Saturday 15th March
Green Park, Millbrook
Kristian Hewitt remained on his knees on the edge of the penalty area, beating a clenched fist once, twice, three times into the sodden ground beneath him as he watched a quartet of Freemantle attackers return to their own half for the restart. Burridge had gone a goal behind and Hewitt’s disappointment at this was as visible as the thick streaks of mud clinging to his red stockings. Minutes earlier they were pulled up and folded over just below the knee to reveal three white stripes, each one making the circumference around Hewitt’s calf, but no longer. His attempted sabotage of Freemantle’s scoring attack came from a sliding tackle, leaving his plastic boned shin-guards exposed as if they were Hewitt’s very own musculature.
Burridge went into this fixture with runaway leaders Freemantle hoping to fair better than the three- nil home defeat earlier in the season. The car park at Green Park swelled under the burden of cars that spilled onto the Millbrook streets. The combination of paint stricken steel frames of the nearby swings and the gaping holes in the wire mesh fencing of the recreation ground’s perimeter were sight enough for even an estate agent to call it a day.
Down came the rain in a fine drizzle. In went another Freemantle goal, this time a header at the far post from a free kick from the left. Freemantle went in at half time two goals up, their hands on the title. Burridge put in a lot more heart during the second half, but their efforts did not bring a goal. Freemantle extended their lead to three to nil, their title is won. Second place for Burridge is looking more unlikely by the week. Miserable weather brought additional following normally reserved for pre-season optimism, thank-you to former captain and Hedge-End exile Rich Allan, Kev Willsher, Dave & Chris Hopkins for their support.
4-4-2: Stanfield, L.Sanderson, K.Hewitt(c), M.Sanderson, Jones, Kelly, Dyke, Reeves (S.Schwodler), J.Hewitt, Hutton (S.Hewitt), B.Schwodler.
Unused subs: J.Newman, G.Baker