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So ………

- players aboard   ✔

- bags aboard ✔

- Mark Huckle, no, but that’s actually ok as he’s filming the coach leaving Bisham Abbey for his Piran Films montage ✔

- all the CCFA travelling officers ✔ (although some may be reluctant to have the photos taken!

We’re on the last leg of the journey, Bisham Abbey to The Hive Stadium, Camrose Avenue, London HA8 6AG and whichever route about 35 miles, and so time wise, I suppose we should allow about an hour.

Let’s go back to the tick list

Coach driver ✔

Fuel X

Hang on, add ten minutes onto that hour I suggested for the journey, because within what seemed no more than say seven minutes, we were stopping again at the first service station we came across to fill up with diesel!

It’s at times like these that coach drivers never seem to be in a hurry. However, the word was that the supporters coach was well on its way and making decent time, although had they allowed for some of the M4 being closed because of bridge repair works between Newbury and Reading?

Approaching midday we got to our destination - Canons Park, in the London Borough of Harrow currently home of Football League Two Barnet FC, where on the former site of the Prince Edward Playing Fields, there is not only a smashing, still relatively sparkling new, stadium opened in July 2013, which has a capped 5,176 capacity stadium, but there is also numerous pitches, both grass and artificial, all over the place! And to add to that, the stadium is also shared with the “London Bees” of the FA Women’s SL. There was another game scheduled for the evening.

Perfect facilities and pretty much a perfect surface. Just a touch better than the semi-final at Blaise Park! What a treat for the players to experience and more than deserved for our lads and Middlesex having made it this far in the national competition.

So with the coach parked up, the players off into the changing rooms, we were set the task of collecting our pre-arranged tickets allowing entry to the ground and of course the filming gantry. Mark got them ok, but actually getting into the ground itself wasn’t particularly obvious.

Eventually a kind steward looking man outside, who looked official because of his walky-talky, took pity on us and was soon leading us through. Relief to us as after all, time was running out before we had to be at the pre-match lunch! A perk of the job!

And there, in the function room was what the day was all about – the FA County Youth Cup trophy.

The lunch contained the normal protocol of this sort of occasion with David Bray, in the absence of Chairman Geoff Lee, responding on behalf of the Cornwall FA. I know it was written in the match programme, but I thought it was a nice touch that David also acknowledged in his speech previous county stalwarts, no longer with us, but who would have been so proud of Cornwall’s achievements this season – namely Dennis Champion, Tristan Scott, Lennie Lobb, Ernie Hooper and John Riley.

Time was running out for us to get back outside and finish setting up everything and so armed with a match programme as well as a commemorative England FA lapel badge as keep sakes, we had to make a hurried exit as the gantry was the opposite side of the stadium!

By now we knew the lay-out. Three of us skilfully side-stepped the ticket mechanism in one of the bars looking onto the pitch. The machine, I suppose, can be best described as looking similar to what you might come across in the London Underground.

The fourth member of our media group was stranded amongst the dreaded orange jacketed stewards as he forlornly waved his ticket to and fro with nothing happening. Thankfully, he dropped his shoulder, just like no doubt he did many a time when notching up his 97 goals in the pro game and Mass joined us inside.

By now the players were going through their final warm-up routine.

Needless to say, we never made it back for the Chocolate Fudge cake being served at half-time!

So proud to be a part of this team …(Part 3)

Arrival at a Stadium really fit for the purpose ….

Next ……………..Next ……………..

The Match! ….Read on

The Hive Stadium - more than impressive