Onion Bag's Photo of the Year Award 2012-13

Onion Bag's Photo of the Year Award 2012-13

Here are some of my favourite photos i have taken this season. When taking photos i tend to take a more stealthy approach, and few action shots.
Which do you think is the best one ?

#1 at Petersfield Town 
"Any  view will do"
I caught this chap looking over the fence and could not resist the snap

# 2  at Welton Rovers
"Straight Lines"
For some reason i like this picture, i think it's because of the clean cut straight lines

#3 at Ossett Albion
 "Hang in there"


#4 at Ossett Albion
 "Keeping Count"
To get this photo i had to stick my arms through a hole in the wall. It turned out much better than expected to my suprise.


 #5 at Brimscombe & Thrupp
"90 mins from glory"
i love the vibrant colours and the angle i took it from in this photo

 #6 at Melksham Town
"Scoreboard Guy"

 #7 at Stamford


#8 at  Brimscombe & Thrupp
"Hands up if you think you've scored"

 #9 at Richmond Mavericks
"Worm's eye view"


 #10 at North Ferriby
"Golden Goal"

#11 at Bury Town
"come  inside"

#12 at Sutton United
"Sneaky look"


#13 Ossett Albion
'Selection Problems'
quite a few people have said how much they like this photo as it presents a different side to normal match day photography

#14 Marsden

#15 Petersfield Town
'With Sober Judgement'

in order of preferance THANK YOU 

it has been a hard choice to select these. If you have enjoyed them, please view my photo site.

The Onion Bag Awards 2012-13

The Onion Bag Awards 2010

 The categories are:

Best Ground Visited -  WINNER

Ipswich Wanderers
Humber Doucy Lane
Eastern Counties Division One
What a cracking ground, one of the best i have visited for a long time. Beautifully ramshackle, quirky, nothing was straight. according to the locals, midweek someone goes around the ground with a spanner to tighten the bolts. Well maintained, very friendly welcome, all set in a lovely rural part of Suffolk just a few miles from Ipswich Center. A very pleasant and modern lounge bar only added to the homely feel this little jewel of a ground presented to the visitor.The standard of football was very good and entertaining and the pitch was in superb condition, especially as they had just endured 24 hours of rain. I would very highly recommend a wander down Humber Doucy Lane to see the Wanderers, as it is simply outstanding
2nd Place
Bury Town
Ram Meadow
Ryman Premier League
It is always a delight  to find a ground at this level of the Non League Pyramid that provides covered accommodation on all four sides. The most immediate feature of Ram Meadow is the unusual main stand, with its rather deep wooden steps-cum-seats, and sharply angled roof supported by numerous pieces of timber. From research i had imagined the main stand much bigger than how i found it.But its charm is its own, and it presents wonderful views all over Ram Meadow and beyond. Namely the vast sugar processing plant looming behind one goal and over the other, the more attractive cathedral tower and the towns roof tops.
The welcome was friendly and helpful. It also has an impressive club shop as well as an impressive lounge/bar area. Ram Meadow is a  most enjoyable, spacious,well maintained venue, it will be a shame when they move for it is a smashing place to enjoy the beautiful game.
Special Mentions:
Brimscombe &Thrupp
Canvey Island
Stocksbridge Park Steels

Worst Ground Visited
Ryman Premier League
Very bland, unwelcoming, attitude problems, draconian in nature, poor views, all in the land of Planet Thanet.

