May 24th

leohoenig

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Dec 7, 2019
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587
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Cheltenham Town
The First Eurovision Song Contest was held today in 1956.
The United Kingdon did not score any points (but possibly because they did not enter until the following year)

Whether or not your team got "nul points", post where you went to
 

paulh66

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Dec 7, 2019
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1,122
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Tranmere, South Liverpool
Sunday May 24, 1992
Serie A, Parma 1-1 Fiorentina


The fourth week of my inter-rail expedition brought me to Italy, a country I immediately fell in love with. Further seduced by Channel 4's brilliant Football Italia show, I went back a few times in the 90s and it's still a favourite today. This game, however, took place a few months before James Richardson & Co first hit our screens so my knowledge of Italian football was very limited at the time.

This was a good time to visit Parma. Enjoying only their second ever season in Serie A, ten days earlier they'd won the Coppa Italia for the first time, a 2-0 second leg win over Juve securing a 2-1 aggregate. Under up and coming boss Nevio Scala and backed by Parmalat's fortune hidden losses, this was the beginning of a golden era for the provincial club, who of course went on to European as well further domestic success throughout the 90s before falling victim in 2004 to the financial scandal that broke its benefactor.

After a leisurely morning stroll over to the Stadio Ennio Tardini, a modest affair but with an impressive old archway by the entrance, I was delighted to find tickets still available for this lunchtime kick off. I was in the uncovered home end (a proper 'curva' in those days) and, once inside, was struck by how basic the ground was for a top flight club, although they were about to redevelop it to meet Serie A requirements. Here's how it used to be:

image.jpeg

This handy website has the full line ups here: https://www.transfermarkt.com/ac-parma_ac-fiorentina/aufstellung/spielbericht/2216656. Three names stood out for me - Brazilian keeper Taffarel and Swedish striker Brolin for Parma and the Brazilian Dunga for La Viola. Can't remember why Batistuta didn't play. Brolin came off the bench and, with spectators encroaching on the touch line, scored a last minute penalty to equalise. Cue end of season celebratory pitch invasion as the game ended without restarting, probably prematurely. Despite the madness, by Italian football standards this was quite a relaxed afternoon, being the last game of the season with nothing really riding on it.

Found a clip of the brief TV highlights - picture quality isn't great but it's watchable and only a couple of minutes long:

Flushed by a grand day out and in a city renowned for its food I popped into a trattoria that evening and ordered a local dish, not realising what it was and ignoring the concerned look of the waitress. A very nice bottle of red helped me get down most of my raw mince salad but it was pizza for me from then on..
 

Hoddy1.

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Joined
Dec 7, 2019
Messages
849
Team{s}
Crewe Alexandra.
England.
1995.

Wednesday @ 16-30.
Czech top tier.
Viktoria Plzen 2 v 0 Sigma Olomouc.

@ Lucni Stadium.

Stadion Lucni ulice - Plzeň
Stadion Lucni ulice - Plzeň

1,690.

Viktoria Plzen - Michal Caloun , Miroslav Mika , Zdenek Becka , Petr Vicek , Miroslav Janota , Jiri Studenik , Milos Slaby (1 Pen) , Jaromir Plocek , Jiri Skala , Tomas Herman , Robert Vagner (1).
Subs - Stanislav Purkart for Vagner , Jaroslav Diepold for Mika.
Manager - Stanislav Michalek.

Sigma Olomouc - Martin Vaniak , Jiri Vadura , Martin Kotulek , Michal Kovar , Karel Rada , Jiri Poviser , Marek Holly , Oldrich Machala , Jiri Barborik , Milan Kerbr , Miroslav Baranek.
Subs - Josef Mucha for Barborik , Martin Svedik for Poviser.
Manager - Dusan Radolsky.

Referee - Adolf Ruzicka.

