Monday, 23 April 2018

BARDON HILL TITLE PUSH CONTINUES

BARDON HILL 4 KIRBY MUXLOE RES 0
LEICESTERSHIRE SENIOR LEAGUE PREMIER @ BARDON CLOSE
21 APRIL 2018 --- 3PM
BARDON HILL FC
Bardon Hill continue their tussle with Ingles for the title and remain joint top of the Leicestershire Senior League following this 4-0 victory over lowly Kirby Muxloe Res.  After a stilted start the home side were grateful to a brace apiece from Matt Oliver and Kerr Horn for the three points against a stubborn but in the end ten man visitors who had Danny O Brien sent off with the score-line at 2-0.
Flip Flopping around in fixture selection like a politician seeking popularity fixtures in varying parts had been selected and only when base station arrived at was the selection of Loughborough made having visited the University ground before a bit of research found Bardon Hill at home and still with lots to play for at the top of the league with Shepshed based Ingles.  So with connecting buses sorted out while taking the 45 minute journey to the home of Ladybird books, sadly this sign has now disappeared from the station at Loughborough.
A SMART ENTRANCE TO THE CLUB
A very rushed visit to the big yellow 'M' fast foody establishment allowed enough time to catch the aquamarine special to Coalville for the 50 minute journey and as ever many an interesting conversation is undertaken while travelling todays was with a young lady who was coming away from Rugby Union training and plays for Ashfield RUFC in Nottinghamshire.  Coalville as we found it a few years ago on a visit is a set of mixed emotions with a town spread all over in modern and run down format, a market hall away from the centre and a weird feel to the area.  But there is no doubting its great history with pits, former now unused to passenger traffic railway line, former Matel toy factory and large Coop warehouse and with the towns headstocks still on show along the road to Ashby its a town well worth exploring its halcyon days.  Interestingly today we learnt a little more about George Shaw its famous social reformer and philanthropist and by this time we were ready to head off to Bardon Hill and a ground we had passed on our previous visit to Coalville but a club that had suffered a relegation but more awkwardly a pitch that every time we tried to visit was waterlogged, so todays bright day would be a guaranteed game - although we did wonder when unsurprisingly for a Saturday the whole of the first half was played out to a constant rain interruption.
THE UNIQUE FLOODLIGHTS AT BARDON CLOSE
Our route took in circuitous route that almost took us back home and just 20 minutes later we were departing by the ground after a journey that took about the same time on foot on our return still we saw Whitwick and Bardon.
Bardon Hill Fc play on the ground adjacent to Aggregate Industries who operate the massive quarry right by the club and by all accounts is set on or in a volcano, by the side of the football club the cricket lads were making further preparations to the outfield for their new season.
THE BUSINESS END
The main entrance here has a large car park and fascia entrance to the turnstiles and after paying our entrance fee to the right are the toilets, corner flag bar while to the left the collection of changing rooms.  Some of the builds are of modern cabin style while the others of an older wooden build.  Continuing around the 'top' side behind the standing area and dug outs is an access road to the quarry offices pus there are car parking spots sloping to pitch side.  The far goal is a concreted walk round to the stand side which covers about half of the side and is a two rowed affair with some smart blue seats offering a good view and roofed protection from todays first half rain.  Coming around to our entrance point and many of the signs were from a few years ago when the club were in the East Midlands Counties League and for one season step 5 of The Midland League, by all accounts times were a bit more prosperous.  A unique sign was the one declaring 'stone throwing is prohibited at this club' at this point we did think of immediately leaving!  The other point of note are the floodlight columns of the old railway/pit yard type and apparently were an acquisition from Hinckley Rugby Club about 40 years ago.
COME ON THEN WERE OFF
Mick had gone off in communication with all around the ground while I had caught up with a few locals and officials who were all very welcoming and there was also time for fast rising Leicestershire referee Reuban Ricardo who was down to watch the first half having been at Milton Keynes Academy in the morning.  As ever the team sheets were obtained from varying sources and on a positive note these have to be the clearest ones to read I have seen this season, luxury.
TIME FOR A BREATHER
The first half was a rather subdued encounter with chances at a massive premium and little or nothing to give Bardon Hill too much confidence against the second bottom side but effectively the bottom club after Ibstock's disappearance.  That was until four minutes before half time Chris Waldrum crossed off the left and Oliver drilled home to secure a half time advantage for the home side.
Within four minutes of the restart Bardon Hill had doubled their lead and Oliver had his second firing home right footed after Ash Riddell had assisted.
KIRBY MUXLOE CLEAR THEIR LINES
Luke Garratt missed a great chance unmarked at the far post before visiting keeper Darryl Hawthorne saw off a long range effort from Chris Nettel.
REFEREE BULLEN SHOWS O BRIEN THE INEVITABLE RED CARD
Bardon Hill were gaining an upper hand in the game now and non more so than when Danny O Brien was sent off for tripping Horn as he raced through on goal.  Oliver nearly secured his hat trick on 77 minutes when his 25 yard free kick was parried away into the path of Horn who guided the ball home to make it 3-0.  It was all Bardon Hill now Josh Johnson saw his deflected shot come back off the post before Horn got his second two minutes after his opening effort Ryan Pearce provided the cross for the tall striker to head home.
BARDON HILL IN CONTROL
As the game entered the final stages Oliver looked to have secured his hat trick but his effort from in front of goal flew inches wide.
AND FINALLY THE ATTEMPTED ARTY SHOT
The return journey into Coalville was made on foot and having secured a small time to board the bus there was a complete failure to find a local shop to get a much needed soft drink from on this increasingly warm afternoon.  Back via Thringstone we learned of a few more local characters Charles Booth a further philanthropist and then on the outskirts the Grace Dieu Priory established in 1239 and run by the White Nuns of St Augustine.
Back in Loughborough and with an hour to wait after a look around we came across a large white washed house with green window frames by the station interestingly the wall had a 'lived here plaque' to make you aware that Sunloch the Gran National winner in 1914 was stabled on site here of Gainsborough House. 
A quality educational afternoon then all round topped off with a nice visit to a ground that once again had been on the radar for a while.  Arriving on the platform at Loughborough station it appeared all trains were around an hour late due to a points failure but on a pleasant and dry, at last, night this seemed to matter little with base station arrived just shy of 8.30pm.

