Battle Of The A46 : Word of The Week: Pic And Messages.

On Saturday 21st November, the coldest day of the winter so far, I boarded my local bus  at 2:00pm and travelled across Cheltenham to Cheltenham Town Football Club.
 A big crowd was expected for  this game against local rivals Forest Green Rovers, whose ground near Nailsworth was a mere twenty four miles away and still in the county of Gloucestershire.

The reason for the big crowd was that Cheltenham Town is currently top of the Vanarama National League ( the league below Sky League 2) with Forest Green Rovers only one point behind them in second place.

So with the above ticket in hand I made my way to my stand seat, which offered me an excellent view of the pitch. There was a buzz in the air, that I had not encountered for a long time. The terrace was already packed

and the seats were filling-up fast. The pitch looked as it always does, in good condition. The wind was blowing and it was clear that accurate passes were a prerequisite in today's conditions.

But as soon as the ref blew his whistle, the players started lobbing the ball in the air, instead of playing to feet. I was struck straight away by the difference in size between the two teams.
The Rovers squad looked uniformly taller than the 'Robins' and generally of a stocky disposition. I mentioned out loud " Men against Boys. "

For the first twenty minutes Cheltenham played as if overawed by the opposition and possibly by the size of the crowd. They barely passed the ball and almost caused the Rover's goalie to yawn.

But with the terraces warming up with their chants and songs, the Robins began to gain in confidence and started passing the ball, running into spaces and generally showing skill-sets that until then I was unaware the team possessed. The play evened out and at half-time the score was 0 - 0.

During the interval  a small group of junior children  took turns to take a kick near the penalty spot to try and hit the top crossbar of the goal and in so doing win a prize.

This difficult feat (sorry!) was achieved by a boy called Archie who when his ball hit the bar,  shot both arms in the air, and then ran forward to embrace his 'adoring ' crowd. A celebration to savour. Nice one Archie!

The second half started with more attack-minded play. Soon a robins player was fouled just outside the penalty area and a free kick was awarded . Two of our players came close together near the ball and it was clear that a plan was about to be enacted. 
At this point, I ventured to say out loud  " well it worked well on the training ground. " And it did, for no sooner had I said this, then the crowd erupted and stood to applaud the goal, scored with a low shot which whistled between legs to enter the net. Cheltenham 1 -0.

The terrace fans were naturally excited and one of the chants which I think I heard right was: " Not Boring Chris, Not boring Chris. "  I never discovered who the eponymous 'Chris ' was; but it had a decent rhythm and kept the fans happy.

Their joy was partly short-lived, when  minutes later FGR equalised with another low shot inside our penalty area. Cheltenham Town 1 Forest Green Rovers 1. Doubt crept into the arena and it seemed this apprehension was justified when later in the play FGR was  awarded a penalty kick.
 Luck was however with us' for the penalty taker clearly got his game codes mixed as he went for a conversion and skied the ball high into the supporters' stand.
Never has a penalty miss been cheered by so many and a palpable sense of relief swept through the ground.
 The game then became a drama of near misses from both sides. We hit a powerful volley, which hit the inside left hand corner of the net and somehow managed to stay outside the goal area and in the dying moments FGR headed into the net, but thank goodness,  the goal was ruled off-side and so when the final whistle blew honours remained even. Final Score: Cheltenham Town 1 Forest Green Rovers 1.

All that remained was for the terraces to sing "  We're still top of the League." and for myself to make my back to the bus  and the warmth of home.

Robins in Training Mode

                                   Match play- note the lurid green shirts of Forest Green.

Oh and one more thing: attendance at the match 5,449. Easily the biggest home crowd of the season so far.


Word of the week: Interjaculate: 
This is most useful word, from the latin jaculari; which means throw, so with inter it becomes 'throw in between.
Thus  in conversation when a person is in full vocal stride and either 1: you wish to say something or 2: you are becoming terminally bored; the polite and highly inefficient way is to enquire " may i interrupt you ? ". Now my readers,  you may instead,   fix the speaking person with look and state loudly;  " May I interjaculate ? " This will certainly get his/her attention. Job done.


                                                     Christmas Fair At Gloucester Docks,

They say hard work won't hurt you, but I say why take the chance?
I feel a nap coming on------

Cheerio for now,


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