Where's The Tea Hut reflects upon local football South West style with a few trips further afield. Keep the faith & stay safe.

Sunday, 26 May 2019

International Non League in Cornwall

Saturday 25th May 2019
CONIFA Fixture
Kernow FA 5 Barawa FA 0
Venue: Bodmin Town FC
Attendance: 215 (head count)
Admission: £5 & £3 concessions
Programme: £1
Weather: Mild evening, turning cloudy with sporadic light drizzle
Parking: Car park adjacent to ground

To start with allow me to provide some basic background about this game.
This was the first International game Kernow FA had been involved in. The Cornwall Select had previously only played 2 warm up games both against local opposition, they defeated Foxhole Stars and St Dennis respectively.

Barawa is a coastal town in South West Somalia. The Barawa FA has been organised by a dispersion of Somali football lovers residing in the UK. Their primary objectives are to promote Barawanese culture around the globe and reboot an interest in community football in Somalia. By promoting this sporting pathway it is hoped that the movement will assist in tackling poverty, boosting education and aiding the efforts to improve local living standards in the region. The people love football and the Barawa side have a respected reputation for playing an entertaining standard of the game.

CONIFA stands for Confederation of Independent Football Associations. They are the federation representing football associations outside the FIFA umbrella (which is a good start). They are non profit (unlike FIFA) and assist nations and regions with minority peoples from a wide range of isolated places and territories. Bearing in mind how Westminster treats the South West I would agree Cornwall have a claim to join in the fun.

This fixture has been tremendously well organised by Kernow FA with a multi profile coverage which even included live streaming of the action. I believe You Tube footage is readily available. For this reason I'm not doing a blow by blow report of the game but I shall endeavour to provide a cross section of photographs which hopefully give a hint of what an entertaining evenings football we all enjoyed. Barawa lost 5-0 but it was a joy to see them participating in such fine style after an extremely fatiguing coach trip down to Bodmin. I think everyone appreciated their efforts and they gained many friends who shall doubtless watch out for their progress and results in the future.

A quick paragraph on the Cornwall lads performance. Must say I was mightily impressed. Everyone played their part in providing some sparkling football. The future for Kernow FA looks bright indeed on this showing. People tend to remember the exciting bits about any game and the Kernow strike force certainly gave us plenty to look back upon. James Lorenz of Liskeard Athletic looks a genuine star of the future and he again emphasised why so many people rate him as a top class striker at this level. 

James was matched by the St Austell hitman Mark Goldsworthy who gave the Barawa defenders a tough time throughout, a superb performance. Last but not least I must mention the high impact cameo role from Liam Eddy (St Austell). Liam tore up the later stages of the game with a truly dynamite recital of action-man exploits which eventually peaked with a wonder goal which was expertly flighted from near enough the corner flag, epic.

I didn't know what to expect from this fixture when I handed over my cash to the lady in the entrance hut but goodness me I wasn't disappointed, well done Kernow FA, thank you Barawa FA and lets have some more of it soon.

Feel free to glance through some of the additional snaps I took (below): 

Sunday, 12 May 2019

The Big SWPL Cup Final at St Blazey

Saturday 11th May 2019
Walter C Parson South West Peninsula League Cup Final

Venue: Blaise Park, home of St Blazey FC
Attendance: 585 (Cup Record Buster)
Admission: £5 General, £3 Concessions
Programme: Free (Went pretty soon, quite a few punters disappointed)
Tea Hut Stuff: Too busy (and I'd also had a big dinner)
Weather: Uninterrupted sunshine, nice and mild
Parking: Car Park full, dumped the Match Shed 500 yards away

They don't come much bigger than an all Cornwall Cup Final do they? Rumour had it Rick Stein and that Poldark chap would be necking pints in the club bar before kick off (didn't see them in the ground though).

This had all the trappings of a cut and thrust classic with two of the SWPL big hitters renowned for Johan Cruyff type football strutting their stuff.

Have to say on the drive down in the Match Shed I didn't clock much football traffic, just the usual tourists en route for 2 weeks in a windy caravan near Mevagissey. Everybody was probably in the bar with the Poldark bloke.

My last 'Tea Hut Site' visit to St Blazey didn't go at all well due to a run in with an over zealous fifty/fifty ticket seller. I'm not the type to hold a grudge though (honestly?). Blaise Park was a picture of excellence for the big day and everyone involved from St Blazey FC deserves a big pat on the back for providing a superb setting for the Cup Final. Friendly courteous staff, including many club officials in suits and ties, easy access and egress, a wonderful playing surface and a spick & span ground (which has to be one of the best in the South West at non league level). They certainly did the SWPL and everyone in attendance proud. Well done indeed.

I got a decent vantage point on the grass bank opposite the Main Stand near the halfway line and was quietly contemplating the upcoming feast of football 15 minutes before kick off. Then a startling occurrence, I was sure I could hear a big booming drum far off in the distance that seemed to be gradually increasing in volume and apparently getting nearer and nearer? Families eating picnics on the grass around me looked up from their corned beef and pickle sandwiches at the encroaching racket. Then I heard voices, they were singing... they were singing football songs one normally hears on Match of the Day, you don't get this type of thing in Cornwall. A flag appeared, then a few yards back another one, then there was the unmistakable wobbling entrance of a bloody big banner! It appeared St Blazey was under siege from a mob of Seria A Ultras who'd got on the wrong ferry at Civitavecchia (the port for Roma). 

I heard a few rumblings from nearby Saltash supporters in red and white scarves that the Falmouth F Troop had arrived? I went to a Falmouth game at their ground recently, there was me and a handful of old blokes taking a well earned break from Boss Hog the nagging wife, there were certainly no Italian Ultra's. In a crazed fit of retaliation the Saltash Barmy Army (2 young lads sharing a Budweiser) let off a flare which must have been from a pound shop.

All it did was upset the people downwind eating the corned beef butties. Now I knew what it must be like to be at a Champions League Final.

Sadly my report has covered all the good bits of this day out in the sunshine. A great venue and some good old fashioned chest beating from supporters enjoying a day out at the football (beer was probably involved). The match itself was an absolute howler. Been many a year since I've ever seen anything this bad. Neither side had a clue. It was a fragmented mess lacking any sign of strategy or class. Undiluted boredom kicked in halfway through the first half and I gradually drifted off into some kind of non league induced version of Apocalypse Now. Thank goodness some random Saltash player put his header in the Falmouth net with literally seconds before the Extra Time I was dreading. I don't think I could have done it.

Well done to St Blazey for a lovely setting, the F Troop from Falmouth for the atmosphere and the 2 lads representing the Saltash Barmy Army, crap game though, seriously.


Thursday, 9 May 2019

"I'll be back"!

Just getting the new brain bedded in.

Football service WILL be resumed.