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July 2017

from:- “The Goals of Bingo Boot” by Allan Ahlberg


Even God had a frown on his face

And powerful reasons to pray.

If I let this in, he told Himself

There’ll be the Devil to pay.

Now Bingo stepped up with the ball

And placed it on the spot

Stepped back, breathed deep, ran calmly in

Then shimmied left … and shot


In nineteen hundred and twenty-two

A little boy was born

His baby cot was second hand

His baby shawl was torn.

Who would have guessed that at the end

This tiny tot would be

The one who beat Almighty God

With the perfect penalty?


No goalie could have saved that shot

No God or Holy Ghost

But it went where Bingo placed it

And hit the holy post

Rebounded like a rocket

To Marie Antoinette

Who skipped up to the other end

And slammed it in the net.




Saturday 1st July 2017

Pre-Season Friendly

Bedfont Sports 5

Milan Ferguson 8,

Kim Pitt 30,

Darryl Thornby 66,

Jacobs Lambe 75,

Ellis Jones 76,

Lyne FC 2

Daniel Gibb 55, 64,
Referee:- Neil Keirs                                           Attendance:- 56
The start of another football season hard by Heathrow Airport where the planes come down so low you could nearly touch them! This was my first visit since 2012 and what a difference. There were new stands, new fencing and new hard standing around the pitch and a new plastic surface, but the iconic clock above the club house still remained. In bright sunshine, the hosts won this match comfortably against the reigning Surrey League Division 1 Champions.

Saturday 8th July 2017
Pre-Season Friendly

Chinnor 1

Rory Lonsdale 19 (pen),

Winslow United 7

Christopher Reid 12, 79, 82, 87,

Marcus Hussey 14,

Alex Woodbine 67, 90+2
Referee:- Andy Bennett                                                 Attendance:- 19
When John Main and I arrived, England had just secured the draw in New Zealand that tied the Lions tour. A large gathering of faithful were enjoying the moment and the breakfast trays were laid out and we were able to help ourselves to a free meal!!! It was sunny and hot and Winslow (from the Spartan South Midlands League) were too hot for the hosts (from the Hellenic League), knocking in five unanswered second half goals with four coming from Christopher Reid!

Saturday 8th July 2017
Pre-Season Friendly

Aylesbury 1

Charlie Hawtin 39,

MK Dons XI 2

Georgio Rasulo 6,

Samuel Nombe 85,
Referee:- John Farries      Admission:- £5            Attendance:- 481
The last time I was here, on 12th March 2009, they were known as Aylsebury Vale (and lost 0-4 to Biggleswade Town). Today, they were very unfortunate to concede a late winner to their illustrious visitors who had chairman Peter Winkelman sitting in the main stand. In the first half the game was competitive with each side scoring before the break. Wholesale half-time changes ruined the second half as a spectacle for the large and festive crowd. A draw would have been a fair result!

“For the good of the city”

Monday 10th July 2017

Pre-Season Friendly

Barwell   0

Solihull Moors   2

Shade 70,

Dapo 86,

Admission:- OMGDS£4 (£6)               No programme

Another regulation pre-season friendly with John Main (who took the photos) and Graeme Askham. It was a balmy evening and a Solihull Moors side containing seven players titled “triallist” on the match sheet, were comfortably held in the first half, but their superior fitness told with a late second second half brace of goals to win the match.

Friday 14th July 2017
Lincolnshire Senior Cup Quarter Final

Grantham Town 3

Lee Shaw 11,

Danny Meadows 19,

George Couzens 73,

Spalding United 0
Referee:- M. Chester                                        Attendance:- 165
Admission:- OMGDS £6 (£10)                      Programme:- £2
My first couple of visits to Grantham were to the old London Road ground which they vacated in 1990, For a short while, they actually ground shared with Spalding United, but in 1991, they took up residence at The South Kesteven Sports Centre, where they have remained ever since. It is a bit like all athletics arenas which are used for football – soulless, with a distant view of the match across the running track. This evening, the visitors huffed and puffed, but they were no match for the rampant hosts, who really ought to have won more decisively!

