Matchstick Man

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Saturday 17th August 2019 ko 15.00
Cornwall Combination League

LIZARD ARGYLE 1 (Vaughan-Spruce 10)

ROSUDGEON 0 Fletcher missed penalty 90

Att 30

Entry by donation

Programme £1

“So there he was then, Penzance to play….

..And you, you would-be vagabond
No one invited you, you know
Matchstick man, up in the dawn
You’ve got five hundred miles to go.”

excerpt of Matchstick Man by Mark Knopfler 2018

Remember my comment that all too often I don’t pick my games, they pick me? Well this was a classic case of that happening. Robyn and I were in Bristol wedding planning and I knew that I’d be picking up an easel in Clifton but I’d be finished around 10.30am so could go anywhere within reason before heading back to Oxford afterwards. My initial idea was something in the Peninsula League but then something popped up on Facebook!

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So Near…

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Tuesday 13th August 2019 ko 19.45

FA Cup Extra-Preliminary Round Replay

WEMBLEY FC 3 (Sabti 15 81 Walker 50)

AFC HAYES 2 (Dennis 17secs Musaka 16)

Att 71

Entry £7

Programme £1

When you think about it Wembley FC and their home at Vale Farm is the perfect place for a spectator to follow the world’s best cup competition from its start. You can of course see the competition’s final destination in the background, but when it was all over I did wonder whether the national stadium’s presence serves to madden rather than inspire? Continue reading

A Home… Finally

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Tuesday 6th August 2019 ko 19.45

Combined Counties League Premier Division

BADSHOT LEA 5 (Medcraft 19 55 89 Cardini 63 Cadette 77)

FRIMLEY GREEN 0

Att 194

Entry £7

Programme £1

Teamsheet FREE

God knows football needs a good news story and a ground for Badshot Lea is certainly one! It seems an age ago (well 2003) I saw the side freshly promoted in to the Hellenic League from the Surrey Premier League at their original Recreation Ground home. Now home may well be where the heart is but the ground was little or more than a roped off pitch in a park and with ground gradings beginning to bite it was obvious that a club so obviously on the up would have to move. Continue reading

The United Swifts

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Saturday 3rd August 2019

12.00 Central Midlands League Invitational Cup Final

NETHERSEAL ST PETERS 1 (Coates 7)

RENISHAW RANGERS 3 (Manlove 4 75 Purcell 72)

Att 189

15.00 Central Midlands League Chairman’s Cup Final

PINXTON 5 (Smith 20 Green 32 33 87 Riley 57)

BAKEWELL TOWN 1 (Rach 57)

Att 269

Both games at Peel Croft, (Burton RUFC), Burton-on-Trent

Entry £5

Programme £2

Just occasionally the hopper fraternity gets an opportunity so good, you drop everything and go. Normally it takes the form of a one-off game at an iconic stadium that isn’t often used to football such as Llanelli playing at Stradey Park, the re-staging of the 1872 FA Cup Final at the Oval or Hull City playing a friendly at Hull Kingston Rovers’ Craven Park. Those were all mid-week fixures, and 2 were at rugby grounds, but this game was at a rugby ground, on a Saturday making it so much easier for people to get to, but Peel Croft’s history made this a must-visit. Continue reading

The Straw Bear

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Sunday 28th July 2019 ko 17.15

United Counties League Division One

WHITTLESEY ATHLETIC 1 (Ilsley 70)

HUNTINGDON TOWN 2 (Roberts 68 Jones 84)

Att 340

Entry £5

Programme £1

The final club on the UCL Hop was a team with that one way or another have stamped themselves on the event’s history. When we visited Coates Athletic for the finale of the 2014 hop we knew they were going to soon change both name and ground, and that new ground would allow a tilt at the United Counties League. What no one realised back then was just how convoluted that tilt would end up being! Continue reading

Roman Times

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Sunday 28th July 2019 ko 13.45

United Counties League Division One

IRCHESTER UNITED 3 (Clark 7 Ball 70 79)

WELLINGBOROUGH WHITWORTH 3 (Brittain 8 Crawley 45 Hazell 90)

Att 328

Entry £5

Programme £1

It wasn’t far from Cogenhoe to Irchester- just enough time to get comfortable it seemed! When we first established the United Counties League Hop I’d imagined that we’d visit Irchester either before or after both Wellingborough Town and Wellingborough Whitworth, as Irchester is very close to the town. Now there were compelling reasons to visit Stilton when we did last year, but it did leave Irchester a little high and dry. In the end I was pleased we were able to fit them in quickly. Continue reading

Compton

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Sunday 28th July 2019 ko 11.00

United Counties League Premier Division

COGENHOE UNITED 0

LOUGHBOROUGH UNIVERSITY 1 (Akpobire 32)

Att 262

Entry £6

Programme £1

As the hop coach climbed up into the hills above Northampton there seemed to be a symmetry between the UCL/PDFL hop’s visit to Compton Park and my visit 15 years-or so earlier. Then I’d watched a game in the wind and rain and returned to my car soaked. It had been a good thing that I was living in Banbury back then, less than an an hour’s drive away. Continue reading

The Rules

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Saturday 27th July 2019 ko 19.45

United Counties League Division One

BURTON PARK WANDERERS 4 (Allen 8 Thomson 15 20 Dalby 49)

Dalby missed penalty 45

LUTTERWORTH ATHLETIC 0

Att 284

Entry £5

Programme £1

The rains returned as the hop reached the fourth game in Burton Latimer, near Kettering. If football isn’t your thing then the town is where Weetabix is made but if non-league football is your passion then it also is where Latimer Park is. The ground is home to perennial UCL strugglers Burton Park Wanderers, or is it? Continue reading

Sargeant Major

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Saturday 27th July 2019 ko 17.00

United Counties League Premier Division

ROTHWELL CORINTHIANS 3 (Archer 5 Duffy 57 Henson 66)

LUTTERWORTH TOWN 0

Att 316

Entry £5

Programme £1

The move from Orton Rangers in Peterborough to Rothwell in Northamptonshire added up to far more than a 5 division jump in status, although that fact is one reason I love this hop. It meant that in the event’s fourth game we were taking in a United Counties game for the first game, and fittingly that was marked by a minutes applause for the late league chairman John Weekes. Other than being the reason for this hop and being the person I’d most associate with the UCL, he was a gentleman and like many others I miss him immensely. Continue reading

Headquarters

Saturday 27th July 2019 ko 13.45

Peterborough & District League Division 3

ORTON RANGERS 4 (Harber 30 72 Read 41 Fitzgerald 76)

PARKSIDE ATHLETIC 1 (Hulford 55)

Att 220

Entry £4

Programme £1

GroundhopUK’s visit to Orton Rangers may well have been unique. There’s been no end of times where the organiser has had to change a host club, but I don’t think that’s ever happened without changing ground at the same time. You can see why, normally where a groundshare exists, usually there’s a landowner, or a primary tenant. But Orton Rangers’ relationship with the Nene Valley Community Centre is a little unusual. Continue reading