Winstanley Warriors

Thursday 27th August 2020 18.43
Winstanley Warriors 2 Skelmersdale United 3 HT: 2-3 Att: 50

from Little Lane

The original plan for this rare Thursday fixture was to go to FC St Helen’s of the Cheshire League. Dave had spotted they had a perimeter bar (times were desperate). Then I spotted fellow Cheshire leaguers Winstanley also at home and, looking on Google Maps, a stone’s throw away. It had the advantage of a 6.30 kick off, though. We couldn’t have chosen two worse days this week to watch football. As with Tuesday and Whalley Range, today was relentless rain again and the fear of a postponement.

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Saturday 15th August 2020 12.00
Buxworth 10 Bollington 2 HT: 8-0 Att: 12

Once more unto the Peak, dear friends, once more. After two great games in the week at lower league Peak venues with Dave, I was solo this Saturday, but with a taste for more Peaky football. I found this fixture kicking off at midday, with the opposition again the new Hope Valley side Bollington, who I had seen at Doveholes on Tuesday. I was Bolly’s superfan this week. Continue reading “Buxworth”


Tuesday 11th August 18.30
Doveholes 8 Bollington 2 HT: 3-1
from Hallsteads

After last night’s enjoyable friendly at Wirksworth, Dave and I headed out again for some more of the same, again in the Peak District and another picturesque venue. This time it was in Doveholes, on the western most edge of the Peak, just up the A6 from Buxton. I’ve driven through Doveholes many a time, on the way to other grounds and vaguely knew they had a team in the Hope Valley League. I’ve always thought it an odd place; despite being more than semi-rural and set within a beautiful landscape, it is one of those towns dominated by the major road that cuts through it, that doesn’t lend itself well for stopping for a pint or cake; there seems to be no centre to it. It does have a train station however. One brave hopper this evening came by train – extreme hopping indeed.

The ground is just off the main A6 and behind the cricket ground. It is also next to something called the Bullring ancient henge, a 2 for 1 tick for henge collectors.

Hallsteads is just a pitch, with a bit of a mild rope affair on the near side. Being enclosed by trees on two sides and the club house behind the goal, gave it a nice enclosed ground kind of feel though, much better than being in an open field. On the near side was a bank where most of the viewers congregated, including at least two other hoppers.

The visitors this evening were Bollington, from the Macclesfield area, formerly from an Altrincham Saturday league, now transferred to the Hope Valley League. Like last night, the football was surprisingly competitive and entertaining to watch. Doveholes raced into a three goal lead, before the game evened out, with Bollington getting one back before the break. The second half started exactly the same, with Doveholes scoring three more quickly. Bollington scored a pen but Doveholes scored two more to make it a rout. Somewhat unfair on Bollington who were never whipping boys and never gave up.

Another great summer night in the Peak and these low level scenic <step 6 venues were starting to grow on me.

Wirksworth Ivanhoe

Monday 10th August 2020 6.45pm
PSF Wirksworth Ivanhoe 0 Ashbourne 3 HT: 0-2 Att: circa 50
from Wirksworth Recreation Ground

After almost five months real football was back. Groundhoppers everywhere came out of their homes slavering, manic and slightly insane, like a hostage chained to a radiator in the dark finally released…

So there we were squinting in the blinding light, scouring twitter feeds to find those rare gems of grounds at step eight or below, on account of the spectator ban on step seven fixtures upwards. They’re few and far between, you’re lucky if you get a perimeter bar or even rope. Dave joked that we may be required to remove our jumpers.

Talking of the other Dave, it was his excellent groundwork on twitter that unearthed this friendly, not too far from us in the Peak District. Wirksworth Ivanhoe play in the Midland Regional Alliance and Ashbourne in the Staffs County League.

I wouldn’t normally consider travelling any distance for this sort of fixture and venue;  I generally draw the line at travelling for a perimeter bar ground (let alone no perimeter bar), as to me that’s just getting another tick for the sake of it, you may as well save petrol and watch something local; there’s nothing unique about a perimeter bar.

However, needs must in these strange times, and tonight was more than just a new ground. It was a pleasant picturesque drive with a mate through the peak district to a scenic venue – a pitch was perfectly sufficient for the end event. It wasn’t like bombing down a motorway for two hours for the sake of it.

There was a sign too, on the clubhouse. Us groundhoppers love a sign or too.

For a friendly the game was very watchable and competitive. It was an idyllic setting for some pre-season football. Ashbourne put their chances away and ran out deserved 3-0 winners.

Knighton Town

Wednesday 27th November 2019 19.30
Mid Wales League Division Two (Welsh Step Four)
Knighton Town 0 Forden United 10 (TEN) ht: 0-3 att: 75
O’Donnell 2,4,59 Henderson-Smith 18,88 Anderson 50, Morgan 57, Jenkins 72, Webster 73,75


Knighton Town are one of a number of mid-wales teams who are playing at step three or lower but who have sizeable grounds that could and have graced Cymru Alliance or higher status. They all seem united in having one main old stand of character in the middle (no arena or atcost models) and floodlights. Among the others are Llanidloes Town, Rhayader Town, Berriew, Welshpool, Presteigne St Andrews, Montgomery, Llandrindod Wells. Knighton Town are having a hard time this season having lost every game of their step four Mid Wales Division Two League. Their record was 0 0 12 9 76 an average game score of roughly 6-1.

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Colwyn Bay

dsc01784Saturday 25th February 2017 3.00pm
Evostik Division One North
Colwyn Bay 1 Glossop North End 2 ht: 1-0 att: 207 Entrance £10 Programme £2.50 Coffee £1.30
Bartle 45 : Leonard 79, Johnson 87

from Llanelian Road
(from the archives)

Colwyn Bay (3)aWhenever I plan a jaunt a bit further afield, the weather does its best to spoil it. I have a scientific mind and don’t believe in Sod’s Law, but the things that nature (and sometimes public transport, if nature fails), does to try to stop my hopping is quite uncanny. One has to be phlegmatic about these things, otherwise they’ll drive you to paranoia and despair.

A few days’ jaunt in North Wales withthe  family, was to culminate in a Welsh Alliance tie. When the universe got wind of my plans, it changed the forecast for North Wales fromperfectly clement, to rain every day before, during and after our arrival. Not a problem in holiday terms, but yet another water-logging scare football-wise. As if that wasn’t enough, it threw a storm in, namely Doris, to make sure. Very few PPs all season in the Welsh Alliance except the very day I’m there. Continue reading “Colwyn Bay”