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Friday 14th April 2017 ko 17.30

Northern Counties East League Division One


PONTEFRACT COLLIERIES 5 (Cotton 50 70 Jeffs 55 Greenough 67 Reece 69)

Att 405

Entry £5

Programme £1.50

We’d passed through Knaresborough on our way to Harrogate Railway, but the traffic was slow, even after getting over the level crossing at Starbeck station. The queues seemed to be tourists leaving the many and varied attractions at Knaresborough. There’s the remains of a castle where the first Maundy Money was distributed by King John in 1210, but perhaps the most intriguing is Mother Shipton’s cave. The story goes that it was the home of Edith Southeil who became famous for her fortune telling and prophesies in the 16th century, except done of her predictions seemed to come true. It was on reflection no bad thing that I didn’t stop for a steer on the evening game!

If I were a chairman of hop host club this is the slot I’d want. I’d love to see the advance ticket sales, that would give me a steer on numbers of hoppers, but then I’d look at the experience of Athersley Rec’ and Helston and know that with a little planning and advertising you’ll get the local Football League club’s fans, the floating football fans, and the plain curious too.

You saw all of those types at Manse Lane, and it’s to the club’s great credit that the club managed to cope with a crowd many times normal. I love to see all that planning come to fruition so when you see the German contingent enjoying an English beer on the patio you can allow yourself an inward smile of satisfaction.

Knaresborough’s history in the Northern Counties East mirrors GroundhopUK’s, we both started in 2012, and whilst the ground is clearly heavily influenced by the “Arena” catalogue, the clubhouse is generously-sized, and who couldn’t like a set of iron gates?

In any league’s run of hops there are always clubs who seem to do well. One is Pontefract Collieries who somehow have managed in 3 hop games to score 15 goals, concede only 4 but somehow contrive to only get 7 points! Clearly this game, and the disembowling of Penistone Church in 2015 rather skewed the figures.

It took Colls the first half to get going even if Knaresborough’s lead was rather agaisnt the run of play, but once they did they looked like a club that as I type have gained promotion back to the Premier Division.

In footballing terms I’m sure Knaresborough will look at it all as a lesson learned as to what it takes to get out of this division. Off the pitch though other clubs will use Knaresborough as an example as how to host a hop game. We headed back to Wakefield reflecting on an excellent day’s hopping.