August 9 2017: weighty matters

Some of us get weighed every 30 years or so; heroic Crook Town chairman Vince Kirkup is one of those who weighs himself every morning, though it doesn’t need scales to suggest that the lad’s shed from an already spare frame.

“Nearly a stone, it’s all the pre-season running around,” says Vince, though the running around has sparked a new optimism at the Millfield.

Some impressive friendly wins – the ten goals against the local Macdonalds may be discounted, the lads not really lovin’ it at all – were followed on Saturday by a 6-2 victory at Easington.

Tonight they’re at home to Darlington RA, a meeting of Messrs Constantine and Mulcaster, the Northern League;s two most peripatetic – and enduring – managers.

Among the 131 crowd, it’s lovely to see former FA Cup final referee Peter Willis, 80 in October, the first time I’ve seen him on a Northern League ground for around 40 years.

Peter kept goal for Tow Law and Willington, didn’t start refereeing until he was 26, was also a long-serving Durham police officer and reckons that, like pollisses, refs are getting younger.

He also tells the tale of a Sunday morning motor patrol when he was passed at high speed, activated blues and twos and pulled the errant gentleman over. “Can you help me, officer, I’m desperate for a s***house” said the racer.

“It’s your lucky day, son,” replied PC Willis, “you’ve found a one.”

The game ends 1-1, second half goals within a minute of one another. Vince has a restorative pint.

*Yesterday’s blog was mistaken, and probably not for the first time, to suppose that the Northern League’s individual scoring record is nine in a match. It’s the ten scored by Jackie Coulthard in South Bank’s 13-0 wallopping of Ferryhill Athletic on May 2 1936.

“In cricket weather, South Bank ran up a cricket score,” The Northern Echo reported.

Jack, who’d scored 64 league and cup goals for Stockton in 1931-32, died in World War II when his merchant vessel was torpedoed.

*Reflecting appreciatively on the improvement’s to West Auckland’s pitch, yesterday’s blog supposed that not even the Flat Earth Society could level it. John Briggs sends a link to the Society’s website. “The Flat Earth Society has members around the globe,” it says.