Saturday 11th May 2019
Walter C Parson South West Peninsula League Cup Final
FALMOUTH TOWN 0 SALTASH UNITED 1
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.