Toronto Marlies v Charlotte Checkers


American Hockey League

Saturday 21st October 2017

Puck Drop 16.00

Toronto Marlies 4 Charlotte Checkers 0,  attendance 5,628

1-0 Mason Marchment

2-0 Mason Marchment

3-0 Dmytro Timashov

4-0 Colin Greening

@ Ricoh Coliseum

45 Manitoba Drive


ON M6K 3C3

CAD $37 Admission

No Programme.

Ricoh Coliseum was opened in December 1921, undergoing renovation in 1963, 1997 and 2003. Capacity here, for ice hockey, is 7,851. It is situated at Exhibition Place, which is reached by Tram Number 509 from Union Station, for CAD $3 each way. This is the same stop as if going to B.M.O. Field, the home of Toronto F.C. some 300-400 yards to the west.

Toronto Marlies are the top affiliate of N.H.L. team Toronto Maple Leafs. They are named after the former Toronto Marlboros junior hockey team, known as the ‘Marlies’. Due to the name being the same as a well known cigarette brand, they use the abbreviated form as the official team nickname.

As with most American sports, the game never started on time, but just eight minutes late for this one. It was very dull until the first goal, which didn’t come until the second period, but was much more entertaining for the remainder of the game. The announced attendance also looked about right.

Toronto Raptors v Chicago Bulls


National Basketball Association

Eastern Conference

Thursday 19th October 2017

Tip Off 19.30

Toronto Raptors 117 Chicago Bulls 100, attendance 19,800

Raptors Starters ;

Norman Powell : 15pts, 4 reb, 1 ast, 1 stl

Serge Ibaka : 8 pts, 4 reb, 2 blk

Jonas Valanciunas : 23pts, 15 reb, 2 ast, 2 stl

DeMar DeRozan : 11pts, 6 reb, 5 ast, 2 blk, 1 stl

Kyle Lowry : 12pts, 4 Feb, 9 ast, 1 stl

Used Subs ;

CJ Miles, OG Anunoby, Fred Van Vleet, Jakob Poeltl, Delon Wright, Pascal Siakam, Alfonzo McKinnie

Bulls Starters ;

Paul Zipser : 7pts, 5 reb, 3 ast, 1 stl

Lauri Markkanen : 17pts, 8 reb, 1 blk

Robin Lopez : 18pts, 8 reb, 2 ast, 1 stl

Justin Holiday : 15pts, 4 reb, 2 ast, 1 stl, 1 blk

Jerian Grant : 7pts, 2 reb, 7 ast, 2 stl

Used Subs :

Denzel Valentine, Cristiano Felico, Ryan Arcidiacono, David Nwaba, Quincy Pondexter, Kay Felder, Antonio Blakeney

@ Air Canada Centre

40 Bay Street


ON M5J 2X2

CAN $123 + CAN $15.25 fees.

No Programme.

The Air Canada Centre is in the heart of Downtown Toronto, immeadiatly to the south of Union Station, which it is connected to via a pedestrian walkway. It was opened in February 1999 and has a capacity of 19,800 for basketball. It is also home to Toronto Maple Leafs, of the National Hockey League and Toronto Rock of the National Lacrosse League. It was announced in August, that from July 2018, it will be renamed Scotiabank Arena, following a new sponsorship deal of CAD $800 million over 20 years.

Tonight was the season opener and despite being announced as a 19,800 sell out, there were quite a few empty seats, so the actual ‘attendance’ in the building was probably around a thousand less than claimed. The game itself ended up pretty one sided after the Raptors outscored the Bulls 33-14 in the second quarter to lead by 58- 37 at the interval. Despite the Bulls edging the second half by 4 points, the damage was done. CJ Miles scored an impressive 22 points from the bench on his debut for the Raptors

As the Raptors are the only non-American team in the N.B.A. it was the first time I have been to a top level game where the fans are there to watch the match, rather than being there just to eat and drink throughout, getting in and out of their seats every ten minutes, paying little attention to the actual action on the court. The same thing happened when I visited Canada to watch Montreal Impact play a Major League Soccer match at the Olympic Stadium… must be a Canadian thing and the match day experience is so much better for it !

Humber College Hawks v Sheridan College Bruins


Ontario Collegiate Athletic Association

Wednesday 18th October 2017

Kick Off 16.30 Actual 16.44

Humber College Hawks 1 Sheridan College Bruins 0,  attendance 91

54’ 1-0

@ Ontario Soccer Centre 

7601 Martin Grove Road


ON L4L 9E4

No Admission

Programme, free, 4 pages.

Humber Hawks are the Number 1 ranked College team in Canada, which is no great surprise considering they won the O.C.A.A. Championship five times between 1995 and 2001 and have won it seven times in the last eight years, including this year. They were also the overall Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association champions in 1995, 2001, 2012, 2013, 2015 and 2016 and head to this years play offs as favourites. Apparently, it is 1,090 days since they lost a game in a O.C.A.A. match, having gone 41 games unbeaten (40 wins, 1 draw) before today and they have won all 16 games they have played this season.

