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Showing posts from February, 2020

Hartford v Partington Village

3pm  29 February 2020 Cheshire League, League Two Hartford 4 Partington Village 7 (att 10) A weekend dog and house sitting in the Peak District and I was hoping to spend Saturday afternoon at one of the Hope Valley League's picturesque village grounds. But the endless wet weather meant that once again a 3G pitch was the only way to guarantee a match taking place. The venue, at the Cheshire Football Association's Moss Farm headquarters in Northwich, may not have been very interesting but I got lucky with a goal-laden game. Title-challenging Partington were always likely to win against bottom of the table Hartford, but they made hard work of it. The home side had the considerable breeze at their backs in the first half, but it was sleepy defending that allowed them to go in front in the opening minute. Partington created chances but put on a disjointed performance before they finally levelled well into the half. An injury to the Hartford goalkeeper, meaning an outfield

Newton Athletic v Pilkington reserves

2pm  22 February 2020 Cheshire League, League Two Newton Athletic 1 Pilkington reserves 2 (att 30) My second match of the day on a 3G pitch. The artificial surface was the only one staging sport at the Cheshire County Sports Club today, with games scheduled on grass pitches all called off. Having been to the ground in Chester twice before, for games on grass, the prospect of visiting to tick off the 3G wasn't an exciting one, but at least I was confident the match would be on. As these venues go it's not too bad though. There's a roped off area for spectators, complete with some bleacher-style seating, where the home side's subs joined spectators. The official dugouts are on the opposite side, and there's a decent view from outside the cage from the balcony on the upper floor of the two-storey pavilion. Newton Athletic are in their first season as a Cheshire League club, having stepped up from the Chester and Wirral League. They're going well and star

Beechfield United SM v Manchester North End

10am  22 February 2020 Manchester Saturday Morning League, MEN Cup Quarter-Final Beechfield United SM 5 Manchester North End 3 (att 8) After days of heavy rain I knew I'd probably be watching football on artificial surfaces, but I hadn't expected the wet weather to affect the 3G pitch that was hosting my first choice for a morning game . Standing water meant the pitch at Manchester Health Academy was closed, forcing a South Manchester and Cheshire Christian League cup final to be moved to an alternative venue - annoyingly one I'd already been to. Instead I headed to a recently-installed 3G at the David Lewis Playing Fields, a ground Salford University has taken ownership of from the city council. It's a typical caged and floodlit pitch, with a spectator area on one side. Beechfield United run two sides in the Manchester League, both playing at Salford Sports Village. Their Saturday morning side previously played there as well, but for some reason have settled

West Bergholt v Lawford Lads

2.30pm  15 February 2020 Essex and Suffolk Border League, Premier Division West Bergholt 2 Lawford Lads 0 (att 40) Storm Dennis meant the east of England was a good place to be, so it was fortunate that we were enjoying a long weekend away in Suffolk. Even then I’d expected to be watching football on an artificial surface, with Stanway Pegasus the most likely destination, but with the worst of the weather not expected to arrive until later almost all the local games on grass survived. It may have been on, but the strong winds and heavy showers made playing and watching the match at West Bergholt’s Lorkin Daniel Field something of an effort. The home side had the wind behind them in the first half, and made good use of it for a 2-0 lead by half time. I expected Lawford to put them under more pressure in the second period, but even playing into wind West Bergholt were much the better side. That they didn’t add more goals was mostly down to Lawford’s keeper, wh

Plympton Athletic v Totnes and Dartington

2.30pm  8 February 2020 Devon Football League, South-West Division Plympton Athletic 3 Totnes and Dartington 2 (att 4) This season has seen a reorganisation of football in the South West, with new 'step seven' divisions covering Devon and Cornwall. In Devon a new county-wide league has two parallel divisions, North-East and South-West, giving several clubs a chance to play football at this level for the first time. Plympton Athletic are one of them, having stepped up from the local Plymouth league. They're based in Lee Moor, a curious place dominated by china clay mines on the edge of Datmoor. It's high up above Plympton and Ivybridge, with good views and, for the visit of Totnes and Dartington, a cold wind. The football ground has been used by a few clubs in the past and is a bit of a hidden gem. The undulating pitch is enclosed by a post and rail barrier, and there's a small stand built onto the front of the changing rooms. The game was a good one for

Clevedon Family Church v Cairns Road Corinthians

10am  8 February 2020 Bristol Churches League, Division One Clevedon Family Church 3 Cairns Road Corinthians 0 (att 12) Spending Friday night in Somerset made Saturday morning football Bristol much easier to get to than normal, so after breakfast I began my day at Clevedon School Sports Centre. It was a busy place with plenty of junior football, and a single adult match on a sloping pitch some distance, and across a road, from the school buildings and car park. Clevedon Family Church are unbeaten in the league and this win moved them to the top of the table. They made hard work of it though, and were twice saved by the frame of the goal before going ahead in the final minute of the first half. The home side kicked down the slope after the break, and made the most of it by adding two more goals for a victory that looks more comfortable from the scoreline than it was in reality. Map of the pitch at Clevedon School Sports Centre

Bridgwater Sports v North Curry at Bridgwater College Academy

8pm  7 February 2020 Taunton Saturday League, West Somerset Rose Bowl Quarter-Final at Bridgwater College Academy Bridgwater Sports 4 North Curry 0 (att 20) The Taunton League isn't really on my groundhopping radar, not with four divisions of Somerset County League football above it, but it does have groundhopper-friendly arrangements for its cup ties. They're mostly played on Friday nights at neutral venues, 3G pitches in Taunton and Bridgwater. Both venues were hosting matches tonight, but the game at Bridgwater College Academy was confirmed first and so I booked a hotel close by. The ground is a standard 3G set up, with a spectator area running just beyond the halfway line of the near side. Stogursey FC, of the Taunton League's top division, use the facility for their home matches. Division Two Bridgwater Sports usually play elsewhere in the town, but they looked at home as they comfortably beat Division One North Curry to earn a place in the last four of this

Royal Artillery v Intelligence Corps

10.30am  7 February 2020 Army FA, Massey Trophy, Division Two Royal Artillery 6 Intelligence Corps 1 (att 22) The Massey Trophy is the Army's two-division league for corps. Fixtures are played at a mix of venues, some open to the public and some behind the barbed wire fences that enclose military camps. Shrapnel Park is among the latter but having contacted the football club in advance, via its active Twitter account, I was allowed into the Royal Artillery headquarters at Larkhill, on the edge of Salisbury Plain. After my was ID checked at the entrance gate, and being photographed and issued with a temporary access pass, I was escorted from the guardroom to the pitch, a short drive away. An advantage of a football pitch in a secure area is that its use is restricted, and so the surface was immaculate despite recent weather. Royal Artillery FC - the Gunners as they're unsurprisingly known - went into the fixture top of division two, and kept on course for a title and