Friday, 20 April 2018

DENABY RUSH IN FOR A WIN AT OUGHTIBRIDGE

OUGHTIBRIDGE WMFC 1 DENABY UTD 3
SHEFFIELD COUNTY SENIOR PREMIER @ WATERSIDE GARDENS
18 APRIL 2018 --- 6PM
OUGHTIBRIDGE WMFC
Deanby stormed back from going a goal down to a superb 25 yard free kick from the home sides Tom Fletcher to add three more points to pull the Conisbrough based side further away from the wrong end of the table.
After a sporting week in Yorkshire, Dodworth last Saturday, Sunday at Kiveton watching Renishaw in The Chesterfield Sunday League followed by Sheffield Eagles tonight saw a continuation of Yorkshire sport thanks to a late spot in the fixture list highlighted Oughtibridge WM FC with a re arranged game tonight against Denaby Utd and following the terrible wet weather and then latterly snow this left a difficult fixture to schedule with a 6pm kick off for the team travelling from Doncaster it was never realistic, luckily we did have the final few visitng players here by just after the kick off time and we were under way just 20 minutes late.
Travel from base station saw an arrival in Sheffield with time to make the switch to the Supertram before changing in the city centre and opting to alight for a MacDonalds visit at the Hillsborough Barracks restaurant, I always feel slightly uncomfortable using the term restaurant!  It was a rushed visit that soon had me a board a tram for the three stops to the Middlewood terminus of the tram and then a Supertram link bus that goes via Oughtibridge to Stocksbridge.
THE RIVER DON IN FULL FLOW WITH OUGHTIBRIDGE TO THE BACKGROUND
There is very little to see or do in Oughtibridge the village shop seems to be incapacitated and apart from the pub, park and football/cricket ground the small old village that set up around the former mill that sat alongside the fast flowing River Don it was just an expanding private housing area to the immediate eye.  The nature of the main road through the village requires a one way system with the sports facility we are aiming for sat very much in the valley surrounded by banks of house steeply climbing skyward.
TOUR DE YORKSHIRE SIGNS GIVE WAY TO THE STEEPNESS AROUND THESE PARTS
Entering by Waterside Gardens the Don is flowing sharply and on more than one occasion recently as caused problems for the football, Oughtibridge War Memorial Football Club to give it its full title and cricket clubs.  Entering at around 5.30pm its clear Denaby will have a struggle making kick off but thankfully so far Oughtibridge are well prepared and about to warm up.
A UNIQUE FEEL ABOUT THE STANDS
The ground is to the far side of the cricket with the pavilion acting as the changing base for the teams, with the pitch roped off on the near side and the cricket square Herras fenced for protection most of the furniture is on the far side.  With a steep bank behind the collection of mini stands and terracing all creating a special personal touch to the match accommodation.  Its probably best to view the picture than describe these needless to say they are all unique in their own little way.
SPOT THE FLOODLIGHT
Towards the far goal is a small training area with some mini floodlights plus a floodlight stanchion hiding in the trees, this end also has a will protected high fence area to try to avoid any balls running away into the river.
Before the game it was nice to catch up with James Benfold from Denaby Utd and the producer of the much acclaimed excellent Deanby Utd programme well worth getting hold of.
EARLY MATCH ACTION WITH THE HOME SIDE ON THE BALL
The rushing arrival of Denaby looked to have taken a toll on 22 minutes when Fletcher superbly placed a 25 yard free kick into the Denaby goal to give the home side the lead.  Matt Harrison then went close to adding a second as Oughtibridge looked to force home their early advantage.  Gradually Denaby were coming into the game and on 32 minutes they equalised when Ashley Finney lofted the ball over Nathan Ryan and that's how we went into half time.
DENABY KEEPER JAMIE TUNE CLAIMS THE BALL
Five minutes into the second half Jack Whittaker raced through to beat the offside shouts and calmly rounded Ryan to convert.  Worse was to come for Oughtibridge on 65 minutes when Whittaker turned provider for Steve Ellor to head home to make it 3-1 to the visitors, who needs big warm ups and preparations?  With just over ten minutes remaining Denaby should have been out of sight awarded a penalty the home keeper pulled off a smart save to deny Finney his second.
DENABY UTD FIRST TO THE BALL
A convenient final whistle allowed a steady walk back for the 8.15 link service back to Middlewood for the Supertram which was one of the newer versions with on the warmest day its heating stuck on generating a sultry 31 degrees according the sweltering conductress.  With a departure in the city and a smart walk to Sheffield station an arrival back at base station around 9.15 had produced a remarkable evening transport return of around one hour.

