February 14, 2018
This evening’s column was prepared before last Saturday’s visit to the Kassam Stadium where let’s hope Rovers returned to winning ways following the previous Saturday’s late defeat at the hands of high-flying Shrewsbury Town. That was a miserable day weatherwise and the pitch didn’t help make it otherwise as far as the result was concerned. I thought Rovers were just about worth the point they seemed to have claimed with Joe Partington’s equaliser but some weak defending cost us even that right at the end. The ‘Shrews’ are up at the top for a reason and they certainly dug out a valuable win just as Rovers have been doing in recent weeks. Apart from a first defeat in seven games, and Rovers’ first in 2018, the game was notable for the debuts of new signings Tony Craig, who played the whole 90 minutes, and Kyle Bennett and Bernard Mensah who both came on as late substitutes as ‘DC’ chased a winner only for ‘Salop’ to inflict late pain on us for a change!
I’m pleased to say that the Supporters Club is sponsoring the kit of all the trio – the home shirts of Kyle and Bernard and the away one for Tony. These shirts become our property to do with as we wish at the end of the season and our idea is to raffle them to members who rejoin for the 2018/9 campaign. We have not sorted out yet how or when we will do this but we will of course announce our intentions through this column and on our website in due course. All three players look to be more than useful signings and I’m sure members will be proud to win any one of the shirts.
Our February Executive Committee meeting took place last Tuesday evening and, along with much further discussion on the Club’s future following the planned closure of our Kingswood shop at the end of the season, we would also have been deciding on our ‘goal of the month’ for January. It was a good (unbeaten of course) month for the team and there were a few super strikes to choose from. Ken will publish the winner elsewhere in this column. A new attendee at the meeting was Leanne Hawkins who we have taken on board as our new Travel Organiser. We have not had anyone in the post since the passing of our old friend Ralph Shaw a few years ago now and this was a position that had to be resolved with the shop closure coming-up at the end of May. Leanne has been stewarding on coach 1 to all our away games in recent seasons and was therefore the obvious choice to take on the role. I’m sure she will make a good job of it and will prove an asset to the Committee so, best of luck Leanne!
In the ‘Shrews’ programme I mentioned the Supporters Club’s role in sponsoring Rovers’ Youth Academy and the 50/50 Draw has been pumping money into that for the past decade or so. Ken and I, both being retired from work for the last few years, have always followed-up this sponsorship by regularly attending the under-18’s home matches that are usually played on Saturday mornings on local non-League pitches. Unfortunately this season the lads have been playing home games at Yate Town’s Lodge Road ground and this is just too far away for us to get there and back before our ‘duties’ kick-in here at the Mem. It’s a long day for us here with the first team so we have missed supporting our up-and-coming youngsters and have only been able to do so for the F.A. Youth Cup ties that have to be played on the host club’s League grounds. Rovers’ lads are out of that tournament now so are ‘concentrating on the league’ as the saying goes. However the weather has recently taken a hand and with Lodge Road unplayable the under-18’s have had to switch games to the G.F.A.’s synthetic pitch at Almondsbury and likewise the under-23’s Development Squad have also played there so both teams can catch up on their fixtures before the second half of the respective leagues are planned. So we have had nice little glut of midweek daytime games to witness both sides and it has been good to see our money being well spent. Lee Mansell, Tom Parrinello and Chris Hargreaves have got their charges playing well (results not necessarily the most important thing) and both sides play in the same attractive attacking manner as does Darrell’s first team. Producing players for the senior squad is what it is all about! Please keep buying those 50/50 tickets and supporting all the other initiatives that we run to help bring local boys into the Rovers.
Rochdale will surely provide stiff opposition this evening so please get behind those quarters as they seek to get back to winning ways at the Mem. Up the Pirates!