Scandi Groundhop


Saturday 20th November 2021 15.00
Allsvenskan (Swedish top flight)
Malmö FF 2 BK Häcken 2 HT: 1-0 Att: 17,218

Kolak 5, Abubakari 84 : Jeremejeff 63, Walemark 70

Sunday 21st November 2020 15.00
Superliga (Danish top flight)
FC København 1 AGF 1 HT: 1-0 Att: 25,814

Lerager 45+1 : Mortensen 90+5 (pen)

In November my mate and I went on a scandinavian football adventure. The cities of Copenhagen, in Denmark, and Malmö, in Sweden are separated by the Øresund Bridge, which is the one in the Scandi drama of the same name, you know, the female detective with a penchant for woolly jumpers?

I had always thought that it would be a great hop to do Malmö and Copenhagen over a weekend, fixtures allowing, with the bonus of ticking off two countries. I must’ve expressed this dream to my mate, who came back to me, unexpectedly, with dates in November for just such a double, with Malmö playing on the 20th and Copenhagen on the 21st.

Adding extra spice and incentive, both teams were vying for their respective championships; Malmö looking favourites to win the Allvenskan, sitting just above Djurgärden and Copenhagen trying to close the small gap on leaders Midtjylland in the Superliga

That wasn’t all though. In the last 18 months I’d taken on another groundhopping style hobby, called parkrun tourism. Parkruns take place in about 20 countries worldwide, mainly in Europe. They are a 5k run, every Saturday morning at 9am. They’re open to everybody and tend to take place in parks and trails, often old railway lines. They started in Bushy Park in 2004. Since then, around 700 new venues have popped up, in the UK alone. I have two within 5 miles of me. There is a free app simply called 5k, (like futbology), that has all the stats for your parkruns and various geeky challenges and badges.
The most popular challenge is to run a parkrun starting with every letter of the alphabet, save X (of which there are none). Others include the stopwatch challenge, where you try to finish in a time where the seconds part is every number between 00 and 59. The most obscure is the fibonacci challenge. At each parkrun the events are numbered, and in the fibonacci challenge you must run at an event number corresponding to all the fibonacci numbers from 1 to 610.
I just love the stats. I think the only reason I took up running is for these stats. Anyway, as a result of this newfound hobby, I thought I’d see if Denmark did parkruns (or Sweden for that matter). It turns out both do, and in fact Denmark was the second country to take them up. There are six Danish ones in total, with four in the Copenhagen area. I was spoilt for choice!

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Vale of Lune Rugby Club


Wednesday 9th June 2021 19.00
Westmorland County Junior Cup Final

Greystoke 2 Kendal United Reserves 1 HT: 0-0 Att: c150 Ent: £3 (inc programme)
og 65, Peile 90 : 55

from Vale of Lune Rugby Club (Powder House Lane)

This game was from the back end of last season.

My groundhopping partner Dave should win the Investigative Groundhopper of the Year Award for finding this fixture. Even the most diligent full bearded hoppers on the Non league Matters forum had not found it. We were all set to go to Yorkshire and Lower Hopton (boasting a small stand), when Dave sniffed out this rare truffle on Facebook around 4pm. He couldn’t have timed it better, as Lower Hopton was a 18.30 ko and we would be pushing it for time. Vale of Lune was a similar distance but with a 7pm ko, giving us leeway, and a very high hen’s tooth tariff. This was the Westmorland Junior Cup Final between Westmorland League sides Greystoke and Kendal United Reserves, played at the rugby ground of Vale of Lune. (We did have to double check the Junior didn’t mean kids, as that could have been embarrassing.)

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Waterloo Rovers


Tuesday 27th July 2021 19.00
Mid Wales East League

Waterloo Rovers 6 Newtown Wanderers 0 HT: 4-0 Att: 35(hc) Free Entry No Prog

Marston 32, Ellis 34,43,47 Evans 37,46 : keeper subbed (injured) 45

from Maes-y-Dre Extension


It was Tuesday and another midweek trip south-west to Wales, for some more very early league action, this time in the step four Mid Wales East League. Waterloo Rovers were the hosts, playing at the same site as Welshpool Town, but a proper ground nonetheless, despite having the unsatifisfactory name of Maes-y-Dre Extension (Maes-y-Dre being the name of Welshpool’s Ground). To access it is not easy, as you need to drive past Welshpool Town, to an unmarked road that says Private – Access Only with no indication of a football ground at the end of it.

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Four Crosses (Llandysilio)


Saturday 24th July 2021
Welsh Cup Round One

Four Crosses 1 Llanfair United 4 HT: 1-2 Att: 40 hc
Gregory (og) 37 : Astley 27,89 (p) Hughes 30, Mwamuka 87

from Foxen Manor

I continued my Welsh travels this Saturday, this time for the Welsh cup, with a trip to another team on the border of England and Wales. Churchstoke, where I went Wednesday, sits in a chode shaped Welsh protuberance into the Shropshire hills, whereas Four Crosses sits a bit higher up, on the site of Offa’s Dyke Path, a few miles south of Oswestry.

