Groundhopping · Grounds · Non-League · Travelog

Daten

Thursday 5th May 2022
Cheshire League Premier

Daten 3 Eagle Sports 2 HT: 2-1 Att: 110

Jupp (pen) 1, 11, Hansley 90 Hayes so : Hutchins 38, Sutton 62

from Culcheth Sports Club

Daten is not a place in Cheshire, despite sounding like one. It stands for the Department of ATomic ENergy, originally a works side from the Culcheth branch of the government department, that at the time were called British Nuclear Fuels.

In 1998, the Culcheth Sports Ground was bought out from the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) for £203,000 and is now an independent self-sustaining body, with no ties to the atomic energy industry now. The impressive site boasts a large clubhouse with table tennis, snooker and games room. Outside are a cricket pavillion, tennis courts, bowling green and two football pitches.

Thankfully, the ties to the atomic energy back story are still evident in Daten’s nickname, the Atoms, and the club badge, which is the old fashioned representation of an atomic nucleus, from the days of Ernest Rutherford, when they depicted the electrons as like planets orbiting the sun. I love the two footballs as electrons in their logo – nice touch.

We now know this depiction of the atom to be misleading, as it is more like a central nucleus, surrounded by a probabilistic cloud of electrons, that behave more as a wave than a particle, until they’re measured. Scientifically incorrect as it may be, it has to be one of the best football badges in England.

Until I’d seen this sign I had no idea of their history and links to atomic energy, and I assumed Daten was a village or town, much like Denton or Billinge. They actually play in the village of Culcheth, north East of Warrington, going towards Manchester. Their ground is the Culcheth Sports Club.

I love the Cheshire League and I’d say of all the county leagues I’ve sampled, it’s the best overall, in terms of quality of football, entertainment, decent grounds etc. This end of season game was no exception, despite there being little riding on the outcome. Daten were destined to finish second bottom, and Eagle Sports could move up one place to fifth, with a win.

Culcheth Sports Hub is a fantastic community nucleus for the area with all the sports it offers. The ground isn’t bad too, for the Cheshire League, sporting a stand which is an adapted shipping container, housing a few benches. The dugouts were also appealing.

Daten were awarded a penalty after just 15 seconds, when a ball over the top saw an Eagle Sports defender and Daten attacker collide, like hadrons. I didn’t think it was a penalty, but Daten had the chance to make a perfect start. At this point I’m sure I heard someone say Butragueno; a player I’d hardly heard mention of since the 1986 World Cup. Known as the Hawk, he was a gifted Spanish player who scored four goals against Denmark in the last 16, at Mexico 1986. It was a game everyone thought Denmark would win, on account of them demolishing Uruguay 6-1 in the last group match, with the help of Michael Laudrup and Jesper Olsen. But I had a feeling Spain would thrash them, and they did.

Anyway, having heard the words Butragueno, I looked at the penalty taker, Cameron Jupp, and saw a more-than-coincidence likeness to the Spaniard (but how would his team mates know about The Hawk, from a 36 year old World Cup?). The Daten Hawk dispatched his pen for 1-0 and then on 11 minutes powered a perfect header in from a pinpoint cross – he really was channeling his lookalike this evening. This wasn’t going according to the script and the Eagles feathers were ruffled; they’d been dealt an atomic wedgie.

1-0 Take a look at that wonderfully rusted goalpost and trawlerman nets

Daten held on to their lead until near the break, when a deep cross was volleyed in at the far post by Hutchins, for 2-1. The second half was mostly about Eagle Sports trying to level, with them enjoying most of the possession. On 62 minutes, their equaliser came after a cross from the left was controlled and volleyed in at close range. The Eagle massif, a sizeable amount of whom were huddled in the stand, celebrated loudly and even let off a flare. It was a great atmosphere and not what you’d expect from an end of season Cheshire League game.

A flare goes off to mark Sports’s equaliser at 2-2

The game played out quite evenly after that, but there was a twist to come – in the final minute of normal time substitute Hansley, beat the right back, ran down the left of the area and took a shot. The keeper fumbled it and watched in horror as it rippled the wonderful orange netting. Another very entertaining game, and well attended (110), on a perfect evening for football. Entrance was £2, which came with a free programme – cheap at five times the price.

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