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Left Field with Kevin Anderson

1 year ago By Lee Peskett

The latest missive from the Bard of The Lane ....... Kevin Anderson takes his usual look around life at Priory Lane

Now then, I may be sending apologies this weekend. I don't mean apologies for the standard of the football - just that I might miss it! Usually, a glance up towards the press bench will reveal Sir Kenneth and myself sitting up there in splendour, muddling through the number of offsides recorded and deciding who provided the assist for Pinney's opening goal. The Stadler and Waldorf of non-League. This afternoon Ken McEwan might just be sitting in splendid isolation, though. I'm only a week in from my hip replacement operation, and it's supposed to be a six-week recovery. As I write this in mid-week, I'm tapping round the house on sticks and letting Mrs A make me cups of tea. However, the lure of the Lane may just prove too strong...

In any case I could still finish up as absentee reporter. If I haven't made it in person this afternoon, Hugo is threatening to send the match video to my Dropbox so that I can still scribble my words of wisdom. It's actually quite a tempting offer - it means I can check my facts on the video replay and you might actually get an accurate report for once. Well it'll make a slight variation on "You must have been watching a different game, mate...."

Many thanks for everyone's good wishes, by the way. On good old Facebook, I had messages from age 18 to 87 - not just footy friends, of course, but it was a nice reminder that we genuinely are quite a family here at the Lane. It was also a sobering reminder - we spend our Saturdays watching fit finely-tuned young athletes, whose personal and professional lives can be a split second away from an injury. Charlie Horlock is finally off his crutches after that nasty ankle injury on Boxing Day, while Alex Smith will be hobbling for a while with those damaged knee ligaments. Very best wishes to them, as well as to Gavin who must now be quite close. At least those lads can and will fight their way back. Personally I did extend my playing career past the 50 - famously scored a goal on my fiftieth birthday - admittedly only for the school staff team but heck, it was against Maidstone Prison Warders, who were a seriously ugly lot. But no, my comeback will be to the press bench and not the subs' bench....

Oh, and let's scotch the rumour that I deliberately timed my hospital treatment to avoid the Concord trip. Lightweight, me? I was inconsolable. There's nothing like the picturesque beachlands of South-East Essex in a bracing mid-February - respect to all who made the journey. Mind you, everyone came back baffled that the Sports got nothing from the game. There is always a degree of "we would say that, wouldn't we" - but when the Concord scribe nominates the home crossbar as Rangers man-of-the-match, you know that this was yet another game when the result didn't reflect the performance. In these last two away games, at Whitehawk and Concord, Borough hit the woodwork five times and had possibly the most obvious penalty of the season turned down. Add to that the three recent home draws - all of them against opponents who had large shares of fortune - and you have to think that if Lady Luck does even up her balance sheet by the end of each season, the Sports must be due for two marginally offside goals, a very dubious penalty and a fluke goal off Hughesie's backside. And that's just this afternoon against Gosport, please....

We must be honest and admit that the New Year results have seriously impaired the play-off prospects. Best to say simply that, starting today, there are 42 more points to play for, and I imagine the Gaffer is still looking to reach the 60 total and see what happens above that. What surely is agreed is the standard of football and entertainment this season - I can scarcely remember a match at the Lane which didn't prove exciting and absorbing.

Meanwhile, Wednesday 1st March will be the night which decides whether the season is to finish with a flourish and a grand day out at the Amex. That's the Sussex Senior Cup semi-final date, of course, and after this week's victory over Crowborough Athletic it is Albion U-23s who will face us at Lancing. You do not need too long a memory to recall the last semi-final encounter between the clubs - Albion nicking it 1-0 with a freakish goal in spite of a terrific passing display by the Sports which put the County's senior club in the shade. Chris Shephard was on the wrong end of one of those "instant red" dismissal decisions that night, too. Frankly I reckon that this Borough side is a couple of notches better now than three years ago - but either way there is a bit of history to be re-written...

Last week we lost a great creative mind, a non-League stalwart, and a charming, affable human being. Alan Simpson was one half of the Galton and Simpson partnership who create sublime comedy scripts for Steptoe, Tony Hancock and others. But as well as his wonderful writing gifts, Alan was a life-long, utterly devoted Hampton and Richmond Borough supporter. I got to know and natter with him quite a few times over the years, and I last met him a season or two ago, when the Beavers were at Peacehaven and Telscombe FC and he was sitting beaming, and actually quite unobtrusive, in his canvas picnic chair. Then a fortnight ago when Hampton were here, from my press bench seat, I leaned over to ask the Hampton directors how Alan was, and they passed on to me the less than optimistic prognosis - very weak and on constant oxygen. But just then the Beavers scored, and the message flashed across the ether to the Simpson bedside. Alan, we gathered, had smiled through that oxygen mask and nodded happily at the news. It was to be his final Beavers fixture. God bless, Alan, and I hope you're busily penning some heavenly scripts for that old bugger Hancock...

I gave a Left Field mention earlier in the season to 16-year-old Lewis Robinson - and it didn't quite make it into print. The arrival of Gosport reminded me (for reasons below...). Unnoticed by many of you, Lewis is the indispensible right hand man to Damian on the kit. It's a demanding role. You have to get everything right: try telling Hughesy that he's got odd socks, or Simpemba that you've run out of tie-ups. You have to give a lot of time, before and after games when the rest of us have switched off. You even end up making the tea on away journeys. You have to be trusted, in and out of a dressing room where the manager and staff might not be mincing their words. Lewis plays himself, in goal for Borough Under-16s, and has been coming to the Lane with members of the Robinson family since he was a youngster - well, he still is, but you know what I mean. He's a student at Willingdon School, deep into that brain-frying process which is GCSEs, and currently making plans for 16-19. Lewis has already taken the full kitman role more than once, including at Gosport Borough when Damo was away and when - now this is just cruel - he had to do the subs' board and he managed to fumble the buttons and put the completely wrong numbers up. Stop mocking, Anderson. I wouldn't know how to even switch the thing on.... Well done, Lew, and keep it up!

Updated 08:40 - 17 Feb 2017 by Lee Peskett

Where next?

Boro' SuperDraw Results - Monday 20th February This weeks SuperDraw results are now available to view...
Alex Smith - Update The following has been received from James Swinford - Club Physio .....

Sat 21 Apr
League 15:00
Mon 23 Apr
EBFC Under 18s Burgess Hill Town
League 19:30
Wed 25 Apr
EBFC Academy Bognor Regis Town
League 13:00
Sat 28 Apr
League 15:00

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