1996: A year of first and lasts

Thursday 5th December 1996



The view from Hunters Reach December 5th 1996

Woke up to a decent covering of snow. Both our schools were closed to pupils as too  was our local one so there was nothing left to do but make the most of a rare day off. Fiona of course decided it would be a good idea to finish off some preparations for the school concert and shamed me into doing some marking and report writing. The good thing about the pupils at Wendover is they don’t create a lot of marking. The bad thing is there are always some reports to write or records to complete.

I was bored silly by 11 so persuaded Fiona that we should go for a nice long walk in the snow. We set out around 12 and arrived in Stony for 1. The route took us through Bancroft, New Bradwell then Wolverton and along the canal and river to Stony. It was only right that we should drop in the Vaults to check that everyone was o.k. in this weather. It was like an old school reunion of Denbigh folk so we were able to catch up with Roger Siewert and Tim Hawkins over a pint.

We walked back through Galley Hill and Two Mile Ash, getting home at around 4. A good walk and well worth it. A night of watching the T.V. Third rock from the Sun, Crocodile Shoes and Question Time. Snowing again, looks like tomorrow may be off work wise as well.

 1996 was a year of first and lasts for Rovers and me.

 Last number 1

4th May

In May Rovers played the last game at the Twerton Park in Bath. For that weekend we had a stay at the Henbury Lodge Hotel in Bristol. On the way, on Friday afternoon, we stopped in to Windmill House to see my Mum. She was coping well and was, for once, quite chatty. Windmill House was a very nice residential home. Mum couldn’t cope being on her own at home and needed somewhere that could help her have some easier comfort. The house used to be the home of fellow University friend Helen Deverson, although we never knew that at the time. I hated her being there but we had little to no say in the decision.

We went on to the hotel and then caught a taxi to Westbury on Trym for a few beers and a pizza in the Post Office Tavern. On Saturday morning we parked by the river in Bath and had a pre-match pint in the Golden Fleece. Rovers won 2-1 and we had the expected pitch invasion after the game. We went back to Bristol and again went into W-O-T, this time to the Prince of Wales and the White Lion before a curry and walk back to the hotel. Sunday morning we went to the Hole in The Wall in Bristol and had a short walk around the dockside before going home. It was an INSET day / Bank holiday on Monday so we didn’t have to worry about having to get work done.


 A pitch invasion? Last game of the season. It is the expected thing despite the many dire warnings of how we would all be very naughty people.

Last Number 2

25th August

Stedders’ last game of football.

The Victoria pub challenged those of us in the Albert to a game of football. The Vic were generally younger, fitter and played football on a Saturday or Sunday Morning. The Prince Albert team had a mix of people who watched football and used to play sport. So it was that at age 38 I played my last game of football. Clarkie played in the team, being younger if not much fitter. Our team also had a few non-footballers, Howard in goal for example, struggled to get into his gloves, let alone a shirt. I ran out of steam playing at centre half after about 30 minutes so drifted forward into midfield just to avoid being too involved in the game. In reality I was probably trying to avoid getting sent off for a second late tackle. I blame the opposition for this. They played a chap called Kevin Millington who was a grade one ringer. He was a fastish forward who on Saturday played regular football for Milton Keynes City. He was well out of place in such a low level pub game as this but he was there and running down the wing as this trundling centre half eyed up the danger. He then made a stupid error of judgement when he pushed the ball past me and ran off the pitch to catch up with the ball. Now we all know that is a silly thing to do because how can the ref give a free kick to a player body checked off when off the pitch? I say a body check, it was more of a shoulder to shoulder easing of the player towards the cricket square rather than the pitch. He dived of course, what semi pro footballer wouldn’t?  The ref gave a free kick but couldn’t decide where to restart the game. I diplomatically apologised and wandered out of defence.

The result: Victoria Inn 5 Prince Albert 3


Stedders drifting to the front in an attempt to pull back the two goal deficit.

A First

Arnold Palmer Pro Shot Golf tournament.

On the same day, after the game.

I had taken several weeks creating a golf course in my garden. On my knees with a pair of scissors I created greens and fairways, flags and bunkers for a tournament that used my Arnold Palmer pro shot golf toy. Entry was by invitation only. We had compulsory beer from a local brewery in the garage.

The Claret Jug, full of jelly beans, was won by Clarkie, who, if the picture is to be believed, celebrated by doing the Y from YMCA


 Course preparation in the sunshine.


In the clubhouse, sampling some Frog Island Bitter


Andy avoids the “chair in play hazard” while Clarkie leads the dancing.

 Finally a first and last.

 11th October


Move to Hunters Reach from Audley Mead.

A move of two streets and approximately 200 yards. We didn’t need a four bedroom detached house. We didn’t choose it to be closer to the pub. It was just one of those spur of the moment decisions that made sense at the time.

August 17th

Rovers played their first game at Mem


Fiona chose her spot early. To her left is the legend that is Don Lippiatt, doing much the same. For many a year the Lippiatts ran the Easter Compton Stores. His son Dave took over until recently. They were good friends from school and Dave still pops up at Northern Rovers away games.


It was a bit busier an hour later. This is also known as the game that they played with goals that were the wrong size. Did the Lee Archer goal hit the larger goal frame on its way in? Rovers 1 Peterborough 0


1981       Fulham H 1-2

1987       1sts Wigston A W 15-10 2p

1992       Luton H 2-0

1998       Exeter A 2-2

2009       Colchester A 0-1


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