Thursday, 22 March 2018

Hucknall Rolls Royce Leisure - Your Safety Pal Stadium

Hucknall Rolls Royce Leisure FC
Rolls Royce Sports Ground
Watnall Road
NG15 8HP

Ground Number: 760
Wednesday 21st March 2018
Alfreton Town 2-3 Grantham Town
SCL Youth Development League (Midland East)


There have been many iterations of a Rolls Royce football team in Hucknall, the first being as far back as 1935 which came as a result of the opening of the Rolls Royce factory in the town. Known as ROLLS ROYCE LEISURE they were dissolved and reformed in the 1970's. In 1991 they were renamed HUCKNALL ROLLS ROYCE, joining the Notts Senior League in the process. Their best finish here was 3rd in 1997 and so at this point, they decided to transfer to the Central Midlands League. They had two runners-up spots in the top tier whilst here, finishing second to Gedling Town in their debut season and then again to Shirebrook Town in 2002. On both occasions, they were denied promotion to the Northern Counties East League, due to the changing rooms not being up to scratch. The club dissolved again in 2009, following a few seasons of very poor results and some bottom place finishes. They cited financial issue as the cause - players who wanted paying, referee costs and the costs of travelling which were not met due to lack of sponsorship. They ended their time with 16 succesive defeats, conceding 136 goals and with just two wins all season.

They reformed the same year as HUCKNALL ROLLS LEISURE. A five year spell in the Notts Senior League followed before they rejoined the Central Midlands League in 2014, finishing 10th and 7th in their first two seasons, before dissolving again in 2016. As Rolls Royce Leisure, they competed in the FA Vase, reaching the 1st Round in 2003 after they beat Pegasus Juniors and Shifnal Town, before a 2-0 home defeat to Long Easton United. In their final season, they ended on a high note, beating Blidworth Welfare 2-1 at the home of Alfreton Town to lift the Central Midlands League Challenge Cup. Though the senior club have disappeared, they still have a thriving junior section with a number of teams of all age groups, encompassing over 600 players.


I always like to see an afternoon game if I can and this day was no exception. I'd planned in Mossley as it was geographically close to Glossop where I'd been staying the previous night. However a late contender came in the form of an Alfreton Town academy game at Hucknall Rolls Royce Leisure which would be a new ground for me. I decided to leave it until the day of the game to decide, with pitches still  suffering from the recent bout of bad weather and the tenancy of youth games to switch venue at short notice. On the day of the game, I woke just before 6 am, my body clock not allowing me the luxury of a lie in. I pottered about for a bit and typed up my blog before going for breakfast at 9. That set me up a treat and so after going back to my room for a bit, I left at 10. I still had plenty of time to kill, so tweeted the Alfreton Town academy to see if the game was still on. With the game listed on the FA Website but not their Twitter, I didn't want a wasted journey. I killed some time by waiting for confirmation from one of them by going up to look at Gamesley FC who play in the Cheshire League. It was a reasonable setup for step 7, enclosed and with a railed pitch. At the same time, I got notifications from both clubs that the games were on. I decided to go to the Alfreton game even though it would add a few miles onto my journey as it looked a half decent ground.

It was a pretty drive along the Snakes Pass road although the lack of phone signal was annoying. I wanted to get some pictures, but had to wait a long time for a suitable place to pull over. I arrived at 1pm and parked up. It didn’t take long for kickoff to come once I’d caught up online. Alfreton Town’s academy is pretty impressive for this level, with at least three games taking place this week. You have to make economies at this level and as such, Alfreton were sporting a fetching purple and yellow kit that once belonged to Notts County. Add to this, the referee was a home player, dressed in a puffa jacket and Adidas joggers. Such humble surroundings made for a game played in a good and friendly spirit and no nasty tackles or dissent towards the officials. The two sides were in the bottom half of the six team league, Grantham having just one win all season prior to today.

