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Holiday Jinx

Holiday Jinx

Decided to take in a week’s holiday in a cottage just outside Colne, Lancashire, at a place a little indelicately named Foulridge. We had rented a cottage called “Toad Hall”, although the only connection with toads was a small stone effigy outside the front door. I had hoped that I might get five matches in if I was lucky……………. but luck, especially in the first part of the week, was a commodity in short supply!

Saturday 13th October 2012 FA Carlsberg Vase 1st Round k.o.:- 3.00pm

Barnoldswick Town                       A                           Maine Road                      A
Match abandoned after Maine Road captain, Eddie Moran suffered compound leg fracture in 12th minute.

referee:- Ms Elizabeth Simms                                          attendance:- 165

All was going well as Daz and I enjoyed a couple of pints of real ale (Cumberland) at The Anchor, a popular waterside hostelry on the banks of the Leeds-Liverpool canal and then bread rolls and further drinks in the well-appointed club house at Barnoldswick Town’s ludicrously named “Silent Night Stadium”! ( I did miss the corned beef hash with mushy peas that was on offer at £1.50 per portion, mind you!).

Saturday 13th October 2012, Barnoldswick Town

Believe it or believe it not, one end behind the goal really is called "The Sewer End"!

Barnoldswick Town v Maine Road, FA Vase 1st Round - match abandoned

Eddie Moran, the Maine Road FC captain is carried off the pitch to a waiting ambulance.

The match had barely started, when the away team captain was severely injured in a clash, in the far corner of the pitch. Amidst constant showers, firstly the club medics and, eventually, the ambulance crew, spent nearly an hour in assessing the damage and making the player comfortable. Eventually, he was carried away to the waiting ambulance and we spectators began to drift out of the ground – in our case we sped into Colne who were playing Norton United in The North West Counties League Premier Division, but we found no luck there either as, arriving just after half time, we watched the remainder of a dreary 0-0 draw against the backdrop of Boulsworth Hill and the sturdy gloomy edifices of Colne town centre.

The XLCR Stadium, home of Colne FC

Colne 0 Norton United 0 North West Counties League, 13th October 2012

Colne FC, ground capacity 1,800 with 1,000 under cover. Record attendance - 1,742 v AFC Sudbury FA vase semi-final 2004

Rainbow over Boulsworth Hill behind the ground at Colne. Daz, who lives in Colne, followed them through the glory days when Conference football was a real possibility!

Monday 15th October 2012  North West Counties League Division 1  k.o.:- 7.45pm

Atherton Collieries                  P        West Didsbury & Chorlton                P

postponed due to a waterlogged pitch.

On the Sunday, we’d had a walk from Foulridge over to Barnoldswick (about five miles there and back) along the Leeds-Liverpool canal (about 44 miles from Leeds and 83 miles from Liverpool) and from the canal we had walked up into Barnoldswick where all was quiet and closed on a dank, Sunday afternoon. On the way back, we stopped for a sandwich at The Anchor, and cake and tea at The Cargo Cafe in Foulridge.

On Monday, we went over to Malham and then down The White Scar Cave at Ingleton (not for the claustrophobic!), before I decided to make the long trip  to Atherton, near Wigan (around 55 miles each way, but it was a hire car, so it got a good thrashing!). Chris had found out a route to the ground for me and I got there in good time, to find all in darkness and another car circling the minute stadium, like a wary toreador before a sleeping bull! We had a chat. Both of us had made fairly lengthy journeys and he was waiting for two friends, who had also made special trips for this match. Suffice to say that my patience was beginning to be sorely tested! Was my holiday football jinxed? Was I fated never to see a game this week in the north-west? Was I being punished for some mortal sin committed? “Infamy, infamy, they’ve all got it in for me”, the eternal cry of the paranoid!

Tuesday 16th October 2012 Evo-Stik Northern Premier League  k.o.:- 7.45pm

Division 1 North

Clitheroe                               2                    Bamber Bridge                         1

Alex Johnson 22                                         Craig Carney 84

Simon Nangle 37

referee:- N. Gibbons                                   attendance:- 205

On Tuesday morning it rained heavily and unremittingly. We went to a mill shopping centre at Oswaldtwistle and spent an enjoyable morning, desperately attempting not to spend money. There were so many things there, so reasonably priced! In the afternoon, the rain abated – but not much. We had soup (sweet potato and red pepper) and  a sandwich in a strangely titled pub :The Hark of The Bounty” in Slaidburn, in the heart of The Trough of Bowland.

