Sunday 1st November 2015 ko 10.30
Blackmore Vale Sunday League
STURMINSTER ROVERS 9 (Chaffey 8 49 86 87, Sprake 14 28 37 Sweatman 15 Meadowcroft 47)
TEAM GRYPHON 4 (Farrant 45 61 89 Boon 82)
If you’re visiting Dorset it is more or less impossible to avoid Thomas Hardy’s influence. Take Sturminster Newton for example; you you stroll into the War Memorial Recreation Park, and in one corner is a house lived in by Hardy from 1876-78. He wrote “The Return of the Native” whilst there, and Sturminster Newton is immortalised in “Tess of the d’Urbervilles, ” as Stourcastle. The River Stour gurgles its way along at one end of the park.
The history doesn’t end there either. The park was bequeathed from the estate of Lord Augustus Pitt-Rivers. A former High Sheriff of Dorset, his collection of archaeological specimens formed the basis for the Pitt-Rivers museum in Oxford.
With all that background it was little surprise that the park was and is a photographer’s dream with the mist, the joggers, the boys exchanging football cards, and a first for me, both linesmen wearing flat caps.
Like all too many Sunday leagues the Blackmore Vale has seen a gradual reduction of teams with the league for this season now down to just one division. It’s left Sherborne-based Team Gryphon in the rather awkward position of being lower in the table than their own reserves. Today was a bad morning for them. Playing with only ten men didn’t help, and Josh Farrant managed to get into that most bittersweet of clubs in scoring a hat trick but being on the losing side.
It was a convivial morning, referee Mike Hooper had little to do, patrolling from the centre circle, but all too soon it was over but then as Hardy himself wrote,
“A blaze of love and extinction, was better than a lantern glimmer of the same which should last long years.”