Welcome to Shaun Smith's Groundhopping blog ...
'The 100 Football Grounds Club'(est.2006) ... the original internet ground logging website.
Check out my blog reports and pictures from over 400 different football grounds in the A-Z Matchday Index
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Beith Juniors 1-1 Pollok
West Region Super League
Monday 6th June 2016
Beith is a small town situated in the east side of the Garnock Valley in North Ayrshire, approximately 20 miles south-west of Glasgow. (Population just under 7,000)
The town name originates from Old Irish for birch tree, as the district was originally covered with woods and known as 'Hill of Beith'
Beith has historical links to smuggling especially during the the 18th century, gaining a reputation for harbouring bad ‘uns, due to its location between the coast and Paisley and Glasgow. The Smugglers Tavern on Main Street pays homage to the days when Beith was an expedient stopping point for villains.
Beith Juniors formed in 1938 and play in the classic and best kit there is - black and white striped shirts.
The Cabes are the new holders of the Scottish Junior Cup, winning the trophy for the first time after a penalty shoot out victory over Pollok on the 29th May.
West of Scotland Premier Division League Champions 2009–10
Ayrshire League Champions 1964–65, 1968–69
North Ayrshire League Section Winners 1962–63, 1963–64, 1964–65, 1966–67, 1968–69
West of Scotland Cup in 1965–66, 1966–67, 2008–09
The Mighty have won the Ayrshire Cup on 9 occasion plus plenty of other district and county cup honours.
Scottish grounds visited 75 Scottish Junior grounds 28 Lifetime Junior Cup winners 21/28
The original Beith senior side moved to Bellsdale Park in 1920, with the Junior club taking over the ground after their formation. The ground has two standing enclosures on the far side, decked out in black and white which the novelty of 3G grass on the terraces. There is another standing enclosure on the main side, with the dressing rooms in the bottom corner and the turnstile entrance at the top of the slope. The boardroom bar and snack bar are next to the entrance with open areas behind both goals, with a scattering of bench seats throughout.
Beith Juniors[7th] v Pollok[5th]
West Region Super League Matchday 22
Kick off 7.30pm
Pollok showed their class by providing a guard of honour to the triumphant Junior Cup winners as they entered the pitch. The match was a typical end of season affair, with both teams prioritising forthcoming cup semi-finals this week.
1-0 Thomas Collins [35’]
Good work by Beith ‘keeper Scott Walker to set McGowan on his way down the left wing. He provided an inch perfect cross for Collins to the fire in from six yards
1-1 Del Hepburn 
Left wing cross was met by a cheeky back heel from Hepburn from close range.
Top Bloke - David McGowan [Beith Juniors]
Chicken and haggis pie with coffee £2
172 miles door-to-door
Seeing Beith win the Junior Cup just over a week ago at Rugby Park, meant another club added onto the t’do list in my book quest of winners of this famous old trophy. I was determined to get this ticked off quickly, especially with the Junior Cup being on show at the ground for their last few remaining games. I didn’t fancy the long drive to North Ayrshire, but a glorious hot summer day made the decision for me, so I set off at 3.30pm. The trip ran smoothly, even negotiating the rush hour traffic along the M8 without any problems, to safely arrive at Bellsdale Park in exactly 3 hours from door-to-door.
On arrival my priority was to seek out the trophy and get my photo taking alongside the holy grail of Scottish football. I asked in the boardroom bar where it was, only to be told it wasn’t on show for tonight’s game as they were playing Pollok, so they didn’t want to appear to be rubbing their noses in it. As you can imagine my heart sank with this news, but I fully understood their decision and admired the respect shown to their opponents. When I told the lad behind the bar what I was doing and how far I’d travelled he quickly had a word with someone from the club, who took me to see a guy called John, who as luck would have it, had the trophy in the boot of his car. He passed his keys onto Jim, who took me out to the car, taking the trophy and plinth out of their boxes and taking some photos with me proudly having the trophy in my mits.
Special thanks to everyone involved in this, I know to them it might have seemed a cheeky request, but it was very much appreciated and yet another reason why 'From the Toon to the Scottish Joons’ has became a pleasure to write.
