The Dale Of Cheese


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Saturday 12th June 2021 ko 14:00

Wensleydale League

HAWES UNITED 4 (Calvert 17 Richardson 33 43 Wallis 81)


Att c40 at Old Station Yard

In my logic, I’ve treated the FA’s relaxing of the rule of all club football having to end by the end of May as as a bonus. It’s also an excuse to visit the kind of places that in my heart of hearts I wouldn’t fancy as half as much in the depths of winter and the chance to explore the game right at grassroots- this was a new league for me!

And with last Saturday’s fine, sunny weather the only use I’d have found for a stand was to offer some shade! You can add to that thought a growing desire to add a little hinterland into what I’m doing.  In more usual times Robyn and I would have been on the annual Swedish Hop and that’s an event that works because it places everywhere we visit is always put into its local context. It could be by means of a tram museum, a tour of the local TV studios, a Viking fort, or more usually by a club official introducing themselves. But in Hawes that hinterland is definitely cheese and so we made a beeline for the creamery.

Continue reading

The Pitch


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Monday 7th June 2021 ko 18:30

Thames Valley Premier League- Premier Division

MARLOW UNITED 1 (Austin 90)

FINCHAMPSTEAD 3 ( Vallance 9 J Day 14p Payne 33)

Att c64 at Gossmore Lane

Free Entry

I haven’t checked but over the last 15 or so years you could have watched Marlow United at home on at least 4 different grounds. There was Flackwell Heath, Marlow FCBisham Abbey and Loudwater that I can name off the top of my head. The reason for the first two was to allow the club two stints in the Hellenic League, including a two-season stint in the Hellenic Premier from 2008-10. The issue for the club is always the same, there’s no lack of ambition, but having few facilities of their own makes progression extremely difficult. Continue reading



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Saturday 5th June 2021 ko 14.30

Thames Valley Premier League – Division One


READING YMCA 2 (Hormola 7 Donegan 61p)

Att c24 at Bishopswood Sports Field, Gallowstree Common.

Free Entry

Given I’d not seen a game at Bishopswood this was something of a sentimental return for me. Back in the day I had a blonde girlfriend who worked for a brewery, which did have a few advantages. The brewery in question was Brakspear in Henley-on-Thames, and we spent many an evening ticking off the pubs of the Brakspear estate- it was clear looking back that the groundhopping gene was active even then! One of the best pubs was the Reformation at Gallowstree Common and I remember driving past the Bishopswood Sports Field and me thinking “I really ought to see a game there!” It only took another 25 years…. Continue reading



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Tuesday 1st June ko 19:00*

Hertford & District League Centenary Trophy Quarter Final


ALLENBURYS SPORTS 3 (J Armes 16 Barton 35 Colbourne 90)

Att c35 at Henry Barrass Stadium, Edmonton, London

Free Entry

It had been an eventful trip to North London. I knew I was likely to be tight for time, and the M25 behaved as the M25 usually does at rush hour- at one point I watched the police shut down the road, thankfully from my rear view mirror! I suspected the game might not kick-off right on time, grassroots football does tend to involve a little time slippage! The game kicked off roughly 15 minutes late, handy at the time for me, but all there were to have mixed feelings about that slippage later on. Continue reading

The Decider


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Sunday 30th May 2021 ko 10:30

Upper Thames Valley Sunday League

CHILTON BLUE & WHITES 2 (Carrigan 27 A Stevens 31p)

GREATER LEYS YELLOWS 3 (Smith 10 Ludlow 13p Harvey 90)

Att c50 at Atomic Energy Research Engineering (South) Ground, Chilton, near Harwell

Free Entry

Some games you attend due to friendship, some you attend to visit a new ground, while others you find yourself watching purely because there’s something riding on the result. Oddly, in the end this one ended up being all three!

The root of it all was Chilton’s win at Tackley United a week earlier which set up a straight shootout with Greater Leys Yellows for the title in the final game of the season. A draw would see Greater Leys take the title, but Chilton would have home advantage. Chilton sent me details of where their ground is and I took it as being the former Harwell International Ground that was featured on the final North Berkshire League Hop. Life wasn’t to be as straightforward as that though! Continue reading

The Community Umlaut


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Saturday 29th May 2021 ko 14:30

Staffordshire County Senior League Division One

CITY OF STOKE 5 (Meek 19 82 Marcisz 25 Sargeant 61 Armstrong 82)

Marcisz sent off 80 (foul & abusive)

HAWKINS SPORTS 2 (Pike 8 57)

Att c25 at North Stafford Sports Club, Whisper Lane, Butterton

Free Entry

I’ve often opined that I don’t pick my games, most of the time they pick me, and this was the latest in the long list. You may remember that just under two years ago, I battled both appalling weather and traffic to watch a game at Keele University.  At the time I questioned why I was the only hopper there, and subsequently came to the conclusion that the reason I was the only one there with no connection to either side was my own insanity. But there was a silver lining to the evening. Continue reading

The Unlikely Station


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Sunday 23rd May 2021 ko 10:30

Upper Thames Valley Sunday League


CHILTON BLUE & WHITES 5 (Stevens 12 Burton 45 Kerry 56 Ayres 77 Mangan 90)

Stevens missed penalty 41

Att 48

Free Entry

Back in the day I was working as a financial adviser and one evening I had an appointment in Tackley. It wasn’t a push to get me there, I lived in Banbury and the village is roughly equidistant on the A423 between there and Oxford. I pulled up outside the Village Hall and as I went to my customer saw Tackley FC about to kick off a Witney & District League League game. I didn’t get much out of that appointment but I did make a mental note to visit the ground properly. Continue reading

Bux Bunny


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Saturday 15th May 2021 ko 14:00

Hope Valley League Premier Division

BUXWORTH 1 (Hyde 62)

TANSLEY JUNIORS 3 (Hill 37 71 81)

Att c50 at Western Lane

Free Entry

If the Westmorland League is the league for the Lake District then I’d argue the Hope Valley is the league for the High Peak. And if you’re thinking that the idea was to take the pretty football ground with a backdrop I’d tapped into at Sedbergh & Dent FC a week earlier and move it to the Peak District then you’d be absolutely right! Or putting it another way, “All Creatures Great & Small” became “Peak Practice!” Continue reading

The Town And The Village


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Tuesday 12th May 2021 ko 18:30

Oxfordshire Senior League Premier Cup Group Stage

BURE PARK 3 (Hallam 47 79 Chappell 83)

LAUNTON SPORTS 3 (Horn 16 30 Clark 52)

Att c65 at Pingle Field, Bicester

Free Entry

Anyone from Oxfordshire will be more than aware of the expansion of Bicester in the last couple of years. I remember Iain my regular companion on many of my Scottish jaunts booking a hotel in Bicester, and when I visited him I  thought, “This used to be fields a few months ago!” Continue reading

All Creatures Great And Small


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Saturday 8th May 2021 ko 14:00

Westmorland FA Senior Cup 2nd Round

SEDBERGH & DENT 4 ( Ferguson 7 42 105 Burrow 85)

KESWICK 3 (Bannister 10 Cumber 38 T Thexton 68og)

Att c20 at Church Bridge Playing Field, Dent

Free Entry

As most of you know I wear a few footballing hats. There’s the groundhopper, the Oxford United season ticket holder, the organiser of groundhops with GroundhopUK, and the committeeman with the North Berkshire League.  I’m bound to say Sedbergh and Dent both suffer from exactly the same problem that we have at the North Berkshire League- and its all because of 1974. Continue reading