Despite this being 1st v 3rd, it was dreadful, and looked like a definite 0-0, but Humber finally put another win on the board with a shot that went in off the inside of the post. With both teams guaranteed their play off places, it was a chance for them to rest any players that would miss the first round of games if they picked up another yellow card today. There certainly won’t be any problem of them all going straight back into the team if this performance is anything to go by !

Ontario Soccer Centre is in Vaughan, which is about 30km North West of Downtown Toronto. It is the ground that has been used by Toronto F.C. II from 2015-2017 in the U.S.L., but they will play elsewhere from next season, as there are not enough seats to meet the minimum requirement to play at Level 3 Soccer in U.S.A. under the new regulations. The journey there and back was possible on public transport, which meant a subway train and two busses going, with a single bus and the subway back. It was a very cheap CAD $3 each way, but ridiculously slow, taking 2 hours 8 minutes there (rush hour and road works) and 1 hour 29 minutes back, not counting the 12-13 minute walk from the bus stop. Public transport is far from convenient and is certainly not a patch on driving right to the venue, plus you have to travel with the numerous low life that you can thankfully avoid when using your own car.

Union Flemalloise v F.C.1912 Raeren-Eynatten


Liege Provincial 1

Sunday 15th October 2017

Kick Off 15.00 Actual 15.01

Union Flemalloise 1 F.C. 1912 Raeren-Eynatten 2,  attendance 106

30’ 0-1

83’ 1-1

86’ 1-2

@ Stade Robert Lecomte

Avenue Théodule Gonda 5

4400 Ivoz-Ramet

€6.50 Admission

Team Sheet, free.

I had visited the old ground of Flemalle, at Rue Du Beau Site (Trixhes) in Flemalle- Haute, on 26th May 2015 (2-1 versus C.S. Sart-Tilman in a friendly Match) when they were in Provincial 2. They have since moved south, across the river, now playing at the ground that was home to R.S.F.C. Ivoz, who dropped out of Liège Provincial football a few years back.

The visitors for today’s game are from the German speaking region of Belgium, based at the home of Raeren since the merger with Eynatten two years ago. At least I had already visited each club, so wasn’t going to miss out on whichever ground was discarded for first team use. Before losing last week, the visitors had been top of the league table, so this win puts them back on track. They had a man sent off on 59 minutes, but despite being pegged back, were still good enough to snatch the win with 10 men.

The near three hour journey back to The Tunnel went smoothly and we were offered the 20.36 train home, rather than the 20.50 we were booked on. The U.K. Border Control seemed to have sorted out the dreadful queues they have been causing recently, meaning we were able to make the earlier crossing on offer, which would not have been possible at the speed of the passport checks on our last few returns !

A.F.C. Kempston Town & Bedford College v Caldecote

Bedfordshire County League

Premier Division

Saturday 14th October 2017

Kick Off 14.00. On Time

A.F.C. Kempston Town & Bedford College 2 Caldecote 2,  attendance 96

9’ 1-0

22’ 1-1

33’ 2-1

36’ 2-2 (pen)

@ Kings Field Sports & Community Club

1, Great Spur


MK40 4WG

No Admission

£2 Programme, 20 pages.

This was the first game ever played at the complex and in fact, it was only actually passed off for use on Thursday. It will also be home to Bedford Tigers R.L.F.C. although it was not clear whether they will actually play on the same pitch. There are at least 5 pitches here, but the club would never be able to progress up the pyramid as the pitch is too far from the changing rooms. It does seem odd that a brand new facility has been built without having the main pitch next to the only building on site.

It was another match featuring two of the early pace setters, being 4th v 2nd. A decent first half, but the second half tailed off somewhat.

I only did the first two matches of the Groundhop, as I had already visited the third ground of the day at Cranfield United, as they have had floodlights for as long as I can remember, going back to their days in the Spartan South Midlands League. I saw them lose 0-4, versus Olney Town (of the United Counties League) in a Buckinghamshire Charity Cup 1st Round match on 2nd October 2002.

Wixams v Sandy

Bedfordshire County League

Division 1

Saturday 14th October 2017

Kick Off 11.00  Actual 11.02

Wixams 4 Sandy 1,  attendance 104

6’ 1-0

20’ 2-0

36’ 3-0

63’ 4-0

69’ 4-1

@ Green Lane


MK42 6DA

No Admission

£2 Programme, 12 pages.

This was game 1 of the annual ‘Bedfordshire Hop’, which is a one day event, which takes in three matches. The nice thing about this Hop is that it is not run by Groundhop UK, so it is a much more relaxed day, where the focus is more about the clubs themselves, rather than the ‘look how great we are’ antics we have otherwise. Admission prices are also far more sensible for the level of football on offer, as it is not possible to take money at the majority of the grounds, so the ‘gate’ is taken by way of the match programme sales.

