LOCKDOWN TWO
As I managed to produce a bulletin every week of the first lockdown I see no reason why it should be any different in lockdown 2 and I will continue to bring you any news relating to Hitchin Town FC over the next four weeks.

FIXTURES
Due to the latest government lockdown the Southern League fixtures have been cancelled until 2 December. It is likely that League fixtures will resume on Saturday 12 December if the lockdown is lifted.

Training is also suspended for the period of the lockdown while the Canary Club has also had to close.

The date for our FA Trophy game at home to Mickleover Sports has yet to be decided.

A TRIBUTE TO OUR GROUNDSTAFF
Our FA Trophy game was only able to take place because of the efforts of Steve Barker and his groundstaff. Steve had phoned me on Friday evening to warn me that one area of the pitch was very wet and boggy and with a poor weather forecast I should be prepared to have a pitch inspection organised Saturday morning. Steve agreed to ring me at 8.00am on Saturday to give me an update on the pitch condition and we would decide if an inspection would still be needed.

When he rang me he felt the inspection was necessary as the pitch had not dried out and rain was still forecast. I had spoken to local referee Lee Jessup on Friday night and he had agreed to carry out the inspection if needed. I therefore called him at 8.15 on Saturday and he agreed to come to Top Field at 9.00. I had spoken to the match referee in the meantime and he was happy for Lee to do the inspection.

I met Lee and Steve at the ground and there was one very wet area that would not be able to handle much more rain. However at the time the pitch was playable and the amount of rain that was forecast and when it was due to arrive varied in different forecasts. The match referee agreed the game had to go ahead and he would make his own decision when he arrived at Top Field.

Unfortunately we had some heavy rain after the inspection and I feared the worst. However Steve and his team had put plastic sheeting over the worst area and this saved the day. The sheeting was carefully cleared of surface water and the referee was happy this part of the pitch was definitely playable. Without the preparations of our groundstaff there is no doubt in my mind the game would have been called off so many thanks to Steve and his team. It is easy to take them for granted but Saturday proved just how important they really are.

MANAGER’S NOTES WITH MARK BURKE

HERNE BAY

Firstly when I arrived at Top Field on Saturday I was very impressed to see Steve Barker and his team hard at work on the pitch after a morning of torrential rain. Their efforts ensured the game was able to go ahead for which we are all grateful. When the game started we made a slow start and Herne Bay took a deserved lead with a goal that was poorly defended. We gradually worked our way in to the game and got our equaliser with an own goal. However I was not happy with our first half performance which was too slow and laboured and there was not enough energy in our play.

At half time we told the players they had to up their tempo and to their credit they did this from the start of the second half. We took the lead with a well worked goal and clever finish. We had a good spell but failed to increase our lead and as the game went on we became a little anxious while Herne Bay grew in confidence. They got a foothold in the game and made life uncomfortable for us for a spell.

I was relieved when Callum Stead scored the goal he thoroughly deserved for his work rate and we were able to put the game to bed. There was another cracking atmosphere at the game and it was created by both sets of supporters.

GREENS V YELLOWS

After the lockdown announcement we decided that a game before our enforced four week lay- off would be beneficial to everybody. It provided an opportunity to look at some new players and give much needed game time to other players. I thought it would also be a tool for helping to create good team spirit.

It was decided that myself and Adam Parker would manage the yellow team and Brett Donnelly and Josh Bickerstaff the green team. I believe the teams were evenly matched although the opposition management were not of the same opinion! As Lewis Barker phoned in late a team change was enforced and Mr Donnelly sneaked in to the starting line up for the greens.

I did laugh when Harvey Sule dished out the sort of treatment to Brett that he has been handing out to opposition defenders for many years. However I did feel Brett performed very well and there may be a league signing-on form heading his way!

There were some good performances and some pleasing football was played and I hope the hardy supporters who turned up enjoyed the game. The young management pretenders did not win on this occasion but I am sure at some time in the future there will be a rematch.

LOCKDOWN

During lockdown the players will be given individual programmes to ensure they retain their fitness. I look forward to football returning and I would like to thank all our supporters who have been turning up in such large numbers since the first lockdown. The players and management have really appreciated your support and we look forward to seeing you again in December.

PLEASE SUPPORT MATT FURNISS
Matt Furniss who is part of our social media team is looking to raise money for the Trussell Trust. He explains below details of the charity and his challenge:

”According to a recent study, 4.2 million children live in relative poverty within the UK. Myself and a group of eight friends are undertaking a challenge to run 4.2km on every single day in November (so 126km overall) to raise money for the Trussell Trust.

Last year, food banks in the Trussell Trust network provided more than 1.6 million emergency food parcels to people in crisis. More than half a million of these went to children.

It’s not right that people can’t afford the basics. With your help, we can help end the need for food banks. As a nation, we expect no one should be left hungry or destitute. Illness, disability, family breakdown or the loss of a job can happen to any of us.

Any help to reach our next landmark of £2000 in our fundraiser would be massively appreciated!”

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/4point2challenge

BY ROY IZZARD