Away Day Robins
Colne - Story 1
The latest report from the famous Blackburn & Darwen Robins comes from the local derby game at Colne.
After the embarrassment at Nelson four days earlier, we feared the worst from our trip to Holt House to face the ‘Mighty Colne’. Michelle picked up Fat Phil, Auntie Sheila, Dave, Billy ‘the kid’ and Jimmy ‘mad-dog’ Hughes before collecting me. First stop was Thomco Building Supplies where we not only picked up some quality materials, but also gathered expert advice from their well trained and efficient staff. Seeing as we’ve been barred from almost every pub in East Lancashire, we decided to take our own booze and what better place to get stocked up than the Co-op Superstore on Queen Street where we got some cracking bargains from the beer department. I also bought some quality Australian wine at unbeatable prices for the following days Sunday lunch.
It was a beautiful sunny day and we arrived at the ground at about half past two to find cars everywhere and we had to park miles from the ground. Blimey, there’s going to be hundreds on, or so I thought. It appears that most of them belonged to players from adjoining pitches and when we entered the ground, most of the supporters, as usual, were from Harwood. The crowd did in fact build up to a very respectable 177 with around 20-30 firmly behind the Robins.
The game started with Colne well on top and we couldn’t get a touch. When we did eventually get one, we leathered it upfield to no one in particular, before another Colne attack took place. Luckily, the home forwards forgot to bring their shooting boots and most of their efforts flew over the goal towards Yorkshire, but the opener eventually arrived via a corner after nine minutes. (Did we really hold out for so
long ?) Most of the Colne players were far taller than their Harwood counterparts and you really couldn’t blame the defenders for being out jumped.
Wave after wave of attacks continued and Bobby Harris had to be at his best to keep us in the game. As we were being totally outclassed at this point, all that we needed was to be a man short and Greeny duly obliged by stupidly abusing the Ref. and getting his marching orders. It was now a case of how many. The inevitable second goal came just after the twenty minute mark and it was well worth waiting for as Ingham hit a 30 yarder into the top corner that very few keepers in the country would have got near, and Bobby was no different. I must say that it was one of the best goals scored against us in recent seasons, and like the first, no blame could be attached to any Harwood player. After the sending off, Paul Mashiter moved back leaving Eastie up front on his own against four quality defenders! The ball was continually pumped up in the air to him and even if it had been Alan Shearer up there, he’d have stood no chance of making an impression. The wayward shooting of the Colne team continued up until half-time and amazingly we went in just the two goals down. As if things couldn’t get any worse, the snack bar ran out of pies before the break and Fat Phil was almost suicidal.
During the interval, the Ref. decided that he couldn’t bare to watch any more of the slaughter and retired from the proceedings to be replaced by one of his assistants, who looked more like Mr. Bean than Rowan Atkinson !
The second-half started with Mash reverting to the forward line and just like the last two away games, we started to play after we’d already lost the game. Unfortunately, we could still make little headway against a very competent looking defence but it was against the run of play when Colne added number three. Dennis Hill made a tackle, which appeared to be well outside of the area, but surprisingly, the liner gave a spot-kick. As if our predicament wasn’t bad enough, we have to get landed with partially-sighted official. The excellent Haworth put all of his fifteen stones behind the shot which arrowed towards the bottom corner. Incredibly, Bobby made a fantastic flying save but as the ball went away from the goal, and the Harwood players stood applauding, Simpson rushed in to belt it high into the net. Very poor play from the Harwood boys.
Still, the players kept their heads up and were given tremendous backing from the Blackburn and Darwen Robins who also targeted Mr. Bean for some stick as his decisions became stranger and stranger. In fact, the best official on the park was the Colne chap who took over on the line.
Although we saw much more of the ball during the last half-hour of the game, Colne were the only side who looked likely to add to the score and further saves from Bobby and more erratic finishing meant that we didn’t concede again. We wondered if we were going to break some kind of record as we reached the last minute without having had a single shot on target. ‘Lurch’ in the home goal only had a couple of crosses to deal with which was never going to be a problem to 6’ 11” giant. As the Ref. put his whistle to his mouth, Eastie ran along the edge of the box avoiding two tackles before firing goalwards. Young Baxter in goal, seeing his chance to finally earn his money, making it look far more spectacular than it needed to be, flew through the air like a gymnast to make a fine save. As he clutched the ball, the whistle blew for full time. It still remains a mystery how we only lost the game by three goals against a team that certainly looks the best in the league on the evidence of our two games against them. Maybe they just like playing against us, because if you take their two results against Harwood away, you're left with this far from impressive record: Played 15 Won 6 Drawn 4 Lost 5 For 29 Against 20 Points 22. Anyway, tough luck Colne, you won’t be playing us next season !
