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Monday 21st April 2014 ko 15.00

Northern League Division One

SPENNYMOOR TOWN 4 (Graydon 13 Capper Taylor 80 90p)

TEAM NORTHUMBRIA 1 (Sayer 85)

Att 627

Entry £6

Programme £1

Badge SOLD OUT

If there was one ground that convinced me to attend the last day of the hop it was the Brewery Field. It has always been the home of football in Spennymoor right from when the first club Spennymoor United was formed in 1904, and took over the lease from Tudhoe Rugby Club. The ground used to belong to B. P. Junor’s ‘Tower Brewery’, hence the name ‘The Brewery Field’

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Past Glories

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Monday 21st April 2014 ko 12.00

Northern League Division One

BISHOP AUCKLAND 8 (Megran 25 45 Hodgson 37 Hawkins 43 Lawson 48 Brunskill 57 64 Lane 70)

CROOK TOWN 1 (Davis 58)

Att 434

Entry £6

Programme £1.25

Badge £3.50

In many respects this season cannot finish quickly enough; yes you’ve read that correctly, but don’t worry, I’ll still watch the usual bucket-load of games while I can. I was and am tired, and when the Northern League announced the last of their reunion hops, it looked like a good excuse to have Easter away from the organised hops for the first time in a long time. That’s nothing against Harvey Harris, Mike Amos and the Northern League, they are lovely people to deal with, but time with family and friends looked a good option for me. Until I was sat in the pub on Saturday and GroundhopUK’s Chris Berezai phoned, should we go and support the event on its fourth and final day? On go on then….

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Whimper

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Saturday 19th April 2014 ko 15.00

Conference North

VAUXHALL MOTORS 2 (Tames 32 Clair 60)

WORKINGTON 1 (May 42)

Att 166

Entry £10

Programme £2

Badge £3.50

It’s a quirk of Rivacre Park that you use a different exit from the M53 to reach it than you do for the car plant. Nominally at least you’re in Ellesmere Port, the Cheshire town lying on the south side of the Manchester Ship Canal from the Wirral. It’s a town built on industry generally, and the efforts of the likes of Thomas Telford and William Jessop specifically. If you’ve not been here, but you own a Vauxhall Astra car, then do drive here, your car will be returning home! Continue reading

Train Tracks

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Wednesday 16th April 2014 ko 18.30

Oxon Senior League Division One

YARNTON 2 (Bunce 39 Marsh 44)

EYNSHAM 3 (McCudden 58p Glossop 63 69)

Att 28

Entry FREE

Programme No

Given that this pretty village is only about 4 miles from Oxford, on the A44 towards Woodstock it was high time I ticked this one off. In fact as I arrived committeeman Gary spotted me and laughed, “About time too!” I’d seen Yarnton twice last season, once at Chalgrove and once at Northway, and let’s face it, on a warm evening why wouldn’t you want to be in an English village with over 4,000 years of history?

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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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