With floods of Noah proportions battering its way slowly through Scotland in the last 24 hours it was with some trepidation that the Groundhoppers set off in the early hours of Saturday morning for another long journey north, this time Elgin. Despite having seen them comfortably dispose of Annan the week before we were hardly bowled over with their quality and therefore their 3rd division clash with mid-table Forfar was never really destined to be a classic.
The journey was rather frustrating as we found ourselves stuck behind milk floats, caravans, Lurpack vans and learners. However we gradually progressed up the A9, stopping briefly in Aviemore (once again) for a splendid bacon butty and cup of tea at Ashers Bakers (it receives the Groundhoppers seal of approval). As we continued on our merry way we heard reports of matches being called off across the country due to the wet weather but we managed to avoid the worst all day. When we arrived in Elgin some four hours later we were all taken aback with the sheer size of it. I think we were expecting something similar to Annan but it is in fact a very large and pleasant town with a population of over 20,000 (we should really do some research beforehand on where we're visiting). There was a slight mishap on my part when parking the car as I accidentally and only very lightly brushed another parked vehicle and in turn managed to crack one of my lights. Naturally we quickly departed the scene and parked further away.
Elgin's ground, the Borough Briggs Stadium, is a small affair just across the road from one of the numerous distilleries in the area and with the towering Duke of Gordon monument looming over it in the distance. There is one very small main stand and covered terracing on the opposite side. The pre match pie and Bovril split the jury - I thought the mince pie was terrific and the Bovril the best so far - extremely rich and meaty - 100% pure cow. Kieran wasn't convinced about the pie, particularly the shell and he simply couldn't drink the Bovril, apparently it was just too close to being gravy. Jamie opted for soup (which was orange - he thinks it was carrot) and a sausage roll.
The weather had slowly begun to deteriorate as the sides emerged and in truth the game matched the conditions - it was lousy. Forfar did put together the odd decent passing move and spurned one or two chances before taking the lead just before half time when Martyn Fortheringham smashed home a good cross. At half time we were rather bizarrely treated to a selection of classical music pieces culminating in The Great Escape being played, which brought a smile to Kieran's face at least. The second half was as bad if not worse - Forfar quickly extended their lead when Fortheringham this time turned provider with a cross which gave Chris Templeman a simple header. Elgin rarely threatened all day although they did have a goal chopped for offside but in truth it could've been worse for them, Forfar passed up two or three decent opportunities.
The rain had eased off as we began our long journey home, fortunately with no more mishaps along the way. We're almost halfway through the quest now and although today may not rank as a classic it's another one ticked off and my Vectra survived...just.
Journey - 5
Pie - 8
Bovril - 9
Ground - 5
Game - 4