Amid the excitement of Durham being bowled out for 249 yesterday, while Yorkshire-folk rubbed their hands with glee (in the end Sussex wound up on 60/3, so it wasn’t all that great), the view of another epic Durham v Yorkshire encounter may have been obscured.
At the weekend, Brighouse Town visited Billingham Synthonia and secured a 1-1 draw and a replay at the Dual Seal Stadium which was played last night.
Happily enough, Brighouse won that game 4-0 and go on to face Crooktown, another Durham outfit, on Saturday week in the First Qualifying Round. Get behind your local team, I say, and Brighouse were certainly that when I lived in the north.
I was raving about it last night, as is my way, and have since come to the conclusion that – with that game being the last of the
preliminaries – that the story of the FA Cup is basically just the story of bread. They should be sponsored by Allinson’s (A cup competition wi’ nowt tekken out’)
The Preliminary Rounds are the cup’s way of sorting the wheat from the chaff, ensuring that the great many husks of teams that apply to enter don’t find themselves too far into the process.
The Qualifying Rounds are the grinding of that wheat into flour; making the teams battle themselves into (practically) dust for the opportunity to get into the bakery, under the bright lights.
Rounds 1 and 2 sees the teams kneading dough – or at least a homophone thereof – as that flour is manipulated into desirable shape while all the while keeping an eye on the big teams that enter in the next stage.
Round 3 sees what is left being put in the oven, and the loaf slowly taking shape as we progress, becoming more and more accurately formed until…
The Final at which point the bread comes out of the oven, and is turned into prawn sandwiches so a great many people who wanted to be involved aren’t allowed anywhere near it.
Bill Shankly, it seems, was wrong. The League is not a team’s bread and butter.
The FA Cup is the bread. The league is more like a soup. Everything thrown into the same pan and left to sort itself out before, right at the end, the cream appears at the top.
Brighouse Town, then, are now wheat. I’d love to see them turned into dough over the next few weeks, but the FA Cup, as bread-making, doesn’t always allow you to get what you want.