December 12, 2017
It was quite a relief to hear the final whistle last Saturday that signaled a much needed and well deserved victory over Rotherham, who turned out to be as difficult and hard to beat as we could have wished for during a very testing period for Rovers. After a goal-less first half we let in another poorly defended goal and I guess everybody around the ground feared the worst.! However, as has been said on several occasions, the Rovers’ spirit has not gone away, absent though it may have seemed to have been in just a couple matches this season, and the lads came storming back to claim all three points.
Ellis Harrison has certainly been the most improved player this term and he seems to have added determination to his obvious skills and is reaping the rewards for himself and the team. I suspect the ‘old Ellis’ might not have made that lunge past the ‘Millers’ defenders in previous campaigns but that simple stretch and ‘toe poke’ for the equaliser was just what was needed and set Rovers on the road to a welcome win. That goal followed on from a fabulous strike at Blackburn the week before and then Ellis set up a cooly taken matchwinner for Liam Sercombe so let’s hope that he is able to maintain his great form against the ‘Shrimpers’ this afternoon.
This afternoon should see the Supporters Club’s highly successful 50/50 Draw winnings go past the £14,000 mark for the season to date which is now almost at the half-way stage. A similar amount is therefore pledged towards the Bristol Rovers Academy which and the Development squad as well as the Under-18 Youth squad that we have sponsored for the last decade or so. This additional ‘burden’ (for want of a better word) is not really that because if any of you have been to see the Development side in action then you will have been impressed by Chris Hargreaves’ rapidly improving squad, none of whom had even met each other before their first game at Corinthian Casuals just four months ago.
The side is a mixture of lads taken on from the Under-18’s and some astute signings, many of them rejected previously by other clubs, but who are hoping to make a career in the game with Rovers. The Development League is still also in its infancy and most of our fixtures to date have either been away from home or have been hastily arranged ‘friendlies’, mostly on the G.F.A.’s ‘4G’ pitch at Almondsbury. In the New Year this side has a run of home League fixtures and I hope to see a few more ‘Gasheads’ there to give them a cheer because I am pleased to say that I have seen some great football from what is now effectively a Rovers ‘reserve’ team. Whatever, your continued support of the 50/50 Draw is much appreciated by the Academy management of both the Under-18’s and the Development teams so please keep it going and hopefully I’ll be handing you one of our white envelopes at half-time today!
Thanks obviously go to our hard-working band of sellers who turn out in all winds and weathers to sell the tickets. Likewise to Berni in the Kingswood shop who organises and makes up the tickets and to Sam, Sue, John, Mark and Daryl who help me to put the thousands of stubs into the drum in such a short space of time; everything having to be accomplished at least five minutes before half-time at every home game. An achievement we are proud of.
Bearing in mind the aforementioned Development squad, they will no doubt be heavily involved as Rovers have been drawn away to the City in the Goucestershire Cup on the 22nd December and I’m sure the lads would welcome your support.
The ‘Robins’ undeservedly beat a 10-man ‘Pirates’ side at Weston-Super-Mare last month and it would only be right for us to get revenge as an early Christmas present! Meantime we need your support as ever this afternoon; get behind the boys in blue and white. Up the Rovers.