Change of plan today , give a miss to the Internationals , the doubles in Czech / Sweden & Georgia and settle for an unusual venue in Czech.
With the main stadium in Plzen being renovated again the local Viktoria side were playing league games at their 2nd stadium a few hundred yards away across the River Mze.
https://www.google.co.uk/maps/place/Doosan+Arena/@49.7525544,13.3885218,899m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m5!3m4!1s0x470af1e929dab027:0xaf4184b8c70d7950!8m2!3d49.7500024!4d13.3852493

This was the opening game of a 1 month Inter Rail , eventually doing 29 games in 26 days (24th - 18th) and meeting up with my sparring partner off here in Zabrze.
Doubles in Czech / Germany / Sweden and Denmark , shan't bore you with the details.
Only had another 2 one month I R's after this as I don't fancy scraping barrels on a regular basis , one in 96/97 (25 in a month) and then in 97/98 (24 in a month) after this it was shorter more confined tickets and of course spreading wings.

Going into this game there was nothing to play for , this is the problem of Hopper completists , sometimes going mediocre games for that important tick :unsure: .
Viktoria were 12th of 16 and Sigma 9th , both not in danger of relegation / UEFA places.

Having said that it was a decent game played on a dreadful ground , I'm not sure how long they were here , they were here for the remaining home game of the season .

Viktoria were by far the better team on the evening scoring through Vagner on 10 mins and then having to wait until the 80th minute to wrap it up with a penalty by Slaby.
Viktoria finished the season in 9th position and Sigma 8th.

it took me a long time to get to the main stadium , it was on Aug 7th , 2016 for a league game v Bohemians ( 14-30, 1-1 , 10,890) followed by a revisit to Teplice v Sparta (19-00 , 0-0 , 14,782)

The Internet is a wonderful tool as is google but their only as good as the information entered .
The game above has the wrong date and the wrong venue on the beloved site of many on here.
36 x games (35 / 1 x Summer), 3 x doubles , 0 x 0-0's. (25 x foreign).


Old times: The group became an overnight success after winning the 1981 Eurovision Song Contest with catchy single Making Your Mind Up
 
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SimonUpNorth

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Joined
Dec 7, 2019
Messages
96
Team{s}
North West non-league
2016 - Denton Town 4 Rylands 2 (HT 1-1) - Cheshire League Premier Division
My 1st and only visit to Whittles Park - Attendance 51

Denton Town are one of those borderline clubs - the are from Tameside, so I'd expect them to be in the Manchester League, but they are instead Cheshire League. So I had not previously noticed them as being so close to get to. But with local fixtures being thin on the ground, I looked a bit further, and as I was finishing work at 6pm in Rochdale, and KO was scheduled for 6.45pm this seemed a good match. I had also never been to Denton the town before. So driving through the town centre part of Denton on the way to the ground, on the pavement as I was approaching, an old lady had just left a food shop with a bag of what appeared to be bread, milk etc... and I witnessed a big man snatch it from her and run away up the road - just as I was passing. Slowing slightly, I kept my eye on him to see what happened next and he nipped down a side street, thought no-one had spotted him and was keeping a look out for anyone who might had been chasing him. So I stopped just after the junction and took photos of him until he looked like he'd noticed, drove off and reported it to 101, later sending the local officer that called me back the photos, as he sounded convinced he knew who it was.

So after all that drama, I arrived 10 mins late... to find that for unknown reasons, the KO had been delayed also for 10 mins, to 6.55. Whittles Park is very pleasant and it was a lovely sunny evening. There was not much on the game as both teams were already safe from relegation near the bottom of the table. I was hungry and thirsty, and there was a tea and food cafe there - but I had forgotten to bring any money so had to do without (lucky it was free entrance to the game).

Rylands took the lead on 3 mins, but this seemed to push Denton into action. Equaliser came on 11 mins - shot so hard that the goal came off its moorings - several minutes were spent to get it fixed again. No further goals up to HT, but Denton took the lead 8 mins into the 2nd half and scored again 2 mins later. Rylands pulled one back 10 mins later then 78 mins and Denton make it 4-2. Overall great game and ground.
 

Oxpete

Youth Team Star
Joined
Dec 7, 2019
Messages
398
Team{s}
Pompey
The second of my two trips to watch Swansea at Wembley Stadium...

