Newsome v Holmbridge

6.15pm  28 April 2015

Huddersfield and District League, Division One
Newsome 3 Holmbridge 3 (att 22)

Thought I'd take a look at Huddersfield League champions Newsome, ahead of their likely elevation to the West Riding County Amateur League for next season.

Their ground, high above Huddersfield town centre in the Primrose Hill area, will be a great addition to the league. It's a former cricket ground, with a single enclosed pitch, clubhouse with an elevated pitch-side viewing area to the front, and an old pavilion housing changing rooms.

It was hard to gauge how good the side is in an end-of-season game like this, although they must be decent to have won the league. Newsome kicked off with just 10 men, but took a very early lead just before their eleventh man joined the fray.

Once Newsome doubled their lead they eased off, allowing Holmbridge back into the game, so by half time it was 2-2. The home side went back in front in the second half, but again eased off and again were caught out when Holnbridge equalised.

Newsome ended the game attacking in search of a winner, but the visitors held out for a point. For a late season game with nothing at stake it was entertaining enough, and Newsome should flourish at the higher level next season.

Tadcaster Magnets v Dringhouses

6.30pm  27 April 2015

York League, Premier Division
Tadcaster Magnets 3 Dringhouses 2 (att 33)

Not for the first time this season I was impressed by a visit to a game in the York League, a competition that's not really been on my groundhopping radar previously.

The Magnet Sports and Social Club, primarily for employees of the huge John Smith's brewery which dominates the town, used to host West Yorkshire League football, but I never got there before the club left the league.

Company sports grounds like this are increasingly rare these days, with few businesses prepared to subsidise them. I've no idea what the funding arrangements are for the Magnet ground, but, judging by the condition of the football and cricket pitches, I assume a proffessional groundsman (or woman) is employed.

The tree-lined football pitch has dugouts and is surrounded by a plastic post and rail fence. A picturesque pavilion is nearby, but at angle that benefits cricket enthusiasts more than football fans.

The game was a mid table battle with little at stake, and it showed in a dull and lifeless first half. By contrast the second period was great, I didn't hear Dringhouses half-time team talk but judging by their performance I guess it was along the line of encouraging all out attack to win the game.

The visitors attacked relentlessly, but were unlucky in front of goal and the Magnets keeper made some fine saves. They were undone at the back after 74 minutes with Magnets went in front, and 60 second later the hosts were 2-0 up.

Dringhouses refused to give up, and looked to have got their deserved reward when two late goals made 2-2, only for Magnets to score a stoppage time winner, that might have been offside, to take the points.

If only all meaningless end-of-season fixtures could be like the second half of this one.

Shefford Town and Campton v Renhold United

2.30pm  25 April 2015

Bedfordshire County League, Premier Division
Shefford Town and Campton 0 Renhold United 4 (att 37)

The last time I saw Shefford Town and Campton they were playing at Campton while waiting for their new ground in Shefford to be built. Now it's up and running and very impressive it is too.

The Shefford Sports Club is on the outskirts of the town, on Hitchin Road, and features a large clubhouse situated behind the goal of an immaculate pitch. The pitch is surrounded by a path, although at present the only barrier is rope that encloses the car park side and the patio area in front of the clubhouse.

The opposite side, behind the dugouts, and the far end are both open, but have grass banks which give a decent view of the action. There's scope to develop this into a very good ground.

Shefford have had a good first season  in their new home, but were no match for league champions Renhold, who scored twice in each half and on another day might have added a couple more.

It was a game with an end-of-season feel, lacking the edge of a truly competitive encounter, but there was enough good football to keep it interesting, especially from Renhold, who showed why they've won the league.

Shefford Sports Club isn't on the map yet, so this link will take you a map that may or may not be the exact location

Bingham Town v Ruddington Village

10.10am  25 April 2015

Nottinghamshire Senior League, Senior Division
Bingham Town 0 Ruddington Village 0 (att 387)

The first of four staggered kick offs today in the Nottinghamshire Senior League laid on for groundhoppers, but the only one of the day's games for me.

The many familiar faces among the crowd meant much of the game was spent catching up with people, so it was just as well that there wasn't much on the field to distract.

Bingham had the better of the chances, and the Ruddington keeper made some good saves to keep them out. Perhaps the very early kick disrupted players' usual matchday routines, but whatever the reason it was a game that never really got going.

