Skelmanthorpe v Kirkheaton Rovers

6.15pm  27 April 2017

Huddersfield and District League, Division One
Skelmanthorpe 0 Kirkheaton Rovers 1 (att 13)

This was a rather low key end-of-season game with little at stake other than pride, and for a while I thought I'd be watching my first goalless game of the season, until Kirkheaton's 70th minute winner.

The visitors did well to claim the points, having had a player red carded five minutes before half time for kicking out at an opponent. Skelmanthorpe couldn't make their numerical advantage count, although on balance they probably deserved a point from the game.

I don't often see Huddersfield and District League football, but when I do it's usually enjoyable, and this was no different.

Skelmanthorpe's Cross Lane ground is probably one of the better venues in the league. The changing rooms are next to a playing field with two football pitches.

There's no spectator facilities as such, unless you count the car park, but a steep grass bank along the near touchline gives a good view of the pitch and the surrounding countryside. At the bottom of the bank there's a some hard standing and a couple of steps of what is best described as terracing.









Shelf United v Ryburn United

6.15pm  26 April 2017

Halifax and District League, Premier Division
Shelf United 0 Ryburn United 6 (att 10)

When I Tweeted Shelf United to check this game I received a reply, tongue in cheek I think, that if I brought my kit I might get to play. I spared them that, but while they weren't shot of players they were short of a referee.

After a short delay the fixture eventually got underway with one of the Shelf coaching staff taking the whistle. He had a decent game, unlike his players who were well beaten and could easily have conceded more.

Shelf United needed a win to lift them out of the bottom two (and what I assume to be likely relegation places), but unfortunately for them they faced a Ryburn side needing points to finish as runners-up.

Despite the one-sided outcome it was an enjoyable game to watch. Ryburn scored twice in quick succession about midway through the first half to take control, though they had a penalty well saved just before the break.

The visitors dominated the second half, scoring four more and missing several easy-looking chances. Shelf United didn't give up though, but couldn't get a goal their efforts deserved.

They still have one more game to get the points they need to avoid the drop, but Shelf United have done well to compete at all this season. They were left homeless after last season, when the local council condemned and closed their changing rooms.

They've found a new home, for this season at least, at Lightcliffe Academy. The main football facility here is a railed off pitch used by Brighouse Old Boys in the West Yorkshire League. They were also at home tonight, but on the other side of a line of trees is a larger sports field with several pitches, one of which is used by Shelf United.








Higher Ince v AFC Tyldesley

6.15pm  24 April 2017

Wigan and District Amateur League, Division One
Higher Ince 6 AFC Tyldesley 3 (att 25)

This wasn't my first choice game tonight, in fact it was plan C, but it turned out to be great entertainment that was almost good enough to take my mind off the bitterly cold wind blowing across Leyland Park in Hindley.

The win takes Higher Ince top of the table and into pole position to win it. They had to do it the hard way though, staging a thrilling second half fightback to recover from a 3-1 deficit.

The visitors were 2-1 ahead after a first half when they had the conditions in their favour, but it looked as if they'd have too much for Higher Ince when they added a third early in the second period.

But Higher Ince showed the sort of battling qualities needed to win leagues, even at this level. Their first goal back was a controversial penalty - it looked a dive to me - but not long later another penalty, no doubts this time, made it 3-3.

From then on there was only going to be one winner, and with their tails up Higher Ince scored quality goals, the sixth and last in stoppage time.

Leyland Park is a public park in Hindley. There's two full size pitches, with Higher Ince using the one closest to Park Road, which runs parallel. No facilities, other than changing rooms behind one goal, but a great game to watch.








Copmanthorpe v Malton and Norton

2pm  22 April 2017

York League, Premier Division
Copmanthorpe 3 Malton and Norton 0 (att 33)

It's very close at the bottom of the York League Premier Division, but Copmanthorpe gave themselves a great chance of avoiding relegation with a well-deserved win against a Malton and Norton side with very little to play for.

The hosts were on top from the start, nearly going ahead in the opening seconds, but they had to wait 20 minutes before opening the scoring. They had other chances, and it looked as if they might pay for not taking them when they gave a penalty just before half time, but it was well saved.

