Monday, 29 August 2016

another catch up

Match details and photo links to my travels over the past four weekends

Sunday 31st July 2016
Peterborough & District League Premier Division
@ Greenfields, Straight Drove, Sawtry, Cambridgeshire

Admission: £4

Programme: didn't purchase one
Attendance: 534

67 photos of the ground and game can be viewed here


Peterborough & District League Division 1
@ Townsend Road, Wittering, Cambridgeshire

Admission: £4
Programme: didn't purchase one
Attendance: 250

43 photos of the venue and game can be viewed here

Sunday 7th August 
FA Cup Extra-Preliminary Round
@ The Elms, Highworth, Wiltshire

Admission: £6
Programme: sold out
Attendance: 161

72 photos of the ground and game can be viewed here

Saturday 13th August
Notts Senior League Premier Division
@ Harvey Hadden Stadium, Wigman Road, Nottingham

Admission: £2
Programme: 50p
Attendance; 45

48 photos of the ground and game can be viewed here

Saturday 20th August
Cambridgeshire County League Premier Division
@ River Road, Eaton Socon, St. Neots, Cambridgeshire

Admission: free
Programme: £1
Attendance: 50

65 photos of the ground and game can be viewed here

Saturday 27th August
Central Midlands League Division North
@ Phoenix Park, 131 Laughton Road, Dinnington, South Yorkshire

Admission: £2
Programme: £1
Pin Badge: £3.50
Attendance: 38

57 photos of the ground and game can be viewed here

Monday, 18 July 2016

recent sporting action

Over the past two weekends I have watched a photographed two different sports in three different counties. 

1) Sunday 10th July 2016
Pre-Season Friendly
@ MDC Sports Stadium, Wakefield Road, Fitzwilliam, West Yorkshire

Admission: £5
Programme: £1
Food and drink available from the clubhouse

No idea why this pre-season game was scheduled for a Sunday, but I wasn't complaining one bit as it gave me a chance to visit this ground. I had to take a detour at the start and the end of the day as I picked up my travelling companion from Oadby.

Not a bad game with both teams taking it reasonably seriously. No traffic problems either going or coming back, though we stopped off twice on route to two JD Wetherspoon outlets on the way home - The Blue Bell in Hemsworth and The Horseshoe in Wombwell.

photos of the ground and game can be viewed here...Hemsworth

google maps showing the location of Hemsworth Miners Welfare FC...

2) Saturday 16th July 2016
Pre-Season Friendly
@ Ravenshead Leisure Centre, Longdale Lane, Ravenshead, Nottinghamshire

Admission / programme: none
Attendance: no more than 10
Hot and cold drinks available from vending machines in the reception

The hosts are newly promoted to the Notts Senior League this season, and having watched quite a few games in this league saw it as an ideal opportunity to tick this venue and club. Also a friend of mine Rob Hornby was going to be at the game, and with our paths not crossing for around fifteen months it gave us a chance to catch up.

Reasonable entertainment considering the level with both goals coming within three minutes of each other early in the second half. The game was not played on Ravenshead's main floodlit pitch, but this wasn't something that concerned me at all as I don't tick different pitches at the same location.

photos taken during the first half can be viewed online here...Ravenshead

google maps showing the location of Raveshead FC...

3 & 4) Sunday 17th July 2016
BBF Double A Central Division
@ Western Park, Park View, Leicester

This was a double header with both games being played over seven innings each. The first was quite feisty and a few flash points occurred, while the second game thankfully passed off without incident. As the scores suggest Leicester ran out comfortable victors in both games and moved to a record of 10-11 with four games remaining. The only side in the six team division with a record above .500 are leaders Birmingham Bandits. 

photos of game 1 can be viewed here...Blue Sox, while photos of game 2 can be viewed here...Blue Sox2 

google maps showing the location of the Blue Sox...

Thursday, 7 July 2016

Blue Sox baseball

Sunday 3rd July 2016
Leicester Blue Sox 16-10 Long Eaton Storm
BBF Double A Central Division
@ Western Park, Park Rise, Leicester

Baseball is not a sport that you associate with this country, and of the big 4 North American sports, is the least popular in terms of interest and participation. It was only until a couple of years ago that I realised that my home town had a team at all. I went down last summer and photographed a few innings, and this was my first opportunity of 2016 to have another go. My interest in the sport started around two years ago when I finally got round to getting the BT Sport television channels. I started watching it and then learnt some of the rules and terminology to help me understand and enjoy the game more. The interest cranked up a few notches when a trip to the States came to fruition, and the wife Angela and I managed to take in a game at Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs. From that point the Cubs became my team and I now follow them as much as I can from this side of the Atlantic. 

