Today’s games have a sombre prelude: there’s a minute’s silence in memory of 18-year-old Kieran Oliver, killed last Sunday in a three-vehicle crash in Kibblesworth, Gateshead just a day after making his debut on the Northern League line.
A referee since he was 14 and very highly rated, Kieran was Gateshead’s young referee of the year last season. His debut last week had been at Jarrow v Easington Colliery and it’s league newcomers Jarrow who are today’s visitors to Darlington RA.
Concerned at their poor start, RA have arranged a pre-match bonding session and lunch for the players for which club secretary Alan Hamilton – who’s also groundsman, bar manager, programme editor and much else – assumes the additional role of chief cook.
“A kilo and a half of pasta and they scoffed the lot,” he reports.
Grass Routes, it may be recalled, has been inviting suggestions for a Latin motto for the necessarily amateur club’s crest to mark the centenary in 2018-19.
Keith Stoker suggests Pecunia est non omnia, which apparently translates as “Money isn’t everything”, David Moyes offers Dominus nos arriuvet – May the Lord help us – which may currently be a little more realistic than Don Clarke’s distinctly Caesarean proposal of Venimus, vidimus, vicimus: We came, we saw, we conquered.
Jarrow’s start to Northern League life has been more encouraging, the club particularly chuffed with a 240 gate for the midweek derby with Hebburn.
Their claim that there’s only one team in Jarrow is something which it is probably wiser for the blog not to pursue, however.
Three down inside half an hour, RA look like they can bond OK but have a bit of trouble defending. At half-time it’s 3-1; after a better second half for the hosts, the game ends 4-2. The crowd’s just 36.
Alan says afterwards that he thinks the eventual motto may be Ad adorem ludorum – for the love of the game. It would doubtless have been Kieran Oliver’s guiding principle, too.May he rest in peace.