We were going to go straight home as we were all pretty depressed but Billy said that he knew of a pub that we hadn’t been barred from. Off into the countryside we drove until we ended up in the middle of nowhere at a hostelry called the Lost Sheep. “There’s no way we’ll get banned from here, they get hardly any customers so they need everyone they can get.”
As we walked in you could see why, the place was a right dive and the Landlord and Landlady looked like something from the Adams family. Seeing as it had already gone dark outside and there was a howling wind, I had second thoughts about going in myself. The Landlady was dressed in black and had a huge wart on her neck. “Michelle, whatever you do don’t mention her wart.” I pleaded.
“No worries.” She replied but as we got to the bar, Dave chirped up, “You can have that huge ugly thing on your neck surgically removed these days Missus.” “You mean the wart ?” Asked the Landlady. “NO, YOUR HEAD YOU OLD HAG !” He shouted.
“GET OUT, YOU’RE ALL BARRED !!” Get the cans out of the boot Jimmy !
There’s never a dull moment on our away trips so join us for the next one and remember………
Colne - Story 2
Colne arrived at the Showground on the back of 8 straight wins despite having to play 3 games a week for the past month. During that run, they have notched 26 goals and conceded just 7 to leave themselves just one win away from the 2nd Division Championship.
Cheered on by the majority of the 183 crowd, Harwood’s biggest of the season, Colne made their intentions clear by going on the offensive right from the kick-off. Shooting at every opportunity, the Robins defenders had to be at their best to stop the visitors from adding to their 90 goal haul for the season.
The pitch was very heavy after a weekend of wet weather, torrential rain throughout the Monday morning, and a downpour an hour before kick-off. Despite this, both sides played some fine football and only excellent defending prevented any goals in the first half. Ex-Harwood player Paul Walker, who had an excellent game at right-back, was closest to breaking the deadlock with a right foot shot from the edge of the box which grazed the post.
The second half followed a similar pattern although the Robins enjoyed more possession than in the first half.
Paul Mashiter had the ball in the net after a terrific run which saw him beat two defenders, only to see his effort harshly ruled out for offside. At the other end, Gizon and Walker both had fine long range shots which were just off target. Just after the hour mark Harwood were reduced to ten men when Neil Kennedy brought down a Colne defender on the edge of the visitors goal area as he looked to make a quick break out of defence. Having already been booked, he didn’t even wait for the card and made his way towards the dressing room. Sadly, Baxter in the Colne goal decided that the punishment was not enough and gave Harwood defender an ‘ear-bashing’ which almost caused a set-to before the players were pulled apart. Despite the set back, the pattern of the game didn’t alter too much, although the visitors did make good use of the extra man with their fine passing. Harwood defended from the front and on the few occasions when Bobby Harris was called into action, he dealt admirably with everything that high scoring Colne could throw at him.
At the final whistle the two teams were given a tremendous ovation by both sets of supporters after an excellent local derby which was played in great spirit, hard but fair. The result left Colne needing a win at Leek in their next game two days later, though Harwood needed the three points on offer to have any chance of securing one of the top four promotion places.
Colne - Story 3
The latest away day for the Blackburn & Darwen Robins was the League game at Colne. After heavy rain all through Friday night and Saturday morning, I phoned the ground at 1-45 expecting the game to be off, but was amazed to find it still on. Fifteen minutes later, Woody, Michelle and Dave turned up and we set off for Dingle country via your caring, sharing, wonderful, super-duper Co-op, where we bought eight cans of Heineken for only £4.
After driving round Colne for 30 minutes, we managed to find the ground just in time for kick off and it looked as though most of the crowd was from Harwood.
Kicking down the considerable slope we soon had the home side on the back foot and but for some wayward finishing we would have been a couple up before we finally took the lead midway through the half. ‘Sitters’ were squandered at both ends before half time but the signs were that we were on our way to the first double of the season. The first half was slightly marred by the MORON who was keeping goal for Colne. I assume that his name is Ross Baxter, so the programme said. That’s the trouble with closing all the asylums and calling it ‘care in the community’, you’re liable to see some of the ex-patients playing in the NWCL. From very early on in the game he was ‘effing and blinding’ for no apparent reason so Michelle shouted,
“Do you know any other words apart from the obscene ones?
To which Lurch replied, and I quote:
“Yes I do so F*** off”
John Lister take note, this idiot was lucky not to be sent off. Also stood next to us were four other Harwood ladies. During the game incidents occur which quite understandably bring out a bit of bad language, a kick on the shin, a missed chance, but this guy was totally out of order.
The 2nd half had far less chances and Harwood seemed to be in control without having to hit top form. Foggy missed a sitter near to the end but as full time approached it looked as though we’d secured a deserved win.