The book will feature a more thorough look into the town of Beith, the football club and their Junior Cup triumph.Ground no.528 Bellsdale Park Matchday Web Album [24pictures]
Duns 0-6 Hawick Royal Albert
East of Scotland League
Saturday 28th May 2016
Duns (historically Scots: Dunse) is the county town of Berwickshire, within the Scottish Borders, 16 miles west of Berwick-upon-Tweed. (Population approx 2,500)
The town dates back to early 12th century, with a settlement sited on the slopes of Duns Law, close to the original Duns Castle built in 1320 by the Earl of Moray, nephew of Robert the Bruce.
The Battle of Duns took place in 1377, when the Earl of Northumberland invaded Scotland, laying camp at Duns. His army's horses were alarmed at night by the rattles used by the local shepherds and farmers to scare birds from their crops. The disarrayed English force was routed by the townsfolk, which gave source to the town's motto(and football club nickname) - Duns Dings A!
Duns Football Club officially formed in 1882.
From 1896 played in the Border League then the Border Amateur League from 1906.
East of Scotland League 1928-1968, then brief spells until 1976.
Rejoined league from 2011-12 season.
The Dingers have played in the Scottish Cup on 21 occasions from 1947, including ties away to Celtic in season 1950-51, Rangers 1963-64 and hosting Aberdeen in 1953-54.
New Hawthorn Park
(Scottish grounds visited 74 East of Scotland grounds 6/15)
Opened in 2014 within the grounds of the old Berwickshire High School on the outskirts of the town.
A small enclosure was erected in 2015 at the ground entrance along from the dugouts, with the main spectator viewpoint on the raised terracing on the far side. The ground also has hard standing behind the entrance goal.
Duns (14th) v Hawick Royal Albert (5th)
East of Scotland League Matchday 28
Kick Off 2.30pm
Weather:Warm and sunny.
0-1 James McPartlin (5’)
Opened the scoring
0-2 Daryl Johnson (15’)
Quickly doubled their lead
0-3 Lewis Mitchell (22’)
Lead the defence a merry dance before slotting home
0-4 Lewis Mitchell (54’)
Picked up a left wing cross and finished well.
0-5 Mark McEwen (68’)penalty
Converting spot-kick after a foul just inside the box.
0-6 James McPartlin (81’)
Slight suspicion of handball as he ran on unmarked to calmly slide the ball past the 'keeper.
Top Bloke No.9 (Hawick RA)
Programme £2 (sold out)
Mince pie £1.20
Coffee £1The Gadabout
85 miles door-to-door via A1/A6105
I drove up to the borders with Lee & Katie, who met me at 100FgC HQ after I finished work. The journey north turned out to be a race against the clock with the A1 choca with bank holiday caravan traffic. The return home went smoothly, taking an hour less, so back at HQ for 6pm.
Ground no.527 New Hawthorn Park - Matchday Web Album (20 pictures from Duns)
Carnoustie Panmure 0-5 Bonnyrigg Rose
East Region Superleague
Saturday 14th May 2016
Carnoustie is a small town which sits at the mouth of the Barry Burn on the Angus coast between Dundee and Arbroath. (population of over 11,000)
There are a few variations on the origin of its name, suggestions include various Gaelic derivations, an Anglic origin 'Craws Nestie', referring to the large number of crows that inhabit the area, however the best, but more unlikely possibility is 'the Cairn of Heroes', which refers to a battle fought there in 1010 between Malcolm II and the Danish Vikings. The Battle of Barry took place at Lochty Burn in the vicinity of the area which is now occupied by the High Street. The Viking onslaught was led by Camus, who fled to the hills, but was slain and buried by Robert de Keith at Brae Downie. Carnoustie has a street named after him and the Camus Cross is said to record his resting place.
Carnoustie is the former home of the linen producing Panmure Works and once a popular tourist seaside resort, benefited from the 19th century fashion for sea bathing. Following the arrival of the railway, it was promoted as the "Brighton of the North" a tagline which they definitely wouldn't go with in the 21st century for a few obvious reasons.
Home to the the famous Carnoustie Golf Links course which first hosted The Open Championship in 1931, and will again play host for the eighth time in 2018. The course has historically proved a magnetic challenge for golfers of all standards, giving the nickname of “Car-nasty” by the Americans, due to its difficulty and the added hurdle of the adverse Scottish weather.
