2nd Precision Notts Senior League Bonanza

After enjoying the first Notts Football Bonanza last year I returned for the next batch of grounds, but this time I brought the breadknife along for a birthday treat of a weekend stay in Nottingham.
We left Newcastle on the 1335 train to Sheffield to catch our connecting train, which was over 20 minutes late due to some bulls knacker wandering the train line. After taking solace in the Sheffield Tap we boarded the next available service so we finally arrived in Nottingham at 5.30pm. 
The five game ticket cost £15 which included programmes for all 5 matches and a further £15 for coach travel for Saturday's games.As this weekend marked the 25th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster, there was a minutes silence before each game as a mark of respect for the 96.

Friday 11th April 2014

389.The Woodview Ground 
Cotgrave 4v2 Burton Joyce
NSL Senior Division

The first game of the hop was a Friday night fixture in Cotgrave, a town and civil parish in the borough of Rushcliffe, located about 5 miles south-east of Nottingham city centre. After a couple of swift bevvys in the Roebuck Inn, we caught the Cotgrave Connection bus for the half an hour journey from the Friars Lane bus stop to Woodview.
The village sits at the edge of the South Nottinghamshire wolds and lies on the Grantham Canal. The town came to prominence when coal was discovered in the 1950s and the emergence of Cotgrave Colliery. The pit was established in the early 60’s and included a number of relocated miners, especially a lot of Geordies and mackems who still live in the town. The colliery survived ten years after the UK miners strike, closing in 1993/94
Cotgrave FC formed in 1946 and played in the South Notts Realm League and the Notts & District League. After the colliery opened the club eventually merged with the Welfare team in 1983, becoming Cotgrave United. Over the proceeding years Cotgrave played in a few different leagues under different guises and became Cotgrave Welfare FC, winning the Notts Senior League title in 2006-07. In 2011 Cotgrave Welfare merged with Cotgrave PFC ladies and Cotgrave Colts football club so that all the towns teams now play under the one banner of Cotgrave FC.
"Oi Mister - get your hands off me breadknife!"
The Woodview Ground is found behind the Cotgrave Welfare Club, where we had a quick pint before kick-off. The changing rooms, snack bar and cafe are at the rear of the Welfare, with the pitch having a pair of white wooden dugouts, four lamp corner pylons and temporary perimeter fencing.

On arriving we met up with hop organiser Rob Hornby to say hello and pick up our 5 game programme pack. Rob greeted us with the news that the breadknife was to make a presentation to the club’s new chairman at half time. The honour was done in her usual manner of confidence personified, although I wasn’t too happy with Rob introducing her as Mrs Smith, when it should have really been Mrs 100 grounds club, or better still Mrs Handsome Groundhopper!
The match was played to the soundtrack of church bells, so there was either a rush of evening weddings or the bell ringers were roped in for extra practise. As for the match itself, it looked like we were in for a disappointing start, as there wasn’t much to report in the opening period. Just as we were settling for a scoreless first half, the visitors took the lead five minutes before the break, when centre-half Roman Easom got on the end of a corner kick to head home from 10 yards.
The hosts must have received a bollocking at half time because they looked a completely different outfit in the second forty-five. On 54 minutes Lewis Dobbins nodded in a well worked corner kick to nod in at the near post, then a minute later Kyle Waddell rifled home from the edge of the box.
Cotgrave extended their lead further when a cross from Jamie Kirkby sailed over the ‘keeper and hit the back of the net at the far post, with the scorer milking the applause as if he really meant this as a shot. 
Burton reduced the arrears when Easom again came forward for a corner-kick and bundled the ball in from six yards, but Cotgrave struck in injury time when Kirkby completed his brace with a 20 yards daisy cutter clinching the points.

So a fine start to the hop and an eventful, enjoyable night at Cotgrave. We managed to cadge a lift off Paul Brockett back the the city, so we had more time to enjoy our Friday night, ticking off a few pubs and looking forward to a busy Saturday ahead. 

