Oldham v Batley Bulldogs

Rugby Football League

Championship

Sunday 21st May 2017

Kick Off 15.00  Actual 15.02

Oldham 28 Batley Bulldogs 48,  attendance 578

@ Manchester Regional Athletics Arena

Rowsley Street

Manchester

M11 3FF

£17 Admission

£2-50p Programme, 24 pages.

Oldham normally play their home matches at Bower Fold, home of Stalybridge Celtic F.C. Due to the pitch being re-seeded, they had switched this game to the Manchester Regional Athletics Arena, which has an all seated capacity of 6,500. I had previously been here for football, seeing Manchester City Reserves v Everton Reserves on 26th October 2004.

Oldham were up 10-4, before being pegged back to 10-10, then led 22-10, but were once again pegged back to go in level at halftime 22-22. Batley were well in control and after the 12 unanswered points at the end of the first half, they put on another 26 points without reply to comfortably lead 22-48. Having had a player red carded, they were finally breached as Oldham converted a last minute try.

Comberton United v Great Chishill

Cambridgeshire County League

Foster Challenge Cup Final

Saturday 20th May 2017

Kick Off 14.00 Actual 13.59

Comberton United 5 Great Chishill 2,  attendance 59

22′ 1-0

23′ 2-0

29′ 3-0

53′ 4-0

71′ 4-1

87′ 5-1

90′ 5-2

@ Harston Bostocks F.C.

Harston Recreation Ground

The Limes

Harston

CB22 7QT

No admission or programme.

Comberton had won Division Senior A, whilst Great Chishill had finished second in Division 1A, which is two divisions lower, so the result went as expected.

Coven United v Newport Town Reserves

Mercian Regional League

Division 1

Thursday 18th May 2017

Kick Off 19.00 Actual 19.03

Coven United 2 Newport Town Reserves 3,  attendance 21

7′ 0-1

24′ 1-1

43′ 1-2

68′ 1-3

82′ 2-3

@ North East Wolverhampton Academy

Marsh Lane

Wolverhampton

WV10 6SE

No Admission

£1 Programme, 4 pages.

The Mercian Regional League took over from the Shropshire County League and is unfortunately one of those leagues where, especially at this time of season, teams have a habit of not fulfilling their fixtures. Thankfully, no such problem tonight, where it was 9th v 4th, the visitors battling for a promotion place with HMP Stoke Heath and Oakengates Rangers, behind Shrewsbury Juniors who are already crowned champions.

This win means it is now between Newport and  HMP Stoke Heath. Newport have been awarded their match away to Brown Clee this weekend, so have now completed their fixtures. HMP Stoke Heath are two points behind, but entertain Riverside on Saturday, where a win will see them secure second place.

A very entertaining match, excellently handled by former Football League Referee, Terry Holbrook, who during that time was a Linesman for the 1985 F.A. Cup Final and was in the middle for the 1991 F.A. Charity Shield.

K.V.R.S. Waasland-S.K. Beveren v R. Standard Liege

Belgium

U.E.F.A. Europa League Play Off

Group A

Tuesday 16th May 2017

Kick Off 20.30. On Time

K.V.R.S. Waasland-S.K. Beveren 1 R. Standard Liege 3,  attendance 1,961

32′ 0-1  R. Edmond

35′ 0-2  R. Mmaee

37′ 1-2  Z. Gano

51′ 1-3  Edmilson Junior

@ Freethiel Stadion

Stadionplein 1

9120 Beveren-Waas

€20 Admission

Monthly Magazine, free, 36 pages

Team Sheet, free.

 

The Europa League play offs in Belgium are contested with two groups of six teams, playing each other home and away, with the two group winners playing off for the final qualification place. Tonight’s game, which was 14th v 7th from the regular season, saw the visitors already eliminated, but Waasland- Beveren could still qualify, but would have to win this game to still have a chance of progressing. In the end it wouldn’t have made any difference, as group leaders K. Sint-Truidense V.V.  won 1-3 away, leaving them as almost certain to go through due to their superior goal difference over second placed K.V. Mechelen, who are three points behind, with just one game to play.

The current Waasland- Beveren club took its name in 2010, following the merger of K.V. Red Star Waasland with K.S.K. Beveren, the latter having the more illustrious past, having been champions of Belgium in 1978/79 and 1983/84 seasons, as well as winning the Belgian Cup in 1978 and 1983.

The merger saw the new club retain the matricule of Red Star, but use the Freethiel Stadion of Beveren, as it was the larger stadium, having a capacity of 13,290. With the open terrace at one end permanently closed and the visitors section behind the other goal now being seated, the capacity is probably under 10,000 these days.

The journey out was out on the 1420 Tunnel, with the return having to be via the 0122 due to the late finishing time of the match, but at least it meant the return cost of just £53. As there were four of us on the trip it meant, including fuel, it was only £21 each !

This is also the first time I have completed a division, at any level, in Belgium, although I have done Division 1B, but only by ‘default’ as I had already visited the eight grounds used by the clubs when the new division was formed at the start of the season.

Thame Rangers v Enfield Borough

Spartan South Midlands League

Division 2

Saturday 13th May 2017

Kick Off 15.00  Actual 15.02

Thame Rangers 3 Enfield Borough 2,  attendance 61

35′ 1-0

71′ 1-1

72′ 2-1

74′ 2-2

90′ +3, 3-2

@ Meadow View Park (Thame United F.C.) Pitch 2

Tythrop Way

OX9 3RN

No admission or programme.