Saturday 24th May 1997 ~
Division Three play-off final
Northampton Town 1-0 Swansea City


...in front of 46,804, of who an impressive 35,000 were there from Cobblershire to witness Northampton's first ever visit to Wembley Stadium in their one-hundred year history, on a warm and sunny afternoon.

Unfortunately, it wasn't a terribly good match, littered with errors and nerves on both sides, with few clear-cut chances. Cobblers were the better side for most of the match, and deserved their win, though from the Swansea seats it was painful to see them do it so deep in injury-time with a re-taken and re-positioned free-kick around the defensive wall.

1590276421629.png
 

Chris1963

Youth Team Starter
Joined
Mar 10, 2020
Messages
268
Team{s}
Oxford United / groundhopper
1995.
Wednesday @ 16-30.
Czech top tier.
Viktoria Plzen 2 v 0 Sigma Olomouc.

@ Lucni Stadium.
With the main stadium in Plzen being renovated again the local Viktoria side were playing league games at their 2nd stadium a few hundred yards away across the River Mze.
I was also at that match, although I can't remember if I saw you there. Another hopper and myself had turned up at the main stadium expecting the game to be played there, only to find it empty apart from a bloke manning the admin office. We were probably expecting to have to make a dash across town but to our relief we were told that the venue was a short walk away.

Later on in the same tour I ticked the main stadium for a re-match of the 1976 European Championship Final between West Germany and Czechoslovakia. I know you probably wouldn't attend a game like this but in those pre-internet days it was the only match I could find on that particular day, Friday 9th June. Most, if not all, of the players from 1976 were playing in the re-match although Sepp Maier was the only one I recognised straightaway. Czechoslovakia won 3-2 but a penalty contest still took place afterwards, presumably as a tribute to the one that had taken place in 1976, and this was won 4-3 by the Czechs. A programme was issued but I have no record of the crowd figure.
 

Ropemaker

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Dec 8, 2019
Messages
481
Team{s}
Hailsham Town
Just the two games for me on this date, both Football League Trophy finals, Freight Rover Trophy as was then, at Wembley

1986 Bolton Wanderers 0 Bristol City 3 Att: 54,000
1987 Bristol City 1 Mansfield Town 1 (Mansfield won 5-4 on pens) Att: 58,586
 

Hoddy1.

Reserve Team Starter
Joined
Dec 7, 2019
Messages
849
Team{s}
Crewe Alexandra.
England.
I was also at that match, although I can't remember if I saw you there. Another hopper and myself had turned up at the main stadium expecting the game to be played there, only to find it empty apart from a bloke manning the admin office. We were probably expecting to have to make a dash across town but to our relief we were told that the venue was a short walk away.

Later on in the same tour I ticked the main stadium for a re-match of the 1976 European Championship Final between West Germany and Czechoslovakia. I know you probably wouldn't attend a game like this but in those pre-internet days it was the only match I could find on that particular day, Friday 9th June. Most, if not all, of the players from 1976 were playing in the re-match although Sepp Maier was the only one I recognised straightaway. Czechoslovakia won 3-2 but a penalty contest still took place afterwards, presumably as a tribute to the one that had taken place in 1976, and this was won 4-3 by the Czechs. A programme was issued but I have no record of the crowd figure.
Think I saw you a couple of times on this trip but no idea where.
Yes have not mentioned going back to Plzen for the main stadium , will do so now. You are correct in thinking I would not consider watching that game you saw there.
Re Friday the 9th I'd moved up to Gothenburg and 4 / 5 days or so at Hakans , Friday was Qviding v Asa (2-1 , 275 @ Torpvallen).
 