Saturday 12th April 2014

390.Wollaton Sports Association
Wollaton 3v0 Beeston Town
NSL - Senior Division
10.10am ko
Saturday morning started at 8.50 with the coach leaving the rendezvous point outside Nottingham rail station for the three and a half mile trip to the picturesque village of Wollaton, which is a former parish in the west of the city. The suburb is home to Wollaton Hall and museum(which appeared in the last Batman movie), deer park, golf course, lake and walks.  Wollaton Colliery opened in 1873 until closing in 1966 and is the land is now the home of the Torville & Dean estate. The road and streets on the estate are named in honour of the Nottingham born Olympic gold medallists, such as Torvill Drive, Jayne Close and Bolero Close.
Wollaton FC formed in 1954 and share the Wollaton Sports Association Ground with the village cricket club. The club joined the Notts Alliance from the Midland Amateur Alliance in 1990, going on the win the Senior Division in 1999-2000 and the Notts Senior Cup the following season. In 2004 they became founder members of the Notts Senior League and were league champions in the competitions first two seasons, and have also added League Cup honours in 2005 and 2009.
The classic looking pavilion is found at near corner of the ground with the cricket pitch at the front and the football pitch at the side. The pitch is quite tight in the corners with the neighbouring houses close by, so we had the unwelcome sight of a big flabby bloke sitting in his undercrackers eating his breakfast. The pitch perimeter has white posts tied with rope with the best feature being the posh dugouts, which each have seven leather seats with cup holders within its perspex frame.
Out of the ten teams on show this weekend I was most impressed with Wollaton. They dominated the opening period and if it wasn’t for Beeston ‘keeper Luke Gibbons they could have been at least five goals up by half time. However they did open the scoring in the 24th minute when Jordan Alls picked up a square ball to fire home from the edge of the box and doubled their lead just 16 seconds after the restart, when Tony Atkins nodded in a right wing cross. 
The hosts hit the third on 53 minutes when a corner-kick fell nicely to Alls to welly in his second goal of the morning. The striker had chances to bag his hat-trick and his team mates had further opportunity to increase their tally, but in the end they had to settle for just the three plus a clean sheet in an entertaining encounter.

391.Elms Park
Ruddington Village 0v1 Boots Athletic
NSL - Senior Division
12.50pm ko

The second game of the day was onwards six miles south over the Trent down the A60 ring road to the village of Ruddington, situated five miles south of the city centre in the Borough of Rushcliffe. Ruddington is home to Rushcliffe Country Park and is notable for being the home of three museums; Nottingham Transport Heritage Centre, Ruddington Village Museum and the Ruddington Framework Knitters Museum.

Ruddington Village FC formed in 1986, initially as a junior club before a senior side was set up a decade ago. The club played in the Notts Amateur Alliance and began their NSL career in 2008, winning the Division One title in 2010-11 season after suffering relegation the previous year. The club also runs a reserve team playing within the Notts Senior League set up.
Elms Park is a typical neat village ground. The main pitch is roped off with portable perspex dugouts at the far side, which have the club crest embossed and are clearly marked as home and away. There’s also a pathway at this side which runs through the park and doubles as hard standing, making this the popular end of the ground.
The clubhouse serves hot drinks and snacks and also for the groundhop occasion outside they served hot potatoes with a choice of fillings, which was favoured by most of us in attendance.
At a groundhop there has to be a stinker of a game and unfortunately this was it. However I’m willing to take responsibility for this, as Debra bought us some bonny looking Ruddington Village shirts which were used when the club won Division One three seasons ago. The breadknife purchased a light blue and black polka-dotted keepers jersey and bought me a bright yellow number seven shirt at a giveaway one quid each. Therefore Rudd became our adopted team of the hop, so its my fault they lost as this is largely the case with teams I follow.
The match was made up of wasted chances and wayward shots with both teams struggling to hit the target. The decisive goal arrived just before the hour mark when The Chemists big beefy centre forward Anton Bonnick blasted the ball into the net from inside the box and celebrated with a mouthful of verbal abused aimed at himself for his previous misdemeanors in front of goal.

