November 3 2018: granddads* and lads

Paul Brayson, the Northern League’s most consistently prolific scorer of recent years, is 41 but – so far as reasonably may be ascertained – not a grandfather.

Steve Bowey’s a couple of years older, still turning out regularly for Ashington, and became a granddad last week – his son Aaron, the proud dad, himself a former payer with Newcastle Benfield and Chester-le-Street.

So how many other granddads have regularly played football at Northern League level – and who, come to that, may be the granddaddy of them all?

Brayson, who answers to Brassy, has himself spent recent seasons with Benfield, at home today to 1874 Northwich in the second round of the Vase, and between 2004-07 scored 42 in 108 games for Northwich Victoria.

“A legend, a joy to watch,” writes 1874 secretary Vicki English in today’s programme.

Benfield, as biannually I seem to observe, is one of those places which on every visit appears to have changed for the better. In the ten months since last I was there – another Vase match, Coleshill – they’ve not only added a third stand but have an impressive looking gym. a “Fitness centre of excellence”, no less, behind the goal.

The clubhouse, like Consett’s, now offers Sunday lunch – just £5 95, take away and home delivery available. It really is a very impressive set-up.

The first half’s goalless, though the visitors edge it. They’ve brought a coach load of supporters to swell the crowd to 262. A second coach, a Green Line running between Hemel Hempstead and London, appears to be somewhat disoriented.

Once Benfield take a second half lead – some bloke called Brayson – the result’s seldom in doubt. Scott McCarthy, said in the programme to be a scorer of spectacular goals, adds a no-less satisfying second from about two feet.

Elsewhere it’s a pretty good day for the Ebac Northern League, though Dunston will be devastated to have gone out. Next round December 1.

*Tonight’s our ruby wedding party, music by the Old Age Travellers, beer by Cameron’s – Strongarm, the Ruby Red. It seems to go very well, though the “No presents” injunction is broken by recently retired Penrith secretary Ian White who arrives bearing two Cranston’s meat and potato pies and a second hand copy of The Guardian. You can’t put brown sauce on the Guardian.

It’s also a little disconcerting that so many assume Mr White to be my twin brother. Our kidder, 20 minutes younger, isn’t best pleased, either.

It’s about midnight when finally we collapse back home. Though Hallowe’en’s past, any later and we’d turn into a pair of pretty ancient pumpkins.

*How many d’s in granddad? Instinct suggests three. Chambers Dictionary chickens out by offering “grand(d)ad, offering the definition “old man”. Steve Bowey, of course, is nothing but a bairn.