The Compromise

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Saturday 15th April 2017 ko 15.00

Northern Counties East League Premier Division

ARMTHORPE WELFARE 1 (Pearce 88)

HEMSWORTH MINERS WELFARE 6 (Connolly 4 Law 31 Collier 34 63 82 90)

Att 231

Entry £5

Programme £1.50

I’d started worrying the week before, and those worries were accentuated when counting the crowd at Rossington Main. We’d set this hop up on a “3 games in a day” basis, as we’d thought that 13 games in 4 and a bit days was enough football even for me! That format does come with a risk though and we’d just encountered the perfect storm as an organiser.

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A Fine Coal Miner For the NCB That Was

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Saturday 15th April 2017 ko 11.00

Northern Counties East League Division One

ROSSINGTON MAIN 0 

HALL ROAD RANGERS 1 (Spinks 37p)

Att 323

Entry £5

Programme £1.50

The procedure was well-worn. The alarm sounded and I immediately dashed to the hotel window to check it wasn’t raining. Whilst the weather wasn’t quite so much of an issue here as it was in, say the Carmarthenshire League it doesn’t half make your life easier when it’s dry. After the daily attempt to decimate Yorkshire’s pig population through bacon consumption we set our course for Doncaster which evoked memories of the Central Midlands League Hop. Continue reading

Soothsayer

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Friday 14th April 2017 ko 17.30

Northern Counties East League Division One

KNARESBOROUGH TOWN 1 (Heath 38)

PONTEFRACT COLLIERIES 5 (Cotton 50 70 Jeffs 55 Greenough 67 Reece 69)

Att 405

Entry £5

Programme £1.50

We’d passed through Knaresborough on our way to Harrogate Railway, but the traffic was slow, even after getting over the level crossing at Starbeck station. The queues seemed to be tourists leaving the many and varied attractions at Knaresborough. There’s the remains of a castle where the first Maundy Money was distributed by King John in 1210, but perhaps the most intriguing is Mother Shipton’s cave. The story goes that it was the home of Edith Southeil who became famous for her fortune telling and prophesies in the 16th century, except done of her predictions seemed to come true. It was on reflection no bad thing that I didn’t stop for a steer on the evening game! Continue reading

Hear My Train A’ Comin’

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Friday 14th April 2017 ko 14.30

Northern Counties East League Premier Division

HARROGATE RAILWAY ATHLETIC 0 Morris sent off 22 (DOGSO)

PICKERING TOWN 5 (Taylor 23 Thompson 34 Birch 45 Bissett 51 Blott 60)

Att 353

Entry £5

Programme £2

We were grateful to the folk at Garforth Town for suggest we didn’t use the A1(M). The road was choked with Bank Holiday traffic, so the travelling circus travelled north on the old road glancing to the right to see the stationary traffic on the A1 and to the left as we passed Aberford Albion! The tip saved us quite a bit of time, and we reached Harrogate, well Starbeck in plenty of time.  Continue reading

The Floating Roof

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Friday 14th April 2017 ko 11.00

Northern Counties East League Premier Division

GARFORTH TOWN 0

STAVELEY MINERS WELFARE 0

Att 324

Entry £5

Programme £1.50

It all felt like a well-oiled routine. The 4 star Cedar Court Hotel in Wakefield, GroundhopUK’s base for the entire hop, the mountains of bacon consumed in a buffet breakfast, but this time our party had company. There were 3 coachloads of pensioners staying there too, on a coach tour of Yorkshire. We only really saw them at breakfast, and they seemed rather fascinated with us. I actually got asked whether we were playing or watching football? Well, I’m 46 and overweight, I don’t think I’m up to playing! Continue reading

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