Saturday 20th April 2013 ko 15.30
Notts Senior League Senior Division
AWSWORTH VILLA 3 (Saxton 20 90 Board 57)
COTGRAVE FC 0
You really don’t need to look too hard to find evidence of coal mining in this part of the world, although in this part of east Nottinghamshire there was no pit wheel, the mine was open-cast.
Coal mining started here in the 16th century and Huckerby’s Pit seemed to be staffed by 90 or so children with a predictably high level of deaths and injuries. The pit closed in 1899 but the site was re-opened in the 1970’s, again for open cast mining. When that finished for good, the site became the Shilo recreation ground, where the village’s football team now play.
The area was also a centre for glassmaking, and the area behind what’s now the clubhouse was where the factory once stood, suitably close to the coal mine for fuel. Passing both factory and mine was the railway following the route of what’s now the path on top of the grass bank by the pitch side. That branch line curved away northwards to Pinxton. It crossed the Awsworth Viaduct, almost half a mile in length across the Giltbrook valley, but in the local area the span was known as the “Forty Bridges,” though the actual combined number of arches and girder spans was 43! This viaduct is no more being demolished to make way for the by-pass, but the smaller Bennerley Viaduct is still in place. Unusually the line closed first to freight traffic, in 1943, and to passenger traffic in 1964.
The ground has a peaceful vista over the Erewash valley. One visitor, Kim Hedwall, from Sweden enjoyed in particular enjoyed it in particular, if only because of the huge IKEA superstore in his sights. ” The Swedish Embassy,” he explained.
The grass bank was a popular place for the crowd to sit, eat the delicious stew and dumplings, and watch the game. Awsworth were my choice for best hospitality, the catering was excellent, they had enough merchandise, which Rob Hornby helped sell, and their team sheet was accurate. It set the tone for an excellent home performance against a Cotgrave side who lacked punch up front. In fact it was only the excellence of Jonathan Garton in the visitor’s goal that prevented a rout.
Eventually the Cotgrave defence had to crumble and a reverse pass found Kieran Saxton who fired home from the edge of the box. The goal of game, if not the entire hop doubled the lead, Josh Board’s curling effort finding the top corner in spectacular fashion. That would have been more than enough for Awsworth to win the game but they added a third in stoppage time, Saxton getting his brace from 12 yards out.
As the game wound down I spotted the hoppers quietly checking their phones, and it took a second or two to work out why. You do tend to lose track of what time it is on these events. They were checking their teams’ results, but for those of us on the hop, we’d already had 3 to ponder, and there was another to go!