So the double header against Shildon yielded no goals and no points. Disappointing, but not too surprising, given we are suffering a major injury crisis at present. It happens to everybody so no complaints, but it isn’t half frustrating. Having said that the general view was that over both games we did pretty well, except maybe in terms of taking the chances we had, and we did have a few in both games. It's funny how it works, but sometimes a bit of adversity can help in the long run. By all accounts nobody watching Luke Richardson hurling himself about with joyous abandon up front last Wednesday could have been less than impressed with this confirmed defender doing a turn as a striker. Apart from putting the ball in the net obviously. I jest, he did great. And on Saturday, among a lot of good performances, the cameo at left back from goalkeeper Jack Patton was a joy to watch, particular when he started telling his fellow defenders to get themselves out and sharpish! No, overall the spirit is great, but it looks like we might need some reinforcements, maybe including tonight. Will the boss have been on the case? Who knows.
View from the cemetery
So the romance of the Cup is over, at least until November when the Vase kicks in for us, and it was down to earth with a bang at Shildon on Wednesday night; always a tough trip, made harder by our injury and other problems I understand, and lo and behold we play them again today. I know the fixture secretary’s job is hard, but this is frankly ridiculous and worse, makes the league look ridiculous, in your humble correspondent's opinion. There is a very long way to go with this season, surely this return fixture could have waited, even if it meant a blank Saturday for us? This kind of thing much strengthens the move to reduce the size of leagues to 20 or even 18. Never mind we must crack on. I hear Mr Larkin put in his normal cracking effort at centre back on Wednesday, while more surprising was the performance of Luke Richardson up front for more than 80 minutes. Very good stuff, and a sign that the attitude around the squad remains top class. Versatility, a great quality in a player.
So does death count as a disability? More to the point will it count as a concession down at Scarborough next Saturday? I suppose not. I can't miss this one, even in my state, but have you seen the price of getting in? I can't be climbing over walls. Good job the club are putting on dead cheap transport to get there. If you see what I mean. Still we mustn't grumble, has football in Ryhope ever been in such good nick? Not for a long long time I guess. Both clubs going well in the League, the CW tonking Guisborough in the Vase the other day and our bold boys well on the way to Wembley in the big boys cup. Yes, this old cemetery is just about the centre of the football world right now. Can it last? It's only September after all. Enjoy it while it's there is my advice, you never know what's round the corner. He said optimistically.
I see we had a visit from the esteemed former league chairman Mike Amos the other day, popping in after his mission to find the famous listed pigeon cree of Ryhope. I understand he was successful, though why anyone would want to spend time in shooting range of pigeons beats me. No, I said 'shooting' madam. Still more stuff for his blog which remains a very good read, though the proofreading is clearly non existent. Hopefully he enjoyed the game more than the earlier game of ours he saw this season, the defeat down at Marske, which he generously described as niggly and nasty. Probably fair comment. Still two visits to RCA games before August is out, we must be doing something right to attract the glitterati of the Northern League world.
You will have heard me remark in earlier submissions that I trust the crowd won’t impede my view of the match. Not much chance of that at the moment. The long grass on the bank is another matter, mind. I know it's August and all that, and we have got a succession of home games but even so, the crowds are a bit disappointing aren’t they? Not in quality I hasten to add, indeed not, a finer selection of discerning football aficionados it is hard to imagine than the RCA faithful, much experience of the game, know a good player when they see one, fair and impartial commentators, and fond of a pint; no you can’t knock the quality, but the quantity? A fine young side developing, a super standard of football, and embarked on an FA Cup run that sees us a mere ten games from Wembley, assuming we make the semi final. What more could the good people of the City of Sunderland want? Quite a bit it seems. Well, a Ryhope Derby with both sides in fine fettle, followed a week later by the visit of Liversedge in the first qualifying round of the cup is a decent offer I reckon. Maybe the undecided will decide this week.
Pink balls? It’s not really cricket is it? The first attempt at a Day/Night test in England last week, and I suspect it may turn out to be a collector's item, wouldn’t be surprised it there was never another one. The weather and the light are all against it here. Wonderful in Dubai, or the Caribbean, but Birmingham or Manchester? I’m far from convinced. I am however convinced about the West Indies team. Atrocious. Poor old Andy Roberts was on the telly, a proud man, proud of the ferocious, intimidating and simply superb bowling of him and his colleagues back in the day, but looking sick and clearly ashamed and embarrassed by the efforts of the current squad. I don’t think England are that brilliant, indeed I strongly recommend a wager on the Aussies this winter down under, but the Windies were simply pathetic, and have another couple of tests to play before they can get into the old crash, bang, wallop malarkey where they may do better. It brought back memories of the great West Indies teams though, and the masochistic pleasure of watching the fast bowlers torment the latest chinless wonder from the public schools of England, while Geoff Boycott made sure he spent most of the time up the other end shaking his head. We had Sir Geoff and Ian Botham; they had Holding, Marshall, Ambrose, Lloyd, Richards, Greenidge and the rest. Wasn’t really a fair match was it? A bit like watching England v Germany over the years in football. Quality, planning and organisation versus shambolic selection and haphazard tactics. It is a little known fact that Gordon Greenidge was born in Hampshire and would have been delighted to play for England if it had occurred to the selectors to ask. What a surprise. Happy days.