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Wiretown.Editor

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Dec 7, 2019
Messages
93
Team{s}
Warrington Town are #1, Leeds Utd, Stranraer, Matlock Town, Warrington Wolves RLFC
1994 Sealink Stenna Welsh Alliance Premier Division Llanwrst United v Rhydymwyn 2-7

1995 Sealink Stenna Welsh Alliance Glantraeth v Prestatyn Town 2-3
A remote ground to say the least. In South West Anglesey. The name was that of a restaurant adjacent to the ground I was told. There is settlement called Glantraeth as such. It was railed and later had a stand added although not for this visit, I think. It was near the hamlet of Trefdraeth and a bit further from Bodorgan which had a station, probably a mile from the ground though. No prog for this game but I think I did get one via Mark Jones @ Prestatyn Town (club shop) at some point.

1999 Llandyrnog & District Village Clubs Summer League Ysceifiog v Llanfair Dyffryn Clwyd 2-8
Still on the old ground back then. They are in Brynford these days, a couple of miles away.

1590277787285.png

2001 Talacre Beach Caravan Park Clwyd League Premier Division
Trefnant Village v Penrhyn United 7-2
No longer used in the summer league but this was not a summer league game. The only time I have seen the Saturday side play at home.

1590277875724.png

2007 Llandyrnog & District Village Clubs Summer League Llangynhafl v Ysceifiog 1-1

2008 Silver Star Holidays Gwynedd League Llanystymdwy v Real Llandudno T123 9-2
A railed pitch tucked away on the edge of this small village. It was fully enclosed. No prog although they were known to issue. I got one at some point.

2011 Frank Armitt Liverpool County FA Premier League Premier Division
Red Rum v Sacre Coeur Former Pupils 1-2
A pitch at the back of a school not far off the East Lancs Road. This may be the game Len S issued for them. I did this ground twice as a result. It was basic in the extreme. Just a rope down the side.

2012 Llandyrnog & District Village Clubs Summer League Ysceifiog v Llangynhafl 0-5

2014 Stagecoach Scottish Juniors West Region Central District Division One
Maryhill v Larkhall Thistle (T351) 1-1
One of my favourite Scottish Juniors grounds just for the quirkiness of it and the pitch dug down below spectator level. A gem and well worth a visit. Fully enclosed, crumbling terracing in places, part with open seating and a large covered section down one side. Most surprisingly was they issued for this match (were regular issuers). A great way to start a week away.

1590277976723.png

2016 Hallmark Security Cheshire League Two Halebank v FC St. Helens 4-4
An enclosed railed pitch near Widnes. Len S issued. This was a great game with a result that kept our reserves in the promotion race. I think that only the draw would have. A good few hoppers here and also including our reserves manager at the time
 

Stephen Harris

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Apr 18, 2020
Messages
56
Team{s}
Leyton Orient
Six for me on this date:

1989: Fourth Division Play-off Semi Final - Scarborough 1 - 0 Orient - Att: 4,377
With Orient 2-0 up from the first leg they opted for a defensive line-up tonight and the travelling support witnessed an epic match where the O's saw off wave after wave of attack to progress to the final. Maverick player, and later to be an even more maverick manager, John Sitton had his finest hour in an Orient shirt. They shall not pass. After the game we faced a barrage of stones thrown at us by local youths as we returned to our overloaded minibus for the long journey back to east London.

1992: Third Division Playoff Final - Stockport County 1 - 2 Peterborough United - Att: 35,087
There was some kind of football fans fair going on at Wembley Arena and I had somehow ended up manning the Leyton Orient stall, selling club souvenirs and my own Orient fanzine. Anyway, I shut shop and went to watch this match, paying for entry on the turnstiles.

2008: Regionaliga Sud - Stuttgarter Kickers 1 - 1 VfB Stuttgart II - Att: 7,190
A big crowd and a great atmosphere here at the Waldau Stadion for a Stuttgart derby, albeit against VfB's stiffs. A likeable ground I thought.

2008: Oberliga Baden-Wurtemburg - Suttgarter Kickers II 1 - 2 VfL Kircheim/Teck- Att: 200
Across the road for my second game of the day on an outer pitch at Waldau. Except it was not as simple as that - for some reason I had to go into the city centre and check in to my hotel between matches. Fortunately there was just about time, although it was not as relaxed as it should have been. In my hurry to get in to the second match before kick-off, I somehow neglected to pay for entry and was then too embarrassed to try to rectify this given my limited language skills.

