By Keith Brookman
Bitton AFC’s Western League Premier Division season is over, the season’s fixtures expunged from the record books after the disruption caused by the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.
At the moment, though, their Wembley dream is still alive and they are hopeful of playing their two legged FA Vase semi final against Consett when football resumes.
Their 4-0 quarter final away win against Wroxham saw them field three players with Rovers connections in Matt Groves, Scott Brice and Nabi Diallo.
We all hope that the season will be back up and running in good time and that, when it does, Bitton can make it through to their first ever Wembley final!
While we all wait for that to happen, we are taking a trip back to Monday 1st August 2011 when Paul Buckle, the new Rovers boss, took a squad to the Recreation Ground for a match played on the occasion of the opening of their new Clubhouse.
Bitton produced an eight match Commemorative programme to mark the event, containing a potted history of the club and messages from Chairman John Langdon, Ton boss Richard Fey, and Rovers manager Buckle, as well as messages from a number of the club’s sponsors.
Although the side that actually turned out for the match was made up primarily of youth team players Buckle did take along a number of first teamers to help swell the support and it was estimated that a crowd of 1,200 turned out.
Buckle cut the ribbon to officially open the Clubhouse prior to kick off and then watched Rovers lose 2-1 to the hosts.
The River Boys went ahead on 15 minutes when a Brendon Barnes corner from the right reached the back post and defender Steve Jones was on hand to power home a header from close range.
Two minutes later Luke Clarke doubled the lead when he raced clear of Rovers’ defence and rifled a shot past Lance Cronin from just inside the area.
Rovers’ consolation goal was scored by Eliot Richards who headed past goalkeeper Chris Humphries following a Darren Jefferies cross.
There were four former Rovers youngsters in the Bitton side, namely Matt Knapman, Rob Scott, Jon Crowley and Tyrone Rhoden. Rovers, meanwhile, gave a runout to former Swindon Town striker Vincent Pericard.
Rovers: Lance Cronin, Jon Crawford, Michael Boateng, Tom Lockyer, Darren Jefferies, Shaquille Hunter (Mitch Harding, 63), James Dale (Jordan Goddard, 85), Vincent Pericard, Eliot Richards, Kayne McLaggon
Unused Substitutes: Matt Macey, Josh Southway, Alefe Santos, Lamar Powell, Pat Keary, Cory King