Monday, 16 April 2018

DODWORTH CLAIM SUCCESSIVE TITLES

DODWORTH MWFC 1 HIGH GREEN VILLA 1
SHEFFIELD COUNTY SENIOR 1 @ HIGH ST
14 APRIL 2018 --- 3PM
DODWORTH MW FC CHAMPIONS SHEFFIELD COUNTY SENIOR LEAGUE 1
Dodworth MWFC claimed the point they needed to secure the County Senior League 1 title when Kieron Suthern fired home from close range after 77 minutes to equalise a superb Harley Wilson 25 yards free kick that had given the visitors the lead.  The pressure valve was released all around the Welfare as players wheeled away in celebration and the partisan crowd urged their side on to defend the point for the remaining minutes.  For two years running silverware has graced the club following last years league 2 title for the club in its debut season manager Darren Millington and his team could celebrate more silverware and the odd sparkling lemonade afterwards in the Tappers Bar.
FISH AND CHIPS IN DODWORTH HARBOUR
The week leading up to what would be the last home game of the season for Dodworth was awash, literally, with rain yet again and having failed on a few occasions to take the risk during the first months of the year of a visit contact was made with Darren on the Friday evening and you knew from the texts that were coming back that this was going to be an interesting visit.  Having received the semi all clear and after a dry night and Saturday morning we made an early start first to Sheffield and then a rammed express train to Barnsley full of Bolton fans who were visiting Oakwell.  After departure from the station via the adjacent bus station a 22 to Gilroyd dropped is just shy of the village centre at, of course, Shaws Chippy, an inside seat was claimed and a brief moment in time was once again spent sampling the delicacy.
YOU CAN KEEP YOUR EXECUTIVE STANDS
With a good 2 hours to kick off there was time to do a little exploring through the High St with its memorial to the lost of the local collieries and of course like many areas around South Yorkshire the village had its own pit but was also surrounded by many others mines too.  Following the decimation of the industry many local industrial units have been set up as replacement employment and now form edge of the village industrial estates which have a great access to the M1.  The village didn't have a typical pit community feel to it with many new houses as well as older houses probably deflecting away its past glories and the area becoming a commuter belt with access to the motorway close at hand.
A FIRST DODWORTH MWFC PROGRAMME
Arriving into the ground once again a part model of a winding wheel with the final thought of  'unity is strength' is added to the plaque remembering Dodworth and its miners.  The whole area opens out to the football ground and in the foreground two bowling greens.  It appears cricket and rugby have now finished here but before entering the Welfare there was time for a quick look at the ground.
Down the track to the right and an open expanse straight ahead to a further football pitch sees the ground railed offering grass standing behind both goals and the far side.  From the far side we look back towards High St and our entry point and the highlight inbuilt into the bank a large typical old style welfare stand with steep and deep concrete terracing with large roof its a sight to behold.  To the rear are two large boards with the club badge on and separate to the right are the old style changing rooms also atop the bank.  Between the stand and the changing rooms is a walkway back to the club were we found most of the home players already in attendance and their was time to partake of a lemonade and catch up with the clubs media man Paul Youle.
ITS ALL ABOUT THE STAND HERE IS SOME FIRST HALF MATCH ACTION
Darren had spoken to him overnight and once again the friendly nature that goes before the club on the hoppers circuit was self evident throughout the afternoon, thank you!  We managed a brief catch up with The Miners manager Darren but he of course had other things to concentrate on today and with just the point needed for the championship there was hope of the trophy being presented after the game.  Recent form for Dodworth had showed a degree of shakiness in getting over the line and although in points terms they were well ahead of Hepworth Utd and todays visitors the job still had to be done.
As the locals filtered in there was time to meet up with todays official Steven Grainger who kindly supplied the teams sometimes you do have to admire the bravery of these guys with no assistants going into the competitiveness of the County Senior League week in week out.
