Ground Number: 846
Saturday 30th March 2019
Linlithgow Rose 3-2 Jeanfield Swifts
East Of Scotland League - Conference C
LINLITHGOW ROSE - A BRIEF HISTORY
The club was established in 1889, although there's not much about their early years on the internet that I could find. League wise, they spent most of the 1960s in the Edinburgh & District League, winning it four times. They were also longtime members of the East Region Division 1, winning it nine times between 1974 and 2002. After this, they moved on to the East Superleague, going 49 games unbeaten, a run which saw them go the entire 2012/13 season without loss, gaining 60 points out a possible 66. This season saw the club join the East Of Scotland League and they currently sit in 2nd place in Conference C.
Linlithgow Rose have enjoyed considerable success in the cups, winning the Scottish Junior Cup on 4 occasions and appearing in a further three finals. Other wins include the Brown Cup (seven times), St Michaels Cup (five times), East Junior League Cup (ten times), East Of Scotland Junior Cup (thirteen times), Fife & Lothian Cup (17 times) and the East Of Scotland Cup (2005). The town of Linlithgow has a population of 19,000 and famous people born there include Mary Queen Of Scots and politician Alex Salmond.
We left the previous game at Blackburn United in good spirits, some of the party having enjoyed a few free whiskies in the hospitality area at the game. So a song paying tribute to our leader and hop organiser Chris who had earned himself the nickname 'Lord Groundhop' from the hopping fraternity. I later posted this on Twitter and he came back with a song of his own, referencing the fact that I was a few minutes late for the coach that arrived earlier than I'd expected at Beaconsfield on Friday. Time had been tight for the previous game and this proved to be the case with this one, arriving 20 minutes before kick off. With me having to wait to visit the bar until half time, I settled on a steak and haggis pie which was good. I later had a pint of Carling Dark Fruits in the smart social club where I had to sign in for the day.
The game started quickly with the visitors taking the lead on 7 minutes through Rhys Davies. Amid claims of offside, he tapped a low cross home from a few yards out. Linlithgow equalised on 15 minutes, a good through ball found Roddy MacLennan whose good run finished with him slotting the ball under the goalkeeper from a few yards out. The hosts took the lead on 39 minutes when MacClennan got his second with a close-range finish from a tight angle. The second half was less than a minute old when Jeanfield Swifts equalised when a ball over the top by Lee Deans found Connor McClaren who got to the ball just ahead of the keeper to finish from close range. Linlithgow Rose got the winner from the penalty spot following a foul by the keeper. Tommy Coyne stepped up and confidently dispatched the spot kick which proved to be the decisive goal.
It was around 45 minutes back to our hotel, with plans put in place for a few drinks in town once we got home. A taxi was ordered so that Dan, Luke, Vinny and I could make our way into East Kilbride. Wetherspoons was our target and the Hay Stook was excellent. Vinny and Luke went for a cider called 'Banana Bonobo' which I avoided as I hate banana drinks. I was glad that they did one of my favourites in Black Dragon, with Dan joining me on my choice. I was impressed with him being able to keep the pace, what with us having a few pints as what I omitted to tell him was that it was 7.4%. The round prices were impressive, each of our rounds coming in at under a tenner. What was not so impressive was the prices at a local chip shop called Victor Cornwall. Luke and Vinny had gone off in search of a nightclub, whilst I and Dan fancied a deep fried Mars Bar. The chippy was about the only place open. The prices were expensive, with them raising their prices after 11PM. This meant that our portions of chips came in at £2.80 each, no deep fried Mars Bars either. It wasn't as if the potion was that impressive in size either and things like Haggis cost the same on their own as they had as a meal at the chip shop I went to the previous night. We called the same taxi service as we'd used before but after waiting half an hour without it turning up, we went over to the taxi rank and got one there. It cost about a third more than it did on the way, but we were at least home safe. With the clocks going forward, it was 2 am before we got back, but there were still a few of our party in the bar. I remember Dan going on to Giles about how he was worried that he'd forget the day with me being pretty merry too. Overall, he'd handled himself very well for an inexperienced drinker amongst three old hands and so we made our way up to the room, falling asleep pretty quickly once my head hit the pillow.
PRESTONFIELD is an excellent ground for the East Of Scotland League. The ground has a capacity of 3,500 with pride of place going to the seated stand which is elevated above pitch level and has standing space underneath. Opposite was another covered area with a capacity of around 400. The rest of the ground is open hard standing and is really well kept. The merchandise stall was closed by the time I got there but the food and drink options were great with a wide choice and a very smart bar attached to the ground. The town is fairly close I think if you have time to spare but I didn't get time to visit. The programme is also pretty good and was the best of the hop with plenty to read.