This was the champions v 4th. The visitors would have finished third had they won this, as Aston Clinton had lost 1-5 at home and the three points here would have lifted them a place due to their superior goal difference over them. They had enough chances here to have got at least a draw, but for the second successive match I saw a 93rd minute goal result in a 3-2 win for the home team.

With the title secured, this was likely to be the last game that Rangers would play on this pitch as it doesn’t meet the requirements for the next level. They are moving into the main stadium for next season. The attraction of the last match on this pitch, plus the promise of the club issuing a programme for this game, which they failed to produce, saw a turnout of over 20 ground hoppers for this one.

Old Carthusians v Old Salopians

Arthurian League

Premier Division

Thursday 11th May 2017

Kick Off 20.00 *

Old Carthusians 3 Old Salopians 2 ( match played at Old Salopians)  attendance 4

46′ 0-1

66′ 1-1

79′ 1-2 (pen)

90′ 2-2

90’+3, 3-2

@ King’s House Sports Ground, 3G Pitch

Riverside Drive

Chiswick

London

W4 2SH

No admission or programme.

* Both the Arthurian League website and the F.A. Full-Time website had this as a 19.00 kick off. When checking the match with the venue late this afternoon, I was informed it was 19.30. When the teams started to arrive at around 18.50, we were told that it had been agreed between the clubs to go for a 20.00 kick off !

So, for the second successive night, I saw the ‘away’ team hosting the fixture. This was 1st v 5th, Carthusians already crowned champions and extending their winning margin to 13 points as the Premier Division fixtures were completed here tonight. If Salopians had held on to win, or even a draw, they would have ended the season in fourth place.

Bengeo Trinity v AFC Oaklands

Herts Senior County League

Division 1

Wednesday 10th May 2017

Kick Off 18.45 Actual 18.44

Bengeo Trinity 1 AFC Oaklands 1 (match played at AFC Oaklands) attendance 35

17′ 0-1

48′ 1-1

@ Oaklands College

Hatfield Road

St. Albans

AL4 0JA

No admission or programme.

This was switched to AFC Oaklands as Bengeo Trinity are unable to stage home matches at this stage of the season due to cricket, according to their officials.

It was 5th v 1st and Oaklands required a point from this game to be crowned champions, although they had effectively done enough already considering their far superior goal difference over second placed FC Lemsford, who only drew at home to Ickleford last night. Had they managed a win, they would have entertained Oaklands on Saturday still in with a chance of the title, but not to be.

Despite kicking off a minute early, the Referee had already decided to only play 40 minutes each way. A very strange decision on a clear and sunny evening and all over by 20.12 !

Had Oaklands converted a penalty when they were 1-0 up, it could have been different, but Bengeo were well worth their point in the end.

Clean Slate v Tring Town AFC

Spartan South Midlands League

Division 2

Tuesday 9th May 2017

Kick Off 18.30 Actual 18.38

Clean Slate 2 Tring Town AFC 4,  attendance 46

31′ 0-1

49′ 0-2

54′ 0-3

61′ 1-3

66′ 2-3

86′ 2-4

@ Downs Barn Pavilion

Pannier Place

Milton Keynes

MK14 7QP

No Admission

£2 Programme, 32 pages.

As with most clubs that appear in the Milton Keynes area, the home ground needs checking carefully, as more often than not, another club will have played here previously. Here, it was Mercedes-Benz, although it was back in season 1996/97 when they did so and a ground I never visited at the time.

Tonight offered a chance to see two evenly matched teams, rather than a one sided thrashing that is the norm, especially for the home club. Bottom of the league were hosting second bottom, with 2 points between them and one game left each, after this one, so very much a ‘wooden spoon’ decider, the ‘prize’ now guaranteed for the hosts.

Harleston Town v Spixworth

Anglian Combination League

Premier Division

Saturday 6th May 2017

Kick Off 14.30  On Time !

Harleston Town 0 Spixworth 2,  attendance 875

35′ 0-1

70′ 0-2

@ Recreation  Ground

Wilderness Road

Harleston

IP20 9DD

No Admission

£1 Programme, 24 pages.

So, this was to be the title decider. Harleston had won 18 consecutive league games, stretching back to December, when they lost at Spixworth, their only defeat of the season, to come in to this game just 2 points adrift of the long time league leaders.

I expected a decent crowd for this, but nowhere near the amount that turned up. As a neutral, the match itself turned out to be rather disappointing, with the occasion getting to Harleston and Spixworth never needing to do too much to coast to the title. Even before Harleston had a man sent off on 54 minutes the required win for them just never looked like it was going to happen.

Spixworth are now hoping to gain promotion into the Eastern Counties League, which also means a ground move to do so. They are looking to move into the Norfolk F.A. Football Development Centre and will also take on a new name, which as yet is not decided.

Wenhaston United v Achilles

Suffolk & Ipswich League

Senior Division

Wednesday 3rd May 2017

Kick Off 18.30 Actual 18.31

Wenhaston United 1 Achilles 3,  attendance 46

34′ 0-1

39′ 0-2

49′ 1-2

61′ 1-3

@ Wenhaston Playing Field

Hall Road

IP19 9EP

No admission or programme.

This was 3rd bottom v 2nd, both teams needing points for different reasons. Wenhaston remain three points clear of second bottom Stanton, with a goal difference better by + 4 as they both head into their final game, with only the bottom two in the table being relegated. Achilles, meanwhile, knew it had to be a win. They now go into their final game at home to Haughley United (10th) 2 points adrift of league leaders Henley Athletic, who entertain Crane Sports, who are third in the table. Achilles have the far superior goal difference, so if they win the last match it means Henley will also have to win their game to take the title.

Match day visits to sporting stadia