The British Baseball Federation (BBF) is the national governing body of the sport within the United Kingdom and was founded in 1987. The adult league structure is split both in terms of ability and geography, and brief summary is below with the number of teams in brackets:

  • National League (7)
  • Triple A - South (6)
  • Northern Conference (12)
    • North East (4)
    • North Central (4)
    • North West (4)
  • Double A (15)
    • Central (6)
    • South - A (5)
    • South - B (4)
  • Single A (21)
    • South - A (6)
    • South - B (5)
    • South - C (5)
    • South - D (5)
The Blue Sox were formed in 2006, though the sport has a long history in the city of Leicester, with the earliest reference going as far back as 1876. More information can be viewed here...history. The club compete in the Double A Central Division and compete against teams within roughly sixty miles - Birmingham Bandits, Long Eaton Storm, Milton Keynes Bucks, Nottingham Rebels and the Stourbridge Titans. 

The drive to where the Blue Sox call home takes around five minutes, and if I didn't have my camera equipment with me, would have probably walked there. There are no facilities for the teams or spectators on site, with the only permanent structure being a green cage behind the plate. 

Both teams had a mix of nationalities playing for them and including British, American, Taiwanese, Lithuanian and various Spanish speaking nationals. This game that I witnessed was the second of a double header, and was played over seven innings. When only one game is played in an afternoon then the full nine innings are played. To be fair I didn't pay a lot off attention going on as I was behind the lens, and more interested in getting some decent photographs of the action. Thankfully this turned out to be the case, and I will hopefully be down again on July 17th to take some more photographs. 

The full gallery can be viewed by clicking here...Blue Sox

Sunday, 5 June 2016

Review of the season - 2015/16

With my football watching now done for the 2015/16 season, here is my review of my football and sport watching since the 1st July 2015.

No. of football games watched: 44
No. of new football grounds / venues visited: 39

No. of home wins: 19
No. of away wins: 21
No. of draws: 3
No. of abandoned games: 1

Highest number of goals seen in a game: 15 - 08/11: South Wigston v Magna Town 2012 (11-4) 
Largest home victory: 8 - 13/09: Abbey Lions v Glevum Town (9-1)
Largest away victory: 12 - 04/10: United East Midlands v The Griffin (0-12)

Best new ground visited: Yankee Stadium, New York City FC
Favourite new ground visited in relation to level: Recreation Way, Mildenhall Town FC
Least favourite new ground / venue visited in relation to level: Glen Parva Recreation Ground, Medz FC - a case of avoiding the dog shit.

Most welcoming club: Sileby Town
Least welcoming club: Dover Athletic - away supporters treated like criminals, no programmes for sale and not even allowed to go to their club shop.
Favourite town / city visited for or due to football: New York City. One of the world's greatest cities. The wife and I loved our time there, though the trip to NY was not planned around football. More the case that I got lucky.

No. of other sporting games watched: 43 (2 American Football; 1 Baseball; 16 Basketball; 2 Ice Hockey; 4 Rugby League; 17 Rugby Union and 1 Speedway)

Favourite new venue visited:

Wrigley Field, Chicago

East choice this one. Fortunate to be able to get the finances in place to have a trip to NY and Chicago, and Wrigley Field is something special. The stadium oozes character and you can feel the history of the place. Probably the only stadium visited so far that I would love to be a regular at.

In my top five stadiums visited ever for any sport. 

Favourite action photos that I took during the season: 

This shows Stuart Griffiths celebrating after scoring for Tuffley Rovers in their FA Cup tie @ Ardley United back in August. He realised after scoring that I was there with my camera and started running towards me, and luckily I managed to get the shot in focus. 

Other photos of the ground and game can be viewed here - photos

This one was taken @ Veseyans RFC in mid-March and is of a line-out. What I personally think makes the photo stand out is the trees in the background, giving the foreground a real sense of perspective. 

Other photos taken at this game can be viewed here - photos

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

recent outings

Saturday 16th April 2016
Peterborough & District League Premier Division
@ Feldale Field, Drybread Road, Whittlesey, Cambridgeshire

Admission: none
Programme: not issued
Attendance: around 50
Hot drinks: 50p

A first game in the Peterborough & District League in around a year, and myself and my dad saw promotion chasing Athletic have a comfortable victory over their opponents.

