Bazza makes it 650 not out for Pilgrims

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PAUL Bastock completed his 650th competitive game for Boston United.... before vowing to make the 700 mark.

The 41-year-old keeper reached the milestone on Saturday as the Pilgrims returned to winning ways with a 3-1 victory at Histon.

But the man known as Bazza is refusing to rest on his laurels, instead vowing to keep hold of the club’s number one jersey.

“It’s another milestone, but the magical 700 would be nice,” he said, already looking to the future.

“The wife may disagree, but I think I’ve got another four of five years of playing left in me, so I’ll keep on playing as long as I can.”

During his two spells at United, Bastock has helped the club to two promotions, the Dr Martens title in 2000 and the Conference championship two years later.

He kept a clean sheet in that famous match at Hayes where the Pilgrims secured a 2-0 victory to book their place in the Football League.

And it was playing in the Pilgrims’ first-ever League Two clash – a 2-2 home draw with Bournemouth – that the keeper fondly remembers as his career highlight to date.

“Playing Bournemouth was the highlight,” said Bastock, who admits he stayed at the club for so long after ‘falling in love with the town’.

“Hayes was a special moment, but to walk out in front of your own fans in the Football League for the first time would take some beating.

“I think that season was when Boston fans saw the best of me and I had a great gaffer in Tommo (Neil Thompson) who brought the best out in me.”

In 2004, with 623 matches, two promotions and two Player of the Year awards, Bastock left United after then manager Steve Evans replaced him with Nathan Abbey.

He enjoyed spells with Rushden and Diamonds and St Albans, with whom he earned a play-off promotion into the Conference.

But Bastock – United’s all-time appearance record holder - returned at the end of last season after answering an SOS from new managers Jason Lee and Lee Canoville.

And he has warned fellow Pilgrims stoppers Ricky Drury and Andy Hewitt not to expect landing that place between the sticks just yet.

He added: “Even when I’ve got a knock, I still want to play.

“I’m not giving the others an opportunity to get out there and play in my position.

“Unless I can’t walk its not happening.”

l A missed penalty and Bastock’s egg-sized lump: Browne on the Ball - page 94.