Posts Tagged ‘Boo Hewerdine’

Middlesbrough v Luton Town, Saturday 10th December 2022, 3pm

December 11, 2022

It seems ages since we’ve been to the Riverside, but it’s just five weeks. In that time though I’ve seen ten games elsewhere including fixtures in Latvia and Qatar, so it’s little wonder that the memories of the draw against Bristol City on the afternoon of Bonfire Night have already faded.

Jen and I drove back from Cumbria on the morning of the game. We’d stayed over the night before after a Boo Hewerdine gig. The trip had also given us the opportunity to do a little bit more of the Hadrian’s Wall National Trail. We did the good bits in the middle of the route ten years ago, but have recently been completing the sections at the western end. There’s not much wall to see, but it’s easy walking and well-signposted, so requires little preparation other than remembering where we left the trail on the previous visit.

On this occasion we had time to walk for six miles from Crosby on Eden to Rickerby Park and back. The temperature rarely got above zero and we saw little wildlife other than geese and robins, but it was great to be out in the fresh air before the daylight faded.

The gig was very good too. Boo was playing in the village hall in Armathwaite which has a capacity of less than one hundred. There was no bar, but everyone was encouraged to bring their own drink and we had a great view from the front row. Jen was a bit worried that he might think we were stalking him as we were front row in a small club in Bradford for one of his gigs last year, but I don’t think he recognized us.

I remember being front row for Mark Lamarr at the Comedy Store in Leicester Square thirty-five years ago. I had my beer resting on the stage and then my feet. Lamarr and I exchanged a few words during the show, culminating in him asking if I thought I could do better than him and then challenging me to step up on to the stage. I accepted his invitation and did an impression of Mr. Whippy having a shit. It got as big a laugh as he had done all night. Thankfully for the people of Armathwaite, the stage was too far away for me to put my feet up and there was no reprise of my brief stand-up career.

Having dropped off Jen, I picked up Harry and Alistair and we made our way to the Riverside. Talk was all about how Carrick was likely to have benefitted from the World Cup break with him having had the chance to get his ideas across the players. We also wondered how Riley McGree would do after the career high of playing in a World Cup against Messi.

Initially it looked as if there had been little benefit to us from the World Cup break as we struggled to assert ourselves against Luton, but we grew more into the game as the first half progressed. McGree looked more confident than usual, so perhaps there was a Qatar dividend. With time running out another Crooksy cameo goal took the three points and moved us into the top half of the table.

Pontefract Collieries v FC Halifax Town, Saturday 16th October 2021, 3pm

November 1, 2021

Jen and I had spent the night before this game staying in Shipley on the outskirts of Bradford for a Boo Hewerdine gig. As usual he was very good and as he so often does was collaborating with someone else. We’ve seen him with Eddi Reader and Chris Difford in recent years and this time it was Heidi Talbot up on stage at the Live Room with him. In addition to their own stuff they covered Tom Waites’ ‘Time’ and Blondie’s ‘Sunday Girl’ which both went down very well amongst the sold-out capacity crowd of 120.

It was also a sell-out at the Beechnut Lane stadium the next day for the FA Cup fourth qualifying round tie between Pontefract Collieries and FC Halifax Town. I’d been looking to keep my FA Cup run going and as this one was pretty much on the way home it seemed an ideal choice.

I’d bought twelve quid tickets online within a few minutes of them going on sale and then watched with interest the build-up throughout the days leading up to the game.

We actually arrived at the ground two hours before kick-off. Not through excitement but because I’d planned to park up and then go for something to eat. Beechnut Lane isn’t really handy for anything though and once were in the car park the best option was probably to get in early and nab a couple of seats.

The plan worked and we ended up in the main stand next to a lady whose son had played for both teams in his younger days. Whilst it was good to have a seat and I’m fine with sitting quietly I’d have enjoyed it more if the DJ had brought enough records to only have to play each one the once. Most of his songs were from the seventies and good as a lot of them were, I didn’t really want to hear some of them three or four times over.

It was a big game for Pontefract and the first time that they had reached the final qualifying round. They play in the eighth-tier, in the same division as Stockton whilst Halifax are a former Football League club and currently third in the fifth-tier National League.

The crowd was a record and not far off fifteen hundred. It seemed as if the whole of Pontefract was there with a mix of lads on the beer, kids scoffing crisps and old blokes wondering why their regular spot on the railings was already three deep with half an hour to go to kick-off.

There was a good turnout from Halifax too, some of them in the seats near me but the majority behind the goal to my left. They also made the most of being allowed to drink at the pitchside, something that I don’t think that they can do at their level.

The size of the crowd put a strain on the tea hut but fortunately I’d got my chips and gravy not long after entering the ground.

Pontefract created some half chances, but Halifax always looked the better side and more likely to create something from nothing. Their pressure meant that the home goalie had plenty to do and he did it extremely well in a man of the match performance.

With the game in added time Pontefract had a man sent off for a second yellow. It was late enough for it not to matter though and they hung on for the goalless draw and a place in the draw for the First Round proper.