Alfreton Town were the dominant side early on, their forward having an early chance but blasting over from a few yards out after controlling the ball well. Grantham started to come back into it and took the lead after 10 minutes when a cross was put in from the left and the ball was drilled home from around six yards out. This led to the visitors having a good spell of dominance, though Alfreton did have a chance on the break, heading narrowly over after 23 minutes. They equalised just before the break, their number 10 latching onto a good through ball before finishing past a stranded keeper from 10 yards out. The hosts started the second half brightly, forcing a great save from the Grantham keeper who tipped a shot around the post. From the series of corners that followed, Alfreton took the lead, heading home from point blank range. Both sides had good chances for further goals, Grantham hitting the post with around 5 minutes to go. They were not to be denied however and won the game with two scrambled efforts in the last 5 minutes as they finished the game with a late flourish.


The YOUR SAFETY PAL stadium to give it it's sponsored name is a decent venue for what would have been a step 7 team. There's a railed pitch and a nice sized bit of cover behind one goal. The ground is around a mile and a half from Hucknall town centre and a little bit less from Hucknall Town FC, the clubs being on the same road. Although it wasn't open on my visit, there was a decent looking social club at the ground, where you can get something to eat and drink.

Worsbrough Bridge Athletic - Park Road

Worsbrough Bridge Athletic
Park Road
South Yorkshire
S70 5LJ

Ground Number: 760
Wednesday 21st March 2017
Worsbrough Bridge Athletic 3-6 Retford United


The club was formed in 1923 as Worsborough Bridge St James and has also been known as Worsborough Bridge Miners Welfare for part of its history. They played in local Barnsley and Sheffield Leagues for much of their history before joining the Yorkshire League in 1971. They started in Division 3 but won successive promotions in their first 2 seasons to get up to Division 1. The second half of the 70's saw two relegations to see the club back where they started the decade. In 1982 they became founder members of the newly-formed Northern Counties East League. The first 10 years saw several reorganisations of the league and mixed results but since 1991 they've been in Division 1. Highlights have included a runners-up spot behind Hatfield Main in 1995 although recent seasons have seen them struggle and they currently sit just outside the relegation zone.

Worsborough Bridge have not competed in the FA Cup since 2002 with their record progress being the 1st Qualifying Round. In the FA Vase, their best season came in 1990 when they beat Hallam, Ilkeston Town, Denaby United and Heanor Town before a defeat to Great Harwood Town in the 3rd Round. Local cup wins include the Sheffield Association League Cup in 1966 whilst they were runners-up in the Sheffield Senior Cup in 1974. Famous former players to turn out for the club include Mick McCarthy and Geoff Horsfield. Worsborough itself is a suburb of Barnsley and has a population of around 9,500.


I left my game at Hucknall at 4 with plenty of time to spare. Wanting to kill time, I popped in for a look at Phoenix FC near Rotherham but it was just a social club with a load of pitches, so I didn't bother getting pictures. Even with the rush hour traffic, I was parked up outside Worsbrough Bridge by 5.30, so decided to go in the search of dinner, having not eaten since breakfast. Even though it was drizzly, I decided to walk. My original plan was to go into Barnsley on the bus for shops and a pub, but with a long drive home after, I decided against it. The ‘Taste Of China’ was above average and I had a decent salt and chilli chips with chicken satay skewers for £6.50. I got back to my car at 6.20, killing time by typing some of my blog and reading an essay about England at Italia 90. The rain had started to come down heavier by now, so at 7, I left my car and went into the ground. Entry was a well priced £5 and the programme was £1. It was a fairly thin effort with not much to read, but it made up for it a bit by being well presented. I’d heard about them doing a great pork pie, but all I could see on the side was an Asda steak pie, so not being hungry, I didn’t bother. I did have a bovril though and this helped me warm up as I sat in their club room, waiting for the game to start. I did have chips and gravy at halftime, these were tasty and excellent value at £1.25. Before the game, I spotted a fellow groundhopper and Retford fan who had come along to support his team tonight and we had a good catch up.

