TT No.63: Mike Latham - Sat 24 November 2012; Largs Thistle 2-0 Hurlford United; Stagecoach West Juniors Div 1; Attendance: 220 (h/c); Admission: £5; 28pp programme: £1; Raffle ticket: £1; FGIF Match Rating: 4*.
Matchday images (12) https://picasaweb.google.com/footballgroundsinfocus/LargsThistleFC03
Winter’s icy grip was getting firmer as a cold and misty morning in
Traditionalists can scoff and protest but undoubtedly the way forward for clubs in
During the summer Thistle took possession of a simply magnificent 4G pitch at their Barrfields ground, courtesy of the largesse of two of their supporters. When Colin and Chris Weir scooped £161m on the Euro lottery they set about ploughing back some of their colossal winnings into the community. They funded around £750,000 into the new state-of-the art pitch and training facilities at Barrfields and attended a friendly match against Morton to mark the opening.
As a result Largs Thistle’s modest home has been transformed into a hub for the local community; the pitch is used by many different sporting groups and there’s a real buzz around the town and a huge sense of community pride.
After the heavy rain this game was switched from Hurlford, both sides sensibly opting to beat the weather and promised much- leaders Hurlford playing neat, inventive football against third-placed Largs, who could go top if results went their way.
Largs is one of my favourite destinations- having spent many happy summer days in the town on family holidays. The
But Barrfields has a rival to both those fine establishments. Once inside the ground, situated in a quiet residential part of Largs on
Examination of Largs’ excellent colour programme gives more information. Don McKillop is the self-styled ‘Gordon Ramsay’ and Head Chef with assistance from ‘Chief Bottle Washer & Money Grabber’ Margaret and ‘Bovril Queen’ Carol. I went for the Chilli and rice (£1.50) and homemade soup (£1) and later enjoyed a coffee- all magnificent. Judging by the queues throughout the afternoon Don’s reputation goes before him.
Largs have been going since 1889, their ground is a long oval shape dominated now by the distinctive new pitch. Surrounded by shallow terracing there is a distinctive deep covered enclosure along one side though most of the spectators chose to watch the game from the open terracing behind the dug-outs. The ‘Largs experience’ is further enhanced, if that is the word by the presence of an elderly supporter armed with a megaphone who continually addresses the players with advice throughout the afternoon. The gist of it is to get down to the Hurlford end and score a goal; a case of keeping things simple.
The pitch plays superbly- it’s the best artificial surface I’ve seen- and play is fast, skilful and competitive. But ten minutes into the game the visiting goalkeeper handles outside his area and is red-carded, a decision, perfectly correct from my vantage point that changes the game. Largs score from the resulting free-kick and Hurlford have to re-group. Though they have plenty of possession the visitors fail to take a couple of chances and Largs seal their valuable win with a close-range second just before the end of normal time.
I really enjoyed my visit to Barrfields for all sorts of reasons. The Weirs’ legacy will be long-lasting and far-reaching. They have donated to a number of sporting causes since their amazing lottery win and can be satisfied that they have invested wisely here.
contributed on 24/11/12