Bristol Rovers and City legends battle it out at Memorial Stadium
SOAKED but still smiling – that was the outcome for both players and fans after a charity legends fixture at the Memorial Stadium.
Up to 4,000 supporters from both Bristol Rovers and Bristol City turned out in truly typical Bank Holiday weather yesterday for the third annual fixture in aid of Kicking Out for Kids, an organisation that raises money for the care and support of children and their families with life-limiting or life-threatening illnesses.
Proceeds are going to two local charities, Children's Hospice South West in Wraxall and the @One Youth Movement project.
The match saw old favourites from the two Football League clubs playing alongside celebrities from showbusiness and other sports.
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It finished 7-6 to Rovers, with Jamie Cureton scoring a hat-trick for the Gas and his former strike partner Jason Roberts netting the winner with a penalty.
Roberts, whose mid-season transfer to Reading inspired the Championship side to automatic promotion to the Premier League, said he was delighted to be back at the Mem.
"Rovers is a special club for me," he said.
"I have enjoyed every minute of this match. It has brought back good memories, playing alongside Jamie Cureton, Barry Hayles and Gary Penrice."
Roberts, who is also beginning a new career as a TV and radio pundit, added: "It is great to see both sides of the city contributing to these good causes."
Goalie Nigel Martyn was another making a nostalgic return.
"We get asked to do a lot of charity games but I haven't done one in Bristol since I went away in November '89 so it was nice to come back," said Martyn, who has most recently been coaching for Bradford City.
Joining the former Rovers heroes were musicians Roni Size and Geoff Barrow and champion boxer Glenn Catley.
Scott Murray led the visitors' squad, which included former Ashton Gate favourites Tommy Doherty, Gary Owers and Tony Thorpe.
Darts ace Mark Dudbridge and Bath rugby player Lee Mears also donned red shirts, as did golfer Chris Wood.
Players chatted to fans and signed autographs as the rain continued to pour down on the end-of-season derby clash.
One female fan even had her T-shirt signed by Wood.
Former Rovers player Geoff Twentyman, now with the BBC, conducted pitchside interviews and supporters of both clubs enjoyed some friendly banter, as well as gentle heckling of some of the more senior players.
And at half-time television presenter Noel Edmonds, who now lives east of Bristol, announced his support for Bristol Rovers.
Fans were able to buy various sponsorship opportunities for the fixture and a couple even had the chance to play.
The main sponsor for the event was Brunel Ford.
After-sales manager for Brunel Ford Tony Webber said: "Both the Children's Hospice South West and the @One Youth Movement do fantastic work for children in the south west and we are happy to do all we can to support them."