Escarpment

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Tuesday 15th April 2014 k0 18.30

Spartan South Midlands League Division Two

ASTON CLINTON 3 (Roberts 2 57 68)

MURSLEY UNITED 1 (Hutchinson 72)

Att 12

Entry FREE

Programme NO (Old copy FREE)

The trick when you visit this Buckinghamshire village is to travel to Wendover, then along to the village via RAF Halton. The road takes you along the edge of the limestone escarpment on the very edge of the Chiltern Hills, and there’s a layby with a spectacular view of the topography to the west out towards Aylesbury, including Aston Clinton Park, the football club’s current home. The car manufacturer Aston Martin takes its first name from the village combining it with that of its co-founder Lionel Martin, Martin raced specials at Aston Hill nearby.

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Permutations

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Saturday 12th April 2014 ko 18.30

Notts Senior League Division One

WEST BRIDGFORD 2 (Charlesworth 9 75)

BINGHAM TOWN 1 (Gammon 19)

Att 448

Entry £3

Programme £1

Badge £3

Team sheet 20p

Tea 70p

Here’s a quirk for you, West Bridgford has no streets, just roads, as when the suburb of Nottingham was built  in Victorian times the word “Street” was deemed too urban! They obviously saw just how close it is to the centre, I could see Trent Bridge’s floodlights as we arrived at Regatta Way, but no streets, that’s a little odd! The ground reminded me a little of where we’d just left, at Keyworth with three pitches and a large clubhouse. All the pitches are railed off, and the show pitch has floodlights too, and there was ample space to park the dozens of cars that showed up, as for many reasons this game was organiser Rob Hornby’s trump card.
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Old Dalby

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Saturday 12th April 2014 ko 15.40

Notts Senior League Senior Division

KEYWORTH UNITED 3 (Clarke 4 51 Crawley 35)

SANDHURST 2 (Clarke 8 Bradford 45) Abbott sent off (2nd booking 37)

Att 372

Entry £3

Programme £1

Teamsheet 20p

Tea £1

Other than being the town where shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer Ed Balls was brought up, the pretty Nottinghamshire town is also where the British Geological Survey is based. I’m not sure whether their seismographs recorded the best part of 400 groundhoppers heading for the local football team, but Platt Lane was certainly busy! Even a Panda Car crawled along taking a disbelieving look at proceedings; I wish the club has tried to sell those inside a programme!

The ground is perfect for an ambitious county league team, with its spacious clubhouse, railed off pitch and recently installed floodlights. Should the club be successful and want promotion, there is certainly the potential here to build an impressive ground.

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Hot Potatoes!

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Saturday 12th April 2014 ko 12.50

Notts Senior League Senior Division

RUDDINGTON VILLAGE 0

BOOTS ATHLETIC 1 (Bonnick 58)

Att 319

Entry £3

Programme £1

Team Sheet 20p

Badge £3

The trip from Wollaton took the cavalcade over Nottingham’s Clifton flyover, where for Rob Hornby his groundhop organising started, the famous 5-games-in-a-day Central Midlands hop where in 2004 Bilborough Pelican, Dunkirk and Greenwood Meadows were the meat in a Graham St Prims and Sandiacre Town sandwich!

From there it is was a very short drive to Elms Park in the pretty village of Ruddington, and my first impression of the place was that an awful lot of cars were doing U-turns! The reason was that in with the prepaid ticket was a set of instructions on how to get to the ground, but the club had decided to make that entrance for players and officials only! Cue a quick volte-face and an entirely sensible trip to car park on the 2nd XI pitch which allowed a surprisingly quick exit afterwards.

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Bolero

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Saturday 12th April 2014 k0 10.10

Notts Senior League Senior Division

WOLLATON 3 (Alls 24 46 Atkins 46)

BEESTON 0

Att 282

Entry £3

Programme £1

Badge £3

Tea 50p

I think the weather was playing tricks on us; it was one of days when you opened the curtains and saw a sunny day but stepped outside into the cold, with a cross-wind to boot! It wasn’t far to Wollaton, a district of Nottingham built around coal mining, but showing not a hint of its past. In fact the site of the pit is now two streets of houses named after the area’s most famous offspring, Olympic Ice Dance Champions Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean. Wollaton Hall nearby was used to film the last “Batman” film, “The Dark Night Rises,” the manor’s frontage acting as Bruce Wayne’s Stately Wayne Manor. Of course “Batman” is set in Gotham City, named after Gotham which is, yes, a district in Nottingham!

