Away Day Robins

Darwen Story 1

18-10-02

The recent Division Two Trophy game at Darwen provided the famous Blackburn and Darwen Robins with a rare ‘home’ game. The Anchor Ground is only about 500 yards from my house, as the crow (or Robin) flies so I took the direct route through the new motorway services. Unfortunately the place was surrounded by fencing and deep holes full of muddy water, added t o the fact that it was pitch black, ensured that I got pretty mucky. Rather than risk life and limb walking through the notorious Anchor Estate, I climbed over the first eight foot high fence but was soon greeted by a ten foot high fence on the other side. The ten foot high fence also had barbed wire at the top and a six foot high Alsatian at the bottom so I made a hasty retreat and took my chances through the estate.
When I got to the ground at 7.30, the game had already kicked off which came as quite a surprise as evening games ‘always’ start at 7.45. An even bigger surprise was that I wasn’t able to walk round the ground to the turnstile so I climbed over the fence before paying my £3 at the designated gate.
I soon met up with the usual crew apart from Fat Dave who was discovered 10 minutes into the game on the first three seats of the main stand with a pie in each mitt.
An early 30 yard blockbuster from Shaun was greeted by a huge cheer from the crowd who seemed to be almost all Harwood fans. The lad splayed some magnificent football and the passing, movement and control was as good as we’ve seen from them this season. Despite a goal form our ex-hero Paul baker, the result was never in doubt and goals from Baron, Parr and Derbyshire sealed our passage into the next round.
One stroke of luck for us was Darwen’s best player, Dennis Hill being left on the bench until it was too late. When I thanked the Darwen manager for this kind gesture he almost burst into tears.
Into the bar for a celebratory pint with the lads. This season is providing plenty of entertaining football from the boys and the away games in particular are proving to be a good day out. This game saw the third excellent following in a row for the club, with more away fans than home fans for the last two. The crowd of 128 at Darwen was more than twice their usual attendance and what struck me most was the deafening silence which greeted their two goals.
Here’s to more great away days watching Harwood, and if you missed it, you missed another cracker so why not join us for the next trip, and remember………

Rally Round the Robins!

Darwen Story 2

6-2-04

The latest trip for the famous Blackburn & Darwen Robins was the ‘home’ game in the first leg of the Division Two Trophy at Darwen.
Despite the usual tremendous Harwood following, we had several members of the crew missing.
Friday night is Big Dave’s weightwatchers meeting and Michelle goes to college where she’s studying diplomacy. That just left Fat Phil, Jimmy ‘Mad-Dog’ Hughes, Billy ‘The-Kid’ and yours truly to fly the flag for the Blackburn & Darwen Robins.
As we all walked to the ground, we couldn’t call at Thomco for our quality building supplies, but we can stock up next week instead.
After a fine day, the rain started at 6-30and chucked it down for the rest of the evening until 5 minutes before the end of the game, turning the pitch into a quagmire, and making constructive football almost impossible.
A healthy crowd of 155 turned up, at least half from Harwood, and there would surely have been 200 had it not been for the weather.
As it had been over an hour since tea-time, Fat Phil said that he needed some food so we went to the snack bar.
“What sort of pies do you sell?” Asked our portly buddy.
“Well there’s chicken and mushroom, meat, steak and kidney, chicken balti, meat and potato and cheese and onion,” replied the lady behind the counter.
“O.K. I’ll have one,” said Phil.
The lady put a cheese and onion pie on the counter.
“What’s this you dozy mare?” Exclaimed Phil. “I WANT ONE OF EACH!!”
As Phil got stuck into his ‘snack’, we settled down to watch what we thought was going to be a bloodbath, considering recent Harwood-Darwen clashes, the state of the pitch and the appearance of ex-Robin Paul Brown. Despite the crunching tackles, it didn’t materialise and some excellent refereeing ensured that the game was completed with all 22 players on the pitch.
Darwen started the brighter and had the best of the chances but thanks to some sterling defensive work we held on till half time.
After the break we had far more of the play without looking too dangerous and a draw looked favourite until a silly trip in the area resulted in a penalty for the home side. Up stepped the prolific Daniel Stubberfield who put the ball right into the left hand corner of the goal, only to watch in amazement as Bobby Harris pulled off the second superb penalty save in consecutive games.
Boosted by this let-off, Harwood poured forward and a great save down to his right by Darwen custodian Batty, prevented the Robins from taking a first leg lead. Sam Pope was brought on towards the end of the game as we went all out for a win but after a piece of trickery on the left wing he was left in a heap by the afore mentioned Mr. Brown.
The final whistle was greeted with applause and relief from both sets of supporters as it would have been unfair on either side had they lost. Both teams did their utmost to play good football on a gluepot of a pitch and the big boot forward was a last resort. After last season’s 4-2 victory in the same competition, and the 3-0 league win at the Anchor, we had anticipated a win, but all things considered, it was a decent result and it set things up nicely for the second leg at the Showground.
Into the bar for a couple of post match pints and to take the mickey out of Dennis ‘sun-tan’ Hill. Seeing as the majority of us start work at 5 o’clock, we all left for home at 10-30, all except Fat Phil who left for the Chinese at 10-00-you can’t beat a meal for four just before you go to sleep!
Once again, an away day trip for the Blackburn & Darwen Robins had been an event to remember.
Please join us for the next trip, there’s never a dull moment and remember…


Rally round the robins!

   
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