Khalsa Football Federation Tournament at Sinfin Moor Park, Derby
I kicked off my 2015/16 season of groundhopping in unusual fashion, by taking in a trio of matches at one of the Khalsa Football Federation's regular summer tournaments for UK-based Sikh teams.
I wasn't sure what to expect when I arrived at Sinfin Moor Park, a pleasant tree-lined venue to the south of Derby. Other groundhoppers had praised previous tournaments they'd attended, and my experience was a very positive one.
For a start it was extremely well organised, with the park's eight pitches all hosting games, some starting as early as 9am. A friendly welcome, free admission, a free programme, free drinks and free curry, along with fine weather and good football, made it a great day.
The Khalsa FF stages a series of tournaments during the summer, each one a separate knock out for teams split, according to ability, into premier, first and second "divisions". Performances are aggregated to determine the overall champions.
The early start meant it was possible to watch up to five games, all on different pitches, and separate "ticks" by my rules. I settled for a lunchtime arrival and three games, one in each divisional competition.
Premier Division, First RoundDerby Singh Brothers 4 Guru Nanak Gurdwara Leicester 4, 3-4 on penalties (att 53)
Played on pitch 2
The tie, an East Midlands derby, kicked off 20 minutes late as the preceding match on the pitch required a lengthy penalty shootout to determine the winner. It was worth the wait though, as the two sides, who play regular season football in the Midlands Regional Alliance and the Leicestershire Senior League, provided great entertainment.
It was a goal each by half time, and more goals flowed at regular intervals during an exciting second half. GNG looked to have won it, but a last minute Derby equaliser, from the penalty spot, took the tie to more penalties to settle it, with the Leicester side triumphing.
Division Two, Quarter Final
Singh Sabha Birmingham 1 Smethwick Raiders 5 (att 34)Played on pitch 4
This game kicked off about a minute before the end of the penalty shootout I watched on pitch 2, but with just a few yards between the two it hardly mattered ... in fact I was able to eye on both simultaneously.
There was a noticeable drop in quality between this tie, played over 80 minutes as I gather all division two games are, and the previous premier division action. The first half wasn't great. but it came to life when Smethwick took a lead in the first minute of the second period.
Singh Sabha Birmingham soon equalised, but it proved a false dawn as Smethwick took control, adding four more goals for a comfortable win and a place in Sunday's semi finals.
Division One, Quarter Final
Shere Punjab Wolverhampton 0 Singh Sabha Barking 4 (att 14)Played on pitch 7
I picked this tie, from the four division one quarter finals, as it featured two first teams. Like all the quarter finalists (except some division two sides lucky enough to get a first round bye), it was their second match of the day.
The schedule had taken its toll on Shere Punjab Wolverhampton, who told us ahead of kick off that they only had 12 fit players. They were never really in this game, and Singh Sabha Barking were a goal up by half time and added three more in a comfortable second half.