Saturday 15th April 2017 ko 18.30
Northern Counties East League Division One
SELBY TOWN 1 (Mortimer 34)
PENISTONE CHURCH 1 (Whittington 68)
It was good to see that all the supporters that had gone missing had made it back for this game, as the coach parked near Flaxley Road it felt close to being the end of an era. I remembered Chris meeting with the league before a hastily rearranged precursor game before a Central Midlands League hop as I did all the normal GroundhopUK duties. I remember our first game at Yorkshire Amateur where the club marvelled at just how many pints of real ale a coachload of hoppers could drink, and many rather took to the female PCSO who turned up wondering why there was a crowd at Bracken Edge?
The sad truth is that as it stands there aren’t enough grounds left in the NCEL for us to put on a full Easter Hop here, but with the hop moving to the North West Counties League in 2019 we’ll be able to spend days here to keep up with the league’s new clubs and grounds. But even if this was to be more an “Au Revoir” than a goodbye I was still keen to see Selby end the NCEL portion of the hop with a bang.
We got there early, so early Robyn and I were able to join the beer enthusiasts in the annexe to the bar that had been coopted into serving two local real ales. The beer was good, so good in fact that my girlfriend Robyn a died-in-the-wool lager drinker loved the stuff. It was wonderful 7 games in to be able to relax, let the club feed, and water (well beer) everyone and consider where we were.
When I was at school Selby was the home of the superpit, it still holds the world record for the most coal extracted in a week a mind-boggling 200,743 tonnes in 1995. The pit closed in 2004, and the town is probably best known these days as being comedian Tommy Cannon’s home town as well as being the birthplace of Henry I.
By the time I’d eaten a quite wonderful chicken curry, bought a teamsheet and shuffled my aching feet outside the crowd had swelled quite considerably. So much so I immediately thought counting the crowd would be an issue. It wasn’t as it transpired, although it did take time!
The clubs put on an entertaining draw, but as the sun set on a beautiful day, I strolled back to our coach there was time to reflect on what has been a mutually beneficial relationship between the clubs, hoppers and the league. Hopefully when GroundhopUK returns here we’ll have both the clubs and the geography to enjoy more days with our friends in the Northern Counties East.