You are here: Home > Uncategorized > Central Midlands League Bonanza

Central Midlands League Bonanza

There was but a scarce week after the Mid-Wales Hop Up before The Central Midlands Football League Bonanza, but I managed to squeeze three games in between the two!

On Monday evening, I followed an eccentric route to Hinckley United guided by what can only have been a slightly inebriated sat-nav. Hinckley has become almost a regular Monday night fixture as they are one of the few teams using Monday evenings as their midweek matchday. It has not been the best of seasons for them. They have flirted with relegation all season and presently stand one spot off the dreaded drop zone. Boston United, comfortably placed in mid-table were far superior, playing the ball to feet, where Hinckley frequently had little more idea than to hoof  it aimlessly upfield. Boston also had the exquisitely named Spencer Weir-Daley who managed both his side’s goals and condemned the home side to defeat. I ignored a very disgruntled sat-nav on the way home and returned via Burbage, the A5, M1 and A14.

Tuesday evening, I took a trip to Bedworth United. I hadn’t been to the ground since 16th April 1991, a black day for them as they were on the wrong end of a 4-0 drubbing, and, to be truthful, I couldn’t remember it at all. It is a neat little stadium with a pleasant bar and a high seated stand along the opposite touchline. This evening their opponents were mid-table Leighton Town, whilst the hosts were seeking to cement a play-off place. No goals were scored in the first half and I was seriously contemplating the first 0-0 draw of the year. My middle son Michael enquired via text if Tom Cross was in goal  for Bedworth United and I assured him that he was. He told me that Tom Cross was a colleague in the school where he teaches! Five goals were scored in the second half to dispel any lingering worries over 0-0 scorelines and four of them went to the home side with a single reply from Leighton in the very last minute.

On Wednesday, I had an invitation to accompany Chris up to Sheffield for a match at Olivers Mount, the ground of Handsworth FC in Sheffield. They play in The Baris Northern Counties East League Division 1 and indeed, sit proudly at the top of that division. However, it seems unlikely that they will continue for very much longer at this exalted level. When they joined the league, they agreed to improvements to the ground, including pitch side changing facilities, and March 31st 2012 was the deadline for the completion. There is little chance of that being achieved and a spell outside the league looks imminent! They were too good for Grimsby Borough, their struggling opponents, mind you, handing out an emphatic 3-0 defeat. The best, the very best part about the visit, however, was the quality of the steak pies on offer at the half-time break. They were truly scrumptious (as was Sally Ann Howes in “Chitty-Chitty Bang Bang”) and I can honestly say that I have never tasted beef so tender at a football match!

When I texted the half-time score to my son on Friday evening, he texted back: “You’re having a laugh!”. I don’t think he believed that I could ever find a football team to go and see with the unlikely and exotic name of Bilborough Pelican! True it was, however, and they were the first stop on The Central Midlands League Bonanza 2012. They sit next to their neighbours, Dunkirk and Greenwood Meadows in a row of three football grounds off Lenton Lane by the Clifton Bridge in Nottingham and, thinking to arrive early, I found the car park already pretty full when I rolled up over an hour before kick-off. A Norwegian TV channel were covering the entire Bonanza weekend and their cameraman roamed around picking up background material and snippets of news. To get a flavour of the night, the Bilborough Pelican website has some stunning photographs of the ground, before and during the match and the club had put on curry and chips to attract hopping gourmets! Bilborough, riding high in their division in third place, easily disposed of their mid-table rivals, Belper United, by 3-1, but only after Belper had taken an early lead. After the match, the long winding road away from the ground was a ribbon of headlights, past the restaurant with a one-star rating from Michelin and onto the A52, where I took Graeme to his mother-in-laws in Stapleford and came back to my hotel, The Cotswold, on the Mansfield Road and rounded off the day with a very welcome bottle of good red wine!

The next morning, perhaps a little groggily, I found myself the only resident in the dining room at 7.00am when breakfast started. I was still the only resident in the dining room half an hour later when I finished my breakfast which included a jug of fruit juice and three cups of coffee! Thus fortified, I drove somewhat gingerly down to the station car park; it was an overcast morning, but as yet, without the promised rain. Eventually, we found the hoppers queueing patiently for the coach, Graeme hoping, without success, that the green coach with the blonde female driver might be the one, Rob ticking off the names of all the coach hoppers. The second match was at Clifton

Clifton FC 3 Real United 0


and the club had laid on the offer of a full English breakfast and I made a mess of myself with a very runny egg bap!. Their’s was a neat little ground with cover along one side and the prospects of floodlights being installed in the near future. The first game of the day always seems to result in a sluggish performance and today was no exception – at least in the first half.

Clifton 3 Real United 0

There were no goals in the first half, but Clifton scored three past their opponents, Real United without reply in the second period. In the weak and watery sunshine I found myself sitting with uncle and mother of Jake Richardson, the No. 6 for Clifton.

Ever onwards, and the second stop of the day was “The Mill”, home of Basford United Basford United 4 Nottinghamshire Police 1(pronounced “Baysford”) newly arrived in the league and with their very creditable FA Vase exploits now behind them. This time the culinary offering was pie and peas, which I’m told were very acceptable, but by the time I reached the head of the queue, had all been disposed of!

Rob, Herr Bonanza Obersturmbannfuhrer - in the nicest possible way, of course!

Basford United, in a very healthy position at the top of the Black Dragon South Division of The Central Midlands League, easily disposed of Nottinghamshire Police, their opponents, but not before the police had arrested their early progress with the opening goal. United equalised before half time and three further second half goals saw off the visitors. I found myself embroiled with the Norwegian TV station as Rob mistakenly thought I was the representative of Nottinghamshire Police and wanted his interview recorded. There I was on TV trying to explain that I was merely a minor spectator from Northamptonshire and not a member of Her Majesty’s finest!

