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Thursday 2nd April 2015 ko 19.45

Northern Counties League Premier Division


RETFORD UNITED 0 Thornton sent off 90 (Foul language)

Att 265

Entry £5

Programme £1.50

Badge £3

So for the final time this season back on GroundhopUK duty, and to complete our triptych of Ceredigion, Lowland, and North Counties East hops in a mere 5 weeks! From Chris Berezai and I’s perspective this hop was possibly one that we were the most used to organising. Take a look at the 12 year history of the organisation, and the blueprint for the Step 5/6 league (or similar) is one we’ve used the most often.

In this case that meant the Cedar Court Hotel, just off J39 of the M1, Godfrey of Stringer’s Coaches driving, and Karl Blackburn from the league delivering the prepaid programmes for making up into packs. It also includes offering the same layers of service for hoppers to select from. That starts with simply have the 8 fixtures staggered, then adding advance tickets and badges, together with accommodation and coach transport. Not everyone will need every service, but every layer of service you add attracts more people to your event, and this weekend proved the point nicely.

However confident I could be, as organiser you know that something will always go wrong, the question is whether you’ve given yourself enough time to sort the problem out before it affects people’s enjoyment of the event. It helps when you make a good start, and we were fortunate to have Nostell Miners’ Welfare first up.

The club is based in the Crofton district of Wakefield and the Welfare is part club, part history museum! I was able to spend a happy few minutes learning about the area, known as the “The Lump” and the 3 mines that this club looked after. I reflected as I made my way back to the 100-or-so programme packs I had to help distribute, that the fact that I had the time to even consider my surroundings was due to the quiet competence of Nostell. The Pie and Peas were selling well, the teamsheets were timely and accurate so all there was to do was to help Godfrey find a cup of tea (never stand between a coach driver and his beverage!) count the crowd and enjoy the game.

Nostell’s air of competence clearly extended to on the field matters too. They may have been third-from-bottom of the table with Retford second-from-bottom, but neither side looked like relegation fodder. In the end Rob Boardman’s predatory instincts saw Nostell home, which proved to be a little too much for Retford’s Matthew Thornton whose overuse of his favourite expletive (the one that starts with an “F”) saw him collect a late red card.

As we left Nostell seemed as pleased with things off the field as they were with the result. It didn’t take long to return the hotel, and as I caught up with old friends after a mere 2-week break, I allowed myself a brief grin. It was good to be back in the groove.