I’d noted that the two teams had shipped a massive 166 goals between them so far this season, but when I checked the scoreline of the reverse game, it had been a goalless draw. A repeat would not be welcome and I was hoping to see a few goals.  The visitors were up against it in the opening period of the game, Worsborough had opted to kick down the pronounced slope first half and were taking full advantage, hitting the bar after a quarter of an hour and having other half chances. Retford started to get back into it and they took the lead on 40 minutes through a deflected own goal by Josh Dacre. The slope allowed the visitors to have a bright start to the second half and they came close to extending their lead on more than one occasion. It was 2-0 on 46 minutes, a terrific shot from 25 yards by Kyle Sambor that flew past the keeper. Worsbrough pulled one back just before the hour mark. A free kick was awarded just inside the Retford half and Lee Morris poked home from a few yards out after Retford failed to clear their lines. However, the hosts' joy was short-lived as less than a minute later, Retford restored their two-goal lead. This time a good through ball found Quino de Ataide Dias who had a simple finish past the keeper. Worsbrough just wouldn't lie down and they made it 3-2 when on 66 minutes Morris got his second when he latched onto a great through ball and rounded the keeper. But again Retford regained their lead almost immediately when de Ataide Dias got his second a few minutes later through a low diagonal shot from the edge of the area, 4-2 and game seemingly over.  Ben Gresch-Brooksbank had other ideas though, on 71 minutes, making it 4-3 when he turned in a cross from the left at the far post. The game hung in the balance until the last few minutes but Retford confirmed the win thanks to Kyle Sambor. On 86 minutes he latched onto a long ball and wrongfooted the keeper before tapping the ball into the empty net. On 89 minutes Sambor completed his hat trick, scoring from the penalty spot after a foul just inside the area.

A post shared by Russell Cox (@russ_wwfc) on

It had been a good evening in great company and to cap it all, I won £20 on the 'pick a team' scratchcard by picking Middlesbrough. It's something that I have extraordinary luck with - despite the odds being something like 30-1 each time, I've won on 3 out of the last 4 times I've played. The game had been excellent too, one of the best I've seen this season. The only disappointment was that they didn't have any of the pork pies I'd heard about on fellow hopper Laurence's blog, though to be fair, that was written around 5 years ago. I set everything up for the journey home, pleased that Wycombe had won too, 3-2 against Crawley. Leaving at 9.50, I had a good run home, despite a fair few lane closures. Thanks to podcasts and music, the journey home went really quickly and I  got through the door just after half midnight. I said hello to my Dad who had just returned from holiday and caught up with Twitter. I wasn't tired in the slightest, so I watched Coronation Street and YouTube before going to sleep around 2.30 am.


PARK ROAD is a decent ground for step 6 and would probably be fine a couple of levels higher up. The stand holds around 200 and there are also a further two areas
of covered standing, adding another 200. The rest of the ground is open and has a few more steps of terracing and some good elevated areas for an overall capacity of 2000.

The ground is located around 2 miles from Barnsley and is on the main bus route. Parking isn't great, with a small and tight car park but at least there is street parking. Nearer by, there's an Indian restaurant a couple of minutes walk away and a decent Chinese takeaway 15 minutes walk away. Back at the ground, the tea bar is great value although drink wise you are limited to cans.


1: Ground facilities & condition (for the level)
A nice venue with plenty of character (7)

2: Area around the ground (parking, food/drink, public transport)
Small and tight car park but there was street parking. Two miles from Barnsley with a few takeaways and pubs nearby (5)

3: Welcome / Club Friendliness
A decent enough welcome (7)

4: Value for money
Good value (7)

5: Social Media & Website

Was kept in the loop for tonight’s game (7)

6: Programme

Thin, but very well presented (6)

7: Game entertainment
One of the best games of the season (9)

8: Tea Bar
A decent good value range (7)

9: Bar / Clubhouse
Cans and bottles in the club room - didn’t visit the outside bar (5)

10: Club Shop

None (badges available at tea bar) (N/A)



Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Glossop North End - Surrey Street

Glossop North End AFC
Surrey Street
SK13 7AJ

Ground Number: 759
Tuesday 20th March 2018
Glossop North End 1-1 Droylsden
NPL D1 North


