Sunday, 30 October 2011

Friday 28.10.2011
Decided it was time to purchase some winter cycling gear as it is getting colder and colder, especially on the days when I can only get out at 6pm after work (normally Monday & Wednesday). Had a good look on the internet but the sizing of these sort of stuff can be very variable, as it turned out I needed to buy Large in the trousers and Ex Large in the top which is definitely Not what I would have ordered on the net !
The trousers (or tights as they like to call them in cycling speak) have a warm lining and are designed to be partly waterproof – at £50 a pair they need to be ! The top has a special windproof front but a breathable back with ‘zips in the pits’ to allow the release of heat – all very technical and again for £75 it had better work. I won’t get to find out until probably next Friday a I am otherwise engaged on Monday & Wednesday this week (and Tuesday too with the football). In the afternoon I did a 15 mile ride based on my original circuit to Little Eaton and back via the Chevin. I changed it slightly to avoid the middle section into Little Eaton to avoid the worst of the tree debris. On the way back up from the A6 I decided to try another alternative route by turning left at the top of Field Lane and going up Mill Street. By the time I got to the junction with Cemetery Lane my pulse was up at 170 !! The stats for the ride: 15.63 miles in 1 h 03 m 51 s (total cycling so far: 414.32 miles)
Friday night we went out with Jan & Steve to the Bulls Head in Denby for a meal. A great night (as it always is with our old friends), when we got back in the car the temperature was 0.5 – good job I got that winter cycling gear (not that I’m planning much cycling at 10:30pm at this time of year – or any other time of year come to think of it).

Saturday 29.10.11
I said it had to end sometime and we thought that was Tuesday night with the late equaliser from Loughborough, well that was just the start. A 1-5 thrashing at the hands of Hucknall Town brought back memories of similar poor performances and results from Andy Carneys time in charge when we were trounced by the likes of Quorn and Glapwell at home. At least Hucknall looked a good side who will probably be in the play off places come April – scant consolation for the fans who were looking forward to only the 2nd home game in 11 matches.
My mate Matt came over for the game, the last time he came we won 5-1. After about 7 minutes he predicted another 5-1 but not in Belpers favour. At that point in time Corey Gregory had put Hucknall ahead. Corey had played one game for us in Duffields first game at Carlton and looked completely out of his depth, he looked anything but yesterday. Matt had to leave with the score at 1-1 as his wife Vicky was unwell so he missed seeing his prediction come true !
The substitute substituted
The referee was very fussy – spending a lot of time talking to players and holding the game up. When he wasn’t talking to them he was booking them, I think we ended up with 4 bookings, 2 for things that were said out of frustration. We can’t blame the ref for the result though, that was down to the players alone. We were treated the unusual sight of a substitute being substituted. New signing Michael Simpkins replaced injured Dan White and was then substituted himself by Luke Chambers, presumably because of an injury. Photos can be seen here: Belper v Hucknall
Next up – another away trip, this time to Quorn on Tuesday night.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

It Had to End

Well all good things come to an end and yesterday it was Belpers turn. A 2-2 draw at Loughhborough Dynamo ended our run of 7 wins on the trot. Another win would have equaled a club record stretching back to 1979/80 - the season they won the league. It was so close to happening too as Dynamo equalised in the 89th minute although they had been dominant for the a large part of the 2nd half. Still thats 8 games unbeaten. 
Richard Adams excellent diving header was the pic of the goals on a wet and cool night in Leicestershire. Saturday sees Belper at home - we'll need Sat Nav to find Christchurch Meadows with 1 home game in the last 10 and we find out today that our 'home' match with Leek next Tuesday has been swapped with an Away trip to Quorn. At this rate we'll be at home from Christmas to April
Other photos from last nights game can be seen here: Loughborough v Belper

