Saturday 5th March 2022 ko 19:30 (delayed to 19:45)
North West Counties League- Premier Division
BARNOLDSWICK TOWN 0
AVRO 2 (Ellis 53p 62)
From Nelson we headed north once again for our fourth game of the day. So far north in fact, we saw signs for Kendal and wondered “What? Is that the Kendal in Cumbria?” Yep, that far north….
For all the history of the Wars of the Roses, Barnoldswick does have the distinction of have been in both Yorkshire and Lancashire. The town used to be in the West Riding of Yorkshire, but local government reorganization in 1974 saw the town shift to Lancashire which must have been quite a wrench. Not for no reason does the football club have both a red and a white rose on its crest….
As the advance party we arrived to a car park already full and the cars parked along the narrow access road, making the coach’s access to the ground impossible. We phoned back to Chris Berezai who organised access via the far end of the ground, and with time tight got kick off delayed by 15 minutes.
I’d long since worked out that the hop was swelling each game’s attendance by roughly 250 patrons, but as is always the case at the Saturday evening game, there were also no end of local football fans who’d seen or played for their teams at 3pm then headed to our game. The trick as organiser is to allow that to happen, and if you’re a club looking to host a hop game this is the slot you want if you want the biggest attendance of the event.
I have to say at this point all credit should go to Barnoldswick’s volunteers, who were stretched to the limits but still managed a smile, and coped admirably. The idea of team sheets was ditched when the printer’s Wi-Fi failed but the line-ups were posted in a frame, so those who needed the information had it. In the bar the ladies of in the kitchen shifted a wide of food at a heroic rate. I inwardly doffed my cap to them all before pondering how to frame where I was?
Consider this; you’re running a sports club and there’s something that might be construed as distasteful. Do you embrace it or do you ignore it? I remember a sports photographer telling me that he thought Shepshed Dynamo would be heartily sick of all the jokes about their Dovecote ground being on Butthole Lane, when in fact they play up to it, I’ve seen the T-shirts viz “I’ve been up the Butthole….” and so on.
Well Barnoldswick Town play adjacent to a sewerage works, and yes they do play up to it rather. Standing at the Sewer End is a new one for me, and I’ve clocked up my fair share of grounds! Moreover that new terrace with the larger than normal steps, is that way because inside the lower step is a huge sewage pipe! Cue the jokes about “Sh!t football” but I bet “Barlick” as the locals call themselves have heard them all.
Once it all calmed down a little and the young fans from the competing clubs had allocated themselves a side of the Sewer End we were treated to an entertaining evening- by the fans off the pitch and the players on it. The statistics will tell you Avro won it, and boy am I looking forward to visiting them, but the main reason they won was that Liam Ellis was just that little bit sharper than the Barlick defence.
We watched the coach party disappear away from the Sewer End, before tired legs plodded back to the car park, rather dreading slow egress. But traffic clears quickly when everyone is heading the same way, but nevertheless we only managed to arrive back at the hotel a minute or two before the coach.