Saturday 15th July 2017

Pre-Season Friendly

Buckley Town   0

Charnock Richard   4

Spencer Bibby 39 (pen),

Joseph Noblet 84, 87,

Callum Williams 90+1,

Referee:- John Jones                                      Attendance:- 82

Admission:- £3.00                                           No programme

On a fine day, Graeme and I drove up to North Wales for this friendly match which was late starting because the referee didn’t turn up! We nearly didn’t get there after the sat-nav dumped us in an industrial park in the town, only for a friendly face to direct us round the corner and across the road! It was a pretty ground which was very well kept as relegated Buckley took on the newly enterprising Charnock Richard (whom I had last seen playing a match in April 1968 in the final of The Lancashire Junior Shield, when they beat Vickers SC by 3-0 at Chorley’s Victory Park). There was a large following for the away side who competed on even terms for most of the first half. Young John Jones, the replacement referee from the crowd, was able to don his official gear for the second half after his father had dashed home to get it for him. The second half saw the match turn heavily in the visitors favour with three late goals sealing the result.

Saturday 21st July 2017
Pre-Season Friendly

Cosby United 2

Tom Langton 52, 

Sam Miller 81,

Whetstone Athletic 4

Jacob Chambers 4,

Josh Doody 21,

Micah Stewart 42,

Sam Ball 79,
Referee:- Graham Swan                                        Attendance:- 27
On the outskirts of Leicester, both these teams play in The Leicester & District League, although Cosby United were one time champions of The Leicestershire Senior League. Whetstone are a division below the hosts but, today, were by far the better (or better prepared) side. They held a 3-0 advantage at half-time and when the heavy rain halted proceedings on the adjacent cricket pitch, they managed to maintain that advantage despite a much improved second half performance from the hosts!

Monday 24th July 2017
Pre-Season Friendly

Eynesbury Rovers 3

Josh Bamford 35,

Aidan Bream 52,

Jamie Banners 90

Hitchin Town 2

Elliott Bailey 15, 68,
Referee:- Josh Croft        Admission:- £2.00          Attendance:- 57
Rovers are gearing up for the new season and whilst there is still a fair way to go OFF the pitch, this resounding performance suggests that they will be a force to be reckoned with in UCL Premier circles in the coming season.

United Counties League


Peterborough & District League


28 – 30th July 2017

Friday 28th July 2017

United Counties League Division 1

Huntingdon Town 0

Pinchbeck United 0

Referee:- Nicolae Manolescu                   Attendance:- 221

Admission:- £5.00                                 Programme:- £1.00

For this year’s Groundhop, Huntingdon Town were sporting their updated club image. Gone was the grim Cromwellian puritan and the new crest featured hunting and hounds! This, to be fair, is not one of my favourite grounds, and, despite the vast sums of money spent by The Hunts FA, and various grants, some seven years ago to improve it, it still lacks character and is the windiest ground in The UCL.

Newly relegated from The Premier Division, the hosts faced newcomers to the league, Pinchbeck United, who have had to leave their home in Pinchbeck to share with Spalding United, in order to gain promotion.

I think it would be fair to say that Jubilee Park is not John’s favourite United Counties League venue!

This match was a dour struggle. There were few attempts on goal and defences were well on top. Each side was determined not to lose the opening game of their season!

Saturday 29th July 2017

United Counties League Premier Division

Holbeach United   6

William Bird 15, 53,

Lewis Leckie 18,

Nick Jackson 60,

Charlie Sanders 75,

Callum Davies 86,

Sleaford Town   0

Referee:- Lee Hartley                               Attendance:- 333

Admission:- £6.00                                 Programme:- £1.50

My first visit to Carter’s Park, was in 1982 when the now defunct Moor Green were visitors in an FA Cup 3rd Qualifying tie. On that occasion, the hosts prevailed, unexpectedly, by 2-1 in front of a crowd of 259, which, until today, was the biggest crowd I had ever seen at the ground.