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Seven on the bounce now

It was a long trip and from a football point of view it was an awful game to watch - the result however made it all worth it. Another win saw Belper through to the next round of the FA Trophy - the draw being made tomorrow presumably. 
A cracking little set up at Barton Le Clay (once we found the ground - well we found it but couldn't get in due to a large barrier across the road. It turns out we had found the 'old' entrance to the ground). They even had an electronic scoreboard (previously located at Luton Town) even if it was missing a digit off the timer. This meant that we were a bit baffled to see the number '4' at the bottom of the screen, until we realised that it was the 4 of 45. At the start of the game it changed to 0 then 1 then 2 as it counted up the minutes - sort of. So we knew we had played twenty something minutes but not exactly how many. What we did know is that a Jon Froggatt goal after 36 minutes was enough to beat Barton on a rough pitch with quite a slope into one corner. Belper played down the slope first half but the pitch stopped us playing the passing football we showed at Sheffield in the first half on Tuesday. The second half was a really poor affair from both sides but at the final whistle the scoreboard read Barton 0 Belper 1 and we headed back up the M1 to dear old Belper, wondering who we would get in the next round, and knowing that the performance would have to be better whoever it was. Talk in the car on the 102 mile return trip was mostly of why we had played so poorly and the consensus was the poor pitch and the opponents dragged us down to their level. The match photos are here: Barton v Belper Photos
This morning (Sunday) as I was sorting the photos from yesterdays game our cat decided that she would look better on my office chair than I did. She waited until I vacated it and then took up residence.
It's a hard life being a cat isn't it ?
Next up, yet another away trip to Loughborough Dynamo on Tuesday evening. 8 wins on the bounce ? Last time we did that was 1979/80 and that season ended up with the Championship coming to Belper for the last time.

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Busy Busy Busy

Another busy week. Tuesday saw us at Sheffield FC (The First Club in the World as they like to call themselves) in the League Cup. A brilliant first half performance against an admittedly young looking Sheffield side saw Belper 2-0 up. New signing Lee Whittington scoring his first for the club, then Rush adding his third in three games for a comfortable lead.
A Sheffield goal towards the end made it a bit nerve wracking as we had visions of another league cup tie going to extra time, but we held on for a 2-1 win and our 6th victory on the bounce. The floodlights at Sheffield are excellent, shame more clubs can’t follow their example. As a reward for that win we have been drawn at home for the first time this season in a cup competition to Worksop Town on November 15th. Tuesday was also the coldest night for a very long time.
Talking of cold – Wednesday night was also the coldest night on the bike since I returned to cycling. Clocked up 7.56 miles to add to the 8 on Monday evening (in the wind).
Friday morning I promised to take my nephew to play golf at Markeaton Pitch and Putt. I had played there a few times in the distant past but had forgotten just how big it was. My idea of pitch and putt is a 9 iron and a putter. A good golfer could easily play around this course with those two clubs but as someone who hasn’t played for about 20 years I was struggling to reach the holes with a 7 iron – more due to poor technique than anything else it has to be said.
After 2 hours of that it was home and out on the bike for another hour. I decided that 16 miles would be enough today (to make the weekly total 31). Did the Holbrook, Chevin circuit but took it easy in the hope that the last climb wouldn’t be quite so tiring – it didn’t work ! Still, I managed to get round in about 1 hr 9 mins. I’m probably not going to improve too much over the winter and the main thing is not to do any damage to the old knees. Funny how as you get older you start to appreciate the body you abused as a youngster a lot more. I can remember thrashing round on my bike in the biggest gear I could turn and to hell with the cartilages !!
Today it’s the FA Trophy and the long trip down to Barton Le Clay in Bedforshire. We’ll be leaving in about another 80 minutes. Here’s hoping for a good journey and a good win (or at the very least a draw and a return game on Tuesday evening at Belper (that’s a LONG trip on a Tuesday evening).
Updates tomorrow.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Five on the Bounce

Ok - for the 2nd time of asking I'll try and update the blog. Having spent the last 15 minutes typing up yesterdays trip to Brigg and adding photos the stupid thing said there was an error and closed without saving anything ! 
So, yesterday (all my troubles seemed so far away), Another glorious day after a very cold start (2 degrees at 7am). The usual suspects Hugh, Alan and Nigel set off on the 75 mile trip to Brigg Town. A straight forward journey of about 1 hour 15 and we arrived under a cloudless sky at Briggs tidy ground The Hawthorns. 
First news we heard was that Ryan 'Massive' Hindley was back at the club for about the 4th time. His nickname derives from his ego - nuff said. He played under Duffers at Retford and we can only surmise that he is here for the dressing room rather than as a serious 'on field' signing although as his goal i the play off semi final a few years back proves he can still have an impact.
Before the game we all bought a Goalden Goal ticket and somehow both Nigel and myself ended up with 19 minutes ! We swapped them for 22 & 26 but as it turned out it didn't make any difference as Brigg took the lead in the 7th minute of the game ! It has long been said that the sign of a good side is one who can still win when they are not playing well. That was true of Belper yesterday as the first half looked ragged to say the least. Brigg missed a lot of good chances to add to their lead before Belper scored a superb equaliser just before the break. A cross from Lee Morris looked too long but Dan White arrived late into the corner of the penalty area and smashed a drive into the roof of the net.
Dan White's superb equaliser
I commented at half time that we were 2nd to every ball, Dave Laughlin said we were 3rd to some ! I also said it looked like one of those games that Brigg could rue their missed chances. Thats exatly how it turned out as Andy Rushbury pounced just before the hour to drive in a rebound and Belper were 2-1 up.
Andy Rushburys winner
Brigg still had a chance to save a point but they hit the bar when it looked easier to score. So Belper moved up to 12th in the table with their 3rd league win under Duffers & Godber. Next up is a trip to the First Club in the World on Tuesday night for the 2nd Rd of the Dootson League Cup. Looks like we may see a changed side for that as we have the big trip to Barton Rovers on Saturday in the FA Trophy.
The other photos from yesterday can be seen here: Brigg Town V Belper Town Photos