Athletic were formed a couple of years ago through the merger of Whittlesey United and Coates Athletic, and should they finish above Netherton United they will be playing in the United Counties League next season. The ground is set on the eastern edge of the town and is a work in progress - there is hard standing around three sides of the pitch and permanent dugouts on the far side.

The hosts won this game comfortably and in truth the final score should have been by a greater margin.

33 photos of the ground and the game can be viewed online @

Monday 11th April 2016
Staffordshire County Senior League Premier Division
@ Cheadle Sports Village, Thorley Drive, Cheadle, Staffordshire

Admission: none
Programme: not issued
Attendance: 65

An extra night off from work and after finishing some jobs in and around the house, I noticed some fixtures that I could get to. An easy run up the M1 and across the A50 and I was at my chosen destination. There are two pitches at this site and both of the clubs in action today use the main pitch nearest the changing rooms. The pitch is fully railed off and dugouts are on the near side. The only hard standing is in front of the afore mentioned building.

The rain came a few minutes before kick-off and thankfully I had my waterproof lens cover in my car. Good job as well as the rain did not relent at all during the game and by the finish it was pretty much dark.

The game saw a competitive local derby in which no quarter was asked or given. The only goal of the game came right at the start of the second half - unfortunately I cannot give any description of it as I was back at my car getting a drink.

match photos taken during the game can be viewed online @

Saturday 9th April 2016
North Leicestershire League Division 1
@ Western Park, Avenue Road, Ashby-de-la-Zouch, Leicestershire

Admission: none
Programme: not issued
Attendance: 6

Needed to stay local as I was watching the Leicester Riders basketball team in action that evening, and decided on a cheap afternoon. Ashby formed a development side at the start of the season and have been playing their home games at a venue not used by the clubs first and reserve teams. This was also a venue that I hadn't been used by open age football before.

As expected the venue is very basic with only a prefab building on site housing the changing rooms, though there is some on site car parking. This was the final game of the season for both teams and the visitors needed to win to be in with a chance of winning the divisional title ahead of Greenhill YC reserves. The game wasn't the best, but the visitors did what they needed to do.

some photos taken during the game can be viewed online @

Monday 28th March 2016
Eastern Counties League Premier Division
@ Recreation Way, Mildenhall, Suffolk

Admission: £6
Programme: £1.50
Pin Badge: £3

Like everyone else who planned a morning game in the Combined Counties League, it turned out my choices were all postponed. By 8am I decided that due to the weather it was not worth the risk of the drive south down the M1. Instead I did the food shop before waiting to see what was confirmed as on. A number of clubs confirmed that their respective game was on via twitter and it was then a case of choosing one. In the end I decided to head east for around 100 miles.

The A14 behaved itself and on the whole traffic was fairly light all the way. Mildenhall's ground is located in the town centre next to Sainsbury's and is a pleasant little ground. No parking on site, but was advised to park in the free council car park - this is accessed by going through the car park of the previously mentioned supermarket. 

On the whole a scrappy game with the wind not helping proceedings. Hall took the lead inside two minutes and by the ten minute mark were two nil up. Inbetween Swaffham were awarded a penalty but a tame effort was put wide. The visitors did pull a goal back late on in the first half, and that was the final act of goal scoring. The second half saw plenty of huff and puff and a contender for miss of the season by the home #7. 

Decent tick and only my 4th ground visited in Suffolk after Newmarket, Bury Town and AFC Sudbury. 

ground and match photos can be viewed online @

Saturday, 19 March 2016

March 2016 - part 1

Saturday 12th March
Midlands 2 West (North)
@ Little Hardwick Road, Streetly, West Midlands

Admission: none
Programme: not issued
Coffee: £1.50

Very few rugby union games in the Midlands region this weekend which had nothing to do with the Six Nations competition, but instead it was given over to cup competitions or for sides to play re-arranged games. It was a case of the latter with regards to this encounter.

Veseyans RFC were founded in 1927 by former pupils of Bishop Vesey Grammar School in nearby Sutton Coldfield. The ground is easy enough to find with it being located in the sticks just over a mile south of Aldridge. As you enter the car park is on the right hand side and the clubhouse to the left. The set up is home to several rugby pitches and a football pitch. The main rugby pitch is located immediately in front of the clubhouse and was part roped and part railed. A small manual scoreboard is located on the far side between the two dugouts. 

