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Monday 17th April 2017 ko 17.45

North West Counties League Premier Division

MAINE ROAD 2 (Morgan 18 51)

ABBEY HEY 2 (Hardy 62 Blake 79)

Att 259

Entry £5

Programme £1.50

We saw George Galloway campaigning in Gorton, near Brantingham Road, just in front of his coterie was the Labour candidate and his entourage. We soon parked up and coach driver Godfrey scuttled off to find hospitality, if there’s a radar for such things the he’s got it! I strolled in, exchanging a joke with physio Lucy Weir on her second game of the hop but was secretly hoping that seeing a crowd the candidates might come in a swell the crowd. There was of course a compelling reason why they wouldn’t….

If Maine Road is anything, it is blue which was hardly appropriate for the two candidates concerned! The club was originally a Sunday League outfit born out of the Rusholme Manchester City Supporters’ Club, and since they play only around 1.5 miles from Maine Road, they play closer to Manchester City’s spiritual home than Manchester City do!

The ground is a long way from the largesse of Eastlands, being the former Manchester FA Ground, adapted for the needs of the North West Counties League. What I liked about Maine Road as a club they were genuinely pleased to see us, and at the end of a 13-game odyssey that was manna from heaven!

I helped out where needed, okay they forgot to put the team lineups up, but I can live with only having to chase up that one twice in 5 days, but the fatigue on the hoppers’ faces was there for all to see. We needed an entertaining game to close the Easter Hop, and we certainly got that. Maine Road were cruising at 2-0 but Abbey Hey found it within themselves to get two late goals to force parity.

There are so may people who helped GroundhopUK to make these conjoined hops work. The two leagues were wonderful and Gary Langley at the NWCFL moved heaven and earth to make his part of the hop, and especially Easter Sunday work. Then there’s Godfrey, our proud Yorkshireman, Manchester United fan coach driver. He’ll never consume more tea in a weekend! Then there’s our 13 host clubs, thanks for putting yourselves out for us, and I hope the financial windfalls you made are worth your efforts. Thanks also to the 13 away clubs, your inconvenience helped your fellow clubs massively. Thanks finally to everyone who attended the games, without you there would be no hop.

So where does this leave us? Well that’s it for GroundhopUK for this season, keep an eye on the website for our hops next season. Next year as per our agreement with Phil Hiscox, the Easter Hop reverts to the South West Peninsula League for their, and Phil’s final hop. We’re looking to organise an event for the NWCFL at some point next season to “Keep our hand in,” with the league, but the expectation is to return here in 2019, with the option of having a day or days in the Northern Counties East subject to clubs and geography.

Just one question though when we return will Lucy try and be physio at three games?