SJFA West Region, Ayrshire Sectional League Cup, Section 2
Irvine Victoria 1 Irvine Meadow XI 4 (att 1,200)
The Marymass festival has been a part of the Irvine calendar for centuries, and for football fans the annual Friday night meeting of the town's two junior football teams, in which their league cup fixture doubles as the Marymass Trophy match, is the highlight.
Groups in the Ayrshire Sectional League Cup are decided by geography, so "Vics" and "Medda" are guaranteed to play each other, with the venue alternating, every year. It's always keenly-contested, and usually attracts a large crowd.
Victoria are Irvine's second team at present, having been relegated last season to the Ayrshire League, while Meadow are among the stronger Super League sides, effectively two divisions higher. Victoria Park is a tight ground, with spectator access restricted to open terracing behind the goal near the entrance, and shallow terracing along one side, where there's a couple of shelters either side of a dugout.
From where I was standing it was hard to guess the attendance, but a couple of groundhoppers with a better view of the crowd counted close to 1,200. It was certainly large enough for the kick off to be delayed 15 minutes to give everyone time to squeeze in.
Perhaps the occasion got to some of the players, as the first half was a bit disappointing. Not surprisingly Meadow had more of the play, but they lacked conviction in the final third, and were undone when Victoria took the lead.
By my reckoning the home team needed a three goal win to progress to the cup's knockout stages, but of course any sort of win would give them the Marymass Trophy, and local bragging rights. Meadow had other ideas though, and were far better after the break.
They scored twice to go in front, and a third goal from the penalty spot made the game safe, to the frustration of some home fans who hurled some unwelcome beer cans onto the pitch.
A fourth goal wrapped things up, and, while the scoreline was harsh on Vics, Meadow also hit the frame of the goal three times so might have won by more.