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.

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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

Snakes On A Lane

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Tuesday 1st September 2021 ko 19.45

Essex Senior League

WOODFORD TOWN 4 (Burgin 18 Brissett 44 75 Asamoah 82)

SPORTING BENGAL UNITED 1 (Mici 36)

Att 224 at Ashton Playing Fields, Woodford Green

Entry £7

Programme £2

Now there are plenty of examples of a club returning home but the case of Woodford Town is an unusual one. The original club was formed in 1937 and played in the Delphian, Spartan and Essex Senior Leagues. They played at Snakes Lane, Woodford Green on the edge of London’s eastern suburbs- just a short walk from Woodford Tube Station on the Central Line. They lost their home in 1993, which proved to be the beginning of the end for the club. Continue reading

Viva Chew Magna!

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Saturday 28th August 2021 ko 15:00

Somerset County League Division 2

CHEW MAGNA 3 (Pickford 57 Dunleavey 69 Haskins 83)

CUTTERS FRIDAY 2 (Evans 23 Hargreaves 23)

Att c15 at Tunley Recreation Centre, Old Bath Road, BA2 0EB

Free Entry

On one level you could say I got this one wrong. I was seeing family in Bristol so wanted a game reasonably local, to the point that my nephew Che decided to come along. That may have been to prove to himself that not every game I see involves him getting soaked, as was definitely the case at Stockwood Wanderers last year! My options boiled down to two Somerset County league games either- Chew Magna or Clutton.  I got the family to vote on it and Chew Magna won out. So why would some say I’d got it wrong? Continue reading

Modern Life

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Tuesday 24th August 2021 ko 19.45

EFL Cup 2nd Round

QUEENS PARK RANGERS 2 (Dickie 26 Chair 40)

OXFORD UNITED 0

Att 8,154 (2,058 away)

Entry £10 (Away End) – As OUFC season ticket holder, £15 otherwise

Programme £2.50

I’d just about found my seat in the School End Lower when I heard “Laurence!” from behind. Now there aren’t too many blokes with my name so I turned round. It was one of the many volunteers I’ve met organising groundhops and he said with a laugh, “This isn’t your normal territory” and I could see his point. I am known for non league, this blog has, after all, documented visits to hundreds of non league grounds. But the bit you often don’t see is the League stuff, I am after all still a season ticket holder at Oxford United. Continue reading

Barley Town

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Saturday 21st August 2021 ko 15:00

FA Cup Preliminary Round

MULBARTON WANDERERS 1 (Eagleton 2)

HADLEIGH UNITED 0

Att 156

Entry £7

Programme £1

I suppose you could look at this as yet another foray into the Eastern Counties League, it is a fairly regular destination for me. You could look at it as yet another long drive along the A11 towards Norwich and its hinterland, but oddly enough it really didn’t feel that way. I’m sure the return from watching the likes of Loch Ness had something to do with it, I was well and truly back in my footballing comfort zone, but more than anything else what made it feel different was that it was an FA Cup game.  Continue reading

Life In Black & White

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Saturday 14th August 2021 ko 15:00

Scottish League 2

ELGIN CITY 3 (Hester 17 22 46)

ALBION ROVERS 0

Att 488 at Borough Briggs

Entry (Main Stand) £14

Programme- Online

Teamsheet- Free with raffle ticket

Badge £3

The car was packed to the gunnels ready for the long drive south. I stopped for a final coffee as we were about to leave Inverness, and roughly half the Fort William FC side followed me in. I didn’t have the heart to tell them that I could have so easily been watching them play. With the pitch at Claggan Park in such a state that it can’t be used this season Fort are playing all their home games away and were en route to a home defeat at Forres Mechanics. Robyn and I ended up following them along the A96 but carried on to Elgin, a destination that for me did have some significance. Continue reading

The Stone Of The Tub

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Friday 13th August 2021 ko 20:00

Highland League

CLACHNACUDDIN 4 (Morrison 52 Logan 70 Taylor 80 90)

STRATHSPEY THISTLE 1 (Duncan 14)

Att c350

Entry £10 (plus £1 stand transfer)

On one level it would have been rude not to, our holiday accommodation was only a 10 minute walk from Grant Street Park. Yes, we’d based ourselves in the Inverness district of Merkinch, and through no planning at all we’d found ourselves in a place steeped in local football history. 

Our flat was more or less opposite the site of the Telford Street home of Caledonian FC, one of the two sides (the other being Inverness Thistle) that merged in 1994 to form today’s Inverness Caledonian Thistle. The merged club played their first two seasons at Telford Street before moving to the newly built Caledonian Stadium in 1996. The ground was demolished and now is a retail park. But a trip to Clach did involve a certain amount of sentiment, as I’d visited back in October 2007, ironically for another Friday night fixture. 

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