The race for the Conference South title just got that little bit more interesting yesterday, as did the rivalry between H&W and Weymouth. Up to now, they've resisted any two-way rivalry as, in their words, they have the bigger fish of Dorchester and Yeovil to fry.
However our 2-1 victory over them earlier this month, which halted their headlong rush to the title and kept us in with a very decent shout, threw up several issues to raise their ire.
Firstly, we had some folks there, pretending to be our fans, trying to cause a ruck with their hefty travelling support. I hope they never come anywhere near WLP again.
Also, one of our goals came as the result of a ball-boy throwing on a new ball to be used for a throw-in. Conference South rules do not permit multi-ball apparently, only when the ball goes out of the ground should it be changed over. First I knew of it, but there we go. However the reports that were doing the rounds just after the game were suggesting the ball-boy had taken the throw. Ludicrous, of course.
The following Tuesday, Weymouth played Farnborough. A Farborough fan reported on the ConfSouth forum, "You wouldn't believe it if you had seen it with your own eyes. A pigeon took the corner that lead to Weymouth's goal." I imagine this has a similar fact-basis.
However the biggest bone of contention was that we had played their ex- Tony Taggart in the game when a gentleman's agreement was in place that we should not. This despite the fact that he was released by Weymouth after which we signed him up. So, not a case of ineligibility, but more a case of bringing the game into disrepute.
Weymouth complained to the Conference over this, and it has been decreed that the game should be replayed, under cup tie conditions so that gate money is shared. While I make no defence case for our conduct, this does seem a little harsh and several of the more level-headed Weymouth fans have said the same. However, if we appeal to the FA, they could well decide a points deduction is more appropriate, a replay would at least give us a chance of retaining those 3 points.
It'll be interesting to see how this turns out and I hope this gives our club a kick in the arse regarding it's Chelsea-esque approach to, not so much the laws of the game, but the morality of it. Although I'd rather it doesn't take a points deduction or replay defeat for that to hit home.
These he-can't-play-against-us-clauses seem a bit bizarre to me, but in fairness that is a side issue now.