Craven & District League – Premier Division  
Embsay 2 Grassington United 7 
Atten 15 h/c
+ 3 canine + plenty of sheep
Gate – No charge

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Embsay is a small village located about two miles north-east of Skipton in North Yorkshire. They share the facility with the local cricket club. The cricket crease is located just yards from the changing room doors where as to reach the football pitch one must negotiate some tricky drystone walling and wade down through a field of sheep whilst side-stepping the remains of bodily waste from the Ovine fraternity.

The landscape is fantastic with dry stone walling , patchwork fields, craggs and quarries as far as the eye can see. Behind the far goal is a the eye catching railway sidings and terminal for the Bolton Abbey Steam Railway.

Today's opponents Grassington United are from just ten miles up the road and in control for most of the game. The goal of the game was Grassington's fifth. A neat 4 man move down the left wing followed by a low cross into the six yard box which was perfect for the out stretched leg of the lunging forward to prod it in the back of the net. The comment from the applauding Grassington coaches and subs claimed it was “Just like watching Wanchope” …. yes, Paulo W of Derby/West Ham/Man City fame.

The sunshine was out and the weather was perfect.By half time the locals began to turn up to swell the crowd in to double figures. You could also hear on a regular basis the 'tooting' and 'hissing' of the passing steam railway – the setting was idylic.At the sound of the final whistle there was hugs and handsakes all round as both teams gave it their best in an enjoyable encounter. As usual at this level the players then proceeded to pull the goal nets down and collect the corner flags. Once again going through the field of sheep before negotiating the tricky dry stone wall one final time, before a well earned hot shower.

With no 'furniture' or refreshment facilities this was as basic as it gets. But this was an excellent visit because sometimes, less is more .... much more !


Northern Premier League
Workington 1 Frickley 1
Atten 402

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Ground & Day Enjoyment - 10/10

On two previous occasions i have got within touching distance of visiting Borough Park. To be precise it was 2.5 miles in 2013 and just two months ago only 2 miles. All this after many years of wanting to visit this historic non league ground. Well today i finally made it. I arrived in glorious Cumbrian sunshine only to see it looking fantastic.

Borough Park is dripping in history. During the 1957/58 season they played the great Manchester United team known as the Busby Babes at home in the 3rd round of the FA Cup, attracting a record crowd of 21,000. This was just a month before eight of the United players lost their lives in the Munich air disaster, the same room a Frickley changed in today.

There are plenty of reminders of former manager Bill Shankly hanging proudly in the lounge. There is also plenty of fantastic steep terracing and spacious stands. I can only imagine what it would feel like to attend a big occasion night game here under the lights with a full house cheering the Reds on.

Frickley played really well, carrying on from their midweek thrashing of FCUM. In fact they they should have won it with three excellent chances in the last ten minutes, best of all the half-volley miss by goal machine Allott. It was just inches wide from sealing all three points for the team from the Yorkshire pit village.

The superb welcome given by the Clubs Officials made you feel at home immediately. They all do a sterling job for the club, they do it out of love,not money. There is a wonderful friendly vibe around the place and typical of my recent trips to Cumbria.

They say that the fruit tastes sweeter to those who wait. Yes, it has been a very long wait to visit Borough Park but it has been well worth it. Shame i did not have enough time to visit Workington Town Rugby League Club across the road, as it looks a fantastic ground. Not a problem really, as it gives me an excuse to return and visit Borough Park again ...... as long as they call me "marra".

Bilston Town

West Midlands Premier 

Bilston Town 0 
Smethwick Rangers 2
Gate £5
Atten 100ish

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click to enlarge
What a cracking ground Queen Street is. Situated in the Black Country Wolverhampton as you enter the ground you can just smell the history. The Main Stand is obviously the focal point and it is fantastic. It just oozes charm, beauty and .... Orange. Even more Orange than David Dickinson, Dale Winton and the Tango guy. There was even some orange coloured soap in the toilets. Whilst walking round to the other side of the ground if you start to get 'Orange withdrawal symptons' dont worry because you will bump into Bilston's number one and loudest fan Mr Bilston who is clad from head to toe in ....... Orange ! After today i am eating no more jaffa cakes, drinking no more juice and changing my mobile service provider ... as i am 'oranged out'.

Mr Bilston
The Club has had an eventful history and in the last few years has had over 130 break-ins from the local recidivists. But they keep bouncing back, for which i doff my cap to them. They are determined to be an integral part of the local community , forge partnerships with multi-agencies, and host fundraising events for the locals who are more needy than themselves. Another eye catching feature of the ground is the Orange hypercube style fencing which surrounds the periminter which you can see from the from the Black Country Route Road. 

The game itself was quite an even affair and goals just minutes before the end of each half gave the visitors Smethwick the 3 points. Must admit the pitch was a bit bobbly and quite of few of the home players would possibly fail the Body Mass Index testing. The welcome given by the Clubs Officials was excellent as well as very friendly. 

I would strongly recommend a visit to Bilston Town. Because like David 'Orange' Dickinson would say "Its a Bobby Dazzler" ! 

Hade Edge

Huddersfield & District League 
Division 3
Hade Edge 0 Marsden 0
Atten 14 h/c

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 The earliest records show that Hade Edge had a team in the Holmfirth & District League in the 1909/10 season. Today they have reached the 'dizzy heights of the 3rd tier of the Huddersfield District League. They have an excellent brand new clubhouse after obtaining a grant from Sport England.
No furniture except dugouts but superb views over the West Yorkshire Countryside. Worth the journey alone if only to stock up on meats at the outstanding quality butcher in the village.

Classic Clubhouse
 The game had few chances and this was my first 'bagel' for over a year. It seems i got the short straw tonight as far as goals were concerned as every other match in the league had 5 goals or more. I blame the big Marsden centre forward ! He was proudly wearing his brand new 'super duper' bright green boots , much to the amusement of his teamates. If i was him, i would return the boots to the shop. Every time he attempted a shot on goal it came off his boots like a "sherriff's badge" or the ball went twenty feet high and wide.

 Some may call this 'extreme' groundhopping. I would agree ! and i look forward to see what Division 4 has to offer in this league as this was very enjoyable in a weird way.  I was asked by the Hade Edge Manager/Goalie why i had decided to come and visit their Club as this is an extreme level of hopping to say the least. My answer was "why not" ?

Pre-Match Warm Up -  " a quick can"

Extreme Non League  - Pump up your own balls !