Kentish Man

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Friday 7th October 2022 ko 19:45

Southern Counties East League- Premier Division

PUNJAB UNITED 1 (Vines 70)

STANSFELD 1 (Friend 68)

Att 347

Entry £8

Programme £2

If you drill down to the roots of every hop GroundhopUK organises they all have a conversation with a league official with either Chris Berezai or I at their genesis. Scotland is one of mine, as was the Western Hop while Chris’ include Wales, and the Northern Counties East. But the SCEFL is different, because the conversation wasn’t Chris’ or mine, it was between league chairman Andy Short and my wife Robyn! Continue reading

Brief Encounter

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Saturday 1st October 2022 ko 14:00

Westmorland Junior Cup 1st Round

MILLHEAD 2 (Salkerd 15 Shaw 66)

LUNESDALE UNITED 11 (Wharton 9 24 77 Mandle 13 O Jackson 13 54 Collison 34 42 68p B Jackson 47 Huddleston 85)

Att c20

Free Entry

I suspect any groundhopper who either has visited Iodine Park, or is about to do so gets asked the same question, and that is where is it? The answer is of course Carnforth in North Lancashire, and anyone who has ever watched David Lean’s classic film “Brief Encounter” should do as we did and factor in time to visit the station beforehand. Continue reading

Humble Bumble

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Saturday 24th September 2022

11:00 Witney & District League Division 2

BRIZE NORTON 0

CASSINGTON RANGERS 1 (Blackman 3p)

Att 168

14:00 Witney & District League- Division 1

TOWER HILL 1 (Scott 82)

HATHEROP 3 (Hathaway 31 Turner-Williams 56p 63)

Skinner sent off 20 (violent conduct)

Att 154

17:00 Witney & District League- Division 1

HEYFORD ATHLETIC 2 (Chambers 20 Phipps 90)

CHADLINGTON 2 (Charlesworth 7 61)

Att 153

Entry to each game, including programme £4

When the league and I were putting together this event, I found myself thinking back to Steventon, the first game on the first North Berkshire League Hop back in 2011.

Rightly or wrongly I see the North Berks and Witney Hops as being continuations of each other- both are grassroots leagues playing (mostly) in Oxfordshire. I remember a senior (in terms of numbers) groundhopper coming up to me before the event in 2011 to inform me that, in his opinion, a groundhop here couldn’t possibly work. We held 7 hops in the North Berks, and this was to be the 3rd in the Witney & District. And while I’ll be the first to admit that these hops aren’t for every hopper, they certainly do a lot of good for the clubs, I get a lot of personal satisfaction from seeing a good club do well, and any hop organiser will tell you, the smaller clubs tend to make the most effort!

Continue reading

Weirdness

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Tuesday 20th September 2022 ko 19:45

Cambridgeshire County League Division 4A

FC KENNETT 4 (Earl 24 Haydon 52 65 Adams 60)

SAWSTON UNITED RESERVES 2 (Carter 69 D’Ambrosio 83)

Att 36

Free Entry

Just occasionally a younger groundhopper asks me for advice, and I always try imagine myself 20 years ago. What were my aims back then? And was I quite as aimless as I am now? These days my only real aim is to have a new tick on as many midweeks as I can! So the advice I normally give is to go weird, and do so as early on as you can. Continue reading

The Professionals

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Friday 16th September 2022 ko 19:45

Southampton Senior Cup-First Round

HEDGE END RANGERS 1 (Gould 11)

COLDEN COMMON 4 (Nash 19og Course 21 65 Ryan 51)

Att 135

Free Entry

Programme £2

You do see things differently according to your perspective. If you’re a club this looked like an ideal opportunity to get a cup game played, and to show off their new ground. But for a groundhopper this was something altogether different. Continue reading

The Farm

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Tuesday 6th September 2022 ko 18:30

Pre-Season Friendly

CHADLINGTON 1 (E Bennett 3)

CHARLBURY TOWN 3 (25, 55 63)

Att c20

Free Entry

As is so often the case I was sat in the pub on a Saturday night. Kev and I go back a long way, and the fact that he splits his time working here with time in the Netherlands and Australia means I don’t see as much of him as I used to. We were talking about how we’ve both ended up knowing places in other countries far better than we know places close to our homes. Kev mentioned north-west Oxfordshire and was heard to comment, “I know parts of Amsterdam better than I know Chadlington!” I allowed myself a wry smile. Continue reading

