3rd Precision Notts Senior League Bonanza

Friday 24th April

453.Kingsway Park
Ashland Rovers 3v3 Newark Flowserve
Notts Senior Football League - Division One
7.30pm k.o.
For this year’s annual visit to Nottingham I was accompanied by the breadknife and my daughter Laura as I drove down to Notts on the Friday afternoon for the first match of the weekend in Kirkby-in-Ashfield. We arrived in the Ashfield District of Nottinghamshire at 4.40pm, but due to the heavy rush hour traffic we didn’t reach the ground until five thirty. With 2 hours to spare until kick off I had no option but to reluctantly spend the spare time in the local Wetherspoons; The Regent which is just along the road from Kingsway Park.

The ground has a nice welcoming archway at the entrance which leads into the park, which was laid out in 1930 on land sold to Kirkby-in-Ashfield District Council by a Miss Catherine Hodgkinson of Kirkby House. The land was to be used and maintained as a public playing field for the community. The football pitch is to the right of the main building opposite the kiddies park. It’s fully railed off down one side and behind the bottom goal with a wooden fence, with the other half of the pitch caged. There are tent style dugouts at the far side with the near side behind the popular spot for spectators benefiting by a slope separating the car park.

Ashland Rovers were originally called Sutton Trinity, formed as a junior team 20 years ago. The club became a senior team and began playing Saturday football as Acrumac FC in the Elizabethan League, before progressing to the Midlands Amateur Alliance when they changed to their current name. The club joined the Notts Senior League in 2013 from the Notts Amateur Alliance.

Ashland Rovers sporting a smart  Denis The Menace style kit, took an early lead when a free kick just over the halfway line from Matt Allen bounced in front of the ‘keepers and over his head into the net. The goalmouth was covered in sand, akin to Stamford Bridge in the 1970s, so this played a major assist in the opening goal. Newark who were the better side in the first half, equalising in stoppage time when Jamie Charlton latched onto a right wing cross, before two well taking headed goals from Luke Boddy made it 3-1 with twenty minutes remaining. This looked game over for Rovers but they showed great spirit to grab a well earned point thanks to Pete Dunn, who scrambled in at the back post from a corner kick on 86 minutes, quickly followed by nipping in front of the ‘keeper to guide the ball over the line. A great game to start off the weekend and the draw meant Newark Flowserve are promoted to the Senior Division.

Matchday Stats and Spondoolicks
ARFC 3(Allen 8 Dunn 86,87) NFFC 3(Charlton 45+1 Boddy 50,72)
Top Bloke - Luke Boddy(Newark Flowserve)
Admission £3
Programme £1
Pin badge £3
Coffee £1 Hot Chocolate £1

Saturday 25th April 2015

454.ButtsPlaying Field
Bingham Town 0v0 Ruddington Village
Notts Senior Football League - Senior Division
10.10am k.o.
After arriving in Nottingham late on Friday night and going out for a few nightcaps, I was up early Saturday morning to first of all move my car to a cheaper car park, then to meet Rob Hornby and his coach load of groundhoppers outside the rail station at 8.30. While queuing to climb aboard the happy bus I overheard an incredibly hairy looking gentleman mention there was a Wetherspoons in Bingham. The town is just 11 miles east of the city centre, so we arrived an hour before kick off, so enough time to find The Butter Cross in the Market Place, where I had a few swiftys with Mark Wilkins. 

Bingham Town joined the Notts Senior League in 2009 and play at the Butt Field, which is as close to the railway station as you could possibly get, just off the eastbound platform. The changing rooms and smart looking clubhouse are on the same side as recently built new dugouts. The ground is shared with the cricket club so it is roped off on all four sides.

Bingham Town kitted out in a dayglow green hi-vis jersey were up against Ruddington Village. The hosts were the better side, creating plenty of chances without severely testing the goalkeeper. The goalless draw upset quite a few groundhoppers which made me smile, as they seem to look upon a nowts each as a bigger disaster than a relegation or a heavy cup defeat for their own particular clubs.

