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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Cumnock Juniors 3-0 Queen of the South U-20
Thursday 28th July 2016
Cumnock Juniors formed in 1912. The Nock have won the Scottish Junior Cup twice beating Bo’ness United 1-0 in 1979 and a decade late they defeated Ormiston Primrose by the same score. They have also finished runners-up twice losing out to Blantyre Vics in 1950 and Bathgate Thistle in 2008.
Ayrshire League winners on 11 occasions and Super League Division One winners in 2015-16. Cup honours include 7 Ayrshire Cup wins, Ayrshire District Cup on four occasions and the Ayrshire League Cup 15 times.
Scottish grounds visited 77 Scottish Junior grounds 30 Lifetime Junior Cup winners 23/28
The ground has a covered enclosure down one side behind the dugouts. At the far goal is another covered terrace which has a fabulous mural on the back wall covering the club’s past glories. The changing rooms, boardroom, hospitality and the Nock Nosh food cabin are all housed in one building behind the turnstile entrance goal. A new all weather pitch was installed in the spring and work is continuing on new terracing at the far side.
Cumnock Juniors v Queen of the South U-20
The Noch look a really decent team and could be in for a good season judging by their display against a youthful Queen of the South side. They bossed the match, carving out a string of good chances until finally taking the lead on 65 minutes, when Shirkie picked up the ball on the edge of the box and fired in low and hard. They doubled the lead on 78 minutes with a fabulous individual effort [and early goal of the season contender] from Keir Samson, before Shirkie grabbed his second late on, netting the rebound after the ‘keeper pulled off a good save from distance.
CJFC 3 [Shirkie 65, 89 Samson 78]
Top Bloke - Shirkie - Cumnock Juniors
I checked out of Little Towers at 9.45 and headed to Cameron Toll to take advantage of the free car parking. I spend the day in Edinburgh before driving cross the A71 to East Ayrshire at 3pm. I stopped for a rest break at Cairn Lodge services before tackling the A70 Ayr Road, so I arrived in Cumnock at Six o'clock. I arranged to meet up with 100FgC Squad#73 Graham Crofts and his daughter Lois at the game, who were there to watch their beloved Doonhamers.
Arriving at the ground I asked at the paying entrance about programme and badges, unfortunately neither was available. During the first half the guy on the gate, Tom Bradford approached me invited me up into the boardroom for a half time cuppa. I told him about my book so he introduced me to the club hierarchy, who were kind enough to give me a match worn team jersey as a souvenir of my visit. Once again the kindness and hospitality shown by the host clubs during this project has been second to none.
After the match I rushed straight off, aiming to get on the M74 before it got too dark. The wet weather and poor visibility made the drive home hard work at times, but I still made decent time to get home just before midnight.(before I turn into a pumpkin)
A more thorough report about my matchday, the club and the history of the town will appear in my book which is hopefully coming soon.
Last night in Bathgate.
Matchday Web Album of 34 pictures from Cumnock Juniors
Bathgate Thistle 0-4 Hill of Beath Hawthorn
Wednesday 27th July 2016Bathgate is a town in West Lothian, 5 miles west of Livingston (Population around 20,000)
The first recorded details of the town was in the 12th century in a confirmation charter by King Malcolm IV. The name appeared as ‘Bathchet’ which is an earlier Cumbric name meaning 'Boar Wood'
Famous people from the town include Scottish obstetrician Sir James Young Simpson who discovered the anaesthetic properties of chloroform, Ryder Cup golf captain Bernard Gallacher and actor [and the tenth Dr Who] David Tennant. Indy Car racing champion Dario Franchitti and his young car racing brother Marino hail from Bathgate, along with 80s/90s band Goodbye Mr McKenzie, with Shirley Manson on keyboards who went onto have major success as lead singer of Garbage.
Bathgate Thistle Junior Football Club was formed in 1936, taking over the place of the Bathgate senior side in the Midlothian League for season 1938/39.
Thistle reached their first Scottish Junior Cup final in 2006, losing 2–1 to Auchinleck Talbot but were triumphant two years later beating Cumnock juniors 2-1 in the 2008 final.
Other Honours include
East Region Division Two champions: 1986–87, 1990–91
East of Scotland Junior Cup winners: 1941–42, 2006–07
St. Michael Cup winners: 1940–41, 1959–60, 2000–01
Scottish grounds visited 76 Scottish Junior grounds 29 Lifetime Junior Cup winners 22/28
The ground has a large standing terrace down one side, which was opened in 2012, with the other three sides are made up of grass banking. Beside the stand is a relatively new building, housing the changing rooms, clubhouse and refreshment bar. The dugouts are on the far side and a special mention about the pitch, which isn’t just the best in the Scottish Juniors, but probably one of the best in Scotland. Creamery Park also has a rarity at this level - a full set of floodlights.
Bathgate Thistle v Hill of Beath Hawthorn
Kick off 7.00pm
After a poor start the match finally sparked into life just before half time when the ball dropped to Aaron Hay on the edge of the box, to fire in on the half volley. The second period saw a vast improvement with Thistle making a promising start until the visitors took control, with Lee Reid heading in a right wing cross on 53 minutes.. Haws substitute Callum Reid rapped the game up, with a strong run and powerful shot which spun in off the unlucky ‘keeper, before showing good composure to make it 4-0 with twenty minutes remaining.
Top Bloke - Lee Reid (Hill of Beath)
(Free admission as a guest)
Scotch pie £1-50
I drove up to Edinburgh, where James Little was good enough to put me up for the night so I could tick off two Junior grounds for my book. I set off at lunchtime and arrived at 3.15pm, quickly dropping off my bag before heading off to Waverley Station. We decided to catch the 1648 train, allowing us time to check out the new Wetherspoons outside the station - The Booking Office, then we alighted headed to the Bathgate branch - The James Young.
Bathgate Thistle media guy Robert Allan contacted me on Twitter to ask if he could interview me about my travels for Thistle TV, so considering I’m a media whore I willingly agreed. (I’ll link the interview when it appears online if it’s not too embarrassing)
After the match we had a few pints back in Edinburgh at Thomson Bar and Bennetts, where I was reacquainted with my favourite pint - Harviestoun ‘Bitter and Twisted’
I decided to have a decent break from football this summer so this was my first match of the season. Although the match wasn’t a classic it was good to be back, the evening made more special by the warm reception (including get in for nowt) received by the two Roberts at Bathgate Thistle.
A more thorough report about my matchday, the club and the history of the town will appear in my book which is hopefully coming soon.
The following night at Cumnock
That interview on Thistle TV
Matchday Web Album of 32 pictures from Bathgate Thistle
|Duncan James Ashton - Zenit St Petersburgh|
|Stephen Carpenter - AS Fratia|
|100FgC Squad #138 Lee Stewart - Kilsyth Rangers|
|Stephen Carpenter - Vikingur Olasafsvik|
|Groundhopper It - Stade de France|
|Paul Paxford - Bath City|
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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)