The game was my first at level 7 of the English league system and pitched two teams that were neither in the promotion race to Midlands 1 West or relegation to Midlands 3 West. The visitors were quickest out of the blocks and slotted over a penalty inside two minutes for a three point lead. For the majority of the next half hour Kidderminster continued to dominate the proceedings and they scored three converted tries to lead 0-24. With a possible hammering on the cards, Veseyans dug in and got their first points on the boards with a converted try late on in the half. The second half was not as one sided as the first, but all the points were scored by the home side. Firstly a converted try and then a penalty brought them within seven points. With the game going into its final stages Veseyans broke down the left and went over for their third try of the afternoon. A difficult kick was converted and tie the game, and this in the end was enough for a share of the spoils.

Match photos can be found in the gallery online @ 

Saturday 5th March
Midlands 1 West
@ Pearcecroft, Loxley Road, Stratford upon Avon, Warwickshire

Admission: £4
Programme: free with admission

This was my second attempt of the season at heading to Stratford, as my first attempt had been aborted by the weather due to not wanting to get a soaking while taking photographs!!! Thankfully the weather forecast was for it to be dry in and around Shakespeare Country and this proved to be the case. I did encounter some of the wet stuff on the way there and back.

The club have been around for a very long time having been founded way back in 1877, and have played at their current ground since 1903. The ground is easy enough to find on the eastern side of the town and you enter down a narrow drive. It opens up and there are several pitches, with the main one on the left hand side. All the facilities - stand, clubhouse and changing rooms are on the far (left hand) side of the main pitch. Pearcecroft is also home to local league side Shottery RFC who play on one of pitches on the right of the driveway. The club currently reside in the sixth tier of the English league system, and are having a very good season. Going into the latter stages they are in the running for the play-off position with a number of other clubs. 

The score in this game does not reflect how the game was played out on the field. The Shropshire visitors dominated in terms of possession and territory for long periods but found the Stratford defence a tough nut to crack. An early score and a penalty have the hosts a 10-0 lead, with the visitors only points in the first half coming from a penalty of their own. After exchanging tries on several occasion the game became a two pointer for a while. It was only in the final ten minutes that the visitors wilted and Stratford ran in several tries for a bonus point victory, which on the balance of play was flattering. 

Overall a pleasant afternoon and my enjoyment of watching rugby union continues.

Photos taken during the game can be found online @

Other news

Away from the sport watching my wife Angela and I are to become parents for the first time later this year. At the time of writing she is currently @ the fourteen week stage, with the due date being the 18th September. 

Monday, 29 February 2016

February 2016

With no updates for a while I am going to try and put something on at least once a month covering the sporting events I have attended. In reverse order find write ups of 

Sunday 28th February 2016
National Basketball League Division 1
@ Braunstone Leisure Centre, Hamlin Road, Leicester

Admission / programme: none

This was my first attempt at photographing the sport of basketball, and I used local side the Leicester Warriors as guinea pigs as it were. It was as expected a very difficult sport to shoot with it being a very fast paced game and played in tight surroundings on a small court. I do intend to persevere with this and plan to photograph at least one more Warriors home game this season.

37 photos can be viewed online @ and any feedback is appreciated and welcomed. 

At the start of play the Warriors sat in 9th place in the NBL Division 1 table with their visitors one place above them occupying the last play-off place. After an early exchange of baskets the Leopards took control and outscored their hosts in the opening three quarters to build up a lead of 38-57 after thirty minutes. It wasn't until the final quarter that the Warriors brought their 'A' game and scored an impressive twenty seven points. The deficit was too big a hurdle to pull back and they fell just five points short. Theo Rothstein led the way in both the scoring and rebounding for the home side with 18 and 14 respectively. For the Leopards the top scorer and re-bounder came off the bench, as Justin Hitchman hit nineteen points and Jamie Hayes had ten rebounds. With regards to assists no player on either side had more than four. 

Saturday 27th February 2016
Midlands 1 East
@ Fenley Field, Lime Tree Avenue, Rugby, Warwickshire

Admission: none
Programme: free from the bar

My choice game this afternoon was a short drive south to the town that brought the sport of rugby union to the world, Rugby. The ground is located in the south-west suburbs of the town and it took around forty minutes to get to from my home in Leicester. The entrance is down a narrow drive and it opens up. There are, like a lot of rugby clubs several pitches and a clubhouse on site. The main one is located next to the clubhouse and changing rooms, and there is a stand that straddles the half way line.