Today’s match was a bit of a one-sided affair and sympathies lay with Sleaford Town who have had their woes over the summer, losing a manager and several players in the close season. For them, it will be a season of struggle whilst their opponents look likely to resume their perennial tussle at the other end of the table!

The stadium is well looked – after, neat and tidy, and I always welcome the opportunity to visit!

Saturday 29th July 2017

Peterborough & District League Premier Division

Moulton Harrox   3

Marcus Parry 6,

Matthew Watkin 27,

Dan Woods 44.

Sutton Bridge United   0

Referee:- James Truman (Holbeach)         Attendance:- 280

Admission:- £4.00                                   Programme:- £1.00

Chris Berezai received an ear-wigging for mis-spelling Harrox as “Harrax” – well, you would, wouldn’t you! Les Bull consistently referred to it as Moulton Harro, pronouncing it, he said, after the French fashion! Whatever, the best feature of this visit was the cake stall in the Bowling Green clubhouse. I felt compelled to make a second visit! It would have been churlish to have foregone the opportunity.

The hosts were far too strong for Sutton Bridge United. All the goals came in the first half, after which Moulton cruised to victory without ever having to put their foot down!


Saturday 29th July 2017

Peterborough & District League Division 2

Spalding Town   2

Tom Coote 17,

Ash Wilson 90+1,

Wisbech St Mary Saints  1

Aaron McKenna 40,

Referee:- Mark Grundy                         Attendance:- 241

Admission:- £4.00                               Programme:- £1.00

There is a strange story of the local benefactor who recently died and left £200,000 to Pinchbeck United and £200,000 to Spalding Town and 2p to Spalding United!

This match was played at the former home of Pinchbeck United. Pinchbeck are heavily involved with a project to bring them back to the town, to a new site with substantially better facilities. That is something for the future.

For the present, Spalding Town have inherited the ground and today played hosts to Wisbech St Mary Saints, who are rumoured to have strong financial backing! These two teams may be in Division 2 of this league, but either could hold their own in the top flight. A draw would have been a fair result, but a goal from the hosts in added time at the end, gained Spalding Town all three points!

In the background is the leaning tower of Pinchbeck’s church, overlooking the pitch!

Saturday 29th July 2017

United Counties League Division 1

Bourne Town  1

Josh Russell 90+2 (pen),

Raunds Town  2

Dan Porter 35,

Dave Townsend 81

Referee:- Paul Gregory                               Attendance:- 459

Admission:- £5.00                                  Programme:- £2.00

A few years ago, Bourne Town, who had plied their trade in the Premier Division of The UCL for as long as I could remember, were demoted to Division 1, on the grounds that their stadium didn’t meet requirements for step 5. It was a load of nonsense really. I’ve seen plenty of step 5 grounds that are not fully enclosed! Abbey Lawns is set in a private park and is run by a trust. The park trust looks after cricket, bowls and swimming, as well as football. I can remember umpiring the cricket whilst the football team were playing an FA Cup Preliminary Round tie,  and the matches being adjacent to each other. There would be no chance of watching cricket and football these days, as the football pitch is now closed off! The trust is part of the Bourne Abbey Foundation which can count Adelina, granddaughter of Hereward The Wake, amongst its antecedents.

The club had really gone to town on The Groundhopper visit and there were entertainments and sporting activities all day. The biggest crowd of the hop watched this match!

Sadly, The Wakes were on the wrong side of the result. The visitors looked the better-equipped side and held on to a single goal lead until ten minutes from time. At this point, they scored a second goal, to secure victory, despite an added time penalty from the hosts.

Sunday 30th August 2017

Peterborough & District League Division 1

Long Sutton Athletic   A  

Tydd St Mary   A

Abandoned after twelve minutes due to serious injury to a player

Referee:- A. Murray                                      Attendance:- 346

Admission:- £4.00                                     Programme:- £1.00

Long Sutton Athletic spent five seasons in The Eastern Counties League from 1989/90 to 1994/95, achieving a high of 6th place in Division 1 (1991/92) and ending on a low of 16th in their final season.

