Torrington 1 - Crediton United 0

I LOVE the Devon ground hop. What on earth is that you might be thinking.

Well it is where people come from all over the country ostensibly to visit seven football grounds in three days so they can tick them off their list of grounds visited.

They spend a large amount of time doing this and some of them have been to thousands of different grounds.

To some folk this borders on insanity but to the likes of us hoppers it is the most innocent pastime and a chance to meet old friends and like minded individuals.

As the writer Douglas Adams said in his classic the “Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy”, these folks are mostly harmless.

Anyway to the game itself. After a false start because of a postponement at Honiton, the first game in SW Peninsula League East of the hop proper is in North Devon and thank goodness it’s on.

Torrington vs Crediton is why we are all here and to say the weather is mixed would not be pushing it.

However, as kick off beckons, a cursory rain shower introduces itself.

This is always a tough battle and Torrington ran out winners by 1-0 in the fixture at Lords Meadow and it was they who started the brighter.

There were returns in the Crediton side for Mike Lilley who began in an unfamiliar position of right back and for Harry Warren in midfield.

There was no Sam Stapleton and no Tate Breslan-Agree who was injured.

Young Finlay Croft was in goal and both Dre Johnson and Guy Allum were on the bench.

This left Crediton a little light up front with Leon Tootel ploughing literally a lone furrow.

There is a magnificent slope from corner to corner at Vicarage Field and the home side know how to handle it better than most.

It is almost all Torrington and midway through the first half Tom Davey is allowed to turn and shoot in the box and Finlay Croft has no chance and it is 1-0 to the home side.  A rare bit of excitement for the 422 people present. 

Still it’s very one sided although the visitors begin to slowly get into the game.

On the half-an-hour a long ball finds Louis Stephens who manages to wriggle clear of his opponent and he fires a shot that cannons back off the crossbar.

This is the closest that Crediton would come to an equaliser as the pitch takes its toll and legs are inevitably heavy.

Crediton are simply not able to get their passing game going and are constantly being outfought by the home side.

Early in the second half Torrington win a penalty amid groans from the hardy Crediton faithful, but after quite a delay, the ensuing effort is well saved by Finlay in the Crediton goal.

The ball drops for a tap in, but the unfortunate follow up is hoofed somewhere in the vicinity of Barnstaple, causing cries of merriment from the hoppers who obviously love this sort of incident and pencils are sharpened so they can add this to their book of memories.

The game is starting to peter out as both sides begin to struggle.

Balls go astray and passing moves are irregular. Crediton make subs as Johnson Allum and Down come on but their efforts are to little avail.

The game is beginning to filter out and at the end it is the home side who are more delighted by the result.

This means that Crediton lie in third place, a point behind Bridport with a game in-hand, but on this performance they are going to have to play a bit better to finish above their Dorset rivals.

On Bank Holiday Monday the weather put pay to the Sidmouth game planned to be held at the Meadow.

The hoppers have a journey of only a mile to the next game which ends up Torridgeside 0 - Okehampton 3, in front of 451 at a sunny though windy Donnacroft.

In the evening they shall bumble off to Holsworthy and the biggest cheer of the day is when they discover the game is on. 

Crediton team: Croft, Russell, Lilley, Lee, Pike, Warren, Bilcock, Jackson, Tootel, Corrick and Stephens. Subs: Johnson, Allum and Down.

Man of the match: George Russell.

Paul Whittall