Formed in 1936, Carnoustie Panmure Football Club are nicknamed “The Gowfers” due to the town's well-established links to golf.
Scottish Junior Cup winners 2003-04 and runners-up in 2000-01.
Both finals finished goalless and were decided on penalties, losing to Renfrew (6-5) and winning the trophy three years later against Tayport (4-1)
League titles include the Dundee Junior League on 7 occasions, five times during the 1950s and twice in the mid-sixties.
6 Tayport Premier Division titles, including 4 years on the bounce between 1975–76 - 1978–79, 1980–81 and more recently in 2003–04.
Currie (Findlay & Co) Cup: 1971–72, 1975–76, 1977–78, 2002–03, 2006–07
North End Challenge Cup: 2001–02, 2004–05, 2006–07, 2007–08
(Scottish grounds visited 73 Scottish Junior grounds 27 Lifetime Junior Cup winners 20/27)
This is the club’s third ground, having started life playing on a park pitch next to the slaughterhouse until 1947, when they moved to Westfield Road. In 2004 they relocated to a brand new facility at Laing Park, which at the car park entrance is signed as Pitskelly Park, the name only used by the local council. The changing rooms, refreshment bar, club office and dugouts are all down one side at the pay entrance, with the rest of the ground made up of grass banking.Carnoustie Panmure(13th) v Bonnyrigg Rose(1st)
East Region Superleague Matchday 24/28
0-1 Wayne McIntosh (7’)
Poor clearance from the ‘keeper fell straight to McIntosh who capitalised by firing in from the edge of the box.
0-2 Kieran McGachie (17’)
Deep left wing cross from the left by Donaldson was met by a peach of a header, which rattled in the stantion of the goal.
0-3 Lewis Turner (39’)
The goalkeeper pulled off a good save to deny McIntosh but Turner was on hand to net the rebound.
0-4 Jonathan Stewart (73’)
Ball in from the left met by a superb volley from just outside the box.
0-5 Dean Hoskins (90+3)
Right flank corner kick from Gray met with a strong header from 12 yards.
Top Bloke - Wayne McIntosh (Bonnyrigg Rose)
Bonnyrigg have one hand on the Superleague, needing only one point from their last two matches to be officially crowned champions. Nearest challengers Kelty Hearts would need Rose to lose both matches and win their remaining four fixtures, plus overturn a 20 goal deficit.
Pin badge £2
Mince pie £1.30
200 miles door-to-door
Departed Newcastle on 0743 East Coast train, arrived in Edinburgh at 0920.
Returned on the 1900, back in the house for 9pm.
A huge “thank you” to James Little(Squad #155) who made the longest trip for my book a helluva lot easier by picking me up in Edinburgh at 11.30am and driving the 73 miles up the M90 towards Angus. We stopping off for a refreshment break just off the A90 at the Glencarse Hotel and made good time allowing us a visit to the Corner Hotel in Carnoustie before kick off. The return journey went smoothly so I was back in Edinburgh with an hour to spare before catching the train home.
I’m delighted to have now ticked off the furthest grounds in my Scottish Juniors quest. I'm now beginning to see some light at the end of the tunnel to finally complete this enjoyable project.
A more in depth write up on Carnoustie, the football club and my matchday will hopefully feature in my forthcoming book ‘From the Toon to the Scottish Joons’ (if published)
Ground no.526 Laing Park - Matchday Web Album (28 pictures from Carnoustie Panmure)
This visit to AFC Newbiggin was initially intended to form the latest part of my Around The Alliance series. Regular readers will know that I usually visit 3 Alliance grounds in quick succession and write a report on the matches in one post.
After Newbiggin, the next match was at Blyth Isabella, who I visited earlier in the season at their old pitch before they moved to Cowpen Park. On Saturday I drove up to Blyth for their game with Cramlington Town and found the place deserted. I quickly nipped around to Isabella in case they were playing at their old ground but still no sign of any pending football action. Yesterday I contacted the Northern Alliance on Twitter to ask what had happened and they informed me that unfortunately Blyth have resigned from the league, which follows on Longbenton FC who recently revoked their membership from Division One.
Northbank Carlisle was to also feature as part of the trilogy, but their derby fixture with Carlisle City has been moved from the original date, meaning I probably won’t be able to make the rearranged fixture, so to keep everything up to date here is my blog from my visit to Newbiggin Sports Centre last Wednesday night.
