Sprout On A Pilgrimage

October 26, 2005

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Boston probably isn’t high on most fans lists of must do away games, but it has become somewhat of a favourite of mine. In fact it’s become a sort of pilgrimage.

I managed to avoid driving duties again and acquired a lift, and after a pick-up in Portishead five of us set upon the seemingly endless journey to the Lincolnshire town. Around ten miles from Boston a relief stop was required and a haven emerged from the flat, open surroundings. It turned out this pub and restaurant was home to a motorcycle club, and although quiet with us five the only customers at the time, it wasn’t hard to imagine the place full with rowdy, leather clad bikers.

Arriving in Boston, I made my way to the Ship Inn which has been the place to be the last few trips. A beautiful little pub full of good company and fine beers. The locals are really friendly and it’s easy to have a good conversation about the upcoming match. From programme notes to the radio, to the fans it was clear we were painted as the big club and how great it would be to beat us, even though they seem to have took on the mantle of being one of our bogey teams. I can understand why they think of us as a big club, but you’d think the last few years of trying to stay in the league would dampen the “big” club image.

As for the game? The first half was immensely enjoyable. (as was the food, some of the best in the division in my opinion) We played some good football and the confidence amongst the fans and the players seems to have sky-rocketed over the past few weeks. There was some truly great support and some great play from both teams. It was disappointing to concede an early goal, but we hit back with a superb finish by Richard Walker and I even think I was celebrating before the ball hit the back of the net. After conceding the second from a penalty rebound we fell into the trap of hit and hope, leading us to a 3-1 defeat. Clearly there is work to do, but we must build and take positives from the first half performance.

Despite the defeat, we had a great sing song in the car on the way back and it really was an enjoyable day to be sprout and about.

This article has previously appeared in The Pirate, the Rovers match day programme, and is reproduced by kind permission of the editor Keith Brookman.

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