Groundhop organiser Rob Hornby had warned there wasn’t much parking at the Sports Association Ground so we got there early and found plenty of street parking. Of course as aficionados of the organised groundhops will testify, the first game of the day always has bacon rolls on sale! Continue reading

The Force Of Nature

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Friday 11th April 2014 ko 19.45

Notts Senior League- Senior Division

COTGRAVE FC 4 (Dobbins 53 Waddell 55 Kirkby 63 90)

BURTON JOYCE 2 (Roman Easom 40 75)

Att 311

Entry £3

Teamsheet 20p

Programme £1

Badge £3

I wonder how many people who attend an organised groundhop and pick-up a pre-paid pack of the hop’s programmes realise they have Rob Hornby to thank for them? For it was Rob who first came up with the idea, when he and Chris Berezai used to organise the Central Midlands League Bonanza each Easter. It was, and is a wonderful idea, the programme is a prerequisite for any event to call itself a hop, and so having a pack available to those with a pre-booked ticket quickly became a standard feature. Now when it comes to Rob, I may be biased, he’s shown me great kindness over the years, but as far as I’m concerned he’s the nicest bloke in football so I’ll attend any hop he’s organising, if its humanly possible to do so.

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Obelisk

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Thursday 10th April 2014 ko 18.30

Northants Combination Division 3

NORTHAMPTON AFC OBELISK 0

KISLINGBURY 1 (Richards 79)

Att 13

80 minute game

Entry FREE

No Programme

 

If you travel to the Kingsthorpe district of Northampton you’ll find an obelisk. It’s not in brilliant condition, its 100 feet’s’ worth of sandstone in need of renovation, despite its Grade II listed status. It was placed there by order of Lord Strafford of Boughton Manor, friend of the 4th Duke of Devonshire, educated here by his tutor the Rector of Boughton, and the inscription reads as follows,

“This Obelisk was erected in the year 1764 in memory of His Grace William Cavendish
Duke of Devonshire.
There in the Rich, the Honour’d, Fam’d and Great,
See the false seat of Happiness Compleat.”

The estate that surrounds it is modern, and as a result the obelisk looks rather out-of-place with its surroundings, but it does serve one purpose; if you want to find a fourth tier Northants Combination game, just aim for the obelisk, and the Obelisk club is to be found at the end of the lane to its left. That said, as I photographed the structure several visiting players asked me whether they were heading in the right direction!

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The Beacon

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Tuesday 8th April 2014 ko 18.30

Spartan South Midlands League Division Two

PITSTONE & IVINGHOE 4 (Elliott 19 Doughty 32 38 45p)

ASTON CLINTON 0

Att 61

Entry FREE

Programme NO (Old copy FREE)

If you’re on the A41 east of Aylesbury just before Aston Clinton and spot a windmill, why not turn off and aim for it? You’ll be in the borderlands of Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire, and here the canals and railways are king. The Grand Union canal cuts through the pretty village of Marsworth, and the West Coast Main Line blasts past, slightly diverted as the major landowners in Victorian times refused to have the railway on their property. Legend has it that Lord Rothschild was the major culprit, but that’s an argument that doesn’t quite stack up, he was born 3 years after Tring Station was opened!

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Meine Freunde Deutsch

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Sunday 6th April 2014 ko 15.00

Oberliga Baden-Wüttemberg

VfR MANNHEIM 2 (Erdogu 3p Kyei 85)

1FC BRUCHSAL 0

Att 550

Entry €11 (Haupttribüne/Main Stand)

Programme FREE

Steak Roll €3.50

It was fitting that I arrived in Mannheim by car, the city is after all where Carl Benz produced the world’s first car powered by the internal combustion engine in 1886. I note that he used his wife, Bertha as the first passenger which shows either confidence in his invention, or his marriage! The running theme on this tour of clubs with neighbours continued with SV Waldhof Mannheim’s Carl-Benz-Stadion dominating the skyline, along with the 212.8 metre Fernmeldeturm Mannheim telecommunication tower complete with observation deck. But if you head down the driveway to the right of the Chinese restaurant a cornucopia of delights awaits you.

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Sunday Morning Coming Down

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Sunday 6th April 2014 ko 10.30

B-Klasse Mainz-Bingen West

FC AKSU-DIYAR MAINZ 9 (Kisala 15 33 40 62 79 Cesario 58 77 Ghamkor 64 Onuc 90)

SG 1898 PARTENHEIM 2 (Matischek 79 Jung 87)

Att 14 at Pitch 3 Bezirkssportenlage, Mainz-Mombach

Entry FREE

Programme NO

A few years ago a groundhopping snob on an internet forum decried watching German Kreisliga football. Apart from the maxim of not inflicting ill-thought-out opinions on others, our little keyboard warrior would have had a fit on what I watched here. Normally speaking Kreisliga is the local league, in less built-up areas the lowest rung of the pyramid, and in more urban area the Kreisklasse tucks in beneath that. Like any national organisation there will always be quirks and in Mainz there is no Kreisliga, the A to D Klassen in effect does that job for them. Of course what you miss when you become a status-snob is some hugely enjoyable visits, but then ignorance is bliss, isn’t it?

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