AFC Newbiggin 2-2 Walker Central
Northern Alliance Premier Division
Wednesday 4th May 2016
Newbiggin-by-the-Sea is a small town with a small fishing port on the North Sea coast in Northumberland. The town was once a coal mining community and also an important port for shipping grain. Newbiggin is found 19 miles up the road from my abode and just under 3 miles east of Ashington.
The football ground is found at the back of the Newbiggin Sports Centre, with a railed off pitch and dugouts on the edge of Long Park.
AFC Newbiggin were formed in 2010, joining the North Northumberland League. After winning the league in 2012-13 they joined Division Two of the Northern Alliance. The club climbed to the Premier Division after twice gaining promotion, finishing league runners-up two years in succession.
The town has been represented in the Northern Alliance before, back in 1987 when Newbiggin Central Welfare were members until they folded in 2005.Both sides went into this game sitting comfortably in mid-table and shared the spoils with Walker Central taking an early foothold in the match with two goals in four minutes. On 19 minutes Paul Bell fired in a cracking right foot drive, which was hit so hard it uprooted the side netting. This was quickly followed by a mazy run into the box from Paul Mills, who fired home via a deflection off the defender.
Newbiggin quickly halved the deficient when a cross from the left was headed home by Andrew Carr and they finished the first period strongly after their slow start. The second half was an open affair with the next goal crucial in deciding the result. The pivotal goal arrived halfway through the half, when the hosts were awarded a penalty after a trip on Andrew Carr. Ross Muter made no mistake from the spot-kick to make it all square and they should have won it, but they missed a sitter, wasting a golden opportunity with the last kick of the match.
AFCN 2(Carr 23 Muter 67pen)
WCFC 2(Bell 19 Mills 23)
Top Bloke - Josh Willis(AFC Newbiggin)
Horden CW 0-6 Stockton Town
Friday 6th May 2016
I initially visited Stockton Town at Bishopton Road West in their first season in the Wearside League in September 2010, as part of my Wearside League Wanderings series. They finished 10th in their debut season following by a 3rd place in 2011-12. Since then the club have dominated the league, finished champions this season for the fourth year running and also winning the grand slam of league, Shipowners Charity Cup, Monkwearmouth Charity Cup, League Cup last season.
New 3G ground( yet to be named)
Bishopton Road West
English Non-League grounds visited 259
Stockton Town applied for promotion to the Northern League last year, but despite clinching a hat-trick of league titles, their promotion application was withdrawn due to legal matters with the ground. However the club were successful in their ground grading inspection earlier last month, with a new 3G pitch, standing enclosure, floodlights and handsome team dugouts already in place at the opposite side of the complex from their old pitch. The development will also include new changing rooms, 120 capacity stand, hospitality and toilet facilities, which will be added over the forthcoming months.
Although this is Stockton’s first match at their new ground, this Wearside League match was classed as an away fixture, due to Horton CW’s current situation with their ground, having to play all their matches away from Welfare Park.
Also the game was moved to Friday night so the Stockton players could go to the big promotion clash at Boro on Saturday lunch time.
33 miles door-to-door
A1/A177 going, A19 coming back
At the game caught up with Lee Stewart, who had trousered me a rare programme and also spoke to Paul Johnson (Squad #121) and the man that never has a quite night in - Peter Ford (AF 25)
Horden CW (5th) v Stockton Town(1st)
Wearside League Matchday 36/34
Kick Off 7.30pm
0-1 (27’) Stephen Roberts
Square ball from the right knocked in from close range.
0-2 (29’) Chris Dunwell
Free header from eight yards wrong footed ‘keeper.
0-3 (61’) Tony Johnson
The two subs linked up with a low cross by Priestley from the right poked home from six yards
0-4 (67’) Kallum Hannah(penalty)
Trip on Johnson in the box. Penalty comfortably converted.
0-5 (77’) Chris Stockton
Defensive error seized on by the number 11, who curled a neat effort into the far corner.
0-6 Tony Johnson (85’)
Well timed run to stay onside, one-on-one with ‘keeper produced a confident finish.
Top Bloke - Chris Stockton(Stockton Town)