Dodworth had produced a smart little programme today, their first ever, with colour photos progressing their season and a look at the club including todays game.  This was a very good effort which the club gave away free hopefully next season they will produce in the Premier and its a selling point that will get many visitors from the hopper fraternity visiting I'm sure.
ROY THE RAFFLE FIVERS WORTH
Before we look at the proceedings here a paragraph on Roy the raffle man and I just hope I can do him justice.  Small in stature, bluff in nature head adorned with flat cap with a collection of mining badges around it and a Yorkshire man to boot.  Wedged between the tight entry gate and the freedom of the terraces woe betide anybody that doesn't buy a raffle ticket to support the club.  I received an education his comments were cutting all delivered with no smile in a dead pan delivery style that made you wonder what he was really thinking.  " a pounds worth is that all ya want", "does tha want five tickets its only a fiver",  "come on love surely tha's havin more than that" and so they went on, bloody brilliant.  When Mick turned up and had a quid's worth he got the same treatment thankfully I decided to be more generous and I got 'I like thee'.  Every club should have a Roy as we know football clubs do not run on nothing and with the ever increasing demands from the authorities we really should not be resisting putting £3 or so into a game at this level. 
To the main event then and High Green Villa needed to win to keep their title hopes alive and so we expected a good game the first half was a tense affair with the visitors having the upper hand and Dodworth struggling to get too much of value together especially in the opposition box.   The visitors were first to threaten when Mathew Jacobs tested the home keeper and it was the same player on the half hour mark who also tested Cram, the Villa also struck the bar through a right wing corner from Alex Mosley.
NOT IN THE SCRIPT HARLEY WILSON FIRES HIGH GREEN INTO THE LEAD
In and around this Dodworth forced a good save out off visiting keeper Tom Parker after Craig Allen unleashed a 25 yard effort before Danny Barlow had the best chance for the home side firing across the face of goal from the back post.
It was though High Green who went into half time ahead seven minutes before the break in a central position from a 25 yard free kick thanks too Wilson who hit the sweetest of efforts into the Dodworth goal.
STILL DODWORTH CANT FIND A WAY THROUGH
Dodworth made two early substitutions in the second half and the immediate effect seemed to raise the game for the home side with Rich Dey and Aarron Brotherton both testing the Villa keeper who was not found wanting.  As the tension became palpable it looked like it would not be Dodworth's day and High Green looked to rain on their parade especially when a superb ball in from Sam Severn saw Dey's shot blocked and Barlow saw his follow up effort receive the same treatment. 
High Green sensed their chance to seal it on the break when Jordan Evans crossed for Joe Moorhouse who saw his effort well saved by Cram in the Dodworth goal.
THE MOMENT IN TIME WHEN DODWORTH KNEW THE TITLE WAS THEIRS
The clock was running down, the anxiety levels were heightening and the thoughts of the next game were developing in a few heads until on 77 minutes.  Like their previous move Dodworth saw the first shot blocked from close range then the second blocked on the line before up stepped Suthern to fire the loose ball home from to set off those scenes of joy all around the Welfare ground.
I guess those remaining minutes seemed like hours for the home fans and although every missed kick or misplaced pass was a tension moment for The Miners it wasn't too long before referee Grainger signalled that the League 1 trophy could be presented to Dodworth Miners Welfare Fc captain Aarron Brotherton.
MANAGER DARREN MILLINGTON AND CAPTAIN AARRON BROTHERTON WITH THE CHAMPIONS TROPHY
The after match celebrations in The Welfare were slightly delayed by the Grand National which had a tremendous atmosphere during an exciting finish and then the celebration could continue for this fantastic achievement for a side who know roll on into the County Senior Premier League and on todays showing High Green Villa wont be far behind them after they pushed Dodworth all the way in a fantastic battle this afternoon.
A departure to the station was made following a final cheers to Paul and back down to the changing rooms were Darren Millington and Craig Allan were enjoying a quieter moment and I guess a recollection of the season.
Finally to Roy, who was still selling tickets for the raffle in the bar after the game, a great pleasure we never found out who won the raffle or even if it will be drawn before next August but who cares you were my man of the match today!

