The First Lap

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Thursday 13th April 2017 ko 19.45

Northern Counties East League Division One

CAMPION 4 (Davis 47p Cunningham 70 Kendall 77 Hey 87)

DRONFIELD TOWN 1 (Wood 46)

Att 268

Entry £5

Programme £1.50

With last year’s Easter Hop being based in Cornwall and organised by Phil Hiscox, it had seemed ages since we’d enjoyed the company of the Northern Counties East. A lot had changed, not least that we at GroundhopUK had been approached by the North West Counties League to run a hop there. We’d immediately thought that would end up replacing the NCEL as this hop saw us reach a point where there are insufficient clubs to run a full hop here. However next season the Easter Hop reverts to the South West Peninsula League for it’s final event, so we looked at ways of squaring the circle.  Continue reading

Evenlode

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Tuesday 11th April 2017 ko 18.15

Witney & District League Premier Division

COMBE 1 (C Ibbitson 12)

HANBOROUGH 2 (Morton 5 77)

Att 45

Entry FREE

No programme

The great joy of unfloodlit midweek games is the chance to engage with the game at grassroots, and yes I am amused when I hear professional pundits refer to the National League as grassroots! Little do they know… The Witney League reminds me in many ways of a league I’m proud to serve- the North Berkshire League in that they both are off-pyramid village football competitions and are all the stronger for playing to their strengths.  Continue reading

Athletic On The Road

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Saturday 8th April 2017 ko 14.30

Welsh League Division 3

TREHARRIS ATHLETIC WESTERN 1 (Mitchell 55) Mitchell missed penalty 86

TREFELIN B.G.C. 1 (Latham 23) Monks-Landeg sent off 65 (dangerous play)

Att c25 at Welfare Ground, Fochriw

Entry £3

Programme £1

In the lexicon of great South Wales non-league grounds three places stand out. There’s Blaenrhondda, Garw and until recently Treharris Athletic Western’s Athletic Ground home. Those in the know knew it was on borrowed time, if for no other reason than the pitch being too small for Welsh League requirements, but the club’s abrupt departure earlier this year took many by surprise. Continue reading

Gallacticos

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Tuesday 4th April 2017 ko 18.20

Spartan South Midlands League Division Two

MK GALLACTICOS 3 (Wreh 35 Smith 54 Joao 76)

MURSLEY UNITED 2 (Hollingsworth 46 Skelton 76) Jay sent off (dangerous play 80)

Att 35 at North Fuzton Sports Ground, Milton Keynes

Entry FREE

No Programme

When I tick off a pitch in Milton Keynes I always think of my friend James. Maybe you’ve seen the Rennie Trophy presented at the end of each North Berkshire Hop, that’s named after him. James died a few years ago, but before he left us he attempted to watch a game on every single pitch in his adopted town. Continue reading

Unease

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Sunday 2nd April 2017 ko 14.30

Football League Trophy Final

COVENTRY CITY 2 (Bigirimana 11 Thomas 55)

OXFORD UNITED 1 (Sercombe 75)

Att 74,434

Entry £60

Programme £5

A trip to Wembley is an experience to be savoured isn’t it? It ought to be the pinnacle of your club’s ambition, and an experience where you take in every moment as if it were your last. So why did I come very close to not going, or even watching it on television? Continue reading

Tring Fellows

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Saturday 1st April 2017 ko 15.00

Spartan South Midlands League Division Two

TRING TOWN AFC 1 (Eaton 72)

UNITE MK 3 (Daubney 5 Parker 22 Ricci 67)

Att c20

Entry FREE

No Programme

I have history in this part of West Hertfordshire, I used to be an Insurance Man for a now-defunct firm here in the late ’90’s, and I soon got used to the town’s quirks, such as the station that’s nearer to Aldbury than Tring itself, and the little cafe that had the chutzpar to call itself “Tringfellows!” The tea and cakes were excellent, but the showgirls rather lacking! Continue reading

Proximity

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Sunday 26th March 2017 ko 12.00

East of Scotland League

ORMISTON 1 (Gordon 87)

LEITH ATHLETIC 4 (Ferguson 18 Wilkie 19 Millard 62og Martin 73) Allen sent off 30 (2nd booking)

Att 259

Entry £5

Programme £1

I and I suspect many others were glad of a lie in on Sunday morning, and I hope everyone remembered the clocks went forward! Sat over breakfast in Leith I felt able to do more than just the one game on offer, but when I typed my home address into the SatNav and saw I’d be home by 10pm the regret quickly evaporated. Monday is a work day, and coach driver’s hours dictate the you either do one game and head for home, or do more and stay another night in Scotland. We’d learned the lesson that more want to head for home then stay the hard way last year.

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Turning the Bull

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Saturday 25th March 2017 ko 19.00

Lowland League

HAWICK ROYAL ALBERT 2 (Hunter 14 Mitchell 58) Jack sent off 80 (2nd booking)

EAST STIRLINGSHIRE 4 (Rodgers 36 80 Glasgow 76 Sludden 90)

Att 287

Entry £5

Programme £1

After 2 highly enjoyable games at Eyemouth and Coldstream my warm forehead told me I’d caught the sun. I quietly gave thanks for the fine weather, but making our way via Kelso I was amazed to see a gritting lorry coming the other way! Now I know the temperature can drop rapidly north of the border, and in the end I was glad I retrieved by coat from the boot. Continue reading

Risk

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Saturday 25th March 2017 ko 15.00

East of Scotland League

COLDSTREAM 0

TYNECASTLE 2 (Mayer 14 Crabbe 19)

Att 267

Entry £5

Programme £2

I’ll admit it, as hop organisers Chris Berezai and I took a bit of a gamble with this one. Here’s the dilemna we had, on one hand we listened to the hoppers and they often tell us that scheduling 4 games is too much. Scheduling three isn’t an issue in itself but the risk is that if you put a game at around 3pm you run the risk of some of the hoppers doing “Off piste” and taking in another game.

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Aye

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Saturday 25th March 2017 ko 11.00

East of Scotland League

EYEMOUTH UNITED 0

LOTHIAN THISTLE 3 (Brown 10 Delvin 30 Guy 87)

Att 227

Entry £4

Programme £1

From the moment GroundhopUK and the Lowland League agreed 3 years ago to launch the Scottish Hop it was inevitable that we’d end up in the East of Scotland League. The league, along with the South of Scotland feeds the Lowland, and the two leagues share a fixture secretary too! Just as inevitably Chris Berezai and I knew that we’d get the odd hopper who’d decide the East of Scotland League was too low a level for them and decide to head elsewhere, but there seemed to me some who’d come to their conclusion had done so without ever having seen an EoSL game first! Surely a game a 11am with no simultaneous kick-offs would be a risk-free way of finding out?

Continue reading