The annual Lisa Freeman Memorial charity football match and fund raising day once more proved a roaring success with plenty of laughs.
The event was instigated in memory of popular local nursery nurse, Lisa Freeman, who died in October 2005 aged just 30 from the heart condition hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.
Since then the village of Hove Edge – and particularly those associated with the Old Pond pub and its Sunday football team have arranged this annual event to raise money for the Cardiomyopathy Association.
As ever the ‘Legends match’ proved the main attraction of the day, as Old Pond FC, promoted this season to the Premier Division of the Bridge Balti Halifax Sunday League took on the now revered Old Pond ‘Legends’ side – this year managed by long serving former player George Brown and assisted enthusiastically by Ian Sutcliffe.
Referee Dave ‘Elvis’ Ellis as ever strayed somewhat from traditional match official’s attire – but nonetheless kept up his staunch disciplinarian approach, Paul Meredith as ever one of those to receive the yellow card and fine to boot; all for charity of course!
Richard Dawson’s Pond side had tailed off towards the end of their successful promotion campaign, giving the experienced Legends side a glimmer of hope of victory but an early goal settled the nerves for the favourites.
Ben Sands on Legends match debut delivered a fine corner allowing captain Joe Shaw to head home.
Glen Lee, twice before a guest player for the Legends was this year poached by the current side and duly showed the veterans how it’s done with some quick feet. He worked a one two with Meredith who neatly finished to beat Russell Holmes in the Legends net.
The introduction of Andy Dawson and Richard Howard poured further torment on the Legends creaking limbs, as the two youngsters dazzled with pace and trickery. It was club sponsor Howard who grabbed a third for Pond, muscling Ben Wormald off the ball and neatly finishing.
Legends assistant Sutcliffe had brought in ‘ringer’ Calvin Lee to try and wrestle the bragging rights back to his band of stalwarts and his fine effort had Ben Briggs beaten but came back off the cross bar, whilst Jez Green turned back the years by breaking clear twice but couldn’t find a way past the in-form Briggs.
A bumper crowd had turned up to watch the match and all generously took part in the raffle – but what they really wanted was a Legends comeback! Right on cue, Richard Dawson gave away a penalty and livewire striker Darren Bradley made no mistake from the spot in beating Dan Barnes who had assumed goalkeeping duties after a decent cameo on the flank in the first half.
Still revelling in their euphoric moment the Legends switched off however – and Meredith banged home the goal of the game for Pond to a chorus of boos!!
The Legends were to respond again in imperious fashion however – as tricky wide man Ricky Coldwell produced a deft lob which nestled perfectly into the top corner. Referee Ellis waving away protests that Green may have impeded the goalkeeper.
So a match as competitive as ever, richly entertained the biggest touchline crowd to date – and Shaw was able to lift the Lisa Freeman Memorial Shield as his side won through 4-2.
Back in Hove Edge, food was served for a small charge to charity in the Old Pond, where landlady Helen Crawshaw and staff provided excellent support for the event. Chief organiser back in the village was Denise Dawson, who was grateful to all who gave up their time; Sara Holmes and family again heavily involved in coaxing punters hard earned money for raffle tickets.
After the disappointment of watching FC Halifax Town lose to Cambridge United in the Conference play-offs, the now annual charity darts match was also a huge success.
Last year’s shock winner Peter Riley put up a feeble defence of his title, as pre-tournament favourite Jason Kirby won through donating all the winnings to the charity coffers.
The footballers always make a trip to the Dusty Miller during the day to thank them for their support of the event – and a pool tournament was also instigated. Rick Addy, who had a fine Legends match debut earlier found himself outdone by daughter Milly who proved shock winner of the title!
Thanks were also very much due to those who donated prizes for the raffle. On top of kind individual donations; Sainsburys, Thaal Restaurant, Hove Edge Bowling & WMC, Mumbai Flame, Niemantis Jewellers and Il Tartufo Restaurant all made generous contributions.
The organisers would once more like to thank Jifficlean for providing the laundering of The Legends kit, the Brighouse Echo for their excellent support and coverage this year and in previous years and to all who were involved in the successful day.
So far £770 has been raised for The Cardiomyopathy Association.