My first thought when I had heard of this away draw at 2nd Division Pitstone and Ivinghoe (and I extend every apology to our upcoming opponents for this), was the Walter Scott novel of the 19th century “Ivanhoe”. Now I cannot admit to ever reading this supposed great work (I had enough problems coping with the Beano), but a fanciful depiction of medieval England has absolutely nothing to do with a League Challenge Trophy tie in the Aylesbury Vale, so without any further ado let’s get on with the preview!
After a little work, I have found out some information for this tie taking place in the Buckinghamshire borders. I cannot find a website for our opponents and (at the time of writing) their Twitter page hadn’t been updated since the beginning of September. However, I am reliably informed that entry into the ground including a programme, will cost a very reasonable £2. Their last 3 home games have attracted gates of 50, 30 and 30 which compares favourably with Leverstock Green who last Saturday only managed an attendance of 25, or even the 42 who were at Hadley.
I had a look at their ground on Google maps. Apparently in pre-season the club received a grant to improve the perimeter fencing and put up netting to help keep the ball within the confines of the ground. Possibly the image I was looking at was taken before this work was undertaken though.
Set back from Marsworth Road (B489), you can just about make out the two dug-outs, but there are no floodlights to be seen. Obviously that is why this tie is on Saturday while the others take place during the following midweek. There is no stand as such and presumably very little in the way of cover, so take your deckchair, shooting stick or anything else you can safely plonk your rear end on, (if you are averse to standing up that is). A brolly and/or a warm coat may have their uses as well if the weather forecasts for later in the week are anywhere near correct. There will be refreshments available and it looks as though there is sufficient parking.
One thing I am certain of is that this match will not be easy or straightforward as there is nothing more difficult than an away cup tie against a lower league side. Pitstone and Ivinghoe are currently sitting in a very healthy 3rd place in the Division 2 table, with a record of P9 W5 D2 L2 with 17 points. Their recent record at home had been a little patchy with defeats against Grendon Rangers (2-4) in the Div 2 Cup and Berkhamsted Raiders (1-2) in the League. But they got back on track last Saturday with a 4-2 home win against Totternhoe. In the 1st Round of the League Challenge Trophy they beat Clean Slate at home 7-2, with Albie Hall getting five of the seven.
P&I (as I now fondly think of them) wear red and black stripes, so Baldock Town’s blue change kit will be getting another airing.
Pitstone and Ivinghoe’s last 5 results:
20 Oct Totternhoe (H) Won 4-2
13 Oct Berkhamsted Raiders (A) Lost 1-4
6 Oct Mursley United (A) Drew 0-0
29 Sept Berkhamsted Raiders (H) Lost 1-2
22 Sept Grendon Rangers (H) Lost 2-4
Albie Hall 9, Kieran Doughty 7, Jack Harris 5, Ryan Mellor 4.