Archive for April, 2011

Ipswich Town 2 Preston North End 1

30-04-2011: Ipswich Town 2 Preston North End 1 (NPower Championship) Portman Road, Ipswich, Suffolk

Words to follow.

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Wisbech Town 5 Newmarket Town 1

25-04-2011: Wisbech Town 5 Newmarket Town 1 (Ridgeons League Premier Division) Fenland Stadium, Wisbech, Cambridgeshire

Words to follow.

More pictures here.

Godmanchester Rovers 0 Diss Town 2

23-04-2011: Godmanchester Rovers 0 Diss Town 2 (Ridgeons League First Division) Bearscroft Lane, Godmanchester, Cambridgeshire

Words to follow.

More pictures here.

Sting debut in MISL

A Brief History of the Chicago Sting: Part 9

1982-83 (Indoor): In the fall of 1982 agreement was reached between the NASL and the MISL to allow three franchises – the San Diego Sockers, the San Jose Earthquakes and the Chicago Sting – to join the MISL for the upcoming 1982-83 indoor season. With a regular season stretching from November to mid-April and comprising 48 games per team (compared to just 18 games in the NASL Indoor League the previous season) the Chicagoans had effectively signed up to play two full seasons a year, of two very different types of soccer.

Even so, the Sting, who were assigned to the Eastern Division, acquitted themselves well taking place in a three way race for the division title, with the veteran Cleveland Force and the Baltimore Blast, eventually finishing third, two games behind the Blast in first place, and one behind the Force in second place, with a 28-20 record.

In the first round of the playoffs experience was a telling factor at Cleveland eased into the next round winning the best-of-three series 5-9, 5-4 and 7-5.

Ipswich Town 1 Norwich City 5

21-04-2011: Ipswich Town 1 Norwich City 5 (NPower Championship) Portman Road, Ipswich, Suffolk

Words to follow.

Defending champions fail to make playoffs

A Brief History of the Chicago Sting: Part 8

1982 (Outdoor): The possibility that the Sting would become the first defending champions to fail to make the playoffs since the Soccer Bowl’s inauguration in 1975 was certainly far from anyone’s minds when Chicago resumed NASL outdoor action in April. However, four straight losses in the opening month set the trend for what would become a topsy-turvy campaign.

The players had had little time to rest after a tough indoor season and the team and its management also had to adjust to a number of rule changes. First, the league had agreed to FIFA’s demands that offside rule should apply from the half-way line and not the NASL’s 35-yard line as had been the case since the leagues inception. Second, the league insisted that clubs have at least four North Americans on the field at any one time. The Sting had sufficient players to do so but was left with a surfeit of foreign stars and David Huson and John Tyma – who had both played their part in the 1981 success – were traded to other teams.

The first win of the season came against the Tulsa Roughnecks at Wrigley Field on May 1st but that was just a brief respite as the Sting slumped to a further four defeats to end the month with a 1-7 record. Then remarkably Frantz Mathieu – a firm fan favourite – was traded to the Montreal Manic, with Gordon Hill coming the other way, making his return to Chicago after a seven-year absence.

A break from league action saw the Sting take part in the Trans-Atlantic Challenge Cup. After holding Nacional of Uruguay to a 0-0 tie and defeating Italian Seria A side Napoli 3-1 they lifted the trophy with a 4-3 victory against the New York Cosmos in front of 36,904 at Giants Stadium, New Jersey. But after winning the prestigious trophy it was back to NASL action and another defeat in a 3-0 reverse at the Seattle Sounders.

Defensive mistakes, poor officiating and continuing injury problems dogged the remainder of the season although the Chicagoans did manage a run of three straight wins to briefly keep alive hopes of making the playoffs. The Edmonton Oilers were beaten 3-2 at the start of July, followed by the Fort Launderdale Strikers 3-0 and a 2-1 shootout victory against the Tampa Bay Rowdies.

Those slim hopes finally came to end with a 3-1 loss at the New York Cosmos, followed, ironically, by two excellent performances that saw the Sting defeat the Toronto Blizzard 3-1 and the Montreal Manic 2-1, both at Comiskey Park, to close out the season, leaving the Sting with the worst win-loss record (13-19) in its history.

Cambridge University Press 0 Gorleston 1

16-04-2011: Cambridge University Press 0 Gorleston 1 (Ridgeons League First Division) Cass Centre, Cambridge

‘The Press’ were formed in 1893 making them the oldest club in this University town having been around longer than both Cambridge City (1908) and Cambridge United (1912). However it was only last summer that the team made the move up from the Cambridgeshire FA County League to the Ridgeons League.

Essentially the works side of the Cambridge University Press (the Press is the oldest printing and publishing house in the world and the teams primary sponsor) they play their home games at the Cass Centre which stands on the Press site a fifteen minute amble south of the city centre.

Most of my non-league ground visits go ahead without a great of planning – grounds are picked at random with no particular eye on key fixtures – so the fact that this game proved to be the one that saw Gorleston secure promotion from Division One of the Ridgeons League to the Premier Division was pure chance.

The only goal of the game, six minutes from time, won the Norfolk side all three points in this clash against ‘The Press’ who themselves are also in the hunt for a promotion place. A week ago Gorleston won the First Division KO Cup and now – five points clear of second place Diss Town and with three games left to play – are favourites to clinch the Division One title too.

The choice of fixture also gave me a chance to wander around a few of Cambridge’s many museums beforehand, namely the Scott Polar Research Institute Museum, The Cambridge Museum of Zoology and the Sedgewick Museum of Earth Sciences. Although I didn’t allow sufficient time to do them all justice.

At the SPRI the highlight for me was the display of a sample of some of the 1,700 photographs taken by Herbert Ponting when he accompanied Captain Scott on his mission to explore Antarctica between 1910 and 1913. Ponting was a pioneer of artic photography and his images – even a century later – are quite special.

Where did the creators of the Alien creature in the Alien Movie Triology go for inspiration? Look no further than nature itself where a quick glance at the some of the exhibits in the Cambridge Museum of Zoology would give no end of ideas for life forms to inhabit future science fiction movies. The marine section contains examples of some pretty evil looking creatures from the ocean depths.

And if fossils and dinosaurs are your thing then the Sedgewick Museum of Earth Sciences is a must. A complete Iguanodon skeleton stands just inside the museum entrance guarding over a sample of the museums collection of 1.5 million fossils, rocks and mineral specimens. The interior is filled with rows of fixed cases, more or less as it would have been when first opened, which has been done intentionally to retain the Victorian/early Edwardian character of the museum.

More pictures here.