Codicote v Baldock Town

3pm  27 December 2016

Spartan South Midlands League, Division One
Codicote 0 Baldock Town 1 (att 106)

Football was an added bonus on a day when I had to ferry my in-laws back from Manchester to their Hertfordshire home. Despite the worst a traffic-clogged A1 could throw at me I made it to the John Clements Memorial Ground in good time for kick off.

The club only returned to their village at the start of the season, having spent a few years in exile borrowing venues that complied with ground grading requirements. They've now back, having added a seated stand, a proper walkway and floodlights to their own home.

It's a three-sided venue, with the touchline adjacent to a cricket square merely roped off and, with the exception of those in the dugouts, out of bounds.

In a feisty local derby, promotion-chasing Baldock won all three points thanks to a free kick about 10 minutes from time, and about 20 minutes after they'd been reduced to 10 men when a player got a second booking.

Codicote made them work hard for the win, but rarely looked like scoring themselves. I was beginning to resign myself to a first nil nil of the season until the visitors got their winner.

I was interested to read, in the match programme, that Codicote's ground is named after a school teacher who was born in the village and who was posthumously awarded the George Cross for his bravery in saving pupils from a hotel fire, in which he died, at an Italian ski resort in 1976.

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