Watson Park, NRJFA Championship, 11/2/23
Me still 264 and Wee Man 136
Cruden Bay Junior Football Club
Founded – 1934
Nickname – The Bay
Honours – North East Division One – 1997/98 and 1999/00. North Region Division One (West) – 2013/14. Acorn Heating Cup – 1999/00. Morrison Trophy – 1997/98 and 1999/00
Random Fact – The club are still due me expenses from when I played for them in the 00s.
The hunt for the North Region 30 continued today . This time an an old haunt of mine on the coast in Cruden Bay and what used to be Bayfield but is now Watson Park. What a day it was for a game too. Double figures temperature and the sun was out. As soon as I woke up I knew the day was set to be a cracker, so why waste it and not take on some pre match points of interest.
Cruden Bay is a nice town, it cant be doubted. Maybe that’s why Bram Stroker regularly visited and was inspired to start writing his 1897 novel Dracula in the town. This leads to the first place visited. Slains Castle. A famous old place which we had visited over five years ago. However a three year old and an eight year old Wee Man were exactly the same, “whats up here?” “can we go down here”, “imagine falling out the window into the sea”. He was loving it and so was I. As we walked along the adjacent cliffs it struck me that there is a photo on my windowsill of us back on that day five and a half years ago. So we attempted to recreate it. To a decent standard too. From Slains we headed to the adjacent Bullers of Buchan for a gander into the North Sea and from here it was a picnic at the Port Errol harbour in the town. A fine start to the days proceedings.
We arrived at the ground early door leaving plenty time for a kick about pre match. This was around half an hour of long ranged punt passes behind the goal. This lasted right up until five minutes before KO when I was informed to “get the pies”. As I was heading over I bumped into a famous old Highland League face in Broch United manager and ex Fraserburgh stalwart Russell McBride. After telling him we will be up his way soon the pies were in. These steak bad boys weighed a ton. This because the were stapped full of steak and were one of the best offerings of the season to date. Would the game live up to the culinary delights?
Going by the league table, this was going one way. A Broch win. Going into this the were joint top on 40 points with Sunnybank while Cruden Bay languished third bottom with only four wins all season. But to be fair to the men in purple, the started better and their ploy of wide balls was seeing them getting in behind but failing to create much concrete chances. Mussunda was clearly a pest in the opening stages. But it did not last too long. United grew into this and started to knock the ball about well on the well conditioned pitch. The first big chance fell to the Broch’s West who beat the offside trap and managed to toe the ball past the onrushing Bay keeper Donavan but the effort went inches wide. A Broch goal was not long in coming though and Cruden Bay will be disappointed at losing such a soft goal. After conceding a corner they seemed to forget to mark Ross Taylor who rose to head an effort off the post and in. This while being in at least a yard of space all around. As I said to Wee Man, one goal would put the Bay heads down and a second soon followed and it surely felt like a kick in the balls for all the men in purple. Broch forward Liam Strachan hit what seemed to be a floaty innocuous freekick from 40 yards. As the Cruden Bay keeper Donavan backtracked to catch he inexcusably fell over leaving the ball to pass him and end up in the back of the net. A blow the Bay could not afford against the table toppers. This coming on the 26th minute. From here the game lulled somewhat and the action was at a premium. A conversation with Cruden Bay sub Milne about local non league fitba was definitely more exciting. The only incident of note before the half was out was when Donavan came sprinting out his box to deal with a long ball and handled just out side. As the referee ran in to deal he did take his red card out but seemed to change his mind while talking to the Bay number one settling for a yellow.
HT 0 v 2
More long punts came during the half time break until the team re-emerged. The second half started with a massive Broch chance to kill the game when West headed wide from a couple of yards. Twenty pence piece sprang to mind. The Broch did kill it off ten minutes after the break when Ross Taylor broke free to a cacophony of “offside” shouts but the ref said no and the striker lifted the ball over the stranded Donavan beautifully from 20 yards. Surely the Broch were heading to the three points. But they took their foot off the gas and lost their shape to an extent. This allowing Cruden Bay to have a decent spell in the game. This seeming to infuriate McBride and his bench and rightly so as the seemed sluggish and second to every ball. This eventually led to a consolation for the Bay when unmarked substitute Bamiduro smashed home a loose ball from a corner. Was it game on? Not really. The Bay were screaming bloody murder when Mussunda seemed to have his shirt pulled in the box. But that was it for the home side and the Broch went on to miss a couple more big chances from Guild and Strachan before the referee Gary Duncan blew his whistle to end proceedings.
A very good day out for the two of us in surprisingly good winter weather. But more importantly Wee Man is a step closer to his target of the Junior 30. Burghead Thistle, East End, Banchory St Ternan, Newmachar United and todays visitors The Broch United await. Will this season see the challenge complete? Only time will tell
Entrance – Me £6, Wee Man £3
Attendance – 37
Pie – £7.40, 2 x pies, coffee, 2 x juice
Pint – N/A
Score Predictions – Me 0 v 4, Wee Man 0 v 3
Season Score Prediction Totals – Me 1 v 2 Wee Man