Newcastle Diamonds v Scunthorpe Scorpions

Speedway

SGB Championship

Sunday 28th May 2017

18.30 Start

Newcastle Diamonds 46 Scunthorpe Scorpions 44, attendance 400 est.

Diamonds :

Robert Lambert 14 pts

Ashley Morris 5 + 1

Lewis Rose 6 + 2

Ludvig Lindgren 7

Steve Worral 9

Ben Hopwood 5 + 2

Connor Coles 0

Scorpions :

Michael Palm Toft 12 pts

Carl Wilkinson 4 + 1

Lewis Kerr 16

Ryan Douglas 0

Josh Auty – Rider Replacement

Tero Aarnio 10 + 1

Jack Parkinson-Blackburn (guest) 2 + 1

@ Brough Park

Fossway

Byker

Newcastle upon Tyne

NE6 2XJ

£16 Admission

£2-50 Programme, 28 pages

£1 Car Park.

This was the first speedway meeting I have attended for around 24 years.  The result was in the balance right through the meeting, helped by the fact that three ex-Diamonds were riding for Scunthorpe, the pick being Lewis Kerr, who top scored with 16 points.

Newcastle took the first heat 4-2, but Scunthorpe took the next by the same score. Heat 5 went 4-2 in favour of the visitors, which put them ahead 14-16. Heat 10 finally saw Newcastle edge ahead 31-29, courtesy of a 5-1 from Lambert and Morris, but level again at 36-36 after heat 12. Newcastle took the next two heats by 4-2, giving them a 44-40 lead going into the final heat, leaving Scunthorpe needing a 5-1 to get the draw, but they were denied by Robert Lambert, who managed the all important second place, his only defeat from his five rides.

Brough Park first hosted Speedway in 1929, having hosted Greyhound racing a year earlier and Rugby League has also taken place here. Having closed in 1930, it was reopened in 1938, but had to close again due to WW2, re-opening in 1946, where huge crowds were reported, some as high as 20,000 !

Admission is available on-line, for £1 reduction, but Speedway is not the best sport for booking advance tickets, as it is so reliant on favourable weather conditions.

Richmond Town v Cleator Moor Celtic

Wearside League

Shipowners Charity Cup Final

Saturday 27th May 2017

Kick Off 14.00 Actual 13.59

Richmond Town 2 Cleator Moor Celtic 4,  attendance 349

6′ 0-1

48′ 1-1

53′ 1-2

66′ 2-2

88′ 2-3

89′ 2-4

@ Earls Orchard

Sleegill

Richmond

DL10 4RH

£2 Admission

£1 Programme, 12 pages.

As the season draws to a close, it gets harder to pick a game where teams will actually turn up and play the matches. With this being a cup final, it was more likely to go ahead. Richmond had tweeted about the game earlier in the week, whilst the visitors had tweeted that they were running a supporters coach to the match, so it was game on. The visitors coach arrived just after 13.30, with a fair number on board clearly having consumed plenty of alcohol en route, disembarking and immediately urinating amongst the trees alongside the car park. A group of at least twenty of them then proceeded to walk along the path next to the river, before jumping over the fence into the ground in order to avoid paying the £2 entrance fee. So much for charity !

An excellent game ensued between the teams that finished fourth and third in the league, Cleator Moor having won the two league meetings between them, so the win was not unexpected and was achieved despite being drawn away in every round. It was the third time they have now won this competition, having lifted the cup in 2008 and 2013.

During the halftime break,there was a huge thunderstorm, with lightning and hail, which left water standing on the pitch. The Referee wouldn’t restart the match until the lightning stopped, so halftime lasted 39 minutes.

K. Excelsior Zedelgem v K.F.C. Varsenare

Belgium

West Vlaanderen Provincial 2A Eindronde

Promotion Play Off Semi Final 2nd Leg

Thursday 25th May 2017

Kick Off 15.00 Actual 15.02

K. Excelsior Zedelgem 3 K.F.C. Varsenare 2 (3-3 aggregate, Varsenare win on away goals),  attendance 203

17′ 1-0

50′ 2-0

60′ 3-0

63′ 3-1(og)

77′ 3-2

@ Stadionlaan 48

De Groene Meersen

8210 Zedelgem

€6 Admission

Team Sheet, free.

Having stayed overnight in Dadizele, it was not much more than half an hours drive east to Zedelgem. With it being a public holiday in Belgium today, it meant a choice of three matches which were 15.00 kick offs. We plumped for the highest level match of the three, where the visitors would start the game leading 1-0 from the first leg.

When Zedelgem went 3-0 up, it looked like job done, but a goal just three minutes later for Varsenare meant the tie was still in the balance. When they pulled it back to 3-2, it was a case of them holding what they had, therefore taking the tie on ‘away goals’

Having suffered a 22 minute delay on the outbound journey on the tunnel yesterday, it was more of the same on the way home. We were booked on the 19.20 crossing, covering ourselves in case our match went to extra time, but it was total chaos as we arrived back in Calais and we eventually departed at 20.42.

V.K. Dadizele v R. Dottignies Sports

Belgium

West Vlaanderen Provincial 2B Eindronde

Promotion Play Off Semi Final 2nd Leg

Wednesday 24th May 2017

Kick Off 19.30 Actual 19.31

V.K. Dadizele 1 R. Dottignies Sports 1 (3-2 aggregate),  attendance 445

26′ 0-1 (og)

30′ 1-1

@ Oliekotstraat

8890 Dadizele

€6 Admission

Team Sheet, free.

Apparently, Dadizele normally get around 70 spectators for home matches, so tonight’s turnout was pretty impressive, even for a play off. Having won 1-2 at Dottignies, Dadizele always had the slight advantage, especially with the ‘away goals’ rule counting in the tie.

With the game level at 1-1, Dadizele had a player red carded on 61 minutes, then managed to get a second man dismissed eight minutes later. Dottignies failed to take advantage of the extra two players and then had a player sent off themselves on 84 minutes, but with the game now being 9 v 10, it was easier for Dadizele to hold out and go through to the final.

With tomorrow (Thursday) being a holiday in Belgium, it meant rather than racing back home at the final whistle, it was an opportunity for an overnight stop and a chance to take in another match, which would be between the two teams that were hoping to advance and play Dadizele for the final promotion place into Provincial 1.

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.

So, this is now the seventh venue I have seen Oldham use to stage their home matches……Watersheddings, Ewen Fields (Hyde United F.C.), Boundary Park (Oldham Athletic F.C.), Surrey Street (Ashton United F.C.), Bloomfield Road (Blackpool F.C.) and Whitebank Stadium being the previous ones. Oddly, it is the third time that Batley were the visitors as they were the opposition for the games at Surrey Street and Bloomfield Road.

 

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.