2014: Essex & Suffolk Border League - Gas Recreation 2 - 1 Alresford Colne Rangers - Att:90
Gas Rec are almost always one of the top teams in this league and this season was no exception as they were crowned champions of the Premier Division at the end of this game. Unfortunately their ground in the suburbs of Colchester is basic in the extreme, to the extent that promotion has never been an option for them. I can vouch for the accuracy of the attendance figure for this match as I counted it myself and the home club secretary asked if he could use it to save him the bother of having to come up with an estimate.

2019: 2 Liga - FK Austria Wien II 2 - 1 FC Wacker Innsbruck II - Att: 212
I don't suffer from the fear of reserve and youth team football that afflicts some football enthusiasts and indeed I sometimes relish the opportunity to see a different aspect of a club. But I will admit that this was not my chosen fixture tonight. I had something planned for tonight in a village to the south of Vienna but so far as I could see there was no train back to the city afterwards, so my attendance here, and a first visit to the rebuilt Generali Arena was a bit of an emergency Plan B. Leo H, who is more skilled in these matters, managed to do the journey that I thought impossible; so I look forward to his notes on the match I didn't see.
 

hantslondoner

Youth Team Hopeful
Joined
Dec 7, 2019
Messages
189
Two games seen on this date, a long time ago...

1979 - Suedbaden Vereinspokal Semi-Final - DJK Freiburg 3 SV Hausach 2 - For some reason, played at 5.30 p.m. on a Thursday. Exciting game, in which the home team just kept ahead, despite a lot of pressure from the visitors in the last 20 mins. Two penalties for the hosts and an own goal helped, Grossklaus' spot kick turned out to be the winner.
DJK lost 1-2 to Oberligisten FC Villingen 08 in the final. Both teams also had a place in the main DFB-Pokal the following season, so the win I saw was a big thing. DJK Freiburg won their first round game but got stuffed 2-7 by Bundesligisten Waldhof Mannheim in the second round. Villingen had a trip to champions Hamburger SV and lost 0-6.

1987 - also at the Freight Rover Trophy Final @Wembley - Mansfield 1 Bristol City 1 (5-4 pens)
Another decent game, in front of a big crowd (58586) - after a goalless first half, two left wing crosses provided the goals - Kent put the Stags, who were the better team for most of the 90, in the lead, Riley equalised late on for the Robins, who then had the better of extra time. Keeper Hitchcock was the matchwinner in the shootout, saving two spot kicks while Kenworthy converted the winning one.
I read somewhere that this was the first ever Wembley final to be decided on penalties.

Highlights here:
 
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Ellisref

Junior Team Sub
Joined
Jan 9, 2020
Messages
43
Team{s}
Wrexham and a general look out for some of the friendly teams I've been observing at around the country.
A nil offering from me today so my rules on other sports needs to be bent. There is a tenuous connection with the game we love - as you'll see at the end.

1973 - Poole Municipal CC v Mudeford CC (De Zoete Cup). This was a midweek cup for teams playing in Bournemouth League. It's of note (to me) as it was the first 6 I'd scored in men's cricket, in an unusual manner. We needed two to win and went for a risky second run, they missed and four overthrows occurred, giving me as massive 19no. Purists might say it's 5 but the scorebook says 6. The connection with our game is that it was played at Kings Park, Bournemouth. If, after sampling the delights of Boscombe town centre on your way to Dean Court, you'd have undoubtedly walked across the pitch it was played on, being one of the three cricket squares on the big open space from the main road.

Football will be resumed tomorrow!
 

Kirby Knitters

Reserve Team Star
Joined
Dec 7, 2019
Messages
1,292
Team{s}
The Knitters.
1978.
International.
England 4 Hungary 1.
Adm. £2 (East Upper Standing)
Att. 74,000.

