My affiliation with a club 120 miles away started early this year as Daventry Town made the 1st round of the FA Cup and were drawn out against Football League 2 side Chesterfield. As the lowest ranked team left in the competition i thought I’d go along and support the #PurpleArmy in one of the biggest games in their history. Although they went out with a 2-0 defeat, they held their own for a good 60 minutes and won over the hearts of many, myself included. I kept in touch with chairman Iain Humphrey along with the official twitter feed and promised I’d make the trip to watch them play before the end of the season. Fast Forward 4 months later and Daventry make the local Northamptonshire Cup final, to give it its real name, The Hillier Cup. I spoke with Chairman Iain Humphrey and passed on my congratulations, to which he reminded me of my promise to visit and catch a game. So that was that, an invite to Daventry with the possibility of a cup final win. With it being a midweek evening kick off, a 250 mile round trip was proving difficult. I’d like to take this opportunity to publicly thank Iain Humphrey chairman of Daventry Town for arranging overnight accommodation and laying on transport to and from the train station. A fantastic gesture and one very much appreciated.
After arriving in nearby Long Buckby around 4pm i was picked up and whisked away to a local hotel where I’d been very kindly put up for the night. A quick change then off to Communications Park, home of Daventry Town. Unfortunately there was no game to be played here as the final was at nearby Northampton Town. So technically Daventry Town’s home ground is still on the list of grounds to visit. After a quick tour of the ground and a walk around the pitch a quick beer was in order as we awaited a lift to Northampton.
The clubhouse looking from the centre circle
As we headed to Northampton Iain was telling me about how he got involved with the club. With the club in serious debt and their 100+ year history in danger of folding. He stepped in with his telecommunications company Shebang and paid off the debts with a vision of the clubs future focused on the youth and children’s football. With numerous youth and children’s teams these days, all the hard work in saving the club has paid off, much to Iain’s delight. With the minibus driver also being the club secretary, the club photographer and the club website host we arrived in plenty of time, good job because we also had the club manager Darran Foster onboard. Darran has done a great job at Daventry this season. Not only did they reach the FA Cup 3rd round, they sit 4th in the table with games in hand on teams all around them and a chance of winning the league in their own hands. We wished Daz luck and headed off to the bar.
After a few beers we headed into the ground in time for Kick-Off, a good turn out for a midweek county cup final. A cagey start to the game and nothing much to note. However with the best of the opportunities, it wasnt any surprise to see Daventry lead 1-0 at the break. A further 2 goals in the second half earnt Daventry the cup and the title of Hillier Cup winners 2014. It’s not quite the league trophy that everyone within the club craves this year, but it’s a massive incentive to the team of better things to come. As the focus now turn’s to the league run in, every game left for the Purple Army is like a cup final. After picking up the trophy and pitchside celebrations we headed back to Daventry Town FC. Where we celebrated with a few beers and a curry. What a way to celebrate.
I want to thank everyone involved with Daventry again for their hospitality, and i wish them the best of luck in their quest for the league title. Hopefully i can tick the Daventry Town ground off my list for real and visit them on April 26th when they could lift the trophy against Chalfont St Peter.
A link to Daventry Town official match report: http://www.pitchero.com/clubs/daventrytown/news/daventry-town-hillier-cup-winners-2014-1198089.html
Along with a Link to the full set of photos on my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.1403285016613202.1073741839.100007951513687&type=1&l=67044fa9e9
Feel free to anyone who want’s to tag themselves or save the pictures.