Knighton & Clun weekend
Well, the long anticipated weekend to visit Tom Taylor (of the Woodentops shop and Lichfield TSC fame) and Guy N.Smith (founder of the Staffordshire Subbuteo Association in 1970 with Mike Bradbury) ended up as a disaster! A month in the planning as each new date proposed meant that somebody couldnt make it,was supposed to run like this-saturday arrive Knighton 11am, have casual morning of lunch followed by walk around the area, followed by friendly matches against the Taylors and Guy. Evening was to somehow fit in watching the European Cup final between Real and Athletico Madrid followed by much beer drinking before retiring to our B&B. Sunday was to be a small tournement in the community hall between the afforementioned plus Nick Lampitt, my travelling companion, Toms son Algy, travelling down from Manchester, plus a carfull from Cardiff TSC. Nick's son was also supposed to be coming down from even furthur York, so we might have had 10 players in all.
Well, almost none of the above happened because when we arrived at Tom's home, he wasnt there. He was across town selling fruit&veg on his farmers' market stall. Not only did he for some reason think we werent coming that weekend, but we found out he hadnt even booked us in to digs for the night.Not only that, but he had lost his phone on the train, and because he said he couldnt contact us, he had thought the whole thing was off, and so no-one was coming! Even Sue Taylor-once a decent player-wouldnt turn out to play even frinedly games against me and Nick. To be fair, she was now in not-so-good health, and needed a mobility scooter to get around.
It rained non-stop the whole 48 hours, and Nick and I spent two hours walking from pub to pub (9 in all) to be greeted with the words 'no vacances'. Eventually at 2pm, we got booked in somewhere thanks to the Knighton visitors centre. Lunch was fish and chips in newspaper eaten whilst walking along the street as we were by now soaked to the skin, thanks to a weather forcast which promised dry weather, so we only had T shirts and light jackets. We did play a few matches in the afternoon (results below) but we still had a visit to the home of author Guy Smith to look forward to on the Sunday. The saturday night went alright, we bloody great actually, cus we watched the Heinekin rugby cup final followed by the Eurpean cup final whilst eating a big steak dinner lashed down with a gallon of beer. That each, not between us.
Sunday saw us foolishly agree to an hour walk along the river, which was swollen, and we got soaked again. We left Knighton with over 2 hours to kill before arriving at Guy's at the agreed time of 2.30pm, so we went for a drive and discovered the beautiful village of Bishops Castle. Three medieval pubs, loads of 16th,17th and 18th century building populated the main street which led uphill to the church complete with medieval pebble stone road. Superb.
Got to Guys, and he gave us a tour of the house which took an hour, what with the Subbuteo room, the Tobacco room, the gun room, the 3 offices,the Black Hill Bookshop with 5,000 books, and a room each for Guy N Smith books and his own collection of rare comics and paperbacks. After a while, I said 'Guy,arent we going to play some Subbuteo?' We were saddened to hear that if we had given him more notice, he would have cleared a space and set his board up, and so we didnt play any games there either. Having said that, Nick was amazed at Guy's place, and we have now arranged to go back in August when games will be guaranteed, as Guy's son with be there, so we can play the 'Clun Invitation' mini-event.
Knighton results- Tom Taylor (Knighton & Welsh Champion) 2-2 Mike Bradbury (Willenhall & 14 times Staffordshire Cup winner)
Tom Taylor 2-1 Nick Lampitt (Brownhills & England veteran cap)
Nick Lampitt 0-0 Mike Bradbury
I hadnt played Tom for a decade and didnt know what to expect, but I knew he had played in a great many tournements in recent years. Indeed he was now Welsh champion. I scored on 2 minutes but was stunned when he came back with 2 goals to take a halftime lead. I equalised in the 2nd half, and tried to find a winner, but Tom went on the offensive too, so I setteld for a draw. Tom then suprised me by beating Nick, who will play for England next month in Belgium,and it could have been 3-0. A draw was a fair result between me and Nick,as we only had one good chance each but our shooting boots deserted us. So a disaster weekend, Subbuteo-wise, butbut still an enjoyable one. Roll on August!