Biggin 0 Bradley 3

Monday 17th August 2009
Biggin 0 Bradley 3
Summer League
At: Biggin Playing Field, Biggin-by-Hartington
Kick-off: 7-00 pm
No admission or programme
Attendance: 40 (headcount)
Weather: sunny
Duration: first-half: 40:35; second-half: 40:54

The final curtain for my 2009 Summer League campaign was appropriately at a ground on Drury Lane – no not that one in heart of London’s theatre land but on in the heart of the Peak District. And there was no better way to wrap things up by seeing Bradley in action once again. The men from Ye Olde Vaults have had another wonderful season culminating at Hilton Athletic a week last Thursday (6th August) when they got the points needed to secure a fifth successive title.

However, their penultimate game was an awkward one on an interesting undulating playing surface against a Biggin side that beat then 1-0 in Saturday’s Wayne Tarbard Cup Final. The home side play in the village of Biggin-by-Hartington some nine miles north of Ashbourne just off the A515 road to Buxton.

I approached from the south on the A515 and took a left-hand turn into Liffs Lane before going underneath a disused railway bridge. Drury Lane, which came up on the right after around 1 ½ miles, took a left-hand bend after passing the ‘Biggin’ sign and the ground was on the right.

Being on Drury Lane, I suppose the ground could be nicknamed the ‘Theatre of Dreams’ though the playing surface was anything but a dream for visiting teams. Rarely flat, it had lumps, bumps and crater-like depressions – something the like of which I’d never seen at any ground previously visited.

The pitch (orientated west–east) ran lengthways away from the road and was unroped as per a typical Summer League set up. Cars parked down the left-hand edge of the field and a small green building, also down this side, acted as a changing room for those who needed it.

Obtaining the teams was straightforward and the referee was a familiar face in Ian Fraser who had taken charge of the recent game I saw between Kirk Langley and Bradley. Aggedor, OTT and Graeme emerged from their cars no long before kick-off. For Aggedor and OTT, this visit to Drury Lane marked a ‘champagne job’ while Graeme still needed to visit the Rose and Crown at Boylestone. As for my progress towards a ‘champagne job’, well I just need a trip to Ashbourne Rec which will have to wait until next summer.

Biggin (33 points from 24 games) went into this fixture, their penultimate home game of the season, in ninth position with no possibility of finishing any higher or lower. After tonight, they still had three league games remaining at Weston on Thursday, at home to Kirk Langley on Monday and at Coach Rangers a week on Thursday.

Bradley (champions with 71 points from 26 games) had one thing still to aim for – going through the entire season with just one leaguedefeat. They just needed to stop Biggin winning this game and Coach Rangers winning at Mappleton on Thursday.

Bradley got the game underway defending the Drury Lane end in the first half. Biggin began with ten men through ‘number 4’ Thomas Fenton dashed on after 34 seconds.

The visitors got off to a perfect start with an opening goal in the 5th minute. Richard Gage crossed low from the left towards Karl Grocott who slotted home at close range after the ball had slipped through the arms of keeper Paul Williams at the near post.

It was nearly two when Jez Oborn cut in from the left and saw his initial shot parried by Williams. Oborn got to the loose ball but fired wide.

At the other end, the Champions got a wake-up call as Josh Critchlow hit a decent right-foot shot that beat the diving Lee Jones and rebounded off the right-hand post.

Biggin continued to threaten and Steve Allen fired straight Jones. However, on the half hour, Williams produced a great save at to block a close-range effort from Grocott.

The visitors finished the half on the attack. Jay Tremlow headed against the right-hand post and the diving Williams again excelled to turn round a long-range shot. Just before the half-time whistle, the Biggin keeper was again in action to keep out Nick Stubbs’ rising 25-yard drive.

Bradley doubled their advantage less than two minutes after the restart when Grocott hammered home his second goal at close range. Jez Oborn wanted to get in on the scoresheet and he soon headed against the left-hand post.

The prolific Oborn wasn’t to be denied in the 55th minute. he was given space to hit a well-struck shot from the edge of the area which gave Williams no chance of stopping. At 3-0 up with 15 minutes remaining, surely Bradley were no going to let their lead slip now?

Biggin continued to look for a consolation goal until the end and substitute Ashley Gregory sent a free header straight at Jones. Just before the full-time whistle, Jones saved a shot from Roger Tomkinson and a header from Josh Critchlow to keep his clean sheet intact.

Roll on next summer and more Summer League action in an around the Ashbourne area.

Biggin (red and white stripes / red / red): 1. Paul Williams, 6. Tony Woodruff, 3. Ian Currington, 2. Roger Tomkinson, 16. Joe Beech, 7. Andrew Wilton, 4. Thomas Fenton, 9. Jim Annett, 5. Stuart Millward 10. Josh Critchlow, 14. Steve Allen. Subs: 8. Ashley Gregory (for ???, 67), 11. Jack Upton (for Woodruff, 55), 17. Sam Coles (for Millward, 70).

Bradley (silver / black / black): 1. Lee Jones, 3. Jay Tremlow, 5. Simon Oborn, 14. Clem Mellor, 11. Steve Coates, 2. Nick Stubbs, 7. Glynn Sellers, 6. Mike Twemlow, 10. Richard Gage, 16. Karl Grocott, 8. Jez Oborn. Subs: 9. Stuart Coates (for Gage, 57).

0-1 Karl Grocott (5)
0-2 Karl Grocott (42)
0-3 Jez Oborn (55)