Matchday Stats and Spondoolicks
Top Bloke - Harley Cox(Bingham Town)
(stuck a pin in the teamsheet)
Admission £3
Programme £1
Pin badge £3
Bacon & egg sandwich £2.50
Coffee £1

455. Victoria Park
Netherfield Albion 1v0 Nottinghamshire FC
Notts Senior League - Division One
12.50pm k.o.

Next stop was a nine mile trip to Victoria Park in Netherfield, found just on the A612 opposite the retail park. The ground has the changing rooms at the entrance with a refreshment hatch at the back. The ground is basically two football fields full of dandelions and daisies with the nearer pitch roped off. As the home side wear black ‘n’ white striped shirts I bought one for £3, having some really good crack with the big lad selling the hot drinks and the fellow selling the souvenirs & programmes.
Netherfield Albion formed in 1931, originally playing at Stoke Lane in the Notts Alliance. Amongst their many achievements in their early history was winning the Notts Intermediate Cup in 1936 in front of 2,625 spectators at Meadow Lane. The club have been members of the Notts Senior League since 2009, after progressing from the Notts Amateur Alliance League.
Prior to all the matches on the hop this weekend there was a minutes silence in memory of the Bradford Fire which is about to reach 30 years since that sad day at Valley Parade. The players for this game wore black armbands as the silence was also observed for Nottinghamshire secretary Colin Spencer, who sadly passed away just a few weeks ago while marking out the pitch before a home game. 
This match was a first for me as I’ve never seen a goalkeeper or a linesman (never mind both on the same day) wearing glasses. The Nottinghamshire ‘keeper made a few spec-tacular saves but the match looked to be heading towards another 0-0, which some of us perversely wanted as we headed into the last quarter of an hour. The poor game wasn’t helped by a heavy downpour of rain which would’ve had me soaked wet through, if it wasn’t for the extra layer made up from the three quid football shirt and the use of Chris Berezai’s big umbrella. However a day which promised an orgy of goalless draws was quashed with six minutes remaining when Chris Riley got on the end of a left wing cross to fire home at the second attempt to give Albion the three points.

Matchday Stats and Spondoolicks
NAFC 1(Riley 84) NFC 0
Top Bloke - Chris Riley(Netherfield Albion)
Admission £3
Programme £1
Pin badge £3
Home worn football shirt (no.9) £3
Coffee £1

456. The Poplars
Burton Joyce 3v3 Attenborough
Notts Senior League - Senior Division
3.20pm k.o.
For the next match it was a short 2 mile drive along to Burton Joyce. An acquaintance of Mark Wilkins offered us a lift to a GBG pub on route, so we ditched the bus and went to the ‘Inn For A Penny’ in Carlton before the game. 
Burton Joyce were formed in 1990 as a junior team playing home games at Lowdham. They moved to The Poplars in 1997 and added a senior team to their set up who joined the Notts Alliance Division Two in 2002-03. As well as the changing rooms the pavilion also houses the John Harris Room clubhouse, from there it’s quite a long walk to the football pitch in the far corner over the cricket field. The roped off pitch was in immaculate condition with a set of dugouts on one side.
After two poor games we were treated to more action in the opening five minutes than previously witnessed in the previous 180. Burton Joyce were quick off the mark, missing a penalty in the fourth minute, before Sam Buckle ran through on goal and fired in just a minute later. Attenborough quickly drew level with a nice ‘n’ neat 20 yard free kick from the aptly named Joe Nice, before taking the lead on the half hour mark when Alex Elliker did well to slide the ball into the net from a tight angle. Elliker grabbed his second of the afternoon on the hour mark, meeting a left wing cross on the half volley which looked to have guaranteed the visitors all three points. However after reading the script from the Friday night game, the home team finished strongly and grabbed a draw with a well taking individual effort from Ryan Easom, before Troy Smith was on hand to make it all square. Five minutes from time Burton Joyce ‘keeper Roscoe Easom was sent off when he took out Elliker when running through on goal, but the ten men held on in a thoroughly entertaining encounter.

