Thursday, 13 May 2010

Hemsworth Alpha 'A' v Edlington Rangers - Doncaster Senior League Premier Division

Thursday 13th May 2010
Doncaster Senior League Premier Division
at the Kirkby Road Sports Complex

Hemsworth Alpha 'A' (1) 1 (A Lowe pen)
Edlington Rangers (3) 4 (J Cheswick, C Dyson 2, P Walmsley)
"Right ref, we just need some footballs and a goalkeepers shirt an we can start"

The Kirkby Road Sports Complex has been sold off to build houses on (note the ever expanding new housing estate in the background of the above picture) and this Saturday's home fixture v FC Thorne Town will be the last ever game to be played at this venue.
I'm otherwise engaged at the weekend so this was the last chance I'd ever get to see a game being played at what is left of this ground.
Note the old weather beaten sign for Hemsworth Town FC is still stood by the main entrance, for now anyway.
I thought Alpha might be moving to share with Hemsworth MW, but apparently they're relocating to the pitch at the Hemsworth West End club next season instead.
A short list of small but significant facts about the Kirkby Road Sports Complex ...
In recent times the ground has been used by the Leeds United Youth Academy team, the ground entrance is opposite Hemsworth Hippodrome (the bestest Bingo Hall and cheapest beer for miles around by all accounts) and the excellent Kirkby Road chip shop is just a few yards further up the road.
Fascinating stuff or what?

Worksop fans who travelled to Hemsworth for a cup game a few years ago, will be impressed with how much work nearby Hemsworth Miners Welfare have done to their ground, which now has proper seating and a decent clubhouse, a far cry from the day they put up a marquee tent as a makeshift bar to cater for several hundred travelling Tigers fans.
How things change so quickly in football, eh!?
The now grandly named 'Fitzwilliam Stadium' is well worth a visit, but I can't vouch for the whereabouts of the majority of the travelling Tigers army who were there on that infamous day.
It's quite eerie standing on the side of a running track, in the middle of a building site, watching a game of football being played out on a dusty and heavily sanded pitch, where a perfectly good sports arena used to stand.
Even the fence that ran along the side of the track, that spectators used to be able to lean on, has been nicked for it's scrap value.
But a man's got to what a man's got to do.
I just wish the ball hadn't kept leaving the pitch and bouncing beyond the perimeter of the ground in the general vicinity of where we were stood.
Running about the place and climbing all over a building site, with the occasional foray under the referee's car to retrieve the ball, is probably great fun if you are energetic and 8 years old.
Alas, I am neither.
And I just know my poor old aching limbs will be reminding me about it in the morning too.
Thankfully one of Alpha's officials came around the track from the dug outs to share my ball boy duties ... eventually!
Apparently the two gentlemen I was stood with were enjoying the spectacle of me charging around too much to actually join in themselves.
It was a fairly absorbing contest with no quarter given, played on a 'difficult' pitch, that made the ball behave in a similar erratic kind of way you would expect from an unrestrained balloon on a windy day.
Lesser mortals would struggle to perform in such conditions, but here in the Doncaster Senior League, the show must go on!
The nearby sandpit where local athletes used to partake in long jump competitions, has been emptied of it's contents so the rabbit holes in the pitch could all be filled in ... seriously.
In fact, it was very similar to a certain UniBond League playing surface I've seen games played on this season, that is actually quite close to my house.
Alpha took the lead from the penalty spot on the half hour, but were told to retake it due to an encroachment into the box by one of their own players.
So Alpha took the lead again, legitimately, when Andy Lowe fired home the second attempt (see above), in spite of an encroachment into the box by several opposition players.
Hemsworth then took their foot off the gas and were made to regret it almost immediately when Edlo Rangers equalised just two minutes later. And went ahead three minutes after that. And then bagged themselves a third goal after a further five minutes had elapsed. A comeback that Lazarus himself would've been proud of (The Gospel of John, New Testament version).
Right on the stroke of half time, Hemsworth Alpha were awarded yet another penalty.
Andy Lowe's effort was saved, but yet again the referee wanted it retaken.
So Danny Burton took responsibility this time and ... whoops! That's one for the builders on the adjacent site to find tomorrow morning then.
Ten minutes into the second half Edlington Rangers were awarded a penalty.
It seems the SPL tradition that teams called Rangers must be given a penalty in each and every game they play has been imported to South Yorkshire.
The spot kick was saved.
Through the barricades

On sixty seven minutes, the visitors scored their fourth and final goal.
Late on they pushed on in pursuit of a fifth but Hemsworth's keeper nonchalantly flicked a couple of efforts over his cross bar one handed.
"Stop f***ing posing 'cos there's someone here with a camera" shouted one of his team mates.
Sorry goalie, I was taking a call on my camera/phone and missed your Pat Jenningsesque moments of glory anyway, but I can do you a print of the penalty save for a small fee ;-)

I've REALLY enjoyed the last few days, watching proper grass roots players in the company of some very knowledgeable good companions.
And I'll be back soon for more of the same too :-)