Friday, 13 April 2018

3G MAKES ITS DEBUT FOR NEW WHITT V RENISHAW

FC NEW WHITT 3 RENISHAW MW 2
CHESTERFIELD AND DISTRICT SUNDAY FOOTBALL LEAGUE @ SHIREBROOK
12 APRIL 2018 --- 6.15PM
LEAGUE HISTORY JACK WILSON [NEW WHITT], RALPH MORTON AND RYAN SPINKS [L TO R]
It was one for the record books as The Chesterfield Sunday League saw its first game played on 3G thanks to the ingenuity of the home side FC New Whitt and cooperation of Renishaw MW.  On a misty, wet and unbelievably cold night for mid April these two sides served up a highly entertaining and competitive game at Shirebrook Academy with the hosts coming out narrow victors by the odd goal in five.
LIGHTS CAMERA WINDMILL AND A LOT OF MURKINESS
With the continuing bad weather these two clubs still had 14 games to play between them and with FC New Whitt's pitch unplayable their management team took the forthright decision to book the 3g at Shirebrook, a ground that had staged the early fixtures of FC Bolsover in The Central Midlands Football League last season, before their ground share with Shirebrook Town Fc.
So with an early dash via a couple of buses the latter which takes an hour from Chesterfield and circumnavigates nearly every estate on route an arrival an hour before kick off allowed a quick look at the delights of the nearby Summit estate before returning to the ground which is situated in a lofty position on the edge of the town
The poor light, my excuse for the below par pictures, also meant that a Sunday League game, playing on a Thursday [!], would also feature floodlights but I'm assured by league officials that this is not the first time a league fixture has been played under lights.
COME ON LADS WE CAN SORT THIS OUT
Both sides fielded a selection of substitutes which was superb to see for this midweek fixture involving a far bit of travelling for the clubs.  The game was also appropriately officiated by the leagues oldest referee in Ralph Morton who at 76 years of age has now seen in the first 3g fixture for the league.  There has been many achievements for Ralph who has referred ay a good standard in the non league and also at Wembley in front of over 50,000 for an England v Brazil junior international.  He still holds a season ticket at his home town club Leeds United and maybe soon he should give it up and concentrate on this refereeing lark full time.
Both sides still have a realistic shout for the top spot and if not a good effort could see a runners up berth by early May and it was New Whitt who started at a fair pace taking the lead in the first minute when Luke Mathewman raced on to slot past Mathew Chapman.  When Tom McTighe made it 2-0 with a header you would have forgiven Renishaw for looking for the warmth of the changing rooms but early on in the second half they reduced the deficit when Elliot Metcalffe turned the ball home before FC New Whitt regained the two goal advantage.
MATTHEW CHAPMAN CLAIMS THE BALL FOR RENISHAW MW
A free kick on the right for handball saw former Clay Cross Town player Grant Weston float in the set piece for McTigh to guide home his second and Whitt's third.  Not to be outdone Liam Wilde pulled a goal back for Renishaw with a sharp header which set up a grandstand finish that with a little bit more luck could easily have seen the visitors draw level.
Well done to all involved in this successful first, I believe New Whitt may be looking to stage another game here too and if you want to find out a little bit more the league is easily followed on FA Full Time or its active Facebook page featuring match reports and photo's of recent games.

