Everything & Nothing

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Friday 29th March 2019 ko 20.00

East of Scotland League – Conference B

DUNIPACE 0

BONNYRIGG ROSE 4 (Murrell 6 Currie 60 83p Lough 88)

Att 380

Entry £6

Programme £1

Just like last year Robyn and I were sat having breakfast at the Wetherspoon’s at Beaconsfield Services. Our duties were exactly the same as for previous years’ Scottish Hops; meet Doug and the coach at Hillingdon Underground Station, then with Robyn couriering the coach I’d follow behind in my car to Birmingham International Rail Station to meet Chris Berezai. From there Dave Collins and Craig Dabbs would join us, and we’d aim to reach the first ground on the hop 90 minutes before the coach (not difficult with Doug’s mandatory stops) and use the time to make up the programme and ticket packs. Continue reading

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Reviver

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Tuesday 26th March 2019 ko 19.45

Hellenic League Division One East

ABINGDON TOWN 3 (M James 12 83 J James 45)

MILTON UNITED 2 (Powell 13 69) Beech sent off 90 (2nd Booking)

Att 50

Entry & Programme £5

It all felt like a catch-up. I’d watched Abingdon Town play the final game of the North Berkshire League’s 2015/6 season, and I remember leaving Culham Road worrying for their future. I always got on with their chairman Tom Larman, but the club’s problems seemed too deep-seated for Tom to cope with on his own. The club failed to even register with the Berks & Bucks FA for the next season, and when Tom died a few months later it seemed that the area’s oldest club had been lost. Continue reading

Where

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Tuesday 19th March 2019 ko 20.00

Hertfordshire Senior County League – Premier Division

WARE SPORTS 3 (Brown 46 76 Ellis 73)

CUFFLEY 1 (Brennan 38)

Att 23 at 3G caged pitch, Wodson Park Sports Centre, Ware.

Entry FREE

I really didn’t expect to return to Ware, and let’s face it, if you’ve ticked off a fair amount of the Spartan South Midlands League then you’ll have seen plenty of Tesco’s flagship store in Cheshunt and the former News Internation plant close to the M25. The standard line is that Ware FC play at one end of the Wodson Park Sports Centre in a purpose-built stadium, Wodson Park play in the athletics stadium next door, but where are Ware Sports? Continue reading

Out of the Blue

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Tuesday 12th March 2019 ko 19.45

National League South

OXFORD CITY 1 (Tshmanga 14p)

WOKING 2 (Little 29 Bradbury 90)

Att 347

Entry £10 (includes £2 discount as an Oxford United season ticket holder)

Programme £2

As an Oxford United supporter any trip to Court Place Farm involves an element of “What could have been” about it. So convoluted were the club’s attempts to move from the Manor Ground that back in 1993 I actually managed to convince my degree tutor that there was enough in the subject to make it my dissertation. It may have helped that the tutor was a season ticket at Enfield FC…  Continue reading

The Wire

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Sunday 10th March 2019 ko 11.00

North West Counties League Division One South

RYLANDS 3 (Boothman 5 45 White 86)

CHEADLE HEATH NOMADS 5 (Green 10 27p Herbert 36 Harrison 68 Simpson 71)

Att 319

Entry £4

Programme £2

The final day of the hop was defined by the weather from start to finish. From the moment I glanced through the curtains at the Holiday Inn in Warrington to the moment I did the final drop-offs at Crewe station I wondered whether I’d be rained, sleeted or hailed on. At times it felt like all three simultaneously! It was one of those days where on arrival at the ground, the coach party takes it’s time to get off… why be in a rush to get cold and wet? Continue reading

Bert

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Saturday 9th March 2019 ko 19.45

North-West Counties League Division One North

ST HELENS TOWN 1 (Diggle 49)

GARSTANG 3 (Coar 12 Sailor 60 Hothersall 75)

Att 292

Entry £5

Programme £2

One of the advantages of the day’s first 3 games all being so close together was that I still felt reasonably fresh as the coach pulled into the wide expanse of the Ruskin Drive Sports Ground. As with Lower Breck and Litherland Remyca earlier we’d be visiting a ground new to the league, but here was a club with a long history of membership. Continue reading

The Magician

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Saturday 9th March 2019 ko 16.30

North-West Counties League Division One North

LOWER BRECK 6 (Milne 18 60 90 Moore 31 Colbeck 45 Henders 55)

ASHTON TOWN 1 (Johnson 84)

Att 339

Entry £3

Programme £2

From Litherland the coach picked its way through surprisingly quiet Saturday afternoon traffic. We knew we were close to Goodison Park by the blue banners on every lamp-post until we actually passed by Everton’s famous ground. Then we skirted by Stanley Park until the huge new 20,500 Main Stand at Anfield dominated the view. From there those lamp-post banners changed to red as we travelled a few more hundred yards to the rather more humble Anfield Sports & Community Centre in Lower Breck Road. Liverpool FC may operate on altogether more rarified plane than our hosts, but they did have a massive influence on this hop! Continue reading

Sefton

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Saturday 9th March 2019 ko 13.30

North West Counties League Premier Division

LITHERLAND REMYCA 1 (Foy 44p)

CITY OF LIVERPOOL 2 (Dalton 61 Clair 70)

Att 574

Entry £5

Programme £2

It really didn’t take long for the coach to pick its way through the Sefton district of Liverpool to Litherland Sports Park. The district has the distinction of appearing in the Domesday Book while Liverpool didn’t! I was pleased it looked busy at the Litherland Sports Park, even if we did have to exit the bus rather quickly to let others in! Continue reading

Maritimes

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Saturday 9th March 2019 ko 11.00

North-West Counties League Premier Division

BOOTLE 4 (Peers 10 19 Cox 72 Jones 90)

ASHTON ATHLETIC 2 (Gilchrist 22 Munro 50)

Att 391

Entry £5

Programme £1

I’m not sure why but on organised hops I like my breakfast quietly. Perhaps it’s because I know that for the rest of the day Chris Berezai and I will be in the centre of the maelstrom of everything that’s going on across the 4 games. That and the knowledge that experience without reflection is worthless. We’d had real problems getting this hop at a point where we felt comfortable organising it, but we’d got the event to a point that the day’s four host clubs had everything they needed to do well. I found myself thinking about the four grounds we were visiting. Continue reading

The Disconnect

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Friday 8th March 2019 ko 19.45

North West Counties League- Division One South

BARNTON 0 Cobley sent off FT (foul/abusive)

VAUXHALL MOTORS 2 (Webb 35p Hassall 70)

Att 272

Entry £5

Programme £1

I’d met the coach we at GroundhopUK were using at Ellesmere, in Shropshire, and from there we headed north to pick up a cohort of groundhoppers at Crewe station. It gave me rare time to think as Paul picked his way through a series of leafy Cheshire villages. The first North-West Counties League Hop was 6 games over the last 2 days of the 2017 Easter Hop but its roots lie in a phone conversation I’d had with then Atherton Collieries’ programme editor Joe Gibbons in 2013 that lead to the hop party diverting there when a game at AFC Emley on the Northern Counties East Hop had been postponed due to drifting snow. Continue reading