1986.
Freight Rover Trophy Final.
Bristol City 3 Bolton Wanderers 0.
Adm £3.
Att. 54,502.
 

Karb

Youth Team Regular
Joined
Dec 7, 2019
Messages
347
Team{s}
Sunderland AFC,
Keighley Cougars RLFC
One football, one cricket

2009
Barclays Premier League
Sunderland 2-3 Chelsea
Att: 42,468


Ricky Sbragia's time as manager started brightly following Roy Keane's sacking. An excellent defensive performance at Old Trafford, where only an injury time winner prevented Sunderland from returning with a point was followed by 4-0 and 4-1 wins in the next two games. But since Christmas there had been only three wins. Somehow, though, there were several sides worse than Sunderland. West Brom were down, Boro looked almost certain to join them, and Newcastle and Hull were also below the fifth from bottom Wearsiders. Nonetheless, a win was needed to be mathematically safe.

The first half was goalless, the biggest cheer coming shortly before half time when Damien Duff's own goal put Villa ahead against Newcastle, but the game sprang to life in the second. Anelka put Chelsea ahead two minutes after the interval with a 20 yard effort that flew into the top corner, only for Kieran Richardson to level 6 minutes later after Cech failed to collect a cross. Kalou restored Chelsea's lead on 74, and Ashley Cole sealed the win on 86. Perhaps with one eye on the Cup Final, poor Chelsea marking allowed Kenwyne Jones a free header on 90 minutes to reduce the deficit.

Despite the defeat, there were celebrations after the final whistle, and throughout the evening, as Sunderland survived and both Middlesbrough and Newcastle went down. Fewer celebrations in the Sbragia household though, he resigned after the game.

2016
Specsavers County Championship Division One
Durham 190 and 238-6 beat
Warwickshire 313 and 114 by 6 wickets


I don't keep records of cricket matches attended, but I found my ticket from this game when I was sorting through some paperwork recently, which reminded me.

For an all too short period, my job at the time was flexi-time, which helped to start my groundhopping life. On this day, I started at 6am and did a half-day, so was at Edgbaston in plenty of time for Day 3 of this game, on a sunny day in Birmingham.

Warwickshire were 15-2 overnight in their second innings. a lead of 138. Andrew Umeed had scored his debut century in Warwickshire's first innings, before Chris Woakes' 9-36 in Durham's first innings had put the home side in control. Woakes then opened the batting in Warwickshire's second innings before heading off overnight to join up with the England team after an injury to Ben Stokes. Graham Onions had taken the two wickets to fall before the close.

Young paceman James Weighell did the damage for Durham. His 5-33 and match figures of 9-130 were both career bests at the time. Only three Warwickshire batsmen made it into double figures, as they were bowled out inside 38 overs.

Set 238 to win, Mark Stoneman and Keaton Jennings scored 67 without loss at tea, only for the game to swing back towards Warwickshire after the interval. In only the second over after the restart, Chris Wright trapped Stoneman lbw, the first of four wickets in four overs for Wright, leaving Durham 87-4. Jennings and Collingwood took the score to 154-4 at the close.
 

Ricardo

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Joined
Dec 8, 2019
Messages
42
2015 Farense 4 Feirense 1 crowd 750 Portuguese 2nd Division

Five years ago when the kids were a bit younger I was able to persuade my wife that we could take our main holiday at the end of May which happily enough could coincide with the odd game here and there at the end of the season, unfortunately now that they are older and exams are more important I can’t get away with that stunt any more.
I had come across Farense a few years before when staying at Vilamoura they played an early round of the Portuguese cup there with full segregation and a large number of police so it would seem their fans must be somewhat volatile but for this last game of the season less than a thousand bothered to turn up. The visitors were one of about 4 teams who still had an outside chance of going up so it was a surprise to see they literally only had 2 or 3 fans there to celebrate them taking a first half lead even though it’s about 400 miles from where they are based in the north of the country near Porto.
In the second half it became clear that the promotion rivals were winning too so any chance of promotion were ebbing away, Farense took advantage of this to hammer home four goals without reply to give those who had bothered to turn up on a glorious day something to remember during the summer break. For a while it seemed that the local authorities were trying to get Farense to play at the Algarve stadium which is in the middle of nowhere(although they have finally opened a railway station nearby now) but they have successfully resisted and stayed at their town centre São Luis ground which is much more suitable for their needs. Apart from anything else it’s not far from Faro railway station which serves quite a few destinations so holidaymakers like me can go home on the train as I did that day.
 

