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Worcester Raiders v Wolverhampton Sporting Community

7.45pm  29 September 2020
West Midlands Regional League, Premier Division
Worcester Raiders 4 Wolverhampton Sporting Community 0 (att 230)

I used to live in Worcester. Back then the local rugby union club played recreational rugby at an archetypal amateur ground at Sixways. Now they're one of the country's top sides and have a 12,000 capacity stadium.
This season the Sixways Stadium has a soccer-playing tenant. Not Worcester City, the city's top club which has been homeless in recent years, but Worcester Raiders. Raiders have come under the ownership umbrella of the people behind Worcester Warriors rugby, and they have big plans for the round ball side.
Worcester City have just returned to a ground in Worcester, the one Raiders vacated to move into Sixways, but Raiders are now just one tier below City. This convincing win - the first competitive fixture in their new home - suggests their upward trajectory isn't slowing, and they might yet usurp their local rivals.
They may l…
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Hazlemere Sports v Abingdon Town

3pm  26 September 2020
Hellenic League, Challenge Cup, 1st round
Hazlemere Sports 1 Abingdon Town 3 (att 30)

I've got mixed feelings about the Hellenic League admitting first teams into its third tier divisions, which had previously been just for reserve sides. Effectively they're part of the seventh tier of non-League football, but they don't have that status from the FA and officially sit outside the pyramid.
Neat pyramids and spreadsheets are one thing, but in reality most clubs at this level just want to play football. This is Hazlemere's second season as a Hellenic League club and, in a division where many of their opponents are reserve sides, a league cup tie was an attractive reason to visit.
Abingdon Town are from a division above, and although they've had their struggles in recent years they have a long history. On the evidence of this match they have a young and skillful side this season, and are worth watching.
Hazlemere battled hard, but there was a gulf betw…

Old Cholmeleians v Lancing Old Boys

12.05pm  26 September 2020
Arthurian League, Division One
Old Cholmeleians 2 Lancing Old Boys 0 (att 17)

Highgate School was founded in 1565 by Sir Roger Cholmeley/Cholmley/Cholmondeley. Spellings were fluid in those days, but seemingly not fluid enough spell it Chumley, which is how it's pronounced.
To this day former Highgate School pupils are Old Cholmeleians, and sports-minded old boys (and girls, who were first admitted to the school in 2004) have their own sports ground in a rural part of Barnet, north London.
For me the main attraction of this fixture was the early kick off. Five minutes past midday was a curiously precise start time, which I'd assumed was to allow the two clubs' second elevens to complete their fourth division match, due to begin at 10.30.
But when I arrived that was being played on a distant pitch on the far side of the pavilion, while the first team players warmed up on the what looked like the main pitch, closer to the car park.
The early start for the…

Northfield Emerald v Earl Shilton Albion

7.30pm  22 September 2020
Leicestershire Senior League Cup, First Round
Northfield Emerald 3 Earl Shilton Albion 3, 2-4 on penalties (att 27)

A game of two halves may be a football cliche but it summed up this league cup clash, after a three goal half time lead was wiped out after the break.
Earl Shilton's first half finishing was clinical, and they took their chances for a 3-0 advantage. I don't know what was said during the Northfield half time team talk, but it did the trick. They got a goal back within two minutes of the restart, and from then on the momentum was with them.
Once the arrears were reduced to a single goal, a home equaliser seemed inevitable. It came with around 15 minutes still to play, but neither side could net a winner so a penalty shootout was needed to determine the outcome. Earl Shilton kept their nerve for a place in the next round.
Fortunately, from a neutral's point of view, all six goals, and the deciding penalties, were at the right end. Although th…

Wyberton v Tetney Rovers

7.45pm  16 September 2020
Lincolnshire League
Wyberton 1 Tetney Rovers 3 (att 102)

There aren't many silver linings to the Covid cloud, but the delayed start to the football season means some floodlit grounds that have had few, if any, midweek matches in recent years are staging night matches.
And widespread homeworking, myself included, means lighter rush hour traffic, putting destinations like Wyberton, a suburb of Boston in Lincolnshire, within range for an after-work trip.
The Lincolnshire League has struggled for clubs in the last few years, but is looking healthier this season after a decent influx new sides.
Tetney Rovers are one newcomer, having been ahead of the rest when the East Lincolnshire Combination ended early in March. They've made a bright at the higher level, as this was their second win in their two opening fixtures.
Both sides looked good, reinforcing my impression that the Lincolnshire League is a decent standard of football. Tetney took a first half lead, altho…

Farsley Celtic Juniors v Toller

2pm  12 September 2020

Yorkshire Amateur League, Supreme Division
Farsley Celtic Juniors 6 Toller 0 (att 15)

Farsley Celtic Juniors had a clear lead at the top of the table when last season was curtailed. After being held to a draw in their opening game of 2020/21, this result showed they are still likely to be the team to beat.

It took until the second half before the game was out of Toller's reach though. The home side scored twice in a first half that was well contested, but when they extended their lead soon after the break the outcome was beyond doubt.

As far as I can tell, Farsley Celtic Juniors have their roots in the 'other' Farsley Celtic but now operate as an separate entity. The club's main focus is youth football, but the senior side are a force to be reckoned with, and scored some impressive goals against Toller.

They're based at Bradford Academy, which was a busy place on Saturday afternoon. The 3G pitch was staging another Supreme Division game, Athlet…

Ditton Athletic v Gatley St James

10.30am  12 September 2020

South Manchester and Cheshire Christian League, Division One
Ditton Athletic 3 Gatley St James 2 (att 10)

This was the first match I've ever watched in this league, which is mainly due to venue information being hard to find. But Ditton and Gatley both have active social media accounts, and the home side posted details of this match on Twitter.

They're based at the Frank Myler Pavilion, a multi pitch sport ground in Widnes. Mini pitches close to the pavilion building were busy with kids' games, while the only adult match of the morning was played on an open pitch further away.

The league has three divisions, and this was the top tier. The standard wasn't the greatest, but once you're watching football below a certain level effort and endeavour and more important than technical ability, and there was plenty of both on display.

There was no lack of entertainment either. It was 2-2 by half time, but suspect defences tightened up in the second …