Doveridge 3 Holly Bush United 1

Saturday 27th June 2009
Doveridge 3 Holly Bush United 1
Bill Redfern Memorial Cup Final
At: Osmaston Polo Ground
Kick-off: 7-30 pm
Attendance: 90 (headcount)
Weather: warm and sunny
Duration: first half: 46:44; second half: 48:40

I was delighted when John Brailsford, the Summer League Secretary, accepted my offer to produce a programme for this game. So with printed programmes in the car, I set off in lovely sunshine for the eagerly-awaited 2009 Bill Redfern Memorial Cup Final between second-placed Holly Bush United and third-placed Doveridge.

Bill Redfern’s commitment to the Summer League totalled 64 years which was a remarkable achievement by any standard and very unlikely to be surpassed. He attended the inaugural meeting of the League at Church Broughton in 1929 and was a member of the League Council, holding the posts of Vice Chairman and Chairman and was elected President and a life member in 1971. Up to his death in 1994 at the age of 86, he continued to attended meetings and matches.

On the way up the A515 towards Ashbourne, I noticed a few spots of rain on the windscreen and the odd car travelling south with lights on. “Oh no,” I thought and pondered another evening of football in the rain. I needn’t have worried as the game was played in nice dry tee-shirt weather.

The Osmaston Polo Ground looked superb as it did 13 months ago when I made my previous visit. The ground was located a few hundred yards south of the Shoulder of Mutton pub on the road to Wyaston. At the entrance was a roped off area for car parking with the pitch running lengthways in the middle of a large field down towards an elegant pavilion and roped off down both the left-and right-hand touchlines. There was also a small wooden stand seating 3 or 4 people at the most on a wooden bench. To the left, a cricket match was drawing to a conclusion as I arrived about 7 pm and to the right of the Summer League pitch were the markings of another football pitch used for winter football.

I met John Brailsford at the entrance and it was nice to have a chat with him having exchanged plenty of emails of the past week or so while I prepared the programme. His help was invaluable – thanks John!

Doveridge, third in the league behind leaders Bradley with 32 points from 16 games, went into the final on the back of a run of seven straight wins. Included in that run was their 6-3 victory over Alton in the semi final of this competition which I saw earlier in the month at Rose & Crown.

With four wins out of their last five games, including victory over Coach Rangers in the semi final, second-placed Holly Bush United, who play their homes games in Church Broughton, were also in excellent form, They had a league record of 34 points from 16 games, seven points behind leaders Bradley.

Presumably Holly Bush skipper Ben Adcock won the toss as, after the teams turned round, Doveridge got the action underway defending the Pavilion End. I opted to watch the first-half action with the sun on my back close to the wooden stand.

The game’s first chance came after just 20 seconds. Chris Smith of Holly Bush (white shirts, black shorts and white socks) got on the end of a deep left-wing cross and hit a first-time volley wide of the near post. Smith again got into a good position and shot straight at the well-positioned Doveridge keeper Gary Hollins.

We didn’t have to wait long for the opening goal and it was Doveridge (wearing a Brazil-like yellow shirts, blue shorts and white socks) who took the lead in the 6th minute. Will McCann took the ball down the left and crossed low into the area where Kev Gadsby fired who via a Holly Bush defender.

Holly Bush were soon awarded a free-kick 30 yards out which Tom Rushby curled over the wall and bar. Good work by Luke Billinge set up another chance for Tom Rushby who fired straight at Hollins.

In a game that certainly flowed from end to end, Doveridge came inches away from doubling their lead. George Avery crossed from the right and Gadsby got in a downward header which the diving keeper Piers Beeston kept out. The assistant over on the far side got a good view and indicated the whole of the ball hadn’t crossed the line.

In the 17th minute, Doveridge were awarded a penalty when Mick Skellern went down inside the area under the challenge of Tom Rushby. Holly Bush were clearly unhappy with the decision and no doubt felt justice was done when Beeston stretched out his left hand to turn round McCann’s spot kick.

Less than two minutes after Beeston’s marvellous save, it was the turn of Holly Bush win a penalty. Tom Rushby, felled by keeper Hollins who was trying to recover a loose ball, picked himself up and sent the keeper the wrong way to level things up.

However, no sooner had Holly Bush’s celebrations died down, Doveridge regained the lead in the 23rd minute. McCann chipped the ball from the left towards the far post when Gadsby headed home.

Tom Rushby got in where it hurts and bravely got in the end of Adcock’s free-kick to send a looping header over from inside a pack area. As the interval approached, Tom Rushby pulled the ball back for Billinge who saw a well struck shot blocked in front of goal by a defender.

After McCann fired into the side netting, Doveridge appealed for yet another penalty, this time unsuccessfully, for a challenge on Skellern.

Holly Bush went agonisingly close to an equaliser in first-half stoppage time. Ben Rushby hit a 20-yard right foot volley which thumped the bar.

At the interval, I changed position and stood next to the other travellers in the crowd – buncranaboy, dottirofhod, veteran, yorkieexile and modelhobbies – along the same touchline but closer to the car park end.

Holly Bush made a change for the start of the second half, which they got underway now attacking the car park end. Doveridge went mightily close to extending their lead at the start of the second half with a free header in front of goal that ended up over the bar.

However, the Doves did find the net in the 51st minute to make the scoreline 3-1 in their favour. McCann got on the end of a right-wing cross and bundled the ball home at close range. A good move nearly led to another goal when George Avery fed Gadsby at the near post who hooked the ball over the bar.

Another substitution for Holly Bush came on the hour. Either side of the change, Tom Rushby tried his luck with a couple of 25-yard free-kicks.

Not satisfied with a two-goal lead, Doveridge pressed for a fourth goal. Ian Thomas fired straight at Beeston from just outside the area before they were awarded another penalty in the 71st minute. This time Gadsby went down inside the area and he got up only to be denied by another superb save from the diving Beeston who guessed correctly to turn the spot kick over the bar.

Holly Bush couldn’t find a way back into the game and did concede a late fourth goal in the 89th minute. The lively McCann got to the right bye line and pulled the ball back for Avery to fire across the face of goal and into the far left corner.

After the full-time whistle the players gathered in front of the pavilion where Doveridge skipper Stuart Hall received the trophy from Bill Redfern’s son Gordon.

Doveridge (yellow/blue/white): 1. Gary Hollins, 4. Dan Chatfield, 5. Stuart Hall (capt), 6. Ian Thomas, 7. Will McCann, 8. Anthony Bettenay, 10. Kev Gadsby, 11. Duncan Ede, 12. Ben Vernon, 15. Mick Skellern, 16. George Avery. Subs: 9. Chris Moult (for Gadsby, 90), 18. Mick Brewster (for Hall, 76), 37. Sam Chatfield (for Vernon, 82).

Holly Bush United (white/black/white): 1. Piers Beeston, 2. Steve Preston, 3. James Crawford, 4. Chris Smith, 6. Karl Cockbill, 7. Tom Rushby, 8. James Beech, 9. Luke Billinge, 11. Ben Rushby, 14. Ben Adcock (capt), 16. Gaton Jamieson. Subs: 10. Matt Lyle (for Crawford, 60), 12. Andy Sessions (for Lelan, 90+1), 16. Godwin Lelan (for Preston, ht).

Referee: Rowland Smith.
Assistants: Jim Conway and Chris Cope.