Most Friendly Club- WINNER

Brimscombe & Thrupp FC
Hellenic League Div 1 West  
Even before i stepped foot inside the ground i realised what a little gem of a place it was, as i descended the steep hills from the adjoining villages. When i did arrive it did not disappoint, in fact it only got better , much better. Upon arrival i was greeted by the Committee and helpers and offered a coffee and biscuits with the offer also of home made sandwiches. They also thanked me for coming and for taking an interest in their Club. How wonderful was that ? i had never experienced that before. Then they hit me with the trump card by 'insisting' i stayed after the game for a hot meal.The Chairman personally made a point of also welcoming my visit and could not do enough for me. I was most humbled when they even made a public welcome over the tannoy as the teams came out. The Meadow Ground is situated in a beautiful location, almost of roman amphitheatre appearance. Surrounded by very steep grass banking as it meets the the descending rolling Gloucestershire countryside it is simply beautiful and very serene.The added bonus of the warm spring sunshine only added to the glorious setting.
As the club prepares for higher leagues it may well lose the quirky wooden stand which sits precariously on the steep grass banking yet offers superb views for the field of play and the steep rolling hills beyond. Recently the addition of floodlights will only add to appeal of this fantastic ground. The Clubhouse is an impressive set up with all the added extras one could wish for, including a skittles alley. The food was homemade and delicious all served with a genuine and homely smile. At the moment they are doing everything right both on and off the pitch ...The whole place is simply superb !

Special Mentions:  
Too many clubs to mention as would not want to miss anyone out.

Least Friendly Club
Arrogant attitudes, think they are a big club, unhelpful, puerile, and hostile tendencies. 
No other club i visited came close to consideration. Margate were in the Top 1 all season.

Worst Match attended

Bognor Regis Town 0 v Kingstonian 1
Ryman Premier League
On a bitterly cold day the game did little to warm you up. Very few chances of note until the end when Kingstonian's smashed and grabbed and Bognor were lucky to get nil.
A very close second ..... Bedworth 0 Kettering 1 , again was very poor. It was so poor i nearly paid to be allowed to leave at half time. The bitterly cold wind and swirling rain did little to help.

Best Food- WINNERS

 Pre Match meal was in town, recommended by a local ,The Golden Fleece Pub. The Full English was superb, best of the season by far. Fresh local provenance was evident and the Lincolnshire Sausages were outstanding. Tasty, meaty, simply delicious. Very fairly priced, including tea and toast for a fiver. I was certainly not fleeced at the Golden Fleece.

North Ferriby:
Luncheon was served at the Yorkshire Larder and family run deli cafe, hidden from those who are unaware of it, fortunately i bumped into it by sheer luck, and how pleased i was.  I ordered the Hot Pork, Stuffing and apple sauce sandwich and salad and it was superb. Succulent in every way.

A very tasty Steak and Harveys (local brewery) Pie. Homemade pastry, deep filled with juicy succulent chunks of tender beef in a rich ale gravy - delicious, if only all pies were made this way.

Worst Food
Bognor Regis In town at Macaris. Portions very small, the portion of Bubble was the size of a fifty pence piece, with high prices,with little taste. I actually left still hungry, worst of the season so far.If i had of known how good the Club food was i would have eaten there.
Marsden The Chinese take away just across the road from the ground. The food was just awful, sickly, obviously re-heated and not fresh. My advice is to avoid !
Tunbridge Wells:
National Company Pizza Express are named and shamed !!! after waiting two hours , only to be served the thinnest thickest pizza of all time. "yes sir" said the manager with his beguiling smile .... "That is a deep pan, thick pizza"  ...... "No it is not" i replied ..... it was the thickness of a five pound note. The taste was bland with little toppings, the waitress was a surly filly and they insisted i payed the full amount. It was basically theft and was very hard to stomach !.

Best Views from a ground
The town is best known for its medieval core of 17th–18th century stone buildings, older timber framed buildings and five medieval parish churches. The views from the ground over the town are superb. The town has a touch of class about it.

Brimscombe &Thrupp 
The Meadow Ground is situated in a beautiful location, almost of roman amphitheatre appearance. Surrounded by very steep grass banking as it meets the the descending rolling Gloucestershire countryside it is simply beautiful and very serene.

