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Friday 29th March 2013 ko 16.30

Northern Counties East League Division One

HEMSWORTH MINERS WELFARE 0

KNARESBOROUGH TOWN 4 (Bromley 11p 17p Freeston 21 34)

Att 415

Entry £5

Programme £1

If ever a town suffered from the demise of the coal mines it was Hemsworth. Together with other one industry towns such as South Elmsall the levels of unemployment seen here topped 50% in the late 1980’s and despite repeated government interventions the town has never quite recovered. The Hemsworth constituency is famous for being the place where Labour votes were said to be “weighed rather than counted” during the 1960s and 1970s, but even the local Labour vote isn’t quite as strong is it was in the past. In fact the one place that seemed entirely immune from the malaise was the local football ground.

The Fitzwilliam Stadium has all the essentials, just not quite in a form you’d expect! The dugouts are bigger than many main stands I’ve seen, and the extended cover at the front of the clubhouse features a step of terrace in an unusual form, a bench of the style I last saw in my school gym!

I managed to finally catch up with my mate Jens from Dusseldorf. He’s one of the big hitters of the hobby with over 5,500 grounds clocked up. He doesn’t take life too seriously, I don’t think I’ve ever seen him without a beer, but he did come with some sad news. His VW Golf has finally given up the ghost after a staggering 850,000 km! To put that in perspective the distance from the Earth to the Moon is only 384,400 km! When it was pointed out that the car had travelled the equivalent of to the Moon and back a fellow hopper commented, “I bet he found a couple of games on up there!”

The game was all over my half time. Two early penalties from Stephen Bromley, the second rather harsh, ended Hemsworth’s chances of gaining anything from the tie. Two fine strikes from Joe Freeston gave the tie a more lopsided look than the balance of play suggested. After the break, Hemsworth fought manfully but without ever looking likely to get back into the fixture.

As the game wound down to a conclusion, a hopper came up to me and rather excitedly asked whether Northern Leaguers Consett FC were in fact moving at the end of this season. What he didn’t realise was that the General Secretary of the Northern League, Mike Amos was stood a couple of metres away. Mike gave him the correct answer- Yes they will be!