Saturday 7th August
Northern Counties East Premier Division
Thackley 1 Bridlington Town 1
Programme: £1 and very good too
Tea hut purchase: Nice cheeseburger at £1.90, tea 70p
Weather: Lovely sunshine but not too hot
Parking: Club car park, easy getaway
No more friendlies for me, its time for the proper action, yippee! Today the Northern Counties East kicked off its season and I was at Dennyfield on the semi-rural outskirts of Bradford, the glorious little ground of Thackley AFC. The champions Bridlington Town arrived in their mini bus (expertly driven by their chairman Peter Smurthwaite) just as I parked up the match-shed (my car). Thackleys charismatic home is in a rather nice spot past the local cricket club down a leafy country lane, surrounded by fields it presented a super setting in the sparkling warm sunshine. A point I made to Frugal Glenn who was evidently too busy scanning his copy of 'The Sun' to notice. It was dull, damp and cold when we left the tops of the Pennine hills, Frugal Glenn looked like a walking second hand clothes shop, not long after he piled most of his winter woollens in the boot leaving him sporting a faded t-shirt he'd been doing some decorating in. He was all Jackson Pollack.
Theres a lovely big red and white sign adorning the wall next to the turnstiles and once inside you're quickly impressed with a spick and span scenic little ground, the pitch looked immaculate. Most of the structures are down one side of the touchline, a tea hut, a covered terrace and a main stand with wooden bench type seating. On the opposite side of the pitch resides an open terrace where we would later watch the second half. It all looked pretty good to me, even Frugal Glenn mumbled that it looked ok! I was starving, I'd had an Indian the night before (a meal not a person) but I'd suffered the 1 in 10 deadly after effects so associated with such spicy delicacies, I had bad guts with all the trimmings 'big time', I'd only been able to manage a small dry piece of toast in the morning but now...my appetite was back with a vengeance. At ten past two the tea hut shutter went up on a new league season and I was thrilled to order the very first quarter pound cheese burger of the new campaign. I got a big cup of tea on the side and in no time at all the horrors of a rogue Lamb Jal Frezi were a thing of the past. It was a rather large chap at the cooking controls in the tea hut and he soon had a sweat up as the burgers and onions sizzled and spat in unison, at his side was his trusty pint of foaming ale, obviously a chef from the Keith Floyd school of cuisine. The burger hit the spot and the warm tea washed it down excellently. Frugal Glenn was reading my programme and commented that it was a pretty good read, it even had colour pictures in it! For a quid it was an informative publication which was trademark of the Thackley product we were readily witnessing. By now a number of Bridlington Town supporters had started arriving many of them wearing the club red polo shirts, obviously looking forward to another successful season. This was looking a 'match of the day' at least on paper, Bridlington won many praises for the football they played winning the league whilst Thackley, who finished fourth last term, had high hopes for silverware themselves come next May.What we got was what we expected, a damn good end to end game of football. Perhaps the first half edged the second for goalmouth action but there was still plenty of quality. This was a match that was a credit to the league. Josh McClean banged in a long range opener for Thackley in the eleventh minute, Wayne Wallace got a foot on a Bridlington free kick in the 41st minute to equalise. Two players who stood out amidst the cut and thrust of a very even encounter were Thackleys new signing from Halifax Town Luke Richardson, who terrorised the vistors down the left flank and the superb controlling Bridlington midfield general Ashley Allanson. Ash was faultless throughout and looked absolute class on the day. I suppose a draw was a fair result in the end as neither of these sides deserved to come out of this match pointless.If this is the standard for the season the laughing stock negativity, diving, play acting and fouling festering from that atrocious World Cup will soon be forgotten completely. Can't wait for the next match to be honest. On a slightly less savoury footing the warm sunny weather had caused a bit of a problem in the car (or I should say match shed), it was my wedding anniversary and to soften the blow of sodding off to football again I'd bought the financial controller some fancy chocolates, well I did spend 7 quid on them, unfortunately the unexpected warm weather had melted them into some kind of art studio 'Mars-bar-like' wall plaque. Frugal Glenn didn't see the problem with the situation, he said they would still taste the same once she started eating them. Mind you...I had got her a card from Morrisons as well! Money no object so long as I can still get to a midweek game next Tuesday / Wednesday?