SPORT FROM THE PAST: Ruled out... due to skiing

Foul play! Back in August 2003, Matt Hocking was among the Boston United players representing the club in their first-ever match in the Football League. Here, he is spotted carrying out a cheeky trip. The Pilgrims drew 2-2 with Bournemouth.
Foul play! Back in August 2003, Matt Hocking was among the Boston United players representing the club in their first-ever match in the Football League. Here, he is spotted carrying out a cheeky trip. The Pilgrims drew 2-2 with Bournemouth.

Over the years, there have been many odd and bizarre reasons for Boston United players to be unable to run out for the team.

Keeper Dan Haystead once ruled himself our for almost half a season after slipping on a dog toy.

Paul Gascoigne was left sidelined during his time at York Street due to a mystery stomach illness.

And John Froggatt once skipped a Saturday to be best man at a mate’s wedding.

But in February 1978, player-coach Brian Bates ruled himself out of an FA Trophy clash at Runcorn... to go skiing in the Pyrenees.

The club even offered to play the £100 air fare to fly him back from France for the crunch weekend clash - but no suitable flights could be arranged.

In fairness to Bates - a PE lecturer at West Bridgford College of Further Education - he was escorting students on the trip, which was organised more than a year earlier.

At the time he agreed to chaperone his pupils, Bates wasn’t even on the books of United.

“There is just no way I can make it back to play,” Bates told The Standard.

And the midfielder’s presence was certainly missed.

Although he would have been back in the country and eligible to play in a replay, that wasn’t neccessary as United suffered a narrow 1-0 defeat.

Bates - who was aged 34 at the time of the trip - had turned out for Boston from 1970-72, before leaving to play for Ilkeston and Atherstone.

He thought his playing days were over and had turned his atentions to his day job and also acting as youth coach at Notts County.

But was persuaded to return in a one-off Northern Premier League match against Goole Town by manager Mick Walker, and he got the bug once again.

The ex-County and Mansfield Town man went on to make 29 appearances in his second two-season stint.