No complaints from me though, I'm very grateful that clubs are willing to agree to odd kick off times to help us groundhoppers tick off a few extra venues. Bingham were well rewarded for their considerable efforts in staging the day's opening game, attracting a large crowd to their Butt Field home.

The pitch is next to a large building which houses a clubhouse and changing rooms, and the pitch itself is roped off with a pair of new dugouts on the clubhouse side.

Kirkby United v Britannia

6.30pm  24 April 2015

Furness Premier League, Premier Division
Kirkby United 2 Britannia 3 (att 46)

It was a wet and rather chilly evening in south Cumbria, but despite the conditions this match provided great entertainment that reminded me why I enjoy this hobby so much.

Going into this, their final game of the season, Britannia knew a victory would give them the three points they needed to be champions. Anything less and rivals Barrow Celtic would be able to overtake them by winning their remaining fixture.

At the final whistle Britannia where champions, but Kirkby United pushed them all the way, in a game that in terms of quality was a credit to the Furness Premier League.

The visitors started well, hitting the frame of the goal twice before taking a 17th minute lead. Their lead lasted just two minutes and, having drawn level, Kirkby were  the better side for the rest of the half, spurning two great opportunities to go in front.

Britannia were better after the half-time break, perhaps realising their chance of a title was danger of slipping. They went in front thanks to a 49th minute penalty, softly awarded for handball, and quickly added a decisive third.

Kirkby pulled one back towards the end, setting up a great finish as they pushed forward for an equaliser, cheered on by a group of spectators who I assume must have been Barrow Celtic players. It wasn't to be though, and despite a few scares at the back Britannia held on to win.

Kirkby United's pitch is shared with the local cricket club, which might explain why this game was on a Friday evening. A pavilion houses the changing rooms, and has a covered area to the front which provided shelter from the rain for some spectators. The pitch, which looks well-maintained, isn't roped or railed off, but there's dugouts on the far side.

Mynydd Llandegai v Llangefni Town

6.30pm  23 April 2015

Welsh Alliance, Division Two
Mynydd Llandegai 0 Llangefni Town 2 (att 75)

Mynydd Llandegai is small, scattered village a few miles from Bangor, The mountains of Snowdonia loom over the place, making the village football pitch one of the most scenic you can visit, especially on a bright and sunny evening.

Visitors Llangefni Town were in no mood to stand back and admire the view though, they were in need of all three points in an extremely tight battle for promotion from what is the fourth tier of domestic football in Wales.

They went ahead early on, and soon after thought they'd scored a second, only to discover the linesman didn't agree with them that the ball had crossed the line. No goal line technology in north Wales.

Mynydd Llandegai, encouraged by a decent turnout of villagers, battled hard and made life difficult for Llangefni. Both sides missed chances before a defensive mix up handed the visitors a second goal on 72 minutes, effectively making the game safe.

Mynydd Llandegai play on a pitch behind the village hall, in which the players change. It's a basic venue really, the pitch is railed off on both sides, and roped off at the ends, with advertising boards, dugouts and a tea bar giving a "professional" touch. But the views alone make this a ground that's well worth the journey.

Terrington Glory v Osbaldwick

6.30pm  22 April 2015

York League, Premier Division
Terrington Glory 1 Osbaldwick 1 (att 25)

Looking at a map, the North Yorkshire village of Terrington looks remote, but its proximity to Castle Howard makes it an ideal destination for an afternoon out followed by a game of football.

Terrington Glory's Village Hall pitch might lack the splendour of the stately home and grounds we'd spent the afternoon visiting, but on a warm and sunny evening it was a great place to watch a game.

Players change in the village hall, then cross the small car park to a tree-lined pitch that's roped off on three sides, the far end being left open. A pair of new-looking wooden dugouts are on one side, two park benches opposite give spectators the option of sitting to watch the action.

Visitors Osbaldwick arrived with only 10 men, but the home side's numerical advantage lasted only five minutes, when a heavy challenge followed by a bout of pushing and shoving saw one Terrington player sent off and their keeper booked.

I thought that incident might spice up an end-of-season encounter, but for the most part the first half was sedate, and ended goalless. The second half was better, Terrington going ahead about 10 minutes into the half, Osbaldwick equalising 10 minutes later. After that there were chances, but no more goals.