This weekend, Percy Main will face one of our biggest tests of the season when current league leaders and Northern league promotion hopefuls, Birtley Town, who have to think all the way back to September 9th and a 4-0 reverse at Seaton Delaval, for their last league defeat, provide the opposition. Kick off is 2:30pm.
There's been a bit of elbow grease used this week at Purvis Park and at the moment, the game is definitely on, unless we have any significant rainfall between now and kick off time. You wouldn't have thought that on Monday morning when there was up to a foot of snow on some areas of the pitch and other areas were pretty well waterlogged, but it's amazing what a bit of hard work and a few dry days can do! Our pitch recovers quickly, is well looked after and only 1 team playing on it bears fruit as well as we have managed to stage games this season when others have been left twiddling their thumbs. I imagine, there'll still be games off this weekend as well......
Birtley, whose own pitch has been pretty much entirely under water this week, will be especially glad to get the game out of the way, having played only 16 games to date and await the inevitable 3 games a week, including the dreaded midweek evening ones, which kick off at 6:15 and starting next month, once the clocks have gone forward. Can't say we're looking forward to it too much either, but we have managed to play a few games more, so maybe not so bad for us!
Today's visitors, now under the stewardship of Paul Beat, have been there or thereabouts at the top of the table for most of the season and even at this relatively early stage, it looks to be either them or Newcastle University for the title. Both have applied for promotion and while the Uni's new ground is yet to be completed, Birtley's ground should already satisfy Northern league membership criteria, without problem. Birtley lead the students by a couple of points in the table, but the Uni side do have a game in hand, there'll be a few twists and turns by the end of the season I've no doubt!
Birtley won our corresponding league game by a narrow 2-1 margin on September 23rd at The Town Ground, but were made to work hard for their victory. Andy Hall netted both counters for Birtley either side of the interval, while Jake Forster's first half equaliser for Percy Main was to prove nothing more than a consolation.
Like just about all of last Saturday's full programme of non league football, Percy Main were thwarted by the wintry elements courtesy of 'The Beast from the East' as our scheduled Northern Alliance Premier division game at FC United of Newcastle was postponed - another one to be fitted in - somewhere. Its the first time that I've known the Northern Alliance call off the entire fixture programme and that a couple of days prior. Common sense prevailed, although I doubt any club would have actually needed to get their pitch inspected to tell them that their game was not going to go ahead!
It was frustrating for The Main who despite a disappointing Northumberland Senior Benevolent Bowl semi final exit at the hands of Whitley Bay 'A' have seen an encouraging upturn in our playing fortunes since the turn of the year, which has seen the side win 4 and draw 1 from our 6 league games played.
Creditable wins have been gained against Northbank Carlisle (3-1) and Ashington Colliers (4-3) at Purvis Park, while on the road, The Villagers have won at Shankhouse (2-1) and AFC Newbiggin, (3-1) and a useful point was gained in a 2-2 draw with Gateshead 'A'. That sole defeat came here, at the hands of Ponteland United (1-2) 3 weeks ago, our mast home game in fact and might we have had an injury time penalty?
On Saturday evening , Percy Main Amateurs will stage a fundraising evening in the adjacent Cricket Club bar, which will include a Race Night and pie and pea supper. Tickets are available at at today's home game or on the door from 7pm for a measly 3 quid.
There will also be a 'Grand Prize Draw' featuring football signed memorabilia including an Alan Shearer signed England shirt and a pair of football boots also signed by the former Newcastle legend - all welcome, please support the event if at all possible, it is another which has taken a lot of time and effort by the hardy few to try and maintain and develop the club. Again, there'll be tickets available at the match on Saturday.
Updated 21:32 - 8 Mar 2018 by Norman de Bruin