UCL/PDFL 'Hop 2019 - part two

Sunday 28th July 2019
The Sunday stage of the ‘hop had three more games in the United Counties League. Katie & Lee picked me up at the guest house in Kettering at 10 o'clock for the 11am start at Cogenhoe United. The Cooks joined the UCL Division One in 1985, winning promotion to the Premier Division in their second season and they have played in the top league ever since, becoming champions in 2004-05 season. 
The second match was a 1345 kick off at Irchester United, a club which has a long history, dating back to 1896 when they joined the Northamptonshire League. During the 1980s they were called Irchester Eastfield before becoming United again in 1990. The Romans were Division One champions in 2009-10, but are back in the second tier after relegation in 2013. 
Our final game of the weekend was at new promoted Whittlesey Athletic. The club were formed in 2014 following the merger of PDFL clubs Coates Athletic and Whittlesey United.
(Saturday's 3 matches)

687. Compton Park
Cogenhoe United v Loughborough University
UCL Premier Division (1100ko) 
 The ground has a seated stand with four rows of blue flip seats. There's a diminutive covered enclosure behind one of the goals. The rest of the ground is open with hard standing and a pair of brick dugouts on the far side. 

Matchday Facts
LUFC 1(Akpobire 32)
Admission £5
Pin badge £3
Coffee £1
Bacon roll £2

A tight game was settled in the 32nd minute when a low cross from the right was tapped in by Kel Akpobire.

688. Alfred Street
Irchester United v Wellingborough Whitworth
UCL Division One (13.45ko) 
Due to the neighbouring cricket ground spectators are limited to three sides railled off with a pair of dugouts at the spectators side. There's one main stand behind the goal with three rows of blue seats, along side the changing rooms, with the clubhouse at the back in the car park.

Matchday Facts
IUFC 3(Clark 7 Bail 71,81)
WWFC 3(Brittain 8 Crawley 45+2 Hazell 90+2)
Admission £12
Pin badge £3(from Terry)

The best match of the weekend saw Ty Clark capitalise on a defensive error to fire the hosts ahead, before the visitors instantly replied when a corner kick was headed home by Remy Brittain after eight minutes.
The Doughboys took the lead in first half stoppage time with a neat turn and shot from the edge of the box by Jason Crawley. Substitute James Bail was teed up by Clark to equalise on 71 minutes, before he latched onto a through ball and finished well to put the Romans ahead. An entertaining game was concluded with a smashing half volley by Jonny Hazell in injury time to make it 3-3 at full time.

689.Feldale Field
Whittlesey Athletic v Huntingdon Town 
UCL Division One (17.15ko) 
Matchday Facts
WAFC 1(Ilsley 70)
HTFC 2(Roberts 69, Jones 83)
Admission £4
Pin badge £3
Feldale Field is fully railed off with dugouts over the far side and a couple of temporary covered structures down one side. The ground has hard standing and is a work in progress with the likes of floodlights to be added during their debut season in the UCL.
The match looked to be heading towards our first goalless draw of the 'hop until a three goal burst in the last twenty minutes. Substitute Sean Roberts gave the away side the lead, but straight from the restart Matt Ilsley equalised with a diving header. The final goal of the weekend was by another Huntington Town sub Chris Jones and it was the best of the lot, he picked the ball up from midfield and fired in a 30 yard right foot shot into the top corner to win the match and finish of our football weekend in style.

At Whittlesey Mark Wilko turned up which means GBG ticking. He had already called into the local pubs, but was keen for me to do likewise so at half time we nipped off to the Little B and The Boat Inn. You probably think this wasn't possible in 15 minutes but it was a team effort. Mark dropping me off at the first pub where I had a swift half and when I walked across the road to the other boozer, another half was waiting for me on the bar.When we drove back to the ground the players were back on the pitch just waiting for the referee to restart proceedings.
After the football Mark joined Lee, Katie and I in the George Hotel JDW (and I also had a swifty next door in Hubs Place) before the long trek home, finally arriving back in pumpkin hours at 12.30am.
Thanks to Groundhop UK for organising an ace event. 

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