Rejiggery

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Monday 29th August 2022 

11:00 South Wales Alliance Division One

MAESTEG PARK 2 (Kingdon 26 Evans 42)

VALE UNITED 2 (Hanson 40 Jefferies 70)

Gauci sent off (DOGSO) 55

Jefferies missed penalty 60

Att 302

Entry £3

Programme £2

14:00 South Wales Alliance Division One

CANTON RANGERS 3 (Injai 32 Tegeltha 62 Power 68)

AFC BUTETOWN 2 (Abdulkaliq Yusuf 6 24)

Att 223

Entry £3

Programme £1

16:15 South Wales Alliance Division One

CLWB CYMRIC 4 (Withers 18 Hughes 60 Roberts 77 90)

GRANGE ALBION 0

Att 226

Entry £3

Programme £1

With this being a South Wales Alliance reunion hop we’d always planned on the Monday being the traditional “Cardiff Day.” With Canton Liberal and Canton Rangers having moved into adjacent grounds as part of the development behind the Cardiff International Sports Stadium. So it was an obvious move to make the first game at Liberal then stroll over to Rangers. There was only one issue with that idea though…. Continue reading

Grasshoppers!

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Sunday 28th August 2022 ko

11:15 South Wales Alliance Premier Division

MERTHYR SAINTS 1 (Maia 37p)

ABER VALLEY 5 (Razimielski 6 45 65 James 22 Neville 83)

Att 302

Entry & Programme £5

14:00 South Wales Alliance Division One

ABERDARE TOWN 6 (Johnson 12p Jones 14 64 Olson 18 Thomas 22 Welsh 70)

AFC PENRHIWCEIBER 0

Turner missed penalty 90

Att 305

Entry £3

Programme £1

17:00 South Wales Alliance Division Two

NELSON CAVALIERS 0

CWMBACH ROYAL STARS 3 (Jones 19 J Price 43 L Price 66)

Att 254

Entry & Programme £4

In some ways Sunday was when the South Wales Alliance Hop really hit its stride. For one thing we had 3 superb grounds to visit this time, with all respect to Cardiff Cosmopolitan their 3G cage was unlikely to excite many! The other factor was having league chairman Phil Sweet on the coach, he’s a man of Merthyr so hearing his memories and knowledge of his home town put where were were and what we were watching right in perspective. Of course the hop and later myself had visited the Saints before, the hop seeing it as the very first club visited on the very first Welsh hop in August 2002. But there was a move to consider… Continue reading

A Mixture

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Saturday 27th August 2022

11.15 South Wales Alliance Division Two

FAIRWATER 2 (Coles 30 Jefferies 69)

PENYGRAIG UNITED 3 (Tann 13 63 Langford 24)

Att 201

Entry £3

Programme £1

14:00 South Wales Alliance Division Two

CARDIFF COSMOPOLITAN 0

ST ALBANS 0

Att 109

Entry £3

Programme £2

17:00 South Wales Alliance Premier Division

BRIDGEND STREET 1 (Taylor 90+ 4)

CARDIFF CORINTHIANS 1 (Davies 78)

Att 264

Entry £4

Programme £1

Saturday on the Welsh Hop was a little unusual. For a start we normally make Bank Holiday Monday “Cardiff Day” but here we ended up having two days in the capital.  Now while a lot of that was due to the slightly unusual set of circumstances that saw us hopping the South Wales Alliance for a one-off reunion year. Like Tongwynlais the evening before Fairwater were one of the winners of the series of last season’s play-offs of the district leagues’ champions to get into the SWAL. Continue reading

The Alliance

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Friday 26th August 2022 ko 18:30

South Wales Alliance Division 2

TONGWYNLAIS 1 (Older 59)

COGAN CORONATION 3 (Vilis 8 Preston 19 Taylor 72)

Att 234

Entry £3

Programme £2

I’m sure there are better analogies but for me the re-emergence of the Welsh Hop was my sign that the we were some way of putting the troubles of the pandemic behind us. With my many and varied connections to Wales I knew just how hard Coronavirus hit here, to the extent I knew the hop coach would be driven by someone new this time round. I thought of Steve Pitt who was lost to the virus during lockdown as the coach headed down the A470 from Treforest. Continue reading