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As I sit here before my PC monitor, I look out to a bright morning and a calm one too. The winds of yesterday blown away. And dry at this hour. So good to have no grey skies and rain. Another sign of the years progress is that all of a sudden all bird song has virtually ceased. All the chicks reared and on their way to a life here I hope. Still pecking away at the foods I put out for them and so good to see so many more butterflies this year. Still not had the pleasure of seeing a painted lady yet. Bees enjoying the lavenders here and I must say I do enjoy the Nantwich Honey produced hereabouts in Hatherton by a very special lady.

But to Football.

This weekend saw us embark again on a new season. The photo alongside shows our most senior team member, Kev Mort who is now our manager. He joined AFC way back in 2012 when the club was reborn. And a very good tactician he is.

This Sunday we are to play the game versus Broadhurst F C way up in Northwich / Weaverham, the furthest away team we have to meet. Run by one Edward Broadhurst who was the member of the Broadhurst Bakery family for many, many years. A good team with a good attitude to the game and one that is a pleasure to meet..

I drive off at 0900, fully loaded with kit, balls, keep-safe wallet, water etc and follow my map app to the pitch. I note as I drive how well treed all the places are as I pass through the Middlewich/Northwich area.

We are blessed by a very good turn out of players with 16 men presenting themselves for selection — giving manager Kev Mort the right sort of headache. Changing rooms are a bit basic as the hall used had suffered a collapse of the roof in the last few days. Out we go to the field of play- all pumped up for the first game of the season.

Referee Daniel Taylor on duty and this season we play under new disciplinary rules. Including the new element of a sin bin — introduced for all grass roots football. To stop racism, and bad mouthing refs etc. No VAR for us.

10.57 Kick off . And all that energy gets us off to a fast start. Very large pitch — perhaps the biggest in the league- with a slope to the western end.

11.10 0-1 Blow me down as a stupid soft goal is conceded!

11.15 0-2 And even worse. Yet another poached goal as defence falls apart!!

11.20 1-2 Free kick to us as we get ourselves together and attack. Kev Rodgers takes — a superb curling shot which flies to their goal but goalie catches it. Another free kick. About 30 yards out. Up steps Kev Rodgers again. And his so sweet shot flies right into their goal!!

Well deserved as we press our case This goal fires us up as we take command and attack and attack their goalmouth. Then as we near half time play is more 50/50.

Referee blows up for Half time.

Water taken in as it is quite warm in the sun albeit with a gusty wind. My "follicley" clanged head feels the heat of the sun — especially after being cared for by our super barber, Elliot. A visit to his shop in our village is more of a search job seeking to tidy what hair I have left.

11.49 second half kick off.

1156 2-2 Wham. Mark Parker- on for an injured Ben Spruce, meets a fine cross from Andrew Betteley ad heads it in — or does he use his nose? So a wag tells me. But he scores which is such wonderful news

Referee Taylor then sinbins a B.F.C player for his stupid mouthing off at the Ref. Minimum of ten minutes to serve. Very first happening of the new rule. And player gets a yellow card as well. Now play is more like 60/40 in our favour as some tiredness apparent in our opponents. Free kicks for both sides result in no more goals. Referee blows up and off we troop.

Full time 2-2 - well done after those silly soft early goals. We played well and feel we can do good things this season. Invited back to their local for a beer and snacks, it is good to see most of our team there, as we too will invite opponents back when we play at home.

Next game away versus Sydney Arms at Sandbach

New sponsor being sought for our team polo shirts and we think we may have one — more news next week.

Ralph Warburton
AFC