Sunday 14 August was a fantastic day for all with over 500 people at Kiln Park, Raunds to see newly formed AFC Rushden & Diamonds honouring Rushden & Diamonds fans’ favourite Dale Roberts who died last year.
Guests of honour were Dale’s parents George and Isabel Roberts, and Dave and Sonia Johnson, parents of Adam Johnson, Dale’s friend and teammate at Cleveland Juniors. Proceeds from the day, which were approximately £3,000, will go to The Dale Roberts Memorial fund – a fund set up by George and Isabel Roberts to help worthy causes that Dale held dear to his heart. These include providing Christmas presents to children in a local hospital and helping youngsters off the streets and into football. The fund will also help people that find themselves in a similar situation to Dale.
The day started with a minutes silence for Higham Town Colts player Alex Morris who also died last year. The 35 minutes a half game between Thrapston Warriors and Higham Town Colts Under 12s finishing with a 3-2 win for Thrapston Warriors. Goals from Tom Elbrow, Peter Beverley(pen), and new signing Jack Peet for Thrapston Warriors and Rhys Sweeney and Jaden Boot for Higham Town Colts.
The feature match of the day was the inaugural Dale Roberts Memorial Cup. This match will take place every year between AFC Rushden & Diamonds and Cleveland Juniors FC, the venue alternating between the two teams’ grounds. Before the game the AFC Rushden and Diamonds number one shirt was officially retired. A prayer delivered by Canon Roger Knight preceded a minutes respect for Dale Roberts who played for both Cleveland Juniors FC and Rushden & Diamonds FC. The game saw the first airing of AFC Rushden & Diamonds’ new home kit. It was fitting that the game produced AFC Rushden & Diamonds’ first ever goal – a penalty calmly taken by Lewis Williams. Goals for Cleveland Juniors from Conner Johnson, Josh Abraham and Danny Seaman and a further goal from Jeron Thompson for AFC Rushden and Diamonds meant a 3-2 win for Cleveland Juniors FC. Commemorative players’ medals and the Dale Roberts Memorial Cup were presented by George and Isabel Roberts.
Further presentations included George and Isabel Roberts receiving Dale’s England C shirt signed by Gordon Banks and Peter Bonetti, and recognition was given for the organisation of the event by Chas Rust.
The final match of the day was a game between two teams consisting of former Rushden and Diamonds legends and fans. Former players taking part included: Chris Hope, Aidy Mann, Kevin Wilkin, Tim Wooding, Andy Peaks, Darren Collins, Jon Brady, Aaron O’Connor, Michael Corcoran, Curtis Osano, Michael Rankine, Mickey Nuttell, Kevin Fox, Kevin Shoemake and James Broadbent. The red team won 3-2 with goals from Brendon Tate, Michael Rankine and Aaron O’Connor. The scorers for the white team were Kevin Wilkin and Jon Brady.
Other fundraising events throughout the day included ‘Beat the Goalie’, a bouncy castle, a raffle and an auction for a pair of pair of VIP tickets to the 2012 Blue Square Bet Play-off Final.
The next friendly will take place on Wednesday 17th August versus Thrapston Town (at Wellingborough Town) with kick-off at 7.45pm
The season proper starts on Thursday 25 August with AFC Rushden and Diamonds at home to Northampton ON Chenecks (match was subsequently against Daventry Town).
Details of the Northants Senior Youth League fixtures can be found here: https://www.afcdiamonds.com/northants-senior-youth-league-fixtures
More posts and photo’s to follow
Photos courtesy of Malcolm Swinden and John Cripps
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|AFC Rushden & Diamonds||Cleveland Juniors FC|