Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Bore Draw

After not seeing a game for a few weeks due to the weather, this would be my third game in a week, as I joined the happy throng of London Millers at their televised game at Adams Park.

Due match day protocol was maintained - I finished work just after lunchtime and ventured out to try a new pie and mash shop - Cooke's on the Goldhawk Road not too far from the office - probably the most westerly outlet for pie and mashery these days. It was OK - the helping of mash was a bit miserly and the pie was a bit light in filling - and certainly not up to the high exacting standards of my local.

I then met Liz at Marylebone and we duly whizzed to High Wycombe on the ever efficient Chiltern Line service - arriving slightly earlier than planned so we had to mooch around the shops until we could head to the Belle Vue and join the throng of people already waiting for it to open (well, two).

As usual, the landlord Chas had a decent choice of beers on - a Wychwood brew, Batemans XB, Butcombe Brunel IPA and an American-style IPA from Saltaire. I stuck to the latter as it's a very nice beer from Yorkshire.

Liz's brother Robert joined us, besuited and fresh from a handily arranged course in London, followed by Tim and then Clarkey. This gave us a car-full which meant that Robert could park for free in Wycombe's car park.

Not surprisingly there were not a lot of Rotherham fans in attendance - a bit of a painful journey at the best of times but I'm sure most were tempted to stay indoors and watch it on Sky. By the end of the night I was beginning to think I should have done the same. That said, there were some big gaps in the home attendance as well.

This was not a match for the purist - or even a neutral - as Rotherham doggedly defended and Wycombe huffed and puffed. The home crowd were angered when a penalty was refused in the first-half but even at the time it was clear the Wycombe man was looking for the decision - too obvious.

Clarkey with support from Rob and Tim, with polite clapping from Liz, kept up the chanting - and probably kept me awake too. Thanks chaps.

There were a few scares for the Millers in the second-half but Wycombe had clearly run out of ideas. And then came the blessed relief of the final whistle.

We clambered aboard the bus for the trip back to the station - joined by our photographer chum Paul - and promptly went nowhere for 20 mins during which Tim got increasingly irate. As anyone who has tried to get away from the Causeway stadium after a game knows, it's sllooowwww going and especially annoying that they don't let the bus have priority.

We finally got to the station to find that we'd just missed a train and the next one was not for another 50 mins - the silver lining to this being some additional drinking time in the handy-for-the-station Belle Vue and a close encounter with a dog called Duffy who appeared to be sporting my hair.

When we did catch the 23:04 back to Marylebone it stopped absolutely everywhere - odd places like Seers Green & Jordans (that's just one station, not two) and Denham Golf Club with bugger all traffic - just get us home! It was almost 1am by the time we got home - remind me to think twice next time...

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