Full time came-and went-and on we played. Maybe the referee thought that he was at Old Trafford. The home side was after all in red. You could see it coming. Colne hadn’t created a worthwhile chance in the second half but a long punt upfield was totally miskicked by a defender, I didn’t see who it was, (luckily for him!) the ball went straight to the feet of a forward who stroked it into the corner of the net. We still had time for a free kick on the edge of their box and a corner before the final whistle. Maybe because it was so late and the floodlights weren’t on, the Ref. couldn’t see his watch, whatever, it was two valuable points dropped. Needless to say, the man in black was given one hell of an ‘ovation’ from the travelling fans!
To the players and management, please don’t slag off the Ref. or question his decisions, he’s not going to change his mind. Giving the officials stick is our job so leave it to us!
Could I also say that our three bookings were all deserved, giving lip to the referee, standing in front of the ball at a free kick, and a late tackle. He wasn’t the one who mis-kicked the ball to present an equaliser and he didn’t miss any easy chances, we did that!
Join us for the next trip, and remember,
Colne - Story 4
The latest report from the famous Blackburn & Darwen Robins comes from the trip to Colne towards the end of last season.
Michelle picked up Jimmy ‘Mad-Dog’, Big Dave and Fat Phil before collecting me in Darwen. Expecting a huge crowd for the Champions last home game, plus the fact that it was only £1 admission, plus the fact that they were playing against the top non-league club in the county, we set off early fearing that we may not be able to park within a mile of the ground. We’d no time to get any quality building supplies from Thomco, and went straight to the ground at 2-15. It was a beautiful sunny day and with the home side being presented with the Championship Trophy after the game, and their ‘goals for’ column approaching 100, the scene was set for another Colne victory. Probably due to the fact that Burnley were playing at home, the crowd looked to be more in the region of 150-200 although the gate was later given as 282, with Harwood supported by their usual following of 20-30. We had to win the game to stand any chance of finishing in the top four but when Colne scored within three minutes the signs looked ominous. Shots continued to rain in towards Bobby’s goal and we didn’t venture into Colne’s half until the 13th minute when Andy Taylor buried our first chance. Despite being under pressure for most of the half we held on until half time. hoping to make the most of the huge slope in the second period.
During the break we went for a brew and a pie, although Fat Phil was making his third visit to the snack bar! Whilst we were there, Jimmy asked the lady behind the counter why the pies had holes in the top of the pastry.
“Well love,” she said, “It’s so that Slim Whitman over there,” she replied with her eyes firmly fixed on Fat Phil, “can pick up four in each hand!”
“Bloomin’ cheek!” Muttered Phil.
The second half began badly at last we started to pass the ball and Sam Pope was used to great effect on the left wing, causing mayhem with his accurate crosses. Unfortunately, Colne’s Whittaker suffered a bad injury and had to be carted off in an ambulance. Having used all of their subs., Colne were now up against it as Harwood went in for the kill but our chances were hit when Sam had to be substituted. With Baxter in the home goal limping badly after a brave first half save, Colne needed to attack to keep the ball away from him and despite the one man deficit, they held their own and indeed had some decent chances late on in the game. Once again Bobby saved us with some great stops.
The game ended all square at 5-15, the same finishing time as last season when the Ref. played on until Colne equalised!
The draw meant that Harwood could only finish fifth as Darwen drew to finish in fourth spot. Being the good sports that we are, we stayed on to applaud the worthy Champions as they received the Trophy.
Seeing as we didn’t have time to get a pint before the game, we decided to stop off on the way home. I said that we should try another posh pub like the one on the Flixton trip. We found the Snooty Fox just outside Padiham and I told Michelle that whatever she did, she was not to insult the Landlord or Landlady.
“You know me, I never do anything to upset anyone”!!
In we went, over the 6 inch deep shag-pile and towards the solid mahogany bar, very nice. It was really posh and the Landlord even pronounced his H’s. He was chatting to a guy with riding breeches and a monacle and I know that he had a funny looking moustache but there was no call for Michelle’s opening shot.
“Ey, Charlie Chaplin, when you’ve finished talkin’ to yer ponsy mate we’ll ‘ave four pints o’er ‘ere!”
“I say old girl, are you addressing me?” Replied the Landlord in a very posh voice.
“No, I’m practicin’ me Shakespeare!” Snapped Michelle.
“Well get out, YOU’RE ALL BARRED!” Where have we heard that before?
Michelle just had to get the last word in. Using her poshest voice she replied,
“Actually old boy, we didn’t want to stay, I do believe that’s mould on the cheese, and the venison’s higher that Blackpool Taah!”
With the words ‘dashed bad show’, ‘damned ruffians’ and ‘awful rif-raf what’ ringing in our ears, we decided upon the Golden Cup in Darwen where they were pleased to see us.
As usual, it was another eventful day out and if you missed it, you missed a fine afternoon’s entertainment. Join us on the next trip, and don’t forget…..
Rally Round The Robins!