I enjoyed my visit to Ruddington Village FC, the hosts were very friendly and the baked potato with chilli filling was a treat. Plus lets not forget my bargain quid football top, which I promise to wear with pride around the streets of Tyneside, where I’m bound  to get some funny looks as the shirt is so bright you’ll see me coming a mile away

392.Platt Lane
Keyworth United 3v2 Sandhurst
NSL - Senior Division
3.40pm ko
The next hopstop was situated five miles away in the village and civil parish of Keyworth which sits on a small, broad hilltop about 200 feet above sea level in the south of Nottingham. Keyworth is mentioned in the Domesday Book and recent archaeological finds have discovered Roman artifacts around the parish which suggests human inhabitants as far back as 800 AD. Keyworth originally developed as an agricultural community of mostly farmers and field labourers, before frame-knitting gave rise to local employment and expansion in the 1880s.
Keyworth has hosted football since 1876, with competitive football played in the village for the first time in 1899 when Keyworth FC joined the Notts Amateur League. The club have seen a variety of name changes during their long history, but the first time the United suffix appeared was in the Spartan League, when football was re-introduced after the First World War. Another name change to Normanton & Keyworth United came in 1936 with the club becoming United again from 1947 in the Notts Realm League. Keyworth were league champions three years running and won a fourth consecutive title in the Notts Spartan Division One in 1950-51. The club didn’t win the league again until 1973-74 and after switching to the Notts Alliance in 1978, they lifted the Senior Division title in 1984-85. Keyworth United Community FC as they are now known became founder members of the NSL in 2004 and have played in its Senior Division since.
The club have played at Platt Lane since 1978, although the pitch position has changed as well as a new clubhouse built in 2009 when the club was awarded £514,460 from the Football Foundation. The new building has six changing rooms with toilets and showers and two changing rooms for officials as well as a large club room, bar and kitchen.
My better half spent most of the game in the clubhouse, watching bits of the game while listening to the football on the radio, concentrating on our football bets and NUFC’s latest beaten to nil.
The football pitch is quite elevated sitting parallel to the main road and away from the cricket and other football pitches. The ground has a pair of brick dugouts painted in the club colours of green, black and white, a fully perimeter fence and three floodlights pylons on each side which have just been recently installed.
As we arrived at the ground our host Mr Hornby promised us plenty of goals in this game as both defences are so poor, he was proved right as two Clarkes’ scored in the opening eight minutes, firstly Ben for the hosts in the 4th minute quickly followed by Cliff for the visitors, both players scoring from close range.
Keyworth regained the lead on 35 minutes when John Crawley knocked in a left wing cross and Sandhurst’s task got that much harder when Dan Abbott received a second yellow card two minutes later.
The ten men grabbed an equaliser early in the second half after a powerful run and good finish from Adam Bradford, but the parity lasted only two minutes as Ben Clarke did well to ride a few tackles before making room for the shot and fire home. Surprisingly the goalscoring came to a halt as Clarke’s 52nd minute strike proved to be the winner in an evenly contested game.

