Uppermill v Elton Vale

6.45pm  6 May 2014

Manchester League, Division One
Uppermill 0 Elton Vale 3 (att 12)

I arrived at the Churchill Playing Fields in Greenfield to find the game in doubt. A torrential downpour had left areas of the pitch underwater, and the referee was apparently not keen to play.

He spent ages inspecting the pitch, bouncing and rolling the ball in different areas. I don't know why referees are so obsessed with how the ball rolls on a wet pitch, surely if an area is particularly soggy, and might cause a ball to stop dead, players can just deal with it.

Anyway, eventually common sense prevailed, particularly as both sets of players had been warming up on the pitch while the referee was coming to his decision.

There was little at stake, and for the most part the action reflected that. Elton Vale took the lead with a well-taken early goal. They added two more goals late in the game, the final one a penalty. A red card meant the home side finished the game with 10 men.

I'd previously seen Diggle play a Huddersfield League game at the Churchill Playing Fields, and their reserves were at home tonight on the same pitch, at the far end from the entrance. Uppermill have moved from their previous ground to the pitch nearest the entrance and changing rooms.

Unusually for the Manchester League, the pitch is neither railed nor roped off, and on tonight's evidence it doesn't drain well. That said, once the game got underway the soggy surface didn't seem to hinder the players at all.









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