Spennithorne & Harmby, 
On the edge of the Yorkshire Dales the views of patchwork fields and drystone walls and meandering sheep and newly born spring lamb is simply majestic.
Special Mentions:
Stocksbridge Park Steels

Hemel Hempstead Town

6 May 2013

Southern League Premier Division
Play Off Final
Hemel Hempstead Town 2 
Gosport Borough 2
Gosport win on penalties
Gate: £10
Atten: 2234

View all photos from Hemel Hempstead

Ground & Match Enjoyment 9/10
Caribbean sunshine, over two thousand fans shoe horned into Vauxhall Road, winner takes all (promotion to Conf South) plenty of skill on view, great atmosphere, great match with four great goals, and a late, late sting in the tale. The pressure of penalties, sadness for one, happiness for another team. Crowd in full voice, this was a humdinger of a day in Hertfordshire and would be hard to beat anywhere, cracking day out and a perfect finale to what's been a very enjoyable season.

Gosport Players celebrate Promotion

Wensleydale Cup Final

The Dales Cup
4 May 2013

Wensleydale Creamery League
Dales Cup Final
Richmond Town 0-1 Unicorn FC
@ Spennithorne & Harmby FC
North Yorkshire 
Atten: 100+
Gate: £2

Stunning scenery everywhere !

Wensleydale,perhaps above all others is the dale that most people associate with this part of the world. At nearly forty miles long the pasture land grazed by flocks of Wensleydale Sheep is only broken by the dry stone walls. Where other dales have more rugged features Wensleydale's are rounder, softer,and greener.
After leaving Richmond in Swaledale, i headed over the North Yorkshire countryside to Wensleydale the journey was simply outstanding. From Leyburn to Bedale  the views are particularly outstanding. I did not know which way to look first such was the beauty of the region. If i took a photo of every great view i would have to stop the car every 30 yards or so.

As i arrived at the home of Spennithorne & Harmby FC , hosts for todays final i was greeted with a smile. It is a well appointed venue which has a good stone-built clubhouse, A tea bar was in operation but there was no programme. The club has achieved FA Charter Standard and is clearly a big community asset. The final was hard fought but a largely uninspiring contest decided by a goal midway through the first half as Unicorn achieved a league and cup double. Their opponents missed a great chance to equalise with a nailed-on penalty blasted yards wide late in the first half and thus producing the loudest cheer of the afternoon.
The last few minutes Richmond kept pressing but to no avail as by then Unicorns name was on The Dales Cup.

Unicorn in their distinct purple kit celebrated loudly and proudly and at the prize giving even the ref was joining in the celebrations. They sprayed the champagne, sung and danced.

As the crowd dispersed and the fizz of the champagne had gone flat i started to make my farewell and express how much i had enjoyed my visit to The Dales.

As i made my way back to base i continued to enjoy the wonderful surroundings that had delighted me the whole day. Like earlier i kept getting tempted to stop the car to take 'just' one more photo as i passed the rolling green fields with the sheep and spring lambs meandering all protected by the superb dry stone walls. But i was unable to as my camera battery was now flat from over usage ...... and who could blame me ?

Richmond Mavericks

4 May 2013 

Wensleydale Creamery League Division One
Richmond Mavericks 6
Redmire United 2
Easby Fields
Easby Low Road, Richmond, North Yorkshire
Gate: No charge
Atten:13 h/c

View all photos from Richmond Mavericks

The first of all Richmonds of the world,was the Yorkshire Dales market town, with Norman castle, Georgian architecture, large cobbled market place, monuments and abbeys, the fast flowing river Swale, and breathtaking scenery. Situated on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales National Park, Richmond is a town that inspires painters and poets, past and present and not forgetting Non League Ground hoppers !

Richmond Castle
Founded by the Normans in 1071 the town grew up around the castle built on the 'riche-mont' or 'strong-hill' that gave the town its name and whose massive keep dominates all other buildings around to this very day. The delightful cobbled Market Place was still throbbing with activity as 'Linda' and The Onion Bag rolled into to town. As soon as I arrived I felt relaxed and excited.