In the evening, the re-arranged FA Vase tie at Barnoldswick was scheduled for a 7.45pm kick-off and the entry fee had been reduced to £1.00, with all proceeds going to Eddie Moran, the injured Maine Road player. Well, they would have been if the match had been played, but when I arrived, at 7.00pm, all was shrouded in darkness. Without hanging about, I dashed off to my back-up match at Clitheroe and arrived with fifteen minutes to spare!

At last, I was seeing a football matchup here in the north west! Not a bad game either and the result was just about right with highly-placed Clitheroe maintaining their promotion push, but Bamber Bridge, backed by a small but vociferous bunch of supporters, pushed them all the way!

Wednesday 17th October 2012   North West Counties League   k.o.:- 7.45pm

Premier Division

Padiham                        1                                 AFC Blackpool                      1

Joe Garvin 38                                                    James Walker 12

referee:- Mike Jones (Altrincham)              attendance:- 112

Daz, who lives in Colne, good friend of my eldest son and daughter, accompanied me to this match and we found the car park at the ground pretty full for what was a fairly routine league match. Mind you, Nelson v Bacup Borough, just down the road had been called off!

Padiham Football Club

Padiham 1 AFC Blackpool 1, North West Counties League Premier Division, Wednesday 17th October 2012

The Arbories Memorial Ground, Padiham

The meat pies and gravy were excellent but I was too early for mushy peas which still stood frozen in the pan (Daz had earlier enjoyed a Chinese delivered to his front door!).

Nine or ten steps up to the turnstile was the entrance to The Arbories Memorial Sports Ground, home of “The Storks”. They were challenging for a promotion spot this evening and victory would have put them into second place. However, they met determined resistance from AFC Blackpool (formerly Blackpool Mechanics) and their small but vocal band of supporters, and a draw was probably a fair result.

Thursday 18th October 2012   Northern League  Division 2   k.o.:- 7.30pm

Whickham                                  1                        Esh Winning                         2

Ross Peareth                                                          Dean Thexton, Stuart Thompson

referee:- Craig Gilbraith (Hartlepool)             attendance:- 112

It is 108 miles from Foulridge to Whickham in Newcastle but fortunately, quite a bit of it is on the A1, where my hire car, a pretty bog standard, underpowered Vauxhall Corsa 1.2 SXi, was thrashed to within an inch of its life in both directions, but at least I proved that it could (eventually) sustain 100 mph!

It took me just under two hours to get there, but without sat-nav, I didn’t have much hope of finding the ground. That is, until I spotted that, even at 6.30pm,  the Library was still open! Wonder of wonders in this day and age of public retrenchment! Inside, the two librarians, Debbie and Pauline couldn’t have been more helpful. They were proud of their library and proud too, of the fact that it stayed open until 7.00pm on Thursday evenings. They had found directions to the ground, written them down and sent me very gratefully on my way within ten minutes! I was most impressed!

Whickham FC, Northern League Division 2

Whickham 1 Esh Winning 2, Northern League Division 2, Thursday 18th October 2012

No programmes available. They said they had printed five, but there were non left when I got there forty five minutes before kick-off (h..mmmmmm!). After half-time, I purloined the team sheet that was hanging in the tea room!

Whickham’s ground is shared with the cricket club so, on three sides it is open to the elements, but on the fourth side, behind the goal, there s an impressive covered stand seating 220 people. The match was being played unusually on a Thursday to accommodate Esh Winning who had a presentation evening the following night at “Ramsides” (sic). There was also  the suggestion that a Thursday evening fixture might attract a larger crowd (the previous home match attracted 77 spectators). Have you noticed how the Northern League is the last bastion of the rose-tinted utopia of yesteryear. Not for them “Supreme Divisions”, “Premier Divisions”, “Championships” or even 7.45pm kick-offs. They have Division 1 and Division 2 and evening games kick off, as they always did, at 7.30pm! It must be the first time for me, as well, that consecutive games have produced exactly the same attendance!

