Monday, 31 July 2017

Bourne Town 1 v 2 Raunds Town

Saturday 29th July 2017
United Counties League Division One
Abbey Lawn, Bourne
Admission: £5.00
Programme: £2.00
Attendance: 459
Match Rating: 3

For my final game of the day, I rejoined the United Counties League groundhopping event by crossing back into Lincolnshire, with about a 40 minute drive from my earlier game at March.

Abbey Lawn is part of a fairly large sports complex including a cricket field, tennis pitches and a bowls club, and is a few minutes walk eastwards from Bourne town centre. Visitors follow a short drive from the main road, and enter the ground in one corner, after paying admission at a fairly large brick hit in one corner. All of the facilities are along the length closest to the entrance, with a rather bland but spacious clubhouse situated behind a sheltered area covering three steps. A tea bar window is located in the wall between the covered terrace area and the clubhouse. There is then a taller all-seater stand. Beyond that stand is a grassy area which this evening contained a refreshments gazebo, barbecue and some tables offering goodies for the groundhopping visitors. Around the rest of the ground there is just hard standing. The ground was smart and immaculately maintained, with the surrounding recreation ground, trees and church giving the place a really nice feel to it. The programme was the only big disappointment of the evening, very much a case of lots of style but precious little substance. It was certainly designed well and printed on very high quality paper, but only consisted on 8 pages, half of which were advertising and only 2 pages of any kind of interesting material, with welcome messages from the manager and chairman, and the club's history. To charge £2.00 for it was excessive in the extreme. On the plus side, team sheets were handed out free of charge, as well as a whiteboard displaying the teams on the back wall of the covered terrace.

Last season, Bourne Town finished in 15th place in the 20 team division, while Raunds Town finished in seventh place.

Although the weather was fair at kick off, rain arrived about 15 minutes into the game and continued throughout the rest of the match. This was an even game throughout, but the home team paid the price for not really carrying a goalscoring threat despite doing plenty of attacking. The visitors took the lead on 36 minutes following a wonderful jinking run through the defence by Dan Porter before striking the ball low past the keeper.

Eight minutes into the second half and Bourne came close to an equaliser when a close range shot was involuntarily saved by the keeper's dangling hand. They did create some other half chances, but it was the visitors who scored again on 81 minutes when a diagonal ball over the defence found Dave Townsend, who took a good touch before firing past the keeper. Plenty of huff and puff by the home side was rewarded with a penalty after the striker overran the ball and was tripped by the keeper, and the ball was duly dispatched by Josh Russell, firing into the right side of the net. The problem for Bourne was that that came in stoppage time at the end of the match and there was no time to grab an equaliser.

So a defeat for Bourne on the pitch, but they certainly won off the pitch as they were rewarded for their excellent organisation of the evening as well as extensive promotion of the match to the local community as well as groundhopping with a real bumper crowd. Yet again today, there was a friendly feel to the place and with hard working, dedicated official, I wish the club well.

No comments: