SATURDAY JULY 28
Wolverton Town 0 Raunds Town 1
Wolverton Town, a new team in the South Midlands League Division One that issues programmes, lures me out for a? rare pre-season friendly. The M1 to Milton Keynes is pleasantly traffic-free and I’ve soon arrived at The New Park.
My programmes are behind the bar as promised (no charge!) and I’m asked if I would like a teamsheet if one is produced. Does a bear like to use the facilities in the woods?
Sadly, I’ve just missed the reserve game on the second pitch, which is just ending as I arrive.
Instead, I head for the burger bar parked in one corner of the ground. This will be present for every home match – I thoroughly recommend the bacon burger.
As Wolverton have climbed up from the North Buckingham League there has been plenty of hard work going on around the place.
And there’s more to follow. Rails will soon be installed around the pitch and the concrete bases are in place for the new dugouts. The club has also moved pitches to be closer to the changing rooms.
Just after kick-off the secretary walks halfway round the ground to hand me a teamsheet.
Meanwhile, the young referee’s stamping his authority on the contest. He quickly summons the Raunds captain to tell him to stamp out the backchat from the argumentative visiting players.
Wolverton try to play the right way but lack penetration up front, Raunds squander several chances, mostly saved by the home keeper, already MOTM by half-time – and the ref further impresses me when he cautions a Raunds player.
Their coach shouts: “I’ll deal with him! And by the way that was a foul over there!”
The man in the middle patiently responds: “I’m dealing with him, and it wasn’t a free-kick because I didn’t give it.”
Despite this narrow defeat against higher-ranked opposition, Wolverton Town seem to be a very welcome addition to the South Midlands League family.
They couldn’t do enough to help their visitors, and unfortunately that included the team’s defenders.