Two second half goals made the points safe for Copmanthorpe, and Malton and Norton played their part in what was a very good game to watch.

Copmanthorpe is a pleasant commuter village on the very outskirts of York. The football club play the local sports ground which also provides a home for Copmanthorpe's cricketers, bowlers and tennis players.

It's a nice venue, with a decent clubhouse behind the goal and a roped off pitch with dugouts on the far side. At the opposite end to the clubhouse is a busy railway line, so trainspotting groundhoppers have an extra reason to visit.









AFC Colne v Bradley

6.15pm  19 April 2017

Craven and District League, Division One
AFC Colne 4 Bradley 3 (att 6)

A match like this is just the sort of thing I like about end of season early kick offs in midweek. For once a trouble free journey, followed by a highly entertaining game at a ground I probably wouldn't go to on a Saturday.

The Holt House Playing Fields, high on a hill above Colne, is a basic venue, but the views over the town below are quite impressive. There was a good deal to see on the pitch as well, as AFC Colne and Bradley managed seven goals in what was little more than a dead rubber.

The home side's win, in their final game of the season, actually propelled them several places up the league, although they're likely to drop a place or two as other clubs complete their fixtures.

They scored early, led 2-1 and half time, then extended their lead to 4-1 before Bradley, who couldn't change league position regardless of the outcome, threatened a comeback.

Many groundhoppers will have visited Holt House to watch a game at the stadium that was once home to big-spending Colne Dynamoes, who folded over 25 years ago, or present residents Colne FC. The surrounding playing fields include four football pitches, with tonight's game on 'pitch three', which has a steep side to side slope that the players did well to cope with.









Old Wulfrunians v Worcester Raiders

3pm  17 April 2017

West Midlands Regional League, Division One
Old Wulfrunians 3 Worcester Raiders 0 (att 20)

Having already been to Devon and Norfolk over the Easter weekend I settled on a simpler trip for Bank Holiday Monday, although the M6 did its worst to frustrate me as I headed south to Wolverhampton.

Old Wulfrunians have a sports ground in Castlecroft Road, a leafy part of Wolverhampton and just yards from the stadium used by AFC Wulfrunians, who were Old Wulfs' first team before they split (amicably I'm sure) to step up into senior football a few years ago.

The Memorial Ground is a nice venue to watch a game. The main pitch is railed off on both sides, and there's a small amount of cover at the top of a grass bank along one side, which I guess may once have been the dugouts.

The dugouts are now on the opposite side, and with plenty of car parking and a nice clubhouse, serving hot drinks as well as alcohol, I liked the set up.

It was an enjoyable game too, with both sides giving their all even though there was little riding on the result. Old Wulfrunians were good value for their win, they scored once in the first half, doubled their lead right at the start of the second, and netted a penalty to complete the scoring.












Waveney v Norwich CEYMS

2.30pm  15 April 2017

Anglian Combination, Premier Division
Waveney 1 Norwich CEYMS 3 (att 20)

Waveney have had the cliched meteoric rise through the Anglian Combination's many division since joining the league, winning six promotions in just eight years.

Now they've reached the Premier Division they've probably got as high as they can go, unless the relocate or build a football ground from close to scratch. Their Saturn Close ground, in Lowestoft, just about ticks the boxes for this level of football, but it's a long way from being suitable for anything higher.

The pitch is roped off along one side, where there's a pair of dugouts. The opposite touchline was probably roped off for home games earlier in the season, but for this game the line of plastic posts weren't connected.

It's perfectly good enough for the Anglian Combination though, and a snack bar behind the goal, selling programmes as well as food and drink, was a welcome facility.

On the pitch there was little to play for really. Waveney have done well in their first season in the top flight, and are destined to finish in the top half of the table, despite this defeat to Norwich CEYMS.

All the goals were scored in the opening half hour or so. The visitors going 2-0 ahead before Waveney pulled one back, but having got back into the game they quickly conceded a third. The second half didn't live up to the first, with Waveney unable to reduce the arrears despite a spirited effort.