Desselsportfan

Junior Team Starter
Joined
Dec 7, 2019
Messages
75
Team{s}
Dessel Sport, Oxford Utd and all North Devon Clubs
Just the three today, starting with a double in:

2002
FC Schuttorf '09 v SV Wilhelmshaven 5-3
Oberliga Niedersachsen/Bremen

BVO Emmen v FC Den Bosch 0-3
Nacompetitie

2017
Chivenor v Shamwickshire Rovers 2nd's 4-2
N.Devon Snr

1980
Had just moved to South Yorkshire and the opportunity arose to see the West Indies touring side play Derbyshire at Chesterfield.
Day 1
Derbyshire made 229 all out, the highlight being a patient 96 from John Wright. Marshall and Roberts got the bulk of the wickets.
More on day 2 tomorrow.
 

Stoodley Pike

Youth Team Star
Joined
Dec 9, 2019
Messages
415
Not football but a football ground…

Saturday 24th May 2003
Oldham St Annes 15 West Hull 14 (HT 2-8)
BARLA National Cup, Final @ Bloomfield Road, Blackpool (3.0)
Admission £5
Attendance 1,646
Programme £2 (32pp)


Back in the days when this competition was a big deal, even if its Blackpool venue had shifted a few hundred yards from Blackpool Borough Rugby League Club’s defunct Borough Park (now a retail and leisure facility) to Blackpool Football Club’s revamped Bloomfield Road.

This was the British Amateur Rugby League Association’s 30th anniversary year. In his programme notes, Maurice Oldroyd, Halifax-based BARLA chairman, described Blackpool as the “spiritual home of the National Cup Final”. Less accurately, he suggested the tackiest of all British resorts was “one of Europe’s top family holiday destinations”.

Oldroyd predicted a “cracking encounter” between two of BARLA’s “top clubs”, both leading lights in the flagship National Conference League. Former Great Britain player Garry Schofield (a former BARLA Young Lions captain) was the special guest at the pre-match lunch. I hope he didn’t say much.

It was, indeed, a superb game, which on a sultry afternoon I watched from the rebuilt main stand. The ground looked very different to October 1988, when I ticked it for football (a 3-2 Blackpool win, watched by 7,045, over Third Division rivals Port Vale). St Annes, who’d only just avoided relegation from the NCL Premier Division after a punishing end-of-season schedule, pipped hot favourites West Hull thanks to a Danny Tyrell drop goal six minutes from time. It completed a tremendous fightback from the Oldham side, who had trailed 2-10 early in the second half.

West Hull were hit badly by the loss of influential captain Chris Verity. The loose forward was stretched off, with knee ligament damage, two minutes before half-time.

The East Yorkshiremen, for whom Loz Wildbore (13), Terry Lynn (21) and Stuart Leake (55) crossed, outscored their opponents three tries to two but could add only one goal, through replacement Dave Roe. Skipper Richard Badby (48) and Graeme Sykes (60) went over for Saints. Tyrell, as man of the match the recipient of the Tom Keaveney Memorial Sword, kicked three goals to add to his drop goal.

Saints coach Chris Deakin told League Express: “It was an incredible performance from our lads and I can’t pay enough tribute to them. Danny [Tyrell] was head and shoulders above everyone. He was a tower of strength and that drop goal was magnificent. Mind you, that six minutes until the final whistle felt like 60. It was the longest period of my life.”

Other sports:

Cricket at Western District Cricket Union Prestwick (2017). A McCulloch Cup (South Group) T20 tie at Henry Chow Oval, an unremarkable ground. The Premier Division hosts beat First Division Irvine by eight wickets. Neither team could catch. Prestwick put down three chances, Irvine four.

