The Delay

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Friday 1st October 2021 ko 19.45

Lowland League

BO’NESS UNITED 3 (Flynn 31 Jacobs 42 Locke 68)

CIVIL SERVICE STROLLERS 1 (Cole 43)

Att 507

Entry £7

Programme £1

Pie – Steak & Kidney or Macaroni

It is a historical point that the first hop to be cancelled due to the pandemic was the Scottish Hop and the first one back could so easily have been this one, delayed for 18 months!  While I loved what we did and will do in the Witney & District League this is altogether a different animal. But you would have thought that simply taking the same event, with the same host clubs (albeit with the Friday and Sunday games transposed) and restaging it after the break would be easy enough to do wouldn’t you? And you’d be wrong! Continue reading

Triangles

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Tuesday 21st September 2021 ko 19:45

EFL Cup 3rd Round

BRENTFORD 7 (Forss 3p 16 44 60 Wissa 38 87 Diarra 43og)

OLDHAM ATHLETIC 0

Att 12,819

Entry (Railway Lounge Hospitality) £35

Programme – Included (£2)

I think my wife Robyn calls this “92 Hopping,” but my running total of EFL and Premier League grounds was below 90 for the first time in years, mainly due to the pandemic. I think just about everyone loved Brentford’s former home at Griffin Park and I’m so glad I managed to show Robyn the place before it closed. There is absolutely no way you can replace a ground of 100-plus years with a pub at each corner, but that’s precisely what Brentford managed to do. Continue reading

The Mouse That Roared

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Sunday 19th September 2021 ko 14:00

Witney & District League Division One

KINGHAM ALL BLACKS 1 (Lay 89)

CHADLINGTON 2 (Morley 5 Burton 15)

Att 177

Entry by programme £4

I reached Kingham in a state of nervous exhaustion; I think the stress of getting this hop set up, then running to a standard I’d regard as acceptable had caught up with me.  I’ll never regret these Sunday games, both host clubs’ success was proof that gambit worked, but on Saturday evening sat in the pub I did find myself thinking that if I hadn’t asked for those games my stress would have been over. Continue reading

Pigs Do Fly

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Sunday 19th September 2021 ko 11:00

Witney & District League Division Four

SHERBORNE HARRIERS 3 (Cullen 19 82 Goodwin 26)

HATHEROP RESERVES 2 (Head 42p Hathaway 75)

Saunders penalty saved 12

Att 136

Entry by programme £4

There were so many leaps of faith to make this happen. The first and most important was from the Witney & District League who agreed for us to schedule the two Sunday games I asked for and agreed that Sherborne Harriers would be one of the host clubs. But dear reader, I can hear you ask the obvious question- why Sherborne Harriers? Continue reading

The Square Deal

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Saturday 18th September 2021 ko 17:00

Witney & District League- Premier Division

HANBOROUGH 2 (Molton 40 55)

HAILEY 3 (Buckingham 70 Kimber 73 Foster 83)

Wood penalty saved 27

Att 161

Entry by programme £4

For me half the fun of a return to Roosevelt Way was revisiting an old stamping ground. In the mid-1990’s I was an Insurance Agent round this parts, so was well used to all the Blenheim references, Churchill Way is just the other side of Church Road (the route to Church Hanborough) from Roosevelt Way. Come to think of it there’s whole new estate been built along Church Road since I was in my late twenties! Continue reading

Wroslyn

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Saturday 18th September 2021 ko 14:00

Witney & District League Division One

FREELAND 4 (Simlett 17 52 White 24 Burgess 83)

WITNEY ROYALS 1 (Harris 86)

Att 116

Entry by programme £4

Our coach turned out of Cassington Rangers’ car park, and almost immediately into a traffic jam. I nervously glanced at my watch, and ruefully thought about another decision I’d made. From the moment when the Witney & District League’s officials and I started talking about how we’d like to do this event one topic of conversation was how Saturday was going to look. We initially thought about a 4 game day- so many of the grounds in this area are less than 2 miles from each other so we could have loaded up the day with football. In the end I’m so glad we didn’t, as what happened here proved. Continue reading

The Key Stone

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Saturday 18th September 2021 ko 11.00

Witney & District League Division Two

CASSINGTON RANGERS 0

DUCKLINGTON 0

Att 133

Entry/Programme £4

It was probably no bad thing that the first post-lockdown hop was this one. It is all too easy to think that Covid is over, but the daily statistics tell a very different story. From a groundhopper’s perspective we are able to watch pretty much any domestic game without let or hindrance, but an organised groundhop involves breaking every (former) social distancing rule you can think of! In the end the United Counties League decided to postpone for a year, and Wales simply hadn’t opened up enough at August Bank Holiday to consider trying there. But the great advantage of Witney was that the grounds would be open  and we’d be unlikely to be seeing crowds of over 200. That would make organising it easier I thought…. Continue reading

Reunion

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Monday 13th September 2021 ko 19:30

Spartan South Midlands League Division Two

MILTON KEYNES FOOTBALL ACADEMY 3 (Harvey 19 secs Aluko 35 Boyce 60)

BERKHAMSTED RAIDERS 0

Att 128 at Sport Central MK, Elder Gate, Milton Keynes

Free Entry

Programme £2

I’m not sure whether TalkSport’s Tony Incenzo meant it, but organising one of his “Groundhopper” games was a classic case of the law of unintended consequences. On one level it was game featuring a new club, in a new ground in a new league with a programme on a night with nothing much else on, but in the end I found a little bit more in it.

Continue reading

South Down Again

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Tuesday 7th September 2021 ko 19:30

Southern Combination Peter Bentley Cup 2nd Round

STORRINGTON 0

WICK 3 (Gray 32 Kardos 58 Bull 76)

Att 77

Entry £5

Programme online only

In my distant past I’m fairly sure I’d passed by Storrington Rec’.  I suspect it was after staying at the Petworth Station hotel, where the rooms are converted “Pullman” carriages and breakfast is served in the former waiting room! As ever I made the mental note to go and see a game there and typically life got too busy and it all had to wait over a decade! Continue reading

The Hybrid

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Saturday 4th September 2021 ko 15:00

South West Peninsula League Premier East

CULLOMPTON RANGERS 3 (Chamberlain 26 secs Wilkinson 16 Humphreys 85)

PLYMOUTH MARJON 0

Att 56

Entry £6

Programme FREE (part online)

I’m rapidly coming to the conclusion that as a groundhopper there are three kinds of football ground. There’s the grounds I’ve visited, then there’s grounds I’ve not, and the grounds that I’ve not visited but half the hopping population thinks I have. And for years top of that third list was Cullompton Rangers. Continue reading