Thursday, 24 May 2018

Picture This...A Round-Up of Sorts

The new shelter at Andover New Street.
It's all over for another season. I've brought you more words and pictures, and you keep coming back to see whassup. I don't post about every match I go to, for my own sanity more than anything. I don't even take photos at every game - sometimes excitement has to come before art. But I do have a few pictures to spare from games that I didn't cover on here, so I thought maybe you'd like to see some? All of these photos were previously published on the HAH Facebook page. If you follow the blog on there, you'll be familiar with most of these, but not everyone is on Facebook.

So, would you like to see the new shelter at Andover New Street? Yes? Well, here it is, pictured in December last year. Plenty of places to stand under cover at the Wessex Premier's new boys. You'll never get wet at New Street.

Lymington Town at night.
How about a pretty picture of a church tower at night, taken at Lymington Town's ground in January? It rained that night. It rained every single day for three months...

Danny Phillips puts Infinity in to the cup final.
There was a league cup semi-final at Locks Heath in early February between Paulsgrove and Infinity. I'd seen top photographer Paul Paxford a few days before at Windsor. I asked him where the best place was to take penalty photos. He suggested behind the goal. He was right. The match went to a shootout, which Infinity won to send them in to the Hampshire League Cup Final.

Bush Hill go close against Sway at Hythe & Dibden.
The second semi-final was held at Hythe & Dibden a couple of weeks later. Bush Hill were cruising at 2-0 up with 15 minutes to go, but Sway came back to draw the game and win on penalties. They then beat Infinity in the final in May in what was a minor shock. I took this photo whilst stood on a raised platform behind the goal at the entrance end. Sway's number 7 heads off the line here. If that had gone in, it would have been 3-0 and game over.

The Mighty Havant & Waterlooville in action at Oxford City.
I follow the mighty Havant & Waterlooville when I'm not doing HAH. Here they are (in orange) at Oxford City's Marston Road in March. A hard-fought 1-0 victory for the Hawks.

Step art at Whitehawk at the Battle of the Hawks.
On Easter Monday, Havant & Waterlooville travelled to Whitehawk in East Brighton. They were possibly fortunate to come away with a 0-0 that day, but every point counted after 42 matches, as they finished level with Dartford, winning the league on goal difference.

The sun sets on Romsey Town's promotion hopes.
As clubs battled to finish their fixtures in April, one week it was possible to go to six matches in six days (a rare opportunity as there are very few Thursday night fixtures under normal circumstances). The week started at Romsey Town, who beat Laverstock & Ford 3-1 at the Bypass Ground. Unfortunately, a home defeat by Tadley-Calleva a few days earlier had put paid to their promotion hopes for this season. There's always next year...

Andover New Street's promotion party starting at Totton & Eling.
One team that never faltered - and surprised everyone - was Andover New Street. They were promoted after a 5-0 win at Totton & Eling. After being at (or near) the bottom of the Wessex since forever ago, no-one could begrudge them their success this season. Incredibly, they'll be playing in the division above neighbours Andover Town after the Portway side were relegated by the FA for refusing promotion to the Southern League.

Beneath the high rise at Team Solent.
My third game of this busy week was a Thursday night encounter between Team Solent and Alresford Town. Neither side had anything to play for, but it was an entertaining affair nevertheless. Alresford came back from two down to draw. They probably should have won.

Shock victory for Follands in their final home match.
The Friday night entertainment was at Follands (in yellow above). Rock-bottom, with one home victory all season, you would never have known they'd struggled as opponents New Milton Town were hammered 5-1. Most unexpected.

The home dugout at Fareham Town.
Blackfield & Langley won the Wessex this season. One of their final games was a visit to Fortress Cams, home of Fareham Town. It wasn't much of a fortress that evening as a visibly tired home team were easily beaten after they'd played approximately a zillion games in the previous fortnight. You can see the subs' shirts hung up in the home side's dugout at half-time here.

Paulsgrove rent the Front Lawn facility in Havant for their league match with Sway.
I don't think it counts in my season's match total if I only see half a game, does it? After watching the Hawks beat St Alban's City at Westleigh Park, I caught the last 40 minutes of a 4 o'clock kick-off at Hampshire FA's Front Lawn facility in Havant. It's a 4G pitch which was rented for the day by Paulsgrove for their Hampshire League game against Sway. The "home" club won that game fairly easily.

Ed Harris cadges a lift on Rory Williams' shoulders. This was an exciting moment, but not as incredible as what happened in the last minute.
Did I mention that I follow Havant & Waterlooville? And that they won the National League South to take their place in non-league's top division next season? Here they are celebrating their second goal against Concord Rangers on the final day of the season. 2-0 up against a team with nothing to play for? It's all over with an hour still to play, surely? Well, it wasn't, as the club from Essex somehow scored twice in the second half. Heading for the play-offs with a minute to go, Jason Prior scored with the coolest side-foot volley you'll ever see for the most exciting moment of 2017/18. There was a lot of leaping around right there and then, I can tell you.

One more post this season, and that will be the ever-unpopular roller round-up.

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