Evening all! Hard to believe this is our penultimate home league game of the season, although we’ve known since August that matches at Westwood were going to be pretty sparse come the end of the season, so let’s make the most of it tonight and see if we can put one over on Portchester. I accept it might seem unlikely given the results of our two trips to the Blanchard Wells Stadium earlier in the season, but, you know, if we could make it 5-15 on aggregate tonight I’d settle for that…

So, the Gold Cup quarter-final against Shanklin last Tuesday couldn’t beat the weather, but I understand it’s been rescheduled for Tuesday, 17th April (four days after our last home league game of the season, against Horndean). Vics and W.& B. have already made it through their respective quarters, with Newport facing a tricky trip to West Wight on Thursday 5th April. One way or the other I have a feeling we might not see a fourth consecutive Cowes v Newport final this year.

In other local news, you might have heard we had a game up at Newport the other week! Heheh. Believe it or not I take no great pleasure in seeing The Port down in the doldrums as they are currently, but it’s always a pleasure to get one over on them and, despite a couple of scares this was a richly deserved win. I think we had more one-on-ones in this match than we’ve had in the rest of the season, and we probably scored more (three in total) than we’ve otherwise managed in the past five years. A great night out and a significant result in many ways – not only was it a vital basement battle victory, but also out first ever league win at St. Georges, and it completed our first league double over Newport since 1966. Hunt out the highlights on YouTube when you get the chance – someone’s done a really good multi-camera edit with replays and the whole shebang. Worth it just for John McKie’s celebrations with the Cowes Balkan Boys behind the goal when he completed his hat-trick!

A good point at Amesbury on Saturday too, in a game it was vital we didn’t lose. I didn’t make it up there myself, but that might have been for the best given the seemingly non-stop dingdong state of affairs. Just trying to keep up with Dave’s excellent text commentary whilst pushing a trolley around Sainsbury’s (not Asda, of course) was enough to bring on palpitations. I did get some rather strange looks in the condiments aisle when I read we’d gone 3-2 up. Saturday afternoon shoppers clearly aren’t used to the kind of involuntary hooting and hollering they were treated to as I browsed the pickles…

But we’re a long way from being out of the woods yet, and there’s some big games coming up. On Saturday we make the trip to Shaftesbury (difficult one to get to, that), but on Easter Monday there’s the infinitely more doable trip to Lymington on offer, and this is followed by eminently manageable sorties to Bemerton, Sholing and Brockenhurst, so why not take in a couple of away games as we (hopefully) nudge our way towards safety…? See you there, or if not, back up here.

Enjoy the game,
Toby.

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