The club was founded in 1886 but between the years of 1899 and 1992, they were known simply as 'Glossop'. Mossley was one of the earliest members of the Football League, even spending a season in the top tier when they finished bottom of the 1st Division. This was thanks to funding by Samuel Hill-Wood who would go on to become chairman of Arsenal. They'd finish 5th in the 2nd Division following relegation and would stay in the Football League until the outbreak of the First World War. Once the hostilities were all over, they dropped down to the Lancashire Combination. Next up was a spell in the Manchester League before joining the Cheshire League in 1978. Four years later the league was absorbed into the newly-formed North West Counties League. Glossop would remain in the top tier until 1988 when after two consecutive bottom-placed finishes, they were relegated to the 2nd Division. They'd remain there for 20 years, finally being promoted following a 7th place finish in 2008. This gave Glossop North End a new lease of life and by 2015, they were North West Counties League champions, earning promotion to the NPL's Division 1 North in the process. They've had some credible finishes since, finishing 4th in their debut season before a playoff semi-final defeat to Northwich Victoria.

In the FA Cup, Glossop got to the Quarter Final in 1909, losing in a replay to Bristol City. Sice they've been a non-league club their exploits have been less impressive, with the 3rd Qualifying Round in 1983 being their best progress so far. Glossop have not pulled up any trees in the FA Trophy so far although they have two FA Vase Finals to their name - losing to Whitley Bay in 2009 and North Shields in 2015.Local Cup wins include the Manchester League Gilcryst Cup four times, the Manchester Premier Cup twice, the Derbyshire Senior Cup in 2001 the North West Counties League Cup in 2015 as well as their Division 2 Cup in 1991. The club's record attendance of 10,736 came against Preston North End in a 1914 FA Cup tie, although this was at their old North Road Ground where they played up until 1955. Cricket is still played on the ground as it was a home venue for Derbyshire for a short time in the early 1900s. The town of Glossop itself is one of the smallest in the UK, indeed, being the smallest to host a top-flight football team. The town's history is based in cotton making and weaving but nowadays it gets most of its business from tourism, with it being on the edge of the Peak District. 


I was never sure where the first game of my week off was going to be. When I booked a week off towards the tail end of March almost nine months previously, I’d not envisaged the wintry scenes that would occur. For the second time this month, we’d been beset by flurries of snow and as a result, choosing somewhere to go had been a bit of a lottery. I’d chosen the safe option of the 3G pitch at Bromley for my Saturday game, but that was a revisit. I’d spent most of my time at home in the warm, celebrating my time off by generally eating and drinking too much and relaxing. But I’m the sort of person who likes to get out and about and was keen to do a game as soon as possible. So a Twitter list was set up with Monday’s options - Dronfield Town and East Yorkshire Carnegie the favourites due to their easterly location but I was also considering Nelson, Daisy Hill and Whitchurch Alport.

The Monday morning came and any hope of a lie in was put paid to when I woke not much later than my usual work time. I checked my chances of a game that night, but as you would imagine with volunteer-run clubs whose helpers all have full-time jobs and families to take care of, news was thin on the ground. The only definite news was that Dronfield were having a pitch inspection at 3.30, though I feared that traffic would make things too tight and that all I’d have to look forward to was a double helping of Coronation Street that evening. I walked down town and back, arriving home at midday. Though the three clubs in the North West had declared their games on, I decided against going as I'd left it too late to book a hotel. I did at least pencil in plans for the next couple of days, booking a hotel in Glossop with the intention of visiting Glossop North End tomorrow. I also planned in a double on Wednesday - a revisit to Mossley in the afternoon and a new ground at Worsborough Bridge in the evening. The rest of the afternoon was spent putting in the research for the next couple of days before a decent evening of TV.

I'd been planning to do a revisit to Mansfield Town in the afternoon, but yet again the weather had intervened and the tie was switched to Wigan Athletic's training ground, a fact that I was lucky to spot to save a wasted journey. Glossop was looking doubtful for my Tuesday night game, so I set up a Twitter list with all my potential options. On the day of the game, I woke up just after 6 am, much earlier than I'd wanted to. I listened to Mike Graham on TalkRADIO whilst I'd waited for the time to come for me to leave. In terms of game options, one of my options, Chadderton, had already bitten the dust and Glossop were planning a pitch inspection at some point during the day. In terms of game options, West Didsbury and Chorlton was my favoured backup, with Bamber Bridge and Thackley close behind. I eventually left at 9.45, stopping for fuel at ASDA along the way. Another stop for a rest was had at Hilton Park and at this point, there had been no news on my game tonight. I got to Glossop just before 2PM, deciding to look in at the ground on the way to check if the game was likely to go ahead. The friendly groundsman had done an excellent job and it was clear from the amount of snow along the side of the pitch, that a lot of work had been put in. I got some pictures of the ground during daylight before going and checking in at my B&B, just down the road from the town. The Peakdale Lodge was decent value at £30 a night including breakfast and although it wasn't high luxury, it was clean and cosy.

