Harty on... Worthing’s first 3G match, Murray and the Ashes

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First for sports news

IT WAS a landmark evening for Worthing FC on Tuesday evening, with the first game on the new 3G surface.

I know I speak for George and everyone else at Worthing FC when I thank the local footballing public for turning out to watch the game against Northampton.

Games against the Albion aside you’ve got to go back a long time to when the Rebels last had a near 800 crowd.

To be fair, and again I speak for George, Calvin and Harry, the timing of the fixture wasn’t ideal. Unfortunately, it was the only time Northampton could accommodate us – but it was great to welcome them to Woodside.

The contractors worked hard around the clock, both on and off the field, and everyone who came on Tuesday was impressed, judging by the feedback we have received.

While the pitch was always going to be the centre of attention, and rightly so, I know the décor in the newly refurbished bar has also attracted a lot of comments.

No more so than the huge action shot facing the bar which dates back from the early 1960s and features Ray Knight, Gerry Offen and the much missed duo of Wilf Hugill and Jim Punter. Another great touch.

Action returns to Woodside this weekend with the visit of joint-manager Gary Elphick’s former club Eastbourne Borough.

Arrive on Saturday afternoon, and I’m sure many of Tuesday nights 776 attendance will be back for another look, along with a number of others, and then hopefully the same amount will for Tuesday’s game against local rivals Worthing United.

Aside from seeing how far the club has come from near extinction in just over six months, I was buoyed on Tuesday night to see a lot of old Worthing faces who haven’t been near the ground in years, along with some people who, despite living in the town all their lives, had never been to ground.

Hopefully, they were all suitable impressed and will be back for many more games to come.

Over to Wimbledon now, and I still can’t get my head round the degree of negativity from certain quarters regarding Andy Murray.

He lives in England, is married to a English lady, won an Olympic Gold medal for Great Britain, yet some people still choose to harp on about a supposed ‘joke’ he made about the England football team as perhaps a somewhat less media-savvy teenager almost a decade ago. He’s not only the best tennis player this country has ever produced, he’s British and proud of it.

I am excited yet apprehensive – at the time of going to press, the cricketers of England and Australia are getting ready to begin another chapter of one of the greatest sporting rivalries in the world.

Having witnessed previous contests on both sides of the globe, I can say possibly without contradiction that’s there is no other cricket game like it. Which is why, for all the good that Sky do within the game, the Ashes should still be on free-to-air television available to everyone who wants to watch it, as the 2005 Ashes series was. Let’s hope as this edition hits the streets, England will have had a good first day in Cardiff.

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