Friday, 14 October 2011

20 Miles

Another lovely day weatherwise - sunny most of the time and although there was a cool wind it was a very pleasant to be out on the bike this afternoon.
As posted yesterday I set out to complete 20 miles. Having cycled out to Little Eaton via Holbrook, and back via the Chevin I was still only at about 12 miles. A detour up the A6 back up Cemetery Road, Chesterfield Road, along Far Laund and into Heage via Jacksons Lane. Back onto Far Laund and twice round the block took me to 20 miles. Timing was 1hr 21mins which I was pleased with although it was very tiring (or is it just a sign that I'm not as fit as I try to kid myself that I am).
This morning I was sat in my study, I looked out of the window and saw a hot air balloon heading over Far Laund. 
I grabbed the camera - as per usual no memory card in it and the wrong lens attached - after a quick change I snapped a few shots as the balloon headed over the trees. I was especially pleased to catch the burners in full flow.
Tomorrow we"re off to Brigg Town, a 150 mile round trip - lets hope the trip is worth it with another win to add to the 4 consecutive ones we already have.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

New Gear, Old Gloves

Cycling first. Monday I went on the Peugeot as it was a miserable night with drizzle turning to light rain. The mudguards hadn’t arrived so I had to put up with a wet ride of 7.5 miles. Already the 525 feels heavy compared with the Boardman. Funny that because before I got the new bike I remember being surprised how light it felt. 31m 31s for the 7.5 miles at an average of 14.3 mph.
Wednesday it was back on the Boardman and an 8 mile ride completed in 31m 19s. That makes for an average speed of 15.3 which equates to the fastest ride since I dusted off the bikes and returned to the saddle on July 15th (that 3 months have just flown by). Looking back the first ride was 2.13 miles at an average speed of 12.8 mph. Since then I’ve clocked up 310 miles.
Staying on the subject of cycling I purchased some 'retro gloves' from ebay. Used them for the first time yesterday - really comfortable and so much more substantial than the modern day lycra gloves, it also means I can get a 'proper cyclists' tan through the holes in the back come next summer !
Today (Thursday) we had a days annual leave to make up for having to go in on the Monday we were off two weeks ago. Went to Decathlon to buy a few more bike bits, a bag for under the saddle of the Boardman to put spare tube, tyre levers and multi-tool in. Two extra rear lights and a spare mini pump.
After that we went to Shipley Country park for a stroll round. Took the Olympus and grabbed a few shots.

Tomorrow we are meeting up with an old work colleague who has been retired since January this year. After that hopefully the long bike ride of the week. I can't decide at the minute where to go but I aim to try and clock up 20 miles.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Boring football....

They have lots of excitement at Carlton, some they want and some they definitely don't. Firstly there was a small doubt that the FA trophy game would go ahead yesterday due to an Arson attack on the turnstile at the ground.
Turnstile damage after arson attack
It was halted less than 10 yards from the Social Club by two fire crews in the early hours of Friday morning. Thankfully, in typical non-league lets all pull together spirit, they managed to get the power sorted and the game went ahead as planned.
On the field the action was every bit as exciting as Belper came back 4 times from a goal down to not only equalise but eventually score the winner in a 5-4 thriller. In the three games we have played at Carlton in the past 2 weeks there have been no less than 20 goals (3-2, 4-2 and now 5-4). Photos from the game are here: Carlton v Belper photos
Colin Marrison celebrates scoring the winning goal
This is Belpers first win in the FA Trophy since they beat Rossendale 3-0 back in 2004. It's also our fourth win on the bounce - spirits are definitely up amongst the Nailers fans.
Talking of change, what a change in the weather too. Last week at Rainworth we were basking in temperatures in the high 20's, just 7 days later we struggled to reach 12 in a mizzle. The football warmed us up though so no complaints really. Our next round opponents are a team called Barton Rovers (which sounds like s team from a boys football comic from days gone by. I wouldn't be surprised to see they are managed by Roy Race (anyone under about 40 won't have a clue who Roy Race is, or Melchester Rovers come to that so get Googling).
It's always good to visit a new ground but this one is 102 miles away in Bedfordshire !! Looks like a four hour round trip but at least we will travel with expectation on current form, unlike the FA Cup and that trip to Market Deeping. No midweek game as it was kept clear for a possible replay so our next game is a longish trip to Brigg Town next Saturday.

