Very good couple of away wins, after the disappointment of losing to Clitheroe. I thought we certainly should have won it, although they did score a couple of corkers to be fair. We seem a bit fated over the last few years to lose these big cup games narrowly, Bristol Manor Farm, Newport Pagnell, Runcorn Linnets, and now Clitheroe to add to the list. Never mind, we have had some great days home and away as well, including against Bridlington, and here we go again with a home draw against them in the Vase. 2-1 to us in recent years I think, no doubt El Queso Grande will put me right if I’m wrong. Anyway back to the league games. Away wins at West Auckland and Benfield in the space of a few days, you would always take that, and with a unsettled side as well. Most pleasing thing for a lot of people has been the promise of the new young players in this first few weeks of the season. Dom Moan, Sam Lilley and Alex Ramshaw have all done well when called on, which is good for the future, and there are a couple more in the pipeline I am informed. The new link up with the College will hopefully bear some fruit in coming seasons, might be worth nipping along to Meadow Park on a few Wednesday afternoons if you fancy yourself as a good judge of young talent. Ryhope needs a Simon Cowell.
The NL League table has a funny look to it nowadays. Not so much Hebburn at the top, although their progress is remarkable, but just because it looks so short; it's amazing how big a difference eighteen teams is to twenty two. There is comfort in numbers it seems. You look a lot closer to the top if you win a couple, but the bottom is never far away. Should keep everybody’s mind on the job, steady as she goes. The FA have released some more details of the re-organisation, in this case mostly as far as the South West is concerned, but people will be reading between the lines to see what it might mean for the likes of us. I saw someone posted what a potential combined NL/Evostik North East level four league might look like on nonleaguezone, made for interesting reading, but it maybe well wide of the mark. Who knows what our gaffers are thinking? Ours not to reason why.
The SoL bandwagon has started stuttering I note, gone for a Burton some might say. Long way to go of course, but mutterings are beginning to be heard. Seems like a funny league to me, quite competitive, but it seems to me that every team offers up a few golden chances to score in every game. Find yourself a good reliable goalscorer me reckons; he will get plenty of opportunities to notch, whether you play well or not. It’s not about style, it's just about the scoreboard.
Finally and speaking of scoreboards, a word about a couple of cricketers. Cook calls it a day for England, at an age when batsmen are often only reaching their prime. I get the impression he is just bored, been there, done that. Doesn’t matter, been a great servant and helped us slaughter the Aussies a couple of times, which always gets my vote, loveable chaps them boys from down under. And locally of course the indomitable Paul Collingwood finally calls it a day for Durham at 43. A key man in a remarkable story which we don’t notice as much as we should, three County Championships, more than Hampshire, Derbyshire, Gloucester, Northampton or Somerset, despite giving them a century or so start. Remarkable. Collingwood has been at the heart of that for the past twenty years, and for England, making every last bit of his ability and determination, the qualities you need in any sport. A trophy winning England captain as well. Fantastic. Very well done to both lads, and I doubt we have heard the last of either.