I'm always skeptical of whether a referee might postpone a game for some reason, so I didn't want to go out drinking straight away. Instead, I stayed in my room, catching up online and typing my blog for a couple of hours before going into town at 4.30. I had a look around the shops, buying a few random snacks. By the time 5.15 came, I went to Wetherspoons for my dinner. There I had a mixed grill and a pint of Wobbler before going back to my room. I dropped some stuff off and had a drink of Irn Bru before resting for a while. By now, I was getting a little more relaxed that the game would go ahead. I'd been recommended a pub near the ground, The Friendship, so that was my first port of call. It was OK, I guess, pleasant enough. I had a pint of Strongbow for £3.60, but this was £1.50 more expensive and a whole lot less enjoyable than my pint in Wetherspoons earlier. I'd rather have had a pint at the ground and given the money to the club in all honesty. At least it got my hunger for the Glossop pies going, these had a great reputation amongst many people and I was looking forward to trying one.

After paying £8 entry and £1.50 for a programme, I went to the bar, paying £3.20 for a pint of Dark Fruits. I also sampled a couple of their pies, around £2 each with gravy and in my opinion, the lamb and mint pastie beat the balti pie although they were both nice. I was going to try a sausage roll too, but they had sold out. Before the game started, I went to the club shop, buying a pen and book for £3. The opening period had plenty of action and commendable effort, but little composure or quality in front of goal. Glossop opened the scoring on 26 minutes when Darrhyl Mason attempted to cross the ball from the left and although his effort was blocked, he followed it up with a shot past visiting keeper Ritchie Branagan from around six yards. It was all square on 35 minutes, the ball was crossed from the right, a header was cleared off of the line and Dominic Smith followed up from close range. It was the least Droylsden deserved, as they had enjoyed the better of the first half. The second half belonged to Glossop with them having the majority of possession but lacking the finishing touch and a bit of luck. Droylsden almost snatched it at the end too but their man couldn't connect with a corner that fell to him at the far post. It had been a decent contest for the 188 watching spectators and an enjoyable evening at a friendly club. I headed back into town or more specifically Wetherspoons for a couple of pints with me getting back to my room around 11 where I promptly dropped off to sleep.


SURREY STREET is a lovely ground set in the rolling hills of the Peak District. As such, there are lovely views to be had during the day, but even at night, there's plenty to shout about. Three sides have partial cover and this includes around 200 seats. There is also plenty of open terracing. Parking is OK but mainly limited to street parking. 

It's located close to the pretty town centre where a range of pubs and eateries can be found. For drinking, your best bet is probably the Wetherspoons, The Smithy Fold as it is cheap and does a good range to suit all tastes. Food-wise, you can also eat here although you would be much better off sampling the excellent pies at the ground.


1: Ground facilities & condition (for the level)
A decent ground in a nice setting (8)

2: Area around the ground (parking, food/drink, public transport)
Enough parking for all, close to the town (8)

3: Welcome / Club Friendliness
A nice welcoming club (8)

4: Value for money
A reasonable price for the level and ground (7)

5: Social Media & Website

Both decent, amusing match reports on Twitter (8)

6: Programme

A fairly decent effort for £1.50 (6)

7: Game entertainment

An enjoyable contest that just lacked finishing (7)

8: Tea Bar

The highlight of the trip, great pies at cheap prices (9)

9: Bar / Clubhouse
Fairly basic, but homely (6)

10: Club Shop
A decent range at fair prices, a handful of old programmes (6)

(the best so far this season)