Bottom of the table OL's secured a bonus point victory over their mid-table opponents with five tries - four of them in the second half. They opened the scoring early on in the opening few minutes with an unconverted try and a penalty. But come the end of the half and NOS had match the scoring and the sides were level @ eight at half time. The second half was pretty much one way traffic as OL's scored twenty two unanswered points - four tries with only one successful conversion, before a late consolation try from the visitors. This victory for OL's coupled with the two sides immediately above them in the table, Newark and Matlock both losing, this gives them a fighting chance of avoiding relegation to Midlands 2.

49 photos taken at the game can be viewed online @ 

Saturday 20th February 2016
National League National Division
@ Prenton Park, Prenton Road West, Birkenhead, Merseyside

Admission: £17
Programme: £3
Badge: £3

This trip up to the north west was arranged a while ago to catch up with a Cheltenham supporting friend of mine. I booked the Friday night off from work before Christmas and it was left to my friend to sort his train tickets out, and in order for him to get the best prices I picked him up from Crewe and dropped him off at Stafford. After we stopped off for lunch at The Dee Hotel in West Kirby - about eight or nine miles away, we headed to the ground at got there just after 2pm. We parked up at the ground and this cost £5, and this made for a straight forward exit after the game. The ground is a decent affair with it being all seated and it holds around 17,000 when full. Today the attendance was just over 5,000 with over 300 making the trip north from Gloucestershire. 

Both of these teams were relegated from the Football League to the top tier of English football's Non-League pyramid system last season, and both are looking at making an instant return. Cheltenham sit top of the table and are in a scrap for the title with Gloucestershire rivals Forest Green Rovers. With only one side going up automatically, the next four sides will compete in the play-offs to see who joins them. Tranmere, after a slow start to the season have moved up the table, and at the start of play sat in fourth place. With this in mind a close, tight game was expected, and this proved to be the case. The only goal of the game came on three minutes through Cheltenham's top scorer Danny Wright. Neither side dominated the remaining eight-seven minutes and both had their chances and in truth a draw would have been a fair result.

Sunday 14th February
BBL Trophy Semi Final 1st Leg
@ Leicester Community Sports Arena, Charter Street, Leicester

Admission: £11 (advance)
Programme: £3

This was to be my only Riders game in February and their second game at their new home - the 2,400 capacity venue on the northern edge of the city centre. 

These two teams had already met several times already this season and I saw the Riders ko the Sharks by just two points in the BBL's cup competition last year. With this mind and the Sharks on an impressive run a close, tight game was expected by myself. This turned out to be the case but I didn't expect it this close!!! To put it mildly a tie in basketball is a very rare event, though due to this semi-final tie being decided by an aggregate score over two legs no overtime was played.

Leicester generally led for the most part of the game but never built up enough of a lead and it was the Sharks who scored the final five points of the game.The Riders were led by Treyvonn Wright in terms of points scoring and rebounding with twenty two and ten respectively. For the Sharks Jerrold Brooks hit twenty four points, while Antone Robinson had twenty points and nine rebounds. 
Also with it being my birthday just four days afterwards my wife Angela paid for a signed Riders jersey - I've just got to get it framed now.

note...the Riders won the second leg by just four points three days later in Sheffield, and then beat Newcastle in the final on Saturday 27th.

Saturday 13th February
Midlands 1 West
@ Peel Croft, Lichfield Street, Burton upon Trent, Staffordshire

Admission with programme; £5

Peel Croft in the brewing town of Burton upon Trent is an historic ground located right on the edge of the town centre. It has been around since the late nineteenth century, and was first used by Burton RFC themselves before being taken over by long defunct Football League clubs Burton Swifts and Burton United. When the latter folded the rugby club moved back into the ground and have continued to play here since. There have also been rumours in the past couple of years that the ground would be sold for retail development - this would be a shame but no surprise also. There is an Asda supermarket behind the ground and a Halfords and a Pets at Home on the opposite side of Lichfield Street. 

Car parking for spectators is down the left hand side and there is a very old stand that runs along three quarters of this side. On the other side is the social club, changing rooms and another stand. On the outside the social club does not look much, but appearances can be deceptive. Inside it is clean, tidy and spacious. There is also a seperate kitchen area that was serving hot food and drinks, and at sensible prices too - a hot dog and chips cost £2.50. 

Both of the two teams are stuck in mid-table after they were both relegated from National 3 Midlands [Level 5] last season. A tight first half in which the visitors went in at the break with a one point advantage (14-15). A converted try and a penalty for the hosts were the only points scored in the second forty minutes.