or Gurnard on one of those things. Come on Ladies and Gents, give it a try – make it happen!

  While I think of it, 10/10 top marks for Hamble’s clearing up of their dugout after the game. Many teams leave all sorts of rubbish and waste for someone else to remove, but I reckon Hamble’s dugout was probably tidier when they left than it had been at the start of the evening. Not sure if they’ll get to see this, but well appreciated it was.

  So, Christchurch in the Hampshire Senior Cup tonight, then, and quite a prize on offer with a home tie against AFC Bournemouth (yes, not the Poppies – AFC Bournemouth) as the prize for victory. As much as that may be a tempting prospect for us, I’d imagine Christchurch will be fighting doubly hard to secure a local derby against such esteemed opposition, so expect a fiercely-challenged game tonight.

  Plenty of memorable meet-ups with Christchurch in the past, not least our two riotous (ish) visits there in the Russell-Cotes Cup c.1992. One of the protagonists of those trips – Justin – is threatening to make a rare Westwood appearance (down from Yorkshire, in fairness) for the Andover New Street game next Tuesday, so if he still owes you a pint from twenty years-or-so back, it might be time to go digging for the receipts…

  But before then we welcome Bournemouth Poppies here to Westwood on Saturday, and before that we have Christchurch to look forward to tonight. Be loud, be proud. UTY!

           Toby.

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