'Linda' got herself into a right state of panic as she could not find the ground from the post code given, we knew we were not far away. On the advice of a local we parked up by the Station and Leisure centre and were told the 'best' way to the ground was via the wooded area at the back of the Leisure Centre. Well I headed the advice and started walking …. and walking ….. and walking until I found myself on the South Bank of the River Swale a mile and a half downstream and found myself amongst the identifiable remains of Easby Abbey .

As I looked back towards Richmond Town centre I noticed on the distant horizon people moving in a field in bright coloured shirts. That was my intended destination but I had miscalculated badly and taken the wrong Bridal Paths and I found myself in the beautiful Yorkshire Countryside amongst the
Sheep and newly born Lambs in the lush green meadows and the lovely domineering Oak Trees it was just so serene. All I could hear was the sounds of the gushing stream and the sound of the Lamb's baa it was simply stunning.

But I was lost and late for a game and that is never acceptable. As I made my way across the fields towards the pitch as I arrived at the fence the Ref's whistle blew for the start of the game – I could not have timed my arrival any better even by accident.

I was intending to go to Hawes United deeper in the dales but for some reason decided to come here. Thankfully i did because i heard later they changed the venue, much to the dismay of a fellow hopper from Lancashire.

The game turned out to be a cracker, much better than i had ever expected at this level, with no fewer than eight goals in the Onion Bag. At least five of the goals were superb and would be hard to beat anywhere. In fact i decided to leave a few minutes early with the score at 5-1 but i was too early as i stopped to chat with a local two more goals were banged in to make the final score 6-2.

The Mav's lie in 5th place in a 14 team league and as the game unfolded it became more open and more exciting. From the players there were plenty of mistakes, to be expected at this level. But also there was plenty of skillful moves and passes throughout the game. It was like watching Barcelona in their heyday at times (not quite that good to be honest ! but still enjoyable on the eye.

It was all very relaxing, just laying on the grass watching a very enjoyable game whilst listening to the exciting 5Live commentary on the final day of the Championship, combined with the sun beating down listening to the sounds of nature, it was simply glorious. Does it get any better ? 

I really enjoyed my inaugural visit in this beautifully named league, i was not expecting much but i actually got a lot more it was great. Although the facilities were very basic, it did not really need any because to compete with the spectacular surrounding countryside would be futile every time.

Then a stunning ride through the Yorkshire Dales via Leyburn
in time for The Dales Cup Final at 5pm 

Penistone Church

1 May 2013

Sheffield & Hallam County Football League

Penistone Church 0
Shaw Lane Aqua Force Barnsley 2

Gate: no charge
Atten: 150+

Penistone Church Football Club was formed in 1906 when Penistone Choirboys and Penistone Juniors amalgamated to form Penistone Church FC.
In 1909 they became the first winners of the Sheffield Junior Cup. They had to use public transport to get home from the game and they arrived back in Penistone at 8-55pm to be met by a crowd of over two thousand people. Having started life in the Sheffield Amateur League, which they also won, they then played in the Penistone League and, again, won the league.  They went on to play in, and win, the Sheffield Hatchard League.
Years later when the Hatchard League and County Senior League joined to form the Sheffield County Senior League, Penistone was one of the founder members, with two teams playing in the League and this is where they play to this day.  They have won the Division One title twice and been runners-up in the Premier Division and the League Cup.

Just 7 miles west of  Barnsley , in the foothills of the Pennines. Penistone town centre stands at an elevation of 750 feet above sea level. Rising steeply to the highest point in the surrounding area at Hartcliffe Tower at 1,194 ft above sea level, with stunning views over the Woodhead bypass and the Dark Peak. The surrounding immediate countryside is predominantly rural and lends itself to farming on rich well watered soil on mainly gentle slopes rising to the rugged/bleak moorland, otherwise known as the dark peak, just to the west of Penistone town centre. Dry stone walls, small hamlets and farms surrounded by fields and livestock are synonymous with the area. Famous for its rugged breed of sheep, the Whitefaced Woodland, Penistone continues to thrive as an independent upland market town. I would imagine in the depths of the winter its a 'little nippy' up there because it was absolutely freezing and it was the first of May !

