12th June 2014
– And our fencing channels visitors to the newly-reopened ArcelorMittal Orbit Tower, the striking looping red steel tubular sculpture that became an iconic symbol of the London Olympic and Paralympic Games.
The centre is used by The O’s first team, youth team and centre of excellence, as well as local Leyton community groups. The US Olympics team also trained at the Score Centre during the Games two years ago.
So I was delighted to see how great our fencing still looked after all this time. And it got me thinking about how Orient themselves could have done with that kind of staying power this season.
They began their League One campaign like a runaway train, winning their first eight matches to sit five points clear at the top. But by November they’d been caught by Wolves, our local team, who were promoted as champions. And 2014 dawned with Brentford on top, who would go on to secure the other automatic promotion slot.
So The O’s were consigned to the lottery of the play-offs where the same pattern repeated itself. They saw off Peterborough in the semis to book a date at Wembley against Rotherham over the Whitsun weekend.
A 2-0 lead at half time boded well before two Alex Revell goals in five minutes drew the Yorkshire side level. A goal-less extra 30 minutes meant the dreaded penalty shoot-out in which Orient led 3-2 – before keeper Adam Collin sent Rotherham into the Championship with spot kick saves from both Mathieu Baudry and Chris Dagnall.
If only I had a crystal ball to see if I take a trip to East London in another 10 years’ time, how our Olympic fencing looks after a decade, whether the Score Centre is still as good after 20 years . . . and whether Orient are still playing in League One!