Away Day Robins
The latest trip for the Blackburn and Darwen Robins was the long journey down to Staffordshire to see the Reds take on Championship contenders Stone Dominoes who had already beaten us at the Showground earlier in the season.
After rushing round like idiots at work and gulping down a quick breakfast, we shot down to the superdupercaringsharingbargainhuntingsexymarvellouswonderful Co-op on Queen Street to stock up on beer, and managed to get ‘on the road’ by 11 o’clock. We stopped of at Longton near Stoke so that I could top up my best dinner service at the Royal Doulton factory. They say that the funniest stories are the true ones and believe me this is a true one-ask my wife. As we were leaving the shop, bearing in mind that a main course plate would set you back about £40, I held the door open for a chap who was coming in, a chap who was holding a white stick and was obviously blind! The look on the faces of the three counter assistants was something to behold and I’ll never forget it, and I must admit that I was looking for the hidden camera. As we got into the car we heard the crashing of crockery and the screams of the girls behind the counter-Priceless!
Off to the ground and after a slight detour via Stone, we found it in a nearby village. Funny how we couldn’t see any floodlights as according to the non-league directory, the club had lights, they must be fixed onto the stand-very posh!
On entering the ground, we saw that there were no floodlights! With a 3 o’clock kick-off there was no way that the game could be completed. Into the hut for a pre-match brew (no beer) and then onto the ‘ground’ at 2.55. Turnstiles-Yes, floodlights-No, terraces-No, stand-No, how did Stone get into the North West Counties League?
Onto the field came the teams, hey up, we’ve got a new strip-and a new centre forward-and some new defenders-and blimey, a completely new set of players!! John Hughes must have lost patience with the lads. Just then I saw Harry who was getting instructions on how to get to the other Springbank Stadium where the Stone Dominoes ‘1st’ team were playing Greta Harwood Town-about 8 miles away! I followed Harry, and then he followed me, round and round Stone town centre, and despite asking several locals, no one knew where the ground was, in fact no one had even heard of Stone Dominoes F.C.!
We eventually found the ground at 3.40, and as we went through the turnstile, Stone scored their first goal. The Harwood fans told us that the lads had been the better side in the first half but the 50 minutes play which we witnessed saw the home side run out deserved 4-0 winners and but for a couple of missed ‘sitters’ it could have been worse. Shocking at the back, punchless up front and outplayed in midfield by an excellent Stone side who really pass the ball around with great confidence and are probably the best side that we’ve played this season.
The crowd of 61 (it didn’t look that big) meant that Harwood once gain drew the biggest attendance of the day in the N.W.C.L. Division Two, but unless we can get our act together quickly and reproduce our early season form, then the following will inevitably start to dwindle.
If you missed it, you’re lucky, but things will surely get better so join us for the next away game, and remember……….
Rally round the robins!