Monday, 9 April 2018

KAPOW ATTENBOROUGH GET LATE EQUALISER AT WOLLATON

WOLLATON 2 ATTENBOROUGH 2
NOTTINGHAMSHIRE SENIOR LEAGUE PREMIER @ WOLLATON ROAD
7 APRIL 2018 --- 2PM
WOLLATON SPORTS ASSOCIATION HOME OF WOLLATON FC
A superb strike from Nick Knight three minutes from time allowed Attenborough to snatch a draw against ten men Wollaton who had fought back from going a goal down early on.  A spicy affair with complete commitment from both sides belied this approaching end of season fixture but once again The NSL provided a superb game for the neutral spectator.
With the dreaded wet stuff forecast, again, the opportunity of getting along to catch up with a game at Wollaton became the obvious choice with a few back up games easily accessible from this west of Nottingham suburb, needless to say armed with umbrellas the rain never materialised.  The fast route in was selected with Comet from base and an immediate change in Derby to The Red Arrow departing at The QMC Hospital just short of the city for a walk via Wollaton Hall and its grounds.
WOLLATON HALL CAN YOU SPOT BATMAN
From its lofty position the Hall offers a superb view around the city and is such a building of character that it was Batman's home in the 2011 film The Dark Knight Rises starring Christian Bale.  With time, as ever, of importance a brief viewing of the famous deer and we were out into the village which offers an excellen first impression to any visitors, we are clearly in a well to do district backed up of course by the obligatory Waitrose!  The village centre offers a library, modern church hall, the Admiral Rodney watering hole more of which shortly and St Leonards Parish Church.  The latter offers one of the few remaining antiphonals, new word of the year[!], a late medieval Church service book.  The display is via a screen as the said item is well away under protection elsewhere, moving next door is the aforementioned public house the dominating Admiral Rodney.
VILLAGE OVERVIEW WELL CHURCH AND PUB ANYWAY
With a crafty hour built into proceedings we were early diners with a superb pint and a meal offer times 2 for a penny shorty of twenty pounds.  This was a recommended meal and pint in amiable surroundings with some nice staff too.  The advantage of this establishment was that you could see the entrance to the ground from our table but with the clock approaching 45 minutes to kick off, 2pm to facilitate use of a party in the social room, we set off on the briefest of walks.
NO CAPTION NEEDED
Having accessed the ground our first view ahead was of the cricket outfield and square with to the far side the football pitch, immediately to our left the pavilion with changing rooms, tea bar and alcohol bar.  A further claim to fame for Wollaton was the filming of the sit-com Outside Edge in the mid nineties starring Josie Lawrence, Timothy Spall and Brenda Blethyn was filmed at the ground for external shots.
EXECUTIVE DUG OUTS
A brief overview of the ground shows a well rope fenced pitch all the way around with catch nets behind each goal, probably the smartest dugouts outside of the Premiership with full back comfy seats and cup holders!  All the perimeter can just about be accessed with no hard standing in place but the whole set up is well looked after so not a problem here.  The ground is surrounded by smart well to do houses around three sides and the whole area is well enclosed save for the Wollaton Rd side which is separated by a bowling green and entrance track with a small amount of car parking.
EARLY SAVE FOR LEWIS SOAL ATTENBOROUGH KEEPER
On arrival and during the afternoon we swapped conversations with Wollaton Chairman Bill Fishwick who at one stage excused himself and the next time I looked up he was marking the pitch out before kick off before a brief respite saw him open up the perimeter rope for the players access route.  As ever people like Bill are the lifeblood of non league football along with his small band of helpers we all know where football would be without them, nowhere!  So thank you to you all.
There was time to get a programme each which was an excellent double edition featuring Tuesdays game versus Cotgrave too before visiting the snack bar for a few provisions!
SECOND HALF WOLLATON PRESSURE
It was to be an early lead for the visitors and a harmless looking cross saw Wollaton keeper Tom Ryan drop the ball over the goal line and by the time he re-claimed it he had rescued it from behind the line something that did not go amiss of the assistant referee Rev Andrew Chislet-MacDonald who was in no need of VAR to give the goal.  We witnessed no more goals in the first half although it was not for the want of trying from both sides with some sharp challenges going in and an excessive amount of dissent referee Phil Towers had to be on his guard.
JAKE FISHER ON THE BALL FOR WOLLATON
The start of the second period saw Wollaton out of the traps at full speed and Jake Fisher had equalised within two minutes a superb run cut him into the penalty box and his shot went into the back of the Attenborough net despite the despairing dive of a defender.  The home side had come out with a new vigour and both Kasey Fisher and Reece Campbell went close before they took the lead on 58 minutes when Ash Kelly fired home a lose ball in the penalty box.
YELLOW FOR JAKE SAMUEL
The game had threatened to have a coming together and this did happen ten minutes later with a few close range greetings the final result saw Jake Samuel booked for the visitors and Ryan Krause dismissed for Wollaton.   The home side should have wrapped it up shortly afterwards visiting keeper Lewis Soal saved from Jake Fisher and on the follow up Ash Kelly miss hit his effort.
LONG WALK BACK TO THE PAVILLION FOR RYAN KRAUSE
As the closing stages developed and the ten men of Wollaton looked to tire up stepped Knight with a superb strike from 20 yards out to beat Ryan in the home goal to grab a deserved point with three minutes remaining of the 90.
The Nottinghamshire Senior League is not a set of fixtures that I visit regularly however once again today it provided a cracking game of football to watch and with the pre-match surroundings this is more than a recommended visit and one I hope to pop along to again soon.
The return journey took a convoluted route via the Two to Ilkeston, the 21 to Heanor, Rapid One to Ripley and finally The Comet back to base all this avoided the Pride Park turn out and also was included in the super Trent Barton day ticket.

