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Friday 29th March 2013 ko 11.00

Northern Counties East League Premier Division

GLASSHOUGHTON WELFARE 2 (Ball 66og Woollard 90) Young missed penalty 79

NOSTELL MINERS WELFARE 0

Att 307

Entry £5

Programme £1.50

Tucked up snuggly as I was at the hotel, when the alarm went off I dashed to the window to judge the scene outside. It looked cold, but was it cold enough to freeze a pitch? At breakfast one of the coach party tried the classic acid-test all hoppers use. He went outside and found a patch of earth to dig his heel in. It gave and since Chris Berezai hadn’t received the dreaded phone call we we good to go. We knew how much effort the 7 clubs left to visit on the hop were making, we’d seen the pictures, but the nagging doubt still remained.

Glasshoughton is a district of Castleford, just off the M62. There’s a huge snow dome, and the district is set to be Castleford Tigers Rugby League Club’s new home, all of which rather belies the area’s past in coal mining. The football club still carries the colliery name even if there’s nothing about the Leeds Road Ground to suggest a Miners’ Welfare these days. For all of that, its an extremely well appointed ground, and the club accomodated the needs of a bumper crowd with ease.

Amongst that crowd were two very special guests. The Northern League will be hosting the Easter Groundhop next season, and Mike Amos and Harvey Harris from the NL came to the day’s games. Mike Amos invented the whole idea of an organised groundhop, and my how his baby has grown since! It was wonderful to catch up with them and hear some of the ideas they have for next season. Mike has handed over the organisation to Harvey, so he was keen to see a hop in action. I trust they both enjoyed themselves.

As for the game, well for a long time it looked like we were heading for a consecutive nil nil draw. Glasshoughton did everything but score against a Nostell team that worked extremely hard but offered little up front. It often takes a slice of luck to break the deadlock, and Wayne Ball’s unfortunate own goal certainly was that, but Tom Wollard’s cushioned lob in injury time was a fine coda to the proceedings.

I for one was pleased to see the game played with a couple of goals too. With the weather cold but not freezing, the weekend was opening up nicely.