Qualities

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Sunday 8th October 2017 ko 14.15

Western League Division One

BISHOPS LYDEARD 2 (James Quick 39 Hebditch 45) James Quick missed pen 51

CHEDDAR AFC 4 (Coomes 9 Jones 67 Bennett 75)

Att 264

Entry & Programme £6

The Western hop’s final destination for 2017 was easily the most anticipated of the weekend. There was nothing too involved about the reason why, it was because Bishops Lydeard are new to the league joining last season, and that Cothelstone Road has seen massive improvements to allow the club that  promotion. That meant that a large strand of the groundhopping hobby would suddenly have the club on their radar for a visit and that was reflected with the second-highest attendance of the event, and easily the highest number of hoppers. The question was how would Lydeard cope with the large crowd?

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Order, In All Things

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Sunday 8th October 2017 ko 11.00

Western League Premier Division

SHEPTON MALLET 4 (Billing 20 47 89 Pollard 47)

BRISLINGTON 1 (Hunt 85)

Att 285

Entry £6

Programme £1

About 2 weeks before the Western Hop I’d been at a game and a hopper came up to me and told me how excited he was about the hop, but then commented.

“But why couldn’t you have put the Bishops Lydeard game on before the Shepton Mallet game?”

My response was to ask why would that be of any help? His response was telling,

“Because then I’d go home after the Lydeard game” he said. Never has the compromise that is the organised groundhop been put in clearer focus. Continue reading

Origins

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Saturday 7th October 2017 ko 19.30

Western League Premier Division

HENGROVE ATHLETIC 3 (White 54 Hickery 69 Fillingham 90p)

HALLEN 3 (Mills 20  Mills 27 Cousins 71)

Att 239

Entry £6

Programme £1

We approached Norton Lane with a large dollop of anticipation. For my girlfriend Robyn this was the nearest ground to her family in Bristol and her nephews Jack, Kai and Che were at the ground waiting for us. For many heading there it was the chance to catch up with the tour-de-force that is Martin McConachie now at Hengrove, but who had masterminded Oldland Abbotonians’ superbly hosted hop game two years ago. I had another reason for wanting to re-visit though, much as though I was looking forward to seeing Martin, Jack, Kai and Che. Continue reading

Reciprocity

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Saturday 7th October 2017 ko 16.30

Western League Premier Division

ODD DOWN (BATH) AFC 2 (Simpson 32 White 87p) Gould sent off 34 (Dangerous Play)

BITTON 2 (Knighton 68 McClennan 78) Tooze sent off 57 (2nd Booking)

Att 211

Entry £6

Programme £1

About 3 years ago I was watching a game at VfR Mannheim, in the German 5th division. I called in at the club offices to pick up a teamsheet, they spotted the foreigner in their midst (was my German that appalling? (yes)) and I was whisked away to the boardroom and welcomed to their club. I left wondering if a non-league club in my country would show the same kindness if the situation arose? Continue reading

Sounds

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Saturday 7th October 2017 ko 13.30

Western League Division One

RADSTOCK TOWN (Gregory 21og)

OLDLAND ABBOTONIANS 0

Att 213

Entry & Programme £6

The two mile trip uphill to Radstock saw us still very much in coal mining country, albeit like Welton, a place where the mines have long since given way to trees and a far more gentle pace of life. I’d visited Radstock Town’s Southfields Recreation Ground three years ago and got to know committeeman Simon “Wurz” Wilkinson, mainly due to a mutual liking for playing punk band “Stiff Little Fingers” on the PA on a cold night. Little did I know that this time round the theme would be more “Pepe Le Pew”  than “Nobody’s Heroes?” Continue reading

Waffley Good

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Saturday 7th October 2017 ko 10.45

Western League Division One

WELTON ROVERS 3 (Smith 27 Pile 42 90)

KEYNSHAM TOWN 1 (Curnock 4)

Att 247

Entry £6

Programme £1

We picked our way along narrow roads through the Mendips, the windscreen wipers shooing away fine drizzle. Julian French at the league proved to be spot on, we’d see rain at the first of the four Saturday hop games, but then it would be dry for the rest of the day. But why was I singing Flanders & Swann songs with fellow hopper Michael Squires? Continue reading

The Reverse Takeover

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Friday 6th October 2017 ko 19.45

Western League Division One

ASHTON & BACKWELL UNITED 2 (Skidmore 40 57) Thomas sent off 83 (2nd Booking)

BISHOP SUTTON 1 (Rendell 73)

Att 225

Entry £6

Programmes £1

It seemed that Street FC’s Tannery Ground was a million miles away. We’d finished the 2016 Western Hop there, and as the game finished I’d wished the league’s General Secretary Mark Edmonds all the best for the rest of the season. His untimely death due to cancer in December hit us all hard, and this hop took place with the feeling that there was something missing. That’s no reflection on anyone or anything; Mark’s absence was keenly felt, and that will continue to be the case. Rest in peace my friend.  Continue reading

Footprints

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Tuesday 3rd October 2017 ko 19.45

Southern League Challenge Cup 1st Round

HAYES & YEADING UNITED 3 (Ofusu 28 54 Hutchins 34p)

ASHFORD TOWN (MIDDX) 0

Att 103

Entry £6

Programme £1

The history books state that Hayes FC and Yeading FC merged in 2007 and the new club moved into Hayes’ iconic Church Road ground. The idea was to redevelop Yeading’s home “The Warren” using funds raised by the sale of Church Road. The tale ever since has been one of mystery and disappointment as despite a good start- the new club reached the National Premier in 2009, the money ran out.  Continue reading

Adge

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Saturday 30th September 2017 ko 15.00

Somerset County League Premier Division

NAILSEA UNITED 3 (Penberthy 7 Iles 72 Olsen 78)

STAPLEGROVE 0

Att c40

Free Entry

I have to confess I hadn’t intended to visit the Grove Sports Centre. But then the M4 intervened and I ended up stopping in the middle of Bath, and interrogating that essential tool for the groundhopper, The Football Traveller. Yes, I know you can get all the fixtures via the web, but sometimes there’s no subsitute for having all the fixtures sorted by date, then league, and this was definitely one of them! Continue reading

No Distance Left To Run

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Friday 29th September 2017 ko 19.45

Eastern Counties League Premier Division

STANWAY ROVERS 1 (Blackwell 78)

WIVENHOE TOWN 0

Att 201

Entry £6

Programme £1.50

Friday night football is something that’s clearly worked for the Eastern Counties League with regular fixtures throughout the season. It makes sense especially for clubs like Stanway with Colchester United on their doorstep as it allows the Football League club’s fans to come and watch too.  From a hopper’s perspective it does allow the chance to tick off another ground on a day of generally sparse fixtures; in fact the only issue is battling Friday night traffic to get there! Continue reading