We travelled up the M1 for the third game of the day past the home of Sheffield FC, reputedly the oldest football club in the world, to the quaint and tidy home of Dronfield Town, shared with the local cricket team.

Dronfield Town 4 Thoresby CW 1

On the menu, but strangely not appreciated by many of the hoppers was bread and dripping, something which had been a regular diet in my childhood and, there being no queue for this particular delicacy, I was able to sample the delights unhindered and with great relish! Dronfield were up against the form team of The Black Dragon North Division of The Central Midlands League. Thoresby CW had lost one of their nineteen games this season and only conceded 9 goals in the process. Only once had they conceded more than one goal in a match and that was in the 2-2 draw at Kiveton Park way back in September. How could they lose?

Before the storm, but Dronfield are already one up!

In the event they were convincingly defeated by a vibrant home side who defied a vicious rain storm, hailstones and the high arching rainbow to inflict a heavy 4-1 defeat on their high flying opponents.

After the storm and Dronfield 4 Thoresby CW 1

There was  some muttering about the timing of the match. Maybe it should have started a quarter of an hour earlier, but the light wasn’t too bad at the end!

On the coach on the way to the final game, the dreadful news from Tottenham Hotspur filtered through. Fabrice Muamba, the Bolton Wanderers midfielder had collapsed on the pitch during a sixth round FA Cup tie and had been taken to hospital, the game subsequently being abandoned. The last game of The Bonanza was at Glapwell, a team who, until recently, had been plying their trade in The Evo-Stik Northern Premier League. They had fallen on hard times and were now second from bottom of The Black Dragon Northern Section of The Central Midlands League.

The last match of The Bonanza at Glapwell

To delight the palate, they had put jacket potatoes on the menu with beans, with cheese or with my particular choice – chilli con carne! The game itself, interspersed with splatterings of rain showers was a routine regulation away win for the visitors, Parkhouse by 2-0. A goal in each half was sufficient to condemn Glapwell to a seventeenth defeat from twenty-five games.

Suddenly, it was all over. The frantic headlong rush from ground to ground, the hasty greetings and brief conversations with hoppers one recognised, the sampling of the fare provided by the very willing volunteers at each club and finally, the coach back to Nottingham Railway Station where the hoppers dispersed, some to hotels and others, like me, to collect the car from the car park and drive off into the wet night. By Monday, when my next fixture represented something of a deja-vu experience, the hop was beginning to meld and merge with all the other hops and bonanzas and become part of the swirl of football matches which defy the memory. Perhaps that is why I construct my blog and like Pontius Pilate I can say “Quod scripsi, scripsi”!

So I  shall finish as I started, On Monday evening, I returned to Hinckley United once again and this time (as last) Hinckley faced Solihull Moors for whom Roger Ashby, formerly manager at Rushden & Diamonds,  was the assistant manager. Once again, as I munched my roast pork and stuffing roll, Hinckley subsided meekly and this after opening the scoring. It all looked to be heading for a tame draw until a live wire Andre Francis scored the winning goal with a diving header and Solihull deservedly took the spoils!

Blue Square Bet North Monday 12th March 2012 kick-off 7.45pm

Hinckley United            1              Boston United                  2

Lloyd Kerry 31                                     Spencer Weir-Daley 26, 70

referee:- Steve Plane                         attendance:- 441


Evo-Stik Southern League Central Division

Tuesday 13th March 2012 kick-off 7.45pm

Bedworth United              4                Leighton Town               1

Mitchell Piggon 55                                   Jell 89

Alex Dean 70

Ashley Spencer 71

Richard Wesley 79

referee:- Liam Jones (Nottingham)      attendance:- 119


Wednesday 14th March 2012 Baris Northern Counties East League Division 1

Handsworth            3                       Grimsby Borough             o

Faffy Gwindi 25, 34  

Scott Bates 65

referee:- Martin Watts (Derbyshire)           attendance:- 127


Central Midlands League Black Dragon South Division

Friday 16th March 2012 kick-off 7.45pm

Bilborough Pelican       3                                 Belper United          1

Joe Ashurst                                                               Kyle Wadsworth

Danny Blanchard

Dave Udoh

referee:-Rob Townsend                                         attendance:- 144


Central Midlands League Black Dragon South Division

Saturday 17th March 2012 kick-off 10.10am

Clifton             3                       Real United                  0

Chris Atkins 51

Craig Anderson 58

Ben Richardson 90

referee:- G. Langton                 attendance:- 267


Central Midlands League Black Dragon South Division

Saturday 17th March 2012 kick off 1.30pm

Basford United             4               Nottinghamshire Police        1

Martin Holt 38                                 Bernard Alves 9

Aaron Hooton 51, 75

Courtney Hastings 90

referee:- M. Barker                           attendance:- 268


Central Midlands League Black Dragon North Division

Saturday 17th March 2012 Kick-off 4.30pm

Dronfield Town               4                   Thoresby CW                 1

John Doran 13, 90                                   Danny House 60

Andy Gange 48, 72

referee:- A. Coleman                               attendance:- 276


Central Midlands League Black Dragon North Division

Saturday 17th March 2012 kick-off 7.30pm

Glapwell                  0                   Parkhouse         2

Lee Clay 23

                                                            James Gee-Pemberton 74

referee:- Steve Abbott                    attendance:- 201


Blue Square Bet North Monday 19th March 2012 kick off 7.45pm

Hinckley United               1                       Solihull Moors         2

Andre Gray 18                                                Stuart Pierpoint 20

                                                                           Andre Francis 52

referee:- Adrian Holmes                             attendance:- 401






Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • Twitter
  • RSS