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Churchstoke (Yr Ystog)


Wednesday 21st July 2021
Mid Wales League East

Churchstoke 3 Forden United 3 HT: 2-1
Marston 6,70 Williams 21 : O’Donnell 5, Smith 48, Henderson Smith 80 (p)

from Cae Camlad

After over 18 months without a visit to a Welsh Ground this was third in a row; I was fully taking advantage of the early starts in the new Welsh Pyramid, as opposed to the usual July friendlies. I’ve never been much for friendlies, so to see competitive football in July with the light evenings is a real bonus, especially when you throw in the typical Welsh backdrop.

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Nefyn United


Wednesday 14th July 2021 19.00
North Wales Coast League Premier

Nefyn United 5 Glantraeth 1 HT: 2-0 Att: 75hc

from Cae’r Delyn

I like Nefyn for its remoteness. It lies halfway down the Lleyn peninsula, which sticks out like a shrivelled arm from the head that is Anglesey, and its Menai Strait neck. With the Welsh f being pronounced v I always think of Pat Nevin, the 80’s Chelsea player, taker of the worst penalty I’ve ever seen – you can google it. Barry Davies’s comments after are hilarious. Driving past Portmadoc onto the Lleyn peninsula the scenery becomes flatter and brighter that the Snowdonia region, more windswept and desolate. It lies on the coast on the north side and is a small village of population 1,400, and lays claim to being where singer Duffy hails from.

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Halkyn and Flint Mountain


Saturday 3rd July 2021 14.00
North East Wales League Premier

Halkyn & Flint Mountain 3 Castell Alun Colts 2 HT: 1-1
Reece 4, Davies 50, Williams 93

from Pant Newydd

Despite being early July this was actually the opening day of the season in the brand new step three North East Wales Premier League. It had been almost two years since my last venture to the Principality, largely due to Wales not allowing spectators during the two covid hiatuses (hiati?). It was great to be back, and for an actual league game. The early start I think was to ensure enough time for the season to finish given suspected postponements due to covid reasons.

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Fairfield


Monday 24th May 2021 18.45
Hope Valley League Premier
Fairfield 5 Baslow 2 HT: 2-2 Att:

from Buxton Rugby Club

This was one of my favourite trips of the season. I’m not quite sure why; I think it was the mixture of it being a rarity, close by, scenic and a great game to cap it off. Fairfield usually play at the Fairfields Centre, which is a multi-pitch sports facility in Buxton and didn’t tempt me in the slightest, which is why I’d left Fairfield as one of only two teams I’d not seen in the Hope Valley League top flight.

However, rumour had it that they were playing their final games of the season at Buxton Rugby Club, which did sound very tempting. The allure was short lived as I’d read on Non League matters forum an account of somebody going, where they played on a satellite pitch to the main rugby pitch. This no longer tempted me; where there are ‘complexes’ or multi-pitches it has to be the main pitch or nothing.

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Wakefield AFC


Saturday 22nd May 2021 14.00
The Yorkshire Trophy Group 1

Wakefield AFC 0 Brighouse Town 2 HT: 0-2 Ent: £5 Prog £2.50 Coffee £2

from The Millenium Stadium (Featherstone Rovers RUFC)

Wakefield AFC were only founded in 2019 and play in the Sheffield and Hallamshire step seven league. The previous incarnation of the Wakefield club dissolved in 2014. They were know as Emley from 1903-2002, and played West Ham United in the 3rd round of the FA Cup in 1997/98. They played at the wonderful Welfare ground, which is now home to Emley AFC, founded in 2005. In 2002 they changed their name to Wakefield & Emley FC, then Wakefield-Emley in 2004 and Wakefield FC in 2006. This latest name change came with a move across town to share with Wakefield Rugby Union FC and sever ties with Emley completely. However, it was their reserves, whose division was terminated, that became the new Emley AFC, who continued to play at the charismatic Welfare Ground.

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Littletown


Wednesday 19th May 2021 18.30
Yorkshire Amateur League Supreme Division
Littletown 2 Leeds City 2 HT: 2-1 Att: c20

from Beck Lane

Littletown is an area of Heckmondwike, which has won the most Yorkshire sounding place name 10 years running. Heckmondike sits in the middle of the square formed by the giants Bradford, Leeds, Wakefield and Huddersfield, within the big urban sprawl that is West Yorkshire. Other classic über Yorkshire places bleed into the area such as Batley, Dewsbury, Cleckheaton and Halifax.

Their ground at Beck Lane goes all the way back to the 19th century, with Heckmondwike Rugby Club using it for three seasons during the 1890s. Huddersfield Town used it as a training base from 1933 for their reserve and youth sides. It also lays claim to the longest penatly shoot out ever, in 2001. Their game against Storthes Hall was stopped at 17-17 due to bad light.

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