Tuesday, 3 April 2018

BULLDOGS OUT OF THE KENNEL IN SECOND HALF

SHEFFIELD EAGLES 14 BATLEY BULLDOGS 28
CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND 9 @ OLYMPIC LEGACY PARK
2 APRIL 2018 --- 3PM
OLYMPIC LEGACY PARK HOME OF SHEFFIELD EAGLES
On a snow covered pitch Batley responded in the second half with three tries in eight minutes enough to overturn the 10-4 half time lead that Sheffield had deservedly held.  Eagles had stormed into a 10-0 lead inside 19 minutes and although Dave Scott went over for Batley to reduce the odds the visitors looked far from at the races until the comeback in the second forty.
Rain had once again decimated much of the local football on Saturday, thankfully a Sunday League game was found so as not to have a complete blank weekend and then Bank Holiday Monday, the curtains were drawn back and we had around 2-3 inches of snow.  Once again the fixtures fell by the wayside and with plans already afoot for this eventuality a planned trip to Sheffield Eagles new home at The Olympic Legacy Park in their home city was on the cards.
VIEW OVER SHEFFIELD FROM THE STATION
The new facility has a 4g surface but as we know the football still has a problem with snow settling on the top but having passed a mid morning pitch inspection the decision was fairly simple it was time to dip into some summer [!] rugby league.  The journey from base station was met with a sharp connection at Sheffield station were an exit towards the Supertram would whisk us via the city centre before pulling back out towards Meadowhall.  With plans to alight at Legacy Park it was upon arrival at Attercliffe, the stop before, that a few fans departed so a quick dash for the doors allowed a very brief back street amble to the edge of the whole new complex.  The site of the former Don Valley Stadium built for the World Student Games was before us and although a great loss as a stadium the millstone around the neck it had become saw it demolished and plans afoot for a new project which links in education, university and health, succinctly summed up in the blurb 'part of an internationally recognised innovation district for health and wellbeing and learning'.  The site in some areas is clearly in stages of completion but will offer world class sports education, health and leisure facilities.
With this site Sheffield Eagles secured a ground that backs onto one of the university buildings and with the constant persistence of Mark Aston an Eagle through and through from player to coach.  I have long heard this mans painful cries as he pleaded for his club on local radio and it too his credit plus the club officials, investors and supporters that the day has arrived when rugby league not only comes back to Sheffield but that it also has a ground to call home!
SHEFFIELDS ANSWER TO WEMBLEY WAY WITH GROUND TO THE RIGHT
For those not aware let me do a boring list because here are some, hopefully all, of the grounds the Eagles have played out of Don Valley, Bramall Lane, Don Valley, Owlerton Stadium, Keepmoat Stadium Doncaster, Hillsborough, Oakwell, The Shay, back to Bramall Lane, Sheffield Hallam University Sports Ground and Belle Vue Wakefield Trinity before finally returning to Sheffield for the 2018 season.  So you can see what a grand achievement this has been for the loyal band of supporters that would not let the Eagles fly away.
MARK ASTON SHEFFIELD EAGLES THROUGH AND THROUGH
Back to today and a mini Wembley Way, Legacy Way, sweeps you off the Attercliffe streets and towards the entrance, firstly outside a 50/50 ticket which with the offer of 3 for £2 was too good to resist.  Towards the pay booth just inside the main gate and a ticket for the game and straight after a good value programme at £2.50.  Here it must be said a lot of things are in their infancy and hopefully the club will build around their new home as most things have a temporary feel at the moment.  We pass a small selection of Portaloos and then marquees for food and the intriguingly named Itchy Pig Company supplying all things alcoholic.
