Saturday 9th February
Claypits Lane, Hythe
How times change, and how they continue to change.
I spent Sunday afternoon at a friend's house.
From his lounge I looked out the window over the Itchen River to reflect on Burridge's two-nil win away to Hythe Aztecs, their third win on the bounce. It was at this moment my friend bought me a cup of tea - white with none - and with it what I momentarily mistook for a biscuit tin, that on closer inspection was in fact a shoe box. Size eleven Adidas.
When I took off its lid to examine its contents I found something better than any Jammy Dodgers. Better than chocolate Hob Knobs. Better even than Tunnock's Teacakes, those beauties that come dressed in the red and silver foil wrapping. The shoe box was filled with paper cuttings from the Southampton Sports Echo spanning some two decades. I picked up a copy of a Sports Echo that grabbed my attention. It was from April 2003. Saints had beaten Watford at Villa Park in the FA Cup Semi Finals. Burridge on the other hand laid second to bottom in Senior Divison Two.
I took another look out the window, this time beyond the banks of the Itchen, to St Marys, that modern stadium we thought would take us to new and exciting places. Not Scunthorpe away in the Championship. How times have changed.
Burridge now sit in second place in the Southampton Senior League. In years to come, maybe Burridge players will look back to this particular time, when training sessions were well attended, more games won than lost and a genuine chance of promotion lay within their grasp. Welcome to the good old days! That is unless your name is Jay Schwodler. The Burridge right-back may have reason to call the Guinness Book of Records after being substituted with barely a minute of play on the clock. If there's been an earlier substititon I've forgotten it. A bone in his arm is broken and he'll need an operation to pin it. We wish him well.
Burridge had taken to the field dressed in their all red away kit and started this game slowly. (Why does that happen?) Once the seasoned veteran midfield pairing of Mark Reeves and Justin Newman got going there was no stopping them snarling away in the middle, while Bryn Schwodler and Jamie Hewitt found time and space on the flanks, giving Burridge a solid foundation on which to build on. Jamie Hewitt is the eldest of the three playing Hewitt brothers, and can often be seen shrugging moodily during play like some French pantomine villain, until he receives the ball, when he has the ability to sidestep challenges with minimal effort, and it was from the right flank that Burridge gained the lead.
It was Ben Hutton who provided the impetus, driving down the right flank and crossing low for Sam Hewitt, who met the centre on the volley in a manner that Mark Hughes would have been proud, sending the ball low past the keeper's right. 1-0.
Burridge continued to toil during the second half. Hythe too. The second goal came late, killing the game dead. Mark Reeves struck low and hard from out the box, his shot hit the base of the post. His second woodwork hitting in three games leads me to ask what the boy's putting on his Cornflakes these days. Sam Schwodler was first in the queue to side foot in the rebound. 2-0. Leaders Freemantle are up next for Burridge.
4-4-2: Stanfield, L.Sanderson, K.Hewitt, M.Sanderson, J.Schwodler (Kelly), J.Hewitt, Newman, Reeves, B.Schwodler (Baker), S.Hewitt, Hutton (S.Schwodler)