The View from the Bar 

  I’m massively at risk of being labelled as a part-timer, as I think I’ve written more columns this season than games I’ve actually attended. Likely to be missing again today – sorry. Very disappointing, especially as we will doubtless turn in our best performance of the season to put a brief wobble in the seemingly inevitable march of Hamworthy towards the title. Gulp. It’s a nice thought, at least. The Hammers have lost just once this season, to Baffins Milton Rovers (although maybe that’s a good portent, given our recent result against them…) and have continued their march towards Wembley in the FA Vase a couple of weeks back with a 5th round victory over Tunbridge Wells. A home tie with Southall awaits them in the quarter finals, offering a great chance to get to the semis – we wish them will in this endeavour (and hopefully they might be resting a few players today in anticipation…)

  I have very fond memories of a trip to Hamworthy that a little gaggle of us Cowes supporters made, I think it was back in November 2007. First time we’d journeyed down there by public transport, not realising we’d have been closer to the ground getting off at Poole station rather than Hamworthy, and would have had the opportunity to sample the delight of the fleshpots of Poole had we done so, also. Still, a grand day out it proved to be regardless, and provided one of the funniest moments of my entire life – I really can’t do it justice in print – but one of our number somehow managed to mistakenly phone himself up, ringing his mobile from a phone box (remember them?), answering the mobile, apologising to the person he thought he was talking to on the payphone for the interruption, going back to his mobile and saying he was on another call and hanging up, and then going back to the payphone call only to get frustrated that the recipient had hung up. Three of us were literally rolling on the floor laughing) as he stepped out of the phone box with a bemused look on his face. We were crying with laughter…

  Cowes lost 2-1, but the epic journey from the station more than compensated for that. Can’t remember that much about the game, but I do remember we had a warm welcome, and I also recall being quite taken with their old stand, which I believe has been retained alongside other on-and-off pitch developments.

  Seven points from twelve in our last four games has been a pretty solid return and looks to have pushed us well clear of any lingering relegation worries (despite the fact the I.W. Observer continues to define our proximity to the relegation zone by places, rather than by points). From what I hear it’ll only be two teams going down this year, but I’ve not heard for sure how many are destined for promotion from Division 1. I know that plenty of Cowes supporters are paying keen attention to the top end of the div 1 table, given that Newport are in the hunt for promotion, and it’ll be interesting to see how things shake out as we enter the business end of the season. I gather work has finally started on Newport’s new home, too, so if they do come up we could be facing an interesting challenge actually getting there next season. Mind you, they haven’t broken ground as such, just removed a bit of hedgerow, so we’ll see. I’m still (genuinely) disappointed that their mooted new ground at Fairlea never got the requisite backing – that really would have been an ideal location and better for island football all round, but there we go…

  Gold Cup news, and a shot in the eye for all of you who doubted my prediction abilities as the quarter final draw has pitched us against… West Wight! That crystal ball upgrade was definitely worth the money. At the time of writing no news yet on when this’ll be, or indeed confirmation of where, as although we’ve been drawn away I understand the Camp Road floodlights might be a little out of sorts, currently. I hope not – I quite fancy a trip out west to relive our days getting lost and visiting various garden centres looking for directions.

  Strangely, I haven’t even got around to talking about what I intended today and have nearly filled the page already – that doesn’t happen often. I’ll just have to save it for the next VFTB (by which time I’ll probably have forgotten anyway and will resume my standard scratching around looking for suitable content…)

  Enjoy the game,

                                                                                                         Toby

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