A SNOWY OLYMPIC LEGACY PARK
The ground has a complete hard standing walkway around it and is segregated from the pitch by the standard meshed fencing that 4g facilities have,  the pitch is set away from the fencing a little but I guess this is a necessary safety measure to protect the players.  To the immediate right is a portable electronic scoreboard and beyond set up on a raised banking a marquee type stand that I guess hold around 400.  Moving around the ground there is a bowl like effect with grass banking getting higher and encompassing three sides of the arena.  The far side has the dug outs and a TV gantry area which also acts as coach Mark Aston's viewing area as we move back to our entry part of their area is fenced off from the University building which contains the changing facilities.  So at present a basic facility but a home and a tremendous achievement I wait to see some additions to further encourage new fans to visit.
THIS COULD BE FUN EAGLES IN SNOW OSCAR THOMAS
On first viewing today I was amazed that the metre lines had been cleared along with all other relevant lines but the snow must have been 2 inches deep across the carpet,  good old rugby league non of your soft footy types here well done to the officials we were rewarded with a good game of rugby.  However a few Batley fans were moaning this is ridiculous it should be off, mind you I couldn't find them at the end of 80 minutes to check if they still felt the same way.
THE DOGS ARE OUT
The game was slightly late kicking off but Eagles sporting blue had Batley, in predominantly white, under pressure non more so than on eight minute with a lead thanks to Joshua Toole who went over the whitewash, that may not be accurate on these 4g pitches probably should read permanent line.  A swift move on 19 minutes saw the home side increase their lead when Olive Davies brushed off a Joe Farrell challenge to go over and then a maximum was achieved thanks to the conversion from Oscar Thomas, 10-0.
Bulldogs had not come out for walkies yet but a lifeline was gained just before the break when Dave Scott secured their opening try.
FIRST HALF SNOW TASTING
Something happened at half time, team talk from Matt Diskin must have worked wonders because by 58 minute Batley led 22-10.  It started on 50 minutes Dave Manning, then Pat Walker and finally Wayne Rettie  all securing four points with Walker taking each to a maximum.  Wow how this game had changed and even though Ryan Millar touched down for Sheffield there was no denying the visitors when two minutes from time Tom Hemmingway allowed Walker to get his fourth conversion to secure a 28-14 victory for the Bulldogs something which at half time had looked far from a viable option.
EAGLES IN POSSESSION WITH RYAN MILLER
From a neutral point of view Sheffield would be disappointed with this result after a superb first half but it was the proverbial game of two halves as Batley threatened to run away with it in the second period.
A gentle meander back to the tram stop and with a fine connection I was back at base station just 50 minutes later from a very enjoyable afternoon and this seasons first trip to the rugby.  The most important question is will I be back I hope so, hopefully on a finer afternoon away from todays constant drizzle, but make no mistake this is a remarkable achievement for the club and hopefully now they can push on with their on field progression too.