Church have made some great strides both on and off the field and the dedication a move into the NCEL would be a great tonic for this ambitious club. We will pray for the Church and they will only achieve this if they are all singing of the same hymn sheet.

It was a busy ground last night with near neighbours and big spending league leaders Shaw Lane Aqua Barnsley, who had a fair few followers.

 Shaw Lane won with two excellent taken goals, a curling free kick in top corner and a thunderbolt rebounding of the stantion.

As the sun started to set and the chill in the air increase both teams battled on bravely and at the final whistle despite the geographical rivalry it was smiles and handshakes all round.

Ossett Albion

30 April 2013

Northern Premier League
Division One North
Ossett Albion 1  Cammell Laird 2
Gate: £7
Atten: 106

View all Photos from Ossett Albion

Ground: 8/10
Ossett Albion’s origin, though not unique, is somewhat rare in that the Club was formed in 1944 during the Second World War. Then a junior club, with all the players students at the local Grammar School, Albion enjoyed great success before moving into open age football. Again success was never far away and the club quickly progressed through the local and district leagues before becoming members of the Yorkshire League.
When the Northern Counties East League was formed in 1982 following a merger of the Yorkshire league and the Midland League, Albion found themselves in Division One as their ground at Dimple Wells was deemed sub-standard for the Premier Division. This was a problem which was to come back and haunt the Club many years later and again put a delay on their progression up the ladder of Non-League football.
This season will be Albion’s 9th in the Northern Premier League and their fortunes in recent campaigns have fluctuated considerably. Twice the Club finished just outside the play-off positions but the last two seasons have seen them struggling against relegation and last season only a late reprieve rescued their status at this level.

It was a beautiful sunny evening as I arrived at Dimple Wells and the welcome I was given by Chairman Steve and the rest of the Staff was as warm as the sunshine. The ground is a gem and is adjacent to Ossett Cricket Club with fine vistas over the Yorkshire countryside.
Tonight's opponents were Cammell Laird who themselves needed a point to guarantee a play off place. They had been on a terrific run of form, so this was far from and end of season game.
Forget about Champions League semi-final Madrid v Dortmund, for me this was the game of the day ! 

Match Enjoyment: 7/10
Albion were safe for this season so for Cammell Laird there was more at stake. So it proved as they took early control and scored early and the feel was how many they would get.They did have a few chances to extend their lead, the most notable being a pinball moment in the Ossett box to which the Cammell Laird Officials were certain they had claims for a penalty after the ball 'appeared' to bounce off an arm in a gold shirt. To be fair if it did the ref stood no chance of seeing it, due to the speed of the ball and the amount of bodies in his way blocking his view But Ossett came back into the game and equalised and this only irritated the Cammell clan even more. You could say Cammell got the hump ! (if you'll pardon the pun !).

As the game went on it was noticeable how Laird were getting anxious and they were appealing for everything, a sign of desperation ! Even the goalie was shouting 'hand ball' from one hundred yards away. He was a 'prickly' character who I think he must be an ornithologist because he kept calling the locals 'tits' .
But Cammell kept pressing and finally got the winner and at the final whistle their bench erupted and danced with joy and had a giant group hug as if they had already won promotion.

The floodlights were turning off as I said my farewells to the wonderfully kind Ossett Albion staff, who had made my evening so enjoyable. As I then made my way to my car I passed behind the Dressing Rooms of Cammell Laird and they were still celebrating with dunking their manager with cold water, loud music, banter and dancing, reminiscent of a wedding reception party. At that point I felt like turning back to knock on their dressing room door to tell that they were not being promoted just yet, as they still had the tense occasion of the Play Offs to come and infact they still had a lot to do ...... Call me a party pooper if you want !

group hug