Friday, 7 October 2011

Out on the Bike

Busy day today - Dentist this morning, hair cut this afternoon and a bike ride in between - ok so not that busy really. Thankfully nothing to be done dental wise, the haircut passed without any great problems which just leaves the bike ride. Due to having a 'man cold' I missed out on my normal Wednesday evening ride so today was only my second ride since Thursday last week. It was also my second outing on the new boardrman bike (third if you count one trip round the block last Sunday). Each time I ride this bike I love it more than the time before. It is really smooth and extremely light - it's just the heavy old fellow on the saddle that slows things down. Having said that I find getting back up from the A6 to Far Laund is getting easier (although from from 'easy' as yet).
On the football front Belper are at, yes you've guessed it, Carlton Town tomorrow, I think we can just about remember the way, as it's our third trip in two weeks. This time it's the FA Trophy, a competition we traditionally do very poorly in, usually going out at the first stage. Having said that there is a chance that the game may not even happen as someone appears to have set fire to the Carlton turnstile block. I would think the game will go ahead as there are alternatives to getting in and the club house, changing rooms etc are unaffected. Read the story here: Carlton Fire
We will see what the morning brings - otherwise it's a day off from football - and possibly another bike ride.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Onwards and Upwards

Another game, another win. For a change we had a home game last night against a Goole side that had won their last five games on the bounce. A screaming free kick from Froggy right on half time gave Belper the lead. A second half strike from Colin Marrison sealed the points as Belper never really gave Goole a sniff of a draw.
Photos are here: Belper v Goole the aforementioned free kick is here:
I snapped three shots of this goal, this being the third of that sequence. This was Jons 6th goal in three games - he's well on the way to getting another 30 goals this season.
I also spotted a shot of the moon over the big tree in the corner of the ground
Not brilliant but I liked it.
On the cycling front I took the new bike round the block on Sunday morning to see how it went up Kilburn Road - even with me on it the thing flys. Monday I took it around my 7.45 mile circuit in very blustery winds. Got back in 30:02 just about 5 seconds slower than my fastest time around the same circuit. I can only imagine what sort of time I could do on a calm day (probably about 5 seconds better than my best time !!)
I have decided to use my Peugeot as a Winter bike , which means adding some mud guards. Trouble is there are no mudguard lugs. A quick search of the internet revealed some lightweight guards designed specially for those bikes without fastenings Mr Crud Road Racing Mudguards they got a mixed review, from very good to very bad but the majority thought they were worth the money, so we will see when they arrive.
Thats it for now - next up another trip to Carlton.

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Another win and it was damn hot

As expected Belper travelled to Rainworth and came back with the three points. The Nailers dominated most of the game without finding the net but in the end it was a 2-0 win. Froggy got the first with atwice taken penalty, the liner on the far side spotting that the keeper had advanced well off his line before the ball was kicked as he saved the first effort. Jons second effort gave the keeper no chance. Froggy then ran in an easy second at the end of the game to seal the points. A good turn out for Belper swelled the crowd to 160+ whereas Rainworth have only been getting double figures in most home games, I'm sure the unseasonably hot weather helped. Apparently yesterday was the hottest October day on record with a temp of 29.9 recorded down south somewhere. Photos from the game are here: Rainworth v Belper

Next up for Belper is a tricky game at home to Goole on Tuesday evening - hopefully the current form will continue and we'll start to climb the table (currently we sit in 16th place)
In the morning I swapped the pedals over on my bikes (see previous blog entry for reasons why this was required) and had a very short spin around the close - need to get out and give it a good run but the gears make me think it is built for speed rather than hills ! I'll have to see how I go when I tackle Kilburn Road and the Chevin !