Monday, 8 March 2010


Saturday 6th March 2010

2010 is the seventh football bonanza that the Central Midlands League (CML) have organised and the first that I have paid in advance for a ticket for admission and programmes to all of the games. There are only three games today due to the distances involved and only one of the clubs being floodlit. I have been on several bonanza games before in 2005 (Santos and Forest Town) and 2007 (Yorkshire Main, Askern Welfare and Hatfield Main) but normally work and time dictates that I cannot normally attend these games. I first watched a game involving a CML club in 1998 when I took in Long Eaton United’s FA Vase game against the now defunct Oldbury United and have watched at least one new team each season since. Prior to today I have seen four games in the CML this season with the games being at Kirkby Town, Louth Town, FC 05 and Parramore Sports.

A few weeks prior to today I had been offered a lift to all three games by a fellow Leicester based groundhopper called Gary. Neither of us had met each other before but it made sense that two people from the same place to go together. Fortunately we got on with each other and it made the journey all the more enjoyable and pass a lot quicker than if sitting in a car on your own. Thanks go out to Gary for this.

Game 1

Low Farm, Beck Street, Easington, East Yorkshire
Attendance: 209

The first of the bonanza games and the furthest away from Leicester saw us depart at 6.30am for the 148 mile trip to Yorkshire’s Holderness coast. The journey up was straightforward, uneventful and traffic free and we arrived in Easington at approximately 9.15. This season is Easington’s first in the CML having transferred from the Humber Premier League. They had been founder members of the Humber Premier League (HPL) since its inception in 2000 with a runners-up spot in 2004 being their best finishing position. Opponents Hutton Cranswick are in their second season in the CML having transferred from the HPL a year earlier than their hosts today. Like Easington they too were founder members of the HPL and also like Easington their best ever finish came in 2004 when they were crowned champions. At the start of play Easington sit in mid-table with 31 point obtained from their opening nineteen games played so far while Hutton are third from bottom recording only four wins from twenty-one games played.

Low Farm is a basic affair with the pitch being railed off and some hard standing on a couple of sides of the pitch. An overhang on the changing room block provides the only cover but with the game being played in sunshine it wasn’t required this morning. The first half was a better affair than the second with all the goals coming in the first thirty two minutes. The opener came with just eight minutes on the clock when Craig Havercroft put in a free kick from the right which was headed home by Paul Morrill from six yards out. Havercroft made it 2-0 on twenty minutes when he hit a shot from just inside the penalty area which to be honest the Hutton keeper should have done better. The third on 32 minutes was another soft goal from Hutton’s point of view as Jamie Cousins scored with a shot from the left hand side of the penalty area. Within five minutes of the re-start Hutton had their best chance when a shot from outside the penalty area struck the crossbar. The remainder of the half was mainly forgettable as Easington won comfortably.
Game 2

Blackburn Welfare Leisure, Prescott Avenue, Brough, East Yorkshire
Attendance: 194

An hours drive to the other side of Hull and more specifically the town of Brough saw us arrive with an hour to spare before the start of game two. West Ella and Willerby are two villages / suburbs of Hull some six or seven miles from Brough but play here due to ground requirements of the CML. Like Hutton Cranswick, Westella are in their second season in the CML having transferred from the HPL. Like the other two former HPL clubs they were also founder members and recorded their best finish in 2007 when a runners-up spot was achieved. Opponents Parramore Sports come from Sheffield and like Westella are in their second season in the CML having been promoted from the Sheffield & Hallamshire County Senior League. At the start of play both these teams sit in mid-table in the CML’s supreme division with just two places and four points separating them in the home side’s favour.

The Blackburn Welfare Leisure is home to four football pitches with the one used by Westella nearest the excellent social club and is fully railed off. The game was the worst of the three with the only goal coming on seventy minutes when following a break by Gavin Davies, he then put the ball across for Gallagher to side foot the ball into the net from six yards out.
Game 3

Park Avenue, Louth, Lincolnshire
Attendance: 257

The last game of the bonanza saw us have three hours between the two games. The journey south to Louth across the impressive Humber Bridge took just over an hour, and with time to kill we spent some of it in a restaurant having a chip supper. I have covered Louth before so will not go into detail on their ground etc. This game was the best of the three with it being played at a quick pace throughout, possibly due to it being bloody cold!!!. Louth took the lead early on in the game when Paul Watts volleyed in past Nettleham keeper Leigh Herrick following a chip from James Archer. The home side got a further two goals in the second half from Jamie Rowbotham and Kurt Crossley, but the final goal of the game and day was scored by Nettleham from the penalty spot.
We arrived back in Leicester around 10.45pm some sixteen hours since departing. Overall a long but enjoyable day out.


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