Beardy American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow once wrote “Thy fate is the common fate of all. Into each life some rain must fall.” Well after the New Year’s Day away victory against Dover, Dulwich Hamlet fans must have considered Henry’s dismal creed so much defeatist nonsense. But then Farnborough descended on Champion Hill like a mid-table nimbostratus and doled out a proper metaphorical soaking.
Your writer, buoyed by the prospect of the first home game of the new year, and encouraged by a forecast that promised intermittent showers only, hopped hopefully onto a bus destined for Dog Kennel Hill Sainsbury’s. Portents on the journey weren’t good, with traffic on Lordship Lane moving like a salted slug and an empty Snapple bottle rattling erratically around the ankles of the P13’s passengers. On alighting East Dulwich’s favourite single-decker, this Hamlet fan was met with a penetrating drizzle that proved to be a persistent irritant all afternoon, moistening the large crowd as a blast on the ref’s whistle heralded the beginning of this ill-starred game.
After the first fifteen seconds you just knew this wouldn’t be The Hamlet’s day, with some Hampshire lad taking the kick-off pass short before waltzing through the Pink and Blues’ midfield and ripping a shot towards the home goal. That proved to be the beginning of a right Royal car-park of a spanking as an inspired Farnborough scored four unanswered goals in the first half. The Hamlet’s defence seemed so frozen manager Paul Barnes might well have considered applying copious Elizabeth Arden 8 Hour Cream by way of a Princely palliative at half time. Whatever he did saw SE22’s finest come out slightly pinker and perkier, winning the second half 1-0. Inevitably it was Danny Mills who popped up to score the only goal of the half, where amidst a biblical storm an almighty Valhalla of a lightning bolt struck the only thing in the stadium taller than Danny (the floodlights) as the ball hit the back of the net. You’re Thor! We could barely watch the highlights.
A 5-1 defeat for a scratch Hamlet team a few days later in the Better Than the Turvey Cup left The Rabble wondering whether this was the beginning of a traditional post-Christmas slump. But no, this team is made of different turkey gravy and a week after The Farnborough Calamity (one of Robert Ludlum’s lesser novels) they ladled out a 4-2 defeat to local rivals Welling in the darkest depths of Bexley.
We’re only halfway through the season and who knows how it will all end up. But this team is good enough to nibble away at the play-off places we reckon. So as the days lengthen and the weather turns clement, why not get yourself down to Champion Hill to see how it all pans out.
Per usual, fixtures, news and ticket details for both men’s and women’s teams can be found at at https://www.pitchero.com/clubs/dulwichhamlet. And all your pink and blue merch needs can be sated either at the stadium Megacontainer shop or via the Supporters’ Trust site at www.dhst.org.uk.
Up The Hamlet!