I sped back to Lancashire in an hour and forty minutes in the Ford Corsa hearse!

Friday 19th Oct 2012  Chromasport & Trophies United Counties League k.o.:- 7.45pm

Division 1

Thrapston Town                        3                  Wellingborough Whitworth              1

Iain Blaikie 8,                                                         Ashley Bradshaw 72

Jordan Cross 15, 52

referee:- Carl Henry                                         attendance:-

Back home, then, after an interesting break in Lancashire, I could’t resist a Friday evening match with my son Mike. He thought he’d earned a night out at the end of a strenuous week at the chalk face! And he made the most of it with several lemonades at the bar, where he managed to find out that the home right back was a former pupil of mine and – worse still – so was his mother!

Thrapston won an entertaining encounter in pretty wretched conditions with rain falling non-stop during the match! The pie van wasn’t on duty, but Mike nipped out to the chippy for a couple of portions of chips, liberally sprayed with salt and vinegar!

Saturday 20th Oct 2012 FA Cup with Budweiser 4th Qualifying Round k.o.:- 3.00pm

Boston United                         1                   Altrincham                          3

Mark Jones 11                                              Jamie Lawrie 58, Jake Moutt 70

Ben Fairclough s/o 13                                 Nicky Clee 89

Spencer Weir-Daley s/o 70

referee:- Adrian Holmes                             attendance:- 1,200

Chris hadn’t been to York Street, just as he hadn’t been to Tattershall Road, earlier in the season, so I met up with him and Graeme at Downtown on the A1 and we betook ourselves to Boston for my ninety-fifth visit to the ground! Chris acknowledged that it was a proper good ground of league standard, but sadly, Boston let themselves down after a bright start and an opening goal. We were under-impressed with the home crowd clapping dismissed players from the pitch after horrendous tackles! Unimpressed, too with programmes priced at £3.00.

The Jakeman's Stadium? That's a new one on me! I always thought it was plain and simple "York Street".

It really is a pretty impressive stadium, as Chris observed!

Boston Stump, a famous landmark, the tower of St Botolph's Church peeks out behind the newest stand at the far end of the ground

The York Street end where, nowadays, the away fans are penned in!


Nothing much had changed except that there was no sign of either of the two Johns at their usual spot and perhaps there won’t be as time marches on. It is twenty-eight years since I left Boston.

Monday 22nd Oct 2012 FA Cup with Budweiser 4th Qualifying Round k.o.:- 7.45pm


Ilkeston Town                              0                 AFC Fylde                               1

                                                                                  Adam Farrell 2

referee:- Richard Wigglesworth (Doncaster)    attendance:- 696

Ilkeston struggling in the lower reaches of the premier division of the NPL, were easily undone by powerful AFC Fylde  (formerly Kirkley & Wesham), challenging at the other end of the same division and the away side had the added incentive of a home tie to relatively near neighbours, Accrington Stanley! However, for most of the second half, the home side exerted immense pressure, but all to no avail.

Ilkeston Town 0 AFC Fylde 1, FA Cup 4th Qualifying Round Replay, Monday 22nd October 2012.

Pie, peas, chips and gravy washed down with a large hot chocolate were welcome accompaniment!

Tuesday 23rd October 2012 Evo-Stik Northern Premier League   k.o.:- 7.45pm

Division 1 South

Stamford                                1                              Carlton Town                2

Michael Jacklin 80                                              Luke Smithson 22

                                                                                    Adam Kimberley 82

referee:- Marc Wilson (Fen Ditton)                  attendance:- 128

It was so misty that I rang up to confirm that the game was on. Not only was there mist, it was that kind of mist oft referred to as mizzle, with wet damp drizzle mixed in with it. A victory would have put Stamford into second place. Mid-table Carlton Town had other ideas and deservedly won a tight contest. Amazing who you bump into at these fixtures -nothing at  all to do with football – Robin from S&L Cricket Club was there and Bill, a colleague umpire, also turned up with friends!

In the trophy cabinet, Stamford's capture of the 1980 FA Vase pennant (they beat Guisborough 2-0)

Chips and Cornish pastie, Claire, but I was under-impressed, the pastie was rock hard!

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