Bermuda may have been basking in the 70 degree heat on the first weekend of November but it was woolly muffler weather in Frickley.
And while sunseekers would say Bermudian-born striker Lejaun Simmons made the 3,990-mile journey in the wrong direction, he politely disagrees.
He was happy to make his Ilkeston debut on Saturday, although the wind was grabbing goal kicks and nearby allotment holders were harvesting the last tomatoes.
Simmons, 20, zipped around with the zest of a terrier chasing a ball on Frickley Country Park, the posh name for the now-grassy spoil heap which is a stark reminder of a colliery lost in Thatcher’s Britain.
After Matt Baker’s leaping header won the game, Simmons declared: “The conditions are completely different. It’s more competitive.
“I did my best and it’s a big transition coming here. I’m enjoying it and it’s good experience.
“I am hoping to stay in the first team, get a contract for next season and see what develops,” said the former Bermuda Hogges player.
With the acceleration of a Ferrari, he needed Ilkeston’s stylish passers to get the ball onto his twinkling toes. But as manager Kevin Wilson said: “We won ugly. The weather was not conducive to good football.”
The Robins’ young defence, with university student Joe Maguire the old head, stuck manfully to the task against experienced opponents.
It was fitting that academy product Baker, another 20-year-old, should come up for a 71st minute corner and jump higher than three defenders to head in.
Already the Frickley faithful had exhausted the standard football chants but gained inspiration from a fan hurrying away from the refreshments caravan. “Cheeseburger, cheeseburger,” they yelled and he was too embarrassed to take a bite in front of them.
Baker’s goal gave them food for thought and the centre back generously said later: “We kept a clean sheet and that was just as important.”
He was quick to pay tribute to keeper Lloyd Allinson who made two fine saves in two seconds to stop Frickley taking the lead shortly before the goal.
Ilkeston achieved the victory despite the loss of captain Laurie Wilson after 19 minutes. An opponent’s studs went through a boot and ripped holes in his foot, landing Wilson in Chesterfield Royal Hospital.
Gary Ricketts, playing his 101st Ilkeston game, nearly scored with a first-half header. Right-back Steve Gardner cleared it off the goal line.
James Reid, who had produced two lovely crosses from the right, came close to a goal with a 40-yard shot which rose a fraction too high.
And so it turned out to be a good trip into Yorkshire and left the manager savouring the first double of the season.
He compared that to the last campaign where Ilkeston and Frickley took a win each from their two encounters, both on their respective home grounds.
Saturday, November 2, 2013:
Frickley: 1 Tom Woodhead 2 Steve Gardner 3 Lee Stratford 4 Jake Picton 5 Sam Denton 6 Andy Villermann 7 Luke Hinsley 8 Matty Bloor 9 James Burgess 10 Gavin Allott 11 Jimmy Ghaichem. Subs not used: Ollie Fearon, Luke Jeffs, Joe Fox, Philip Oniama, Tom Davies
Ilkeston: 1 Lloyd Allinson 2 Jamie Anton 3 Ellis Storey 4 Danny Gordon 5 Joe Maguire 6 Matt Baker 7 Jason Stokes 8 Laurie Wilson (Aaron Webster 19) 9 Gary Ricketts 10 Lejaun Simmons (Kane Richards 75) 11 James Reid (Matt Richards 57). Subs not used: Aaron Hooton, Courey Grantham
Ref: Elizabeth Simms
Report by Rod Malcolm
Photos by Rob Stephenson (Twitter: @sportsphotorob)