Their ground has floodlights and a tiny covered standing area; it definitely wouldn’t meet ground grading criteria for step 5/6. There was a large holiday crowd for the occasion, so it was a great pity that the match was abandoned after only twelve minutes, when the home centre half received a serious injury, thought to be a broken ankle. The referee called the match off some forty-five minutes later. By that time, a couple of paramedics had arrived and administered first aid, but there was no ambulance in sight – another example of austerity Britain – and it was only later that we heard conflicting reports that the player had been taken to Kings Lynn Hospital by taxi, or, indeed, by air ambulance, depending on whom you believed!

Sunday 30th July 2017

Peterborough & District League Premier Division

Leverington  2  

Ryan Alexander 52,

Ivaylo Raychev 90+1,

Peterborough ICA Sports   0

Referee:- Paul Gale                                Attendance:- 304

Admission:- £4.00                           Programme:- £1.00

We got to Leverington quite early, Graeme and I, as a consequence of the previous game’s early conclusion. Fortunately, there was an excellent cake stall and cheese sandwiches – and a bottle of Old Speckled Hen! The facilities were extensive and beautifully kept (“The best toilets I’ve seen for a long time”, I heard somebody comment).

Peterborough ICA Sports – the ICA stands for Italian Community Association – had come to defend and for the first hour or so their tactics seemed to be paying off. However, when the home side struck, they had no means of finding an equaliser, and a second goal in added time  finally killed them off!

Sunday 30th July 2017

United Counties League Premier Division

Wisbech Town   2

Alex Beck 2,

Josh Ford 45+2,

Jon Fairweather s/o 90+2

Wellingborough Town   1

Justin Dowling 50,

Referee:- Paul McVey (Peterborough)        Attendance:- 433

Admission:- £6.00                                     Programme:- £1.00

This is the third ground where Wisbech Town have taken up residence. The old Fenland Park was a magnificent arena with a marvellous Victorian stand. “The Nest” at Outwell was a ground belonging to Outwell Swifts of The Cambridgeshire County League, where they spent a couple of years, before moving to this new arena around seven years ago. It is basic and functional and there are many similar stadiums dotted around the country – Evesham United, Raunds Town and Bishops Cleeve, immediately spring to mind; however, it does have a certain charm and the facilities – cover at both ends and a seated stand down one side – indicate that more thought had gone into the planning and execution than is normally the case. There was also a substantial club house running the length of the pitch on one side of the ground.

I rather suspect that these two sides will feature in the championship challenge this season. Wisbech got off to a flying start, with a goal in the second minute, and then doubled their tally in first-half added time ,as they dominated the period.

I don’t know what went into the half-time cuppa, but the second half was an entirely different matter. Wellingborough looked a team transformed and scored within five minutes of the re-start to reduce the arrears. They stormed forward and Wisbech reeled under the pressure. However, the hosts hung in and despite several good opportunities, the visitors were unable to conjure up an equaliser.

And then ……………………. that was it!! Eight games and the weekend had flown past. It only remained to take to the coach for the final journey back to Peterborough and the third – or is it the fourth? – UCL/PDFL Hop drew to a close.

Sadly, it wasn’t until the final match at The Elgoods Fenland Arena, that real ale was available on tap! At all the other grounds, it was only available in bottles.

I must admit to feeling a touch of nostalgia as this hop drew to a close. Most of the grounds I know well and I have attended several matches at each of them (Leverington and Long Sutton Athletic being the only exceptions). The crowds were excellent and the whole weekend went like clockwork – even the unexpected, like Long Sutton Athletic’s abandonment, was taken in its stride. A lot of hard work goes into the preparation and management of a hop such as this, and Chris Berezai has, once again, excelled in providing a well organised and stimulating weekend!

Here’s to the next hop in South Wales at the end of August!

Other Matches Attended:-

Tuesday 18th July 2017

Pre-Season Friendly

Brackley Town  2   Kettering Town  2                         Attendance:- 337

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