Tuesday 24th July 2012 ko 19.00
RAF BRIZE NORTON SELECT 2 (Rockley 7 Groves 47)
CARTERTON FC 3 (Fitzmartin 68 74 Duerden 72)
Att 21 (h/c)
Bottle Diet Coke £1.20
The normal procedure to get into an RAF base is to simply turn up with photo ID and time, and after checks as to your address and purpose of visit you’ll be allowed in. That was the case when I watched Benson Lions at RAF Benson, but with the Olympics imminent all military bases are on “Heightened” alert, so more stringent procedures are in place.
I phoned the Carterton manager Martin Wilkinson, and its purely down to his kindness that Lee and I were able to watch this game at all. The base asked that over and above the normal procedures, that all players, coaches and spectators should submit details for scrutiny before arrival, and that everyone should arrive en masse.
That meant meeting at Carterton’s ground, Kilkenny Lane, and driving in convoy to the base, around 5 minutes drive away. The check-in at the guard post was remarkably efficient, and in was interesting to see the departure board, exactly as you’d see at a domestic airport, but with destinations such as Camp Bastion, Afghanistan. I considered the memorial garden just outside the main gate, now in use since repatriation flights moved here from Royal Wootton Bassett. My fun evening, suddenly had a dark edge. Also of interest was the list of what you can’t take on a flight to Afghanistan. I quote, “The Sun, FHM etc.” Innocuous enough to western eyes, but not to an ultra-orthodox Islamic state.
From there we drove round to a large sports ground. Two football pitches, the remnants of an artificial wicket, and a positively gargantuan assault course. Lee took pictures, I chatted to the referee, the RAF’s Billy Moggach, and a bored WAG settled down with her copy of “Fifty Shades of Grey.” It turns out that there are many links between the two sides, indeed the Carterton reserve keeper was playing for Brize tonight! The Brize team consisted of members of the 3 teams that play on the base, in military leagues, which I pondered must mean when the base is on “Heightened” alert it must be virtually impossible for a civilian to watch a game!
With the Hercules aircraft providing a spectacular backdrop, Brize made by far the better start and deservedly opened the scoring when Aaron Rockley’s curling
shot found the top corner of Damien Mulhall’s net. The hosts looked far better organised and it was of little surprise that they double their lead just after half time, Phil Groves having all the time in the world to walk the ball in.
The game was turned on its head as late as then 68th minute, when the visitors finally learned to play together. A neat one-two set up Ben Fitzmartin on the
edge of the box and he blasted home. That was followed up by Mike Duerdon’s shot from a similar position, and the victory was won just 6 minutes after the comeback begin, with Fitzmartin doing well to follow-up a Lewis Brownhill free kick to nod home.
On a worrying note Carterton right-back Aaron Perry had to be taken to hospital suffering with breathing difficulties, manager Wilkinson missing his side’s come-back to take him, but I understand he suffered no ill-effects.
All in all this was both an interesting and spectacular evening out. I’d like to thank Lee for spotting it, and Martin Wilkinson for allowing us on the guest list. Martin, I promise I’m not scouting for anyone!