When last week I suggested that there was evidence in the West Brom game of a change of fortune, even I was astonished this week when referee Bobby Madley registered an assist in Southampton’s late equaliser.
Also within the litany of croaked bleats from the home manager Sean Dyche the excellent referee missed a long list of Southampton misdemeanours including two penalties.
Well that’s the way it goes when you are unbelievably seventh in the league and have not won in 12 games, but having visited Turf Moor in the past any point is hard earned.
The feeling of relief at five o’clock on Saturday evening as Saints exited the relegation zone was tempered by the knowledge that they shared the same number of points as Crystal Palace and Swansea but have a better goal difference. How vital this could be by the end of the season!
Next Saturday at 3 o’clock they will be at home to Stoke City who are only one point behind, and according to the press had an unlucky 1-1 draw at Leicester City when their usually excellent goalkeeper Jack Butland fumbled the ball into his own net. This evidently raised Stoke to the top of the league of sides who have scored the most own goals this season. It is to be hoped that they can continue their form this week!
Portsmouth’s roller coaster form continued with a loss at home to Blackpool who since their changes on the board of directors are putting together a good run which is taking them clear of the relegation places.This Saturday they travel to Bradford who despite being above Pompey are in a bad run of form.
There’s nothing like publicity to further your career as Sam Northeast has found in the last few weeks with his much publicised move to Hampshire. What a lucky man as he leaves the arctic conditions at home to join the England Lions in the West Indies, who certainly need some re-enforcements after being thrashed by an innings and 12 runs by The West Indies A team.
However the good news was the performance of the Somerset spinner Jack Leach who presumably has sorted out his action and took six wickets in the West Indian innings.
Sorting through an old box I came across a complete full album of cigarette cards of cricketers 1938 issued by John Player & Sons. It had no doubt been collected by my father in the year of my birth. He later paid a high price for his present, dying of lung cancer at an early age.
What forcibly struck me that here was a group of players many of whom lost five years in which there was no county or test cricket.
Just how many records would players, who I saw after the war, Wally Hammond, Len Hutton, Dennis Compton etc. would they have set?
The most poignant moment was on page 5 where the cards of both Ken Farnes (the finest bowler my father saw) and Harold Gimblett were found. The former killed in the war and the latter committed suicide after a troubled life.
Their young smiling faces showing no sign of the horrors to come.