Saturday 22 February – Away to Bromsgrove – League – Kick-off 3pm.
Coach leaves at 10.45am.
Saturday’s postponed game with Royston game has been confirmed for Monday 30th March, kick-off 7:45pm.
- Josh Bickerstaff is seeing a specialist about his hip injury but will be in the squad for the Bromsgrove game.
- There are no further injury problems and the trio of Jhai Dhillon, Alex Marsh and Ben Walster return to the squad for the Bromsgrove game while Josh Coldicott-Stevens and Lewis Rolfe are also available after completing suspensions.
- Bradley Bell has rejoined Biggleswade Town. We thank him for his contribution and wish him well for the future.
HITCHIN v COLCHESTER UNDER 23’S
Some supporters were surprised how we managed to play Colchester under 23’s in a friendly at the Arena on Saturday when our league game with Royston was only officially called off at 11am. The reason was forward planning. We were well aware of the weather forecast and the threat Storm Dennis posed. Our groundstaff kept Mark Burke and myself updated and it was fairly obvious the pitch was badly waterlogged and the Royston game would be called off. So Mark contacted Colchester to see if they could play on the artificial pitch at the Arena. Their under 23 team were due to play at Cardiff but again it was soon apparent that Storm Dennis would win the day and their game was called off on Friday. They would happily play us in a friendly but would need to know before 11.15am on Saturday so they had time to travel to Baldock.
I had arranged an 11am inspection of Top Field and the referee had little choice other than calling the game off. I contacted Mark immediately and he phoned Colchester and the game was set up with a 2pm kick-off. Mark found a local referee in John Robertson whose own game had been called off and players ran the line. Our social media team publicised the game and over 50 supporters turned out on a foul day. It was a very entertaining game that saw Jacob Hutchinson and Diogo Freitas Gouveia play for Colchester in the first half and Hitchin in the second half. We won 2-1 with Rio Da Silva and Brett Donnelly the scorers.
I had an email last week from Margaret Eddlestone who works as a volunteer at Garden House Hospice warehouse book section. She had found an old Hitchin Town FC minute book and wondered whether I would like to acquire it for the club archives. I went to see her last Friday ant it turned out that the minute book was a priceless part of our history. It was the very first minute book of the reformed club and the opening entry is for a general meeting held on 2nd May 1928. The first paragraphs read as follows:
”A meeting was held at the Angel Vaults on the above date to consider reforming Hitchin Town FC. Mr Harry Cannon was elected chair and about 120 people were present. After some discussion it was unanimously agreed to form a football club under the name of Hitchin Town FC. Several members of the audience took part in a discussion as to whether the club should be run on an amateur or professional basis and on a show of hands it was decided that the club should be run on purely amateur lines for the present.”
A collection at the meeting raised £1 17 shillings and fourpence! A committee was formed and met after the general meeting and so began Hitchin Town FC for a second time. One interesting item from that first committee meeting was as follows: “After some discussion it was agreed that the club colours be white shirts and white knickers.”
The minute book is in excellent condition bearing in mind it is 92 years old and I found it fascinating to read. It runs to June 1929 and then at the back has annual general meeting reports from 1929 to 1933. It includes a copy of the accounts for the year ended 31 May 1933. Here is that balance sheet:
So many thanks to Margaret for spotting a vital part of our history. Hopefully I will include more snippets from the minutes of the 1928 and 1929 meetings in future bulletins.
FUNERAL OF JOHN GRAY
John’s funeral took place at St. Ippollitts Church on Wednesday. It was very well attended and the whole of the club’s management committee were at the funeral and wake together with many supporters. John’s son Brian gave an excellent tribute to his father outlining how football and family were the most important things in his life although he was not sure in which order. Brian said John would be remembered as a kind, gentle man who had time for everyone and the family wanted to thank everyone for all the cards and condolences. Brian finished with a message he received from a supporter:
”Your dad typifies a Hitchin supporter, loyal, passionate and above all friendly and welcoming to whoever you were and what ever team you followed. A good man who will be missed”.
It was entirely fitting that the final piece of music was the Colonel Bogey theme that for so many years was played as the Hitchin team entered the field of play. Brian told me John had Colonel Bogey as his ringtone.
John’s daughter Alison wrote the poem below which was read at the funeral as ‘ a thank you from Dad, hoping to convey gratitude for his life and in his parting from us.” She was happy for the poem to be shared and I think you will agree it deserves to reach a wider audience:
‘Thank You’ By Alison Gray
Thank you for letting me go
To a place free of pain, and peace
Remember the good times we had
And legacy of growing seeds
Thank you for all the love
The years being by my side
We travelled so far together
Memories made for all time
Thank you for supporting my passions
In all the ways you could
Freedoms you bestowed to me
In my way, you never stood
Thank you for coming together
Celebrations and all the fun
The laughs we shared, the games we played
And watching the children run
Thank you for saying goodbye
It’s a pause, as life goes on
Remember me fondly in your thoughts
For now, farewell, so long.
HITCHIN TOWN UNDER 19’S
The academy team did not have a fixture this week but they were invited to Boreham Wood where they watched Chelsea under 23’s beat Arsenal under 23’s 2-1.
On Wednesday 26 February they are away to Boreham Wood kick-off 11am.
HITCHIN TOWN LADIES FC
The ladies had both games postponed last Sunday due to Storm Dennis.
On Sunday 23 February the Ladies Reserves are at home to Herts Vipers at Ickleford Sports Ground kick-off 2pm.
EJA NEWS WITH NICK CARR
For the second week running our EJA teams fell victims to the weather, with all games called off due to Storm Dennis.
This Sunday all four teams are in action and praying for good weather:
- The U14s are away to St. Ives Town and looking to do the double over an opponent who sit in second place in the league table. Kick-off is 11:00am.
- Our U15s are at home to Tring Athletic and looking to avenge a defeat earlier in the season, to strengthen their position at the top of the league table. Kick-off is 10:30am at The Arena, Baldock.
- Our U17s are another of our teams who are looking to strengthen their position at the top of their league when they travel the short distance to Stotfold for a 10:30am kick-off.
- Our U18s complete our weekend EJA fixtures when they take on Harlow Town at The Arena, Baldock with a 2pm kick-off.
MANAGER’S NOTES WITH MARK BURKE
We travel to Bromsgrove on Saturday to face the side lying second in the league. They are the second highest scorers with 78 goals in just 30 games and have a very potent forward line. I expect there to be a big crowd as they are currently averaging 990 and it is up to us to silence them to stop them becoming Bromsgrove’s twelfth man.
We fought out an entertaining 2-2 draw at Top Field earlier in the season and I think Saturday’s game will again provide plenty of excitement.
BY ROY IZZARD