Originally, the day was to have started elsewhere, but the intended host club pulled out. Wixams duly stepped in to take their place. They normally play on the 3G pitch at the complex, but due to the short notice, the pitch was already booked, so today’s game was taking place on the grass pitch instead, which to be honest, was a far better ‘ground’, although the dugouts left a lot to be desired.

The match itself was 5th v 1st in the league table and if anybody had watched the game without knowing which team was which, then they would have never believed it was the table toppers that took a thrashing and they actually got off lightly by only losing by three goals.

Bede’s School v Bolton School

Independant Schools F.A. Cup 2nd Round

Thursday 12th October 2017

Kick Off 13.00 Actual 13.04

Bede’s School 6 Bolton School 1,  attendance 50

33’ 1-0

41’ 2-0

52’ 3-0

60’ 3-1

71’ 4-1

75’ 5-1

78’ 6-1

@ Bede’s Senior School

Michelham Priory Road

Upper Dicker

East Sussex

BN27 3QH

No Admission or Programme.

Despite the large winning margin, Bede’s made hard work of this. If they had managed to work out how to avoid being caught offside so often, it would have been over as a contest well before the three late goals that made it look far more one sided than it actually was.

Snodland Town v Lydd Town

Southern Counties East League

Division 1

Wednesday 11th October 2017

Kick Off 19.45 Actual 19.44

Snodland Town 0 Lydd Town 1,  attendance 93

65’ 0-1

@ Potyns Sports Field

Paddlesworth Road



£5 Admission

£2 Programme, 20 pages.

I came to Potyns Sports Field on 15th May 2010, for a noon kick off (to avoid clashing with the F.A. Cup Final on tv) in the Kent County League, Premier Division, when Milton & Fulston United were hammered 8-0 by Snodland. That day the game was played on a pitch right next to the Community Centre. Since then, an actual ground has been constructed. It is at the far side of the complex and runs parallel to the pitch used back then, which is still in use. The club will need to build changing rooms at the ground if they are looking to progress, or even remain at this level, as they are currently using the ones in the Community Centre and the unlit walk across an open field is far from ideal, although the club are gradually building themselves a decent set up here and a concrete base is already laid, ready for a second seated stand adjacent to the one already present.

This was a bit of a surprise result, as it was 3rd v 9th in the league table. It was a very tight game that could have gone either way, but the visitors were probably just about deserved winners.

Kingston Grammar School v Wellington College

Independant Schools F.A. Cup 2nd Round

Wednesday 11th October 2017

Kick Off 14.30 Actual 14.34

Kingston Grammar School 1 Wellington College 3,  attendance 37

5’ 0-1

10’ 1-1

59’ 1-2

80’ + 6, 1-3

@ Ditton Field Sports Ground

Summer Road

Thames Ditton


No Admission or Programme.

Wellington always looked the better team, even though it took them until well in to stoppage time to finally seal the win. Once again, the early kick off meant there was ample time to take in a second match, which would be a trip east into Kent.

Melton Town v Lutterworth Athletic

United Counties League

Division 1

Tuesday 10th October 2017

Kick Off 19.45 Actual 19.49

Melton Town 1 Lutterworth Athletic 2,  attendance 83

21’ 0-1 (pen)

73’ 1-1

82’ 1-2

@ Melton Sports Village

( known as Digital Deadline Park under the current sponsor name)

Burton Road

Melton Mowbray

LE13 1DR

£5 Admission, including programme* , 12 pages.

I had previously visited Melton Town back on 27th July 1991 (3-3, versus Desborough Town, PSF) when they were members of the Central Midlands League. In those days, they played at Egerton Park, in Leicester Road, but the club were disbanded in 1992 when they were forced to take down their floodlights as they hadn’t got the necessary planning permission.

The current Chairman reformed the club in 2004, under the name Melton Mowbray, playing in the Leicester & District League, before moving to the North Leicestershire League in 2010. They won the league at the first attempt, which gained them promotion into the Leicestershire Senior League, Division 1. They were now based at the All England Sports Ground, Saxby Road, which I visited on 29th August 2011 (4-2, versus Hathern, League Cup 1st Round).

In 2016, having gained promotion into the United Counties League, they moved to their current ground and their name changed back to Melton Town. Despite this being a new ground, the club are rumoured to be on the move again, although this time it will only be to a different part of Melton Sports Village, in a ground that will be shared with the rugby club, who are also already based here at M.S.V.  on the other side of the car park to the football.

This was 10th v 6th at the start of play, although the visitors have now moved up to third place in the league table following this narrow win.

*Despite being advertised as £1, the programme was given away free with the admission charge. It is unusual, as far as match programmes go, as it is square, rather than the run of the mill rectangular shape.

Match day visits to sporting stadia