393.Regatta Way
West Bridgford 2v1 Bingham Town
NSL - Division One
6.30pm ko
Our final match took us 5 miles north back towards the city to West Bridgford, a town in the Rushcliffe borough immediately to the south of the River Trent. Most of the main roads in central West Bridgford are named after wealthy families which dominated its early history, however there are no ‘Streets’ as the Victorian planners regarded the term too urban, so the likes of Musters Street was renamed Musters Road. The Musters family owned much of the land including the Trent Bridge Inn and Trent Bridge Cricket Ground which they sold after the First World War.
The town has no formal ties with Nottingham and is often called the "Bread and Lard Island" in the belief that its residents spend most of their cash on big houses and fur coats so they could only afford to eat bread and lard behind closed doors. 
West Bridgford Colts was formed in 1990 as one of the first multiple junior clubs in the area with the senior team formed as recently as 2011. The senior team won promotion from the NSL Division Two in their debut season and went into this, their final match of the season, with a chance of another promotion.
The club moved to Regatta Way from their former Coronation Ground in 2008, signing at 25 year lease at their new home base. The football pitch is at one side of the clubhouse away from the cricket field and other football pitches around the opposite side. The pitch is fully fenced off with brick dugouts installed with plastic chairs and six tall light pylons.
The final match of the hop turned out to be the most important in terms of the Division One title race. West Bridgford needed a two goal victory in this their final game of the season to win the title, while opponents Bingham Town needed maximum points from the final three fixtures to pip the hosts to promotion, however any other result would see Kirton Brickworks crowned champions. The match attracted the biggest attendance of the weekend of 448 and the highest gate in the NSL history. The club staff did well to cope with the extra numbers and kept on top of the conveyor belt the hot pies, chips and mushy peas.
The game was competitive and keenly fought as there was so much at stake. West Bridgford drew first blood taking the lead after only nine minutes through Jurgen Charlesworth (a player whose name sounds like a cross between a top German international and someone who played for Royal Engineers in the 19th century) who ran onto a through ball before nicely tucking the ball into the far corner. Bingham hit back ten minutes later as Nicholas Gammon  neatly rounded the ‘keeper to level the score and set up a tense second half.
Bridgford needed two goals for the championship but could only manage one, as Charlesworth hit home a free-kick from the edge of the box, when the referee should have really awarded a penalty as the infringement was clearly in the box. The final whistle was greeted with a huge cheer from the watching contingent from Kirton, who had won Division One by just a single goal in a thrilling finale to the season and a great game to finish off the groundhop.
Just like last year’s Notts Bonanza, another excellent, well organised weekend of football brilliantly orchestrated by Rob Hornby. I’m sure I speak on everyone’s behalf on a job well done and it’s pleasing to see Rob’s hard work in organising the event was rewarded with a good turn out at all five games. As always it was good to meet up with like minded friends from the rest of the country, some of which I’ve got to know really well and look forward to sharing their company and also some of you I met for the first time. There’s too many names to mention but you know who you are, all top blokes and not akin to the rude minority of pedantic groundhoppers who I had the misfortune to share the air with over the weekend.
On a personal level we had an ace couple of nights in Nottingham, visiting some smashing pubs like the Canalhouse, Olde Trip To Jerusalem (apparently the oldest pub in the UK) and our favourite The Salutation, where we spent a lot of time, as this was next door to the Travelodge and where I staggered from at 1.30am on Sunday morning after a heavy sesh. There were lots of other sights and pubs we wanted to visit but we just didn’t have enough time, so this means one thing, we’ll just have to come back again next year for the 3rd Precision Notts Senior League Bonanza.

Matchday Stats
1.CFC 4(Dobbins 54 Waddell 55 Kirkby 63,90+2) BJFC(Easom 40,75)Att.311
(Bloke of the Match - Lewis Dobbins,Cotgrave) Programme
2.WFC 3(Alls 24,54 Atkins 46) BTFC 0 Att.282
(Bloke of the Match - Chris Atkins,Wollaton) Programme
3.RVFC 0 BAFC 1(Bonnick 51) att.319
(Bloke of the Match - Alex Bowles,Boots Athletic) Programme
4.KUCFC 3(Clarke 4,51 Crawley 35) SFC 2(Clarke 8 Bradford 49) Att.372
(Bloke of the Match - Ben Clarke,Keyworth United) Programme
5.WBFC 2(Charlesworth 10,76) BTFC(Gammon 19) Att.448
(Bloke of the Match - Jurgen Charlesworth,West Bridgford) Programme


Matchday Web Album (97 pictures from 5 grounds)

Our local whilst in Nottingham - Salutation Inn
Bevvy Almanac
Pubs visited(4 new JD'Spoons - Total 206)
Roebuck Inn (JDW) St James Street
Joseph Elsie (JDW) South Parade
Lloyds no1 (JDW) Carlton Street
Ye Olde Salutation Inn Maid Marion Way
Royal Children Maid Marion Way
Olde Trip To Jerusalem Brewhouse Yard
Company Inn (JDW) Canal Street
Canalhouse Canal Street
Top 5 Supped
Falstaff 'Good,Bad & the Drunk(6.2%)**** (Lloyds)
Full Mash 'Nevermore'(4.6%)****(Salutation)
Castle Rock 'Harvest Pale'(3.8%)re-sup****(Royal Children)
Crux 'Nectar'(4.5%)***(Canalhouse)
Magpie 'Thieving Rogue'(4.5%)***(Jerusalem)

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Very good Sm1d.

You could use your new top as a running top. I'll see you from the land of Prince of Bishops!