Matchday Stats and Spondoolicks
BJFC 3(Buckle 5 Ryan Easom 67 Smith 83) AFC 3(Nice 9 Elliker 29,61)
Top Bloke - Alex Elliker(Attenborough)
Admission £3
Programme £1
Pin badge £3 Tea 80p

457. Walesby Sports & Social Club
Sandhurst 4v2 Kirton Brickworks
Notts Senior League - Senior Division
6.15pm k.o.

For the final game of the day is was a 20 mile journey north to Walesby. The longer distance between the grounds gave me a chance to catch up on my sleep, before the coach arrived ten minutes before kick off. 
Sandhurst FC share the Walesby Sports & Social Club with the local cricket club. The pitch is at the bottom end of the site over the cricket pitch, which is roped off with a pair of brick dugouts. The small village club formed in 1994 from a reserve team from Bilsthorpe, formerly playing in the Notts Amateur League and the Notts Alliance before joining the Notts Senior League in 2004.

The battle for the wooden spoon in the Senior Division, produced another good game to round of this 3rd Notts Hop. The visitors Kirton Brickwork were originally meant to host this game, but due to ground issues, Sandhurst their local rivals from a mile along the road staged the event.

Scott Ricketts blasted Kirton into a sixth minute lead, rifling in his free kick from a good 25 yards, but they fell behind with two goals in three minutes before half time. In the 29th minute Lee Shaw nodded in the rebound after the ‘keeper saved the initial shot, then a few minutes later the goalie carelessly flapped an Eric Pearson cross into the net. 
Sandhurst added two more in the second half to take the Brickworks goals against tally up to 136. Kyle Clarkson fired in the spot-kick after a penalty was awarded for handball, quickly followed by a right wing cross picking out Ashley Siddall with a simple finish at the far post. The visitors grabbed a late consolation through Cooper, but a well earned victory for Sandhurst still gives them hope in avoiding the drop.

Matchday Stats and Spondoolicks
SFC 4(Shaw 29 Pearson 32 Clarkson 54pen Siddall 55) KBFC 2(Ricketts 6 Cooper 82)
Top Bloke - Lee Shaw(Sandhurst)
Admission £3
Programme £1
Pin badge £3
Baked Potato with cheese & beans £2.50
Coffee 50p
Chicken & vegetable cup-a-soup 50p

After the game we headed straight back to Nottingham Rail Station, where our day had started over 12 hours earlier. From there I ran back to the hotel to meet Debra and Laura, had a quick wash and change, then I was out on the lash until 1am. 
It was yet again, another well organised Groundhop by Rob Hornby and next year will be the last Notts Senior League ‘Hop. Rob will hopefully continue to organise these events as he’s already in talks with another league for the season after. As is always the case on these weekends its great to meet up with my groundhopping friends, which makes it such a great event, so all going well I’ll be back again next year for the fourth consecutive year of the Notts Senior League Bonanza.

Links -
Rob Hornby's blog
100FgC Archive -
1st Precision Notts Senior League Bonanza (2013)
2nd Precision Notts Senior League Bonanza (2014)

Foetoes (Matchday Web album of 89 pictures from the Notts 'Hop)

Bevvy Almanac
The Regent (Kirkby-in-Ashfield)
Lincoln Green 'Sherwood' (4.3%)***+
Greene King 'George & Flagon' (4.5%)***
Roebuck Inn(Nottingham)
Burton Bridge 'Spring Ale' (4.7%)***+
Milestone 'Crusader' (4.4%)***+
Ye Olde Jerusalem(Nottingham)
Nottingham 'Legend' (4%)***+
The Butter Cross (Bingham)
Grainstore 'Spring Time' (4.5%)***+
Grainstore 'Ten Fifty' (5%)***+
Inn For A Penny (Carlton)
Castle Rock 'Harvest Pale' (3.8%)**** (Re-sup)
Joseph Else(Nottingham)
Mr Grundy's 'Big Willie'(4.3%)****
Springhead 'Argenta' (4.2%)****+
Nutbrook 'S S S Sintra' (4.2%)****
The Ned Ludd (Nottingham)
Navigation 'Apus' (5.5%)****
Ye Olde Salutation (Nottingham)
Woodforde's 'Flagondry' (3.6%)***+
Purity 'Pure UBU' (4.5%)***+
Hop Back 'Summer Lightning' (5%) ****(Re-sup)

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