Heworth 36 Eastmoor Dragons 8 (2014, National Conference League, Division Three). Elmpark Way has the best facilities in the flagship National Conference League. They extend to a stand, floodlights and grass ‘terracing’. Both teams were in the bottom three but Heworth won easily. All over in the first half, during which the York men ran in six tries without reply, to lead 32-0. Torrential rain began falling at half-time. Eastmoor 'won' a weather affected second half 8-4. A crowd of 110 included a London-based hopper, to whom I gave a lift to York railway station. If he’d walked, he’d have drowned.

Featherstone Lions 34 Liverpool Buccaneers 26 (2008, rugby league, Conference National). A brawl in the 48th minute at Millpond Stadium resulted in two Lions players being sent off and two, one from each side, sin binned. Two tries in the last nine minutes saw the defending champions, for whom prop Mark Tepper led the way with a hat-trick of touchdowns, to victory in front of 150 spectators. Lions appeared to be coasting when leading 22-6 after 23 minutes. An amalgam of the Featherstone Amateurs and Travellers Saints clubs, Lions have since joined the ‘proper’ National Conference League. Sadly, West Derby-based Buccs have disappeared from the rugby league scene.

Hull Vikings 48 Stoke Potters 42 (2000, speedway, Premier League). Stoke, managed by ex-Vikings rider turned local pub landlord Nigel Crabtree, gave Hull plenty to think about. The hosts were grateful for their solid scoring, which clinched victory with a heat to spare. Stoke’s Paul Bentley (14+1) recovered from a scoreless first ride (he bent his forks and front wheel in a clash with Lee Dicken) to be the evening’s top scorer. German Robbie Kessler (11+2) and Paul Thorp (11) shone for Vikings.

Buxton Hitmen 60 Belle Vue Colts 30 (1998, speedway, Challenge). The score didn’t reflect the closeness of the racing. This was Buxton’s first win of the season. The Moss family, Hitmen promoters throughout the club’s life, which ended in 2018, had an admirable policy of developing riders rather than tracking a team capable of topping the league. Star Hitmen were Neil Painter (13+1) and reserve Nathan McDonald (13+1). For the Colts, only Elvis Jones (11) managed double figures.

World U21 Championship, Qualifying Round @ Kirkmanshulme Lane, Belle Vue (1992, speedway, individual). Joe Screen won with a 15-point maximum. The teenage prodigy, Belle Vue captain, made the most of home track advantage to top the rostrum ahead of Australian Leigh Adams (13) and Swede Niklas Klingberg (12). I’d travelled to Gorton primarily to watch Middlesbrough’s Mark Lemon, another Australian. Lemon’s meeting lasted only as far as the first bend of his opening race, heat three. The riders touched and Lemon plunged head-first into the safety fence. He lay very still, partly on the adjacent dog track, with his legs trapped beneath the fence. Thankfully, he was only badly shaken. One of numerous meetings I’ve watched at Kirky Lane, another defunct speedway circuit, demolished recently. The quality of racing was variable. It’s much better at the purpose-built National Speedway Stadium, opened next door in 2016. Doubled this 3.0 start with, at 7.45, Sheffield Tigers 50 Rye House Rockets 40 (British League, Division Two Knockout Cup, First Round, First Leg).

Ellenborough Rangers U19s 12 Wigan St Patrick’s U19s 17 (1987, rugby league, BARLA National Youth Cup Final @ Headingley, Leeds) followed by Heworth 8 Thatto Heath 15 (BARLA National Cup, Final). For this double-header, I was a guest of competition sponsor British Nuclear Fuels Ltd, whose Sellafield-based press officer invited me along. A rare opportunity to sample life as a member of the prawn sandwich brigade. In the first game, there were two tries apiece. St Pat's led 17-2 after 67 minutes. Two Ellenborough (Maryport) tries in the last seven minutes made their defeat respectable. In the main event, Thatto Heath (St Helens) outscored Heworth (York) two tries to one and landed three drop goals. The official attendance was 3,500.
 

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