Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Ollerton Town - The Lane




Ollerton Town FC
The Lane Sports Ground
Wallersby Lane
New Ollerton
Nottinghamshire
NG22 9UT





Ground Number: 557
Tuesday 23rd February 2016
Ollerton Town 12-0 Welbeck Welfare
Central Midlands League North



For my final Tuesday hop of the month, I knew I'd be without my usual hopping partner, as he was busy with his kids parents evening. Initially I thought I'd be doing the shortest trip possible on my own, to help keep my costs down. Luckily Chris, another hopper who I'd met previously at various grounds was available to step into the breach. Christened 'The Garner Monster' by Groundhop organiser Laurence on a Scottish groundhop, he was based in Milton Keynes and would be available from 4PM on the Tuesday, so initially I was thinking somewhere on the M1. With a few favourites listed from a possible list of 20, my top picks were Congleton Town and Dronfield Town. After conferring with Chris, I was delighted when he agreed. He has a slight preference  towards Congleton, and that was all fine by me, as there were plenty of decent pubs for a pre match meal, including a Wetherspoons. There was a possibility that it would be included on next season's North West Counties hop, but with plans still far from finalised at this stage, I decided to visit a ground I'd wanted to spend a match day at for ages. That said, though there would be no rain for a few days, the temperature would be 2 degrees, and with the prospect of a frozen pitch, I'd go armed with a list of backups. As it turned out we knew that our first choices would not be where we would be heading.



OLLERTON TOWN were formed in 1988 under the name Ollerton & Bevercotes. Staring in the Notts Alliance they won Division 2 in 1993 & changed their name in 1994, winning the Alliance Division One  2 years later and earning promotion to the Premier Division. At the turn of the century they joined the Central Midlands League and have remained there ever since. They were champions in 2008 and following recent reorganisation were placed in it's North Division, where they sat 5th prior to tonights contest.

While yet to play in the FA Cup, they have been regular entrants in the FA Vase over the years. Their best run came in 2009/10 when they reached the 2nd Round before a defeat to current NPL side Gresley. The club were also Notts Senior Cup runners up in 2008.



I'd had a busy day at work on the Monday, so was hoping for a decent nights sleep on the Tuesday. In the evening I started doing research for my blog, and looking at the cold weather hoped it wasn't all going to go to waste. I got a good 10 hour sleep on the Monday night, and woke up feeling nice and refreshed. I used the morning for an 8 mile round trip walking to town and back, before coming home for lunch. As I was walking back I discovered that my second choice game at Dronfield had bitten the dust, and this heightened my fears for the Congleton game that was my favourite. Sure enough, just after 2PM it was confirmed as postponed due to a waterlogged pitch, so all my work in researching their history last night had gone to waste. I texted Chris as to where he fancied next, while I checked for news of other inspections for games I had listed.


I left at 3 and due to some delays on the way I didn't get to his work until around 4.10. I checked Twitter while he made some phone calls. Central Midlands League fixtures secretary and Groundhop UK supremo Chris Berezai proved to be our saviour when he confirmed that Ollerton Town v  Welbeck Welfare was confirmed as on. With hardly anyone else posting news we decided to head for there. The journey was predicted to take a couple of hours and it started off well enough on the M1. As soon as we got off and on the A46 we encountered a whole load of rush hour traffic. We found later that the delay was caused by an accident that delayed us by 50 minutes. It must have been a bad one as they were still investigating it well into the early hours of the following morning. We got to the ground at 6.50 and after discovering that the local pub was a right dive, did no food and only Strongbow cider we went in search of a takeaway. We found a place called Milano's Pizza where we both had a half pound Chilli Burger with fries for the wallet friendly price of £3.90. The burger was huge and there was a generous portion of fries as well. It filled me up good and proper as I eat it walking back to the ground.


When we got there we were greeted by Jack Warner who had our programmes kept back for us, and not long after we saw Chris who had kindly provided us with tonight's game. Entry was a reasonable £3 and a decent programme cost £1. It was to be a sober Tuesday for me as there was no bar at the ground, and I was glad of the flask of Bovril I'd bought with me. There were hoppers in abundance with Shaun from the 100 Football Grounds blog attending the same match as me 2 games in a row despite him living in Newcastle. He was aiming for Dronfield Town before it fell victim to the weather. He'd also bought along fellow North East folk Lee and Katie who support Middlesbrough and Sunderland respectively. Despite their teams differences on the pitch they get along famously and often go hopping together.


The hosts opened the scoring after 15 minutes when Lewis Bingham finished from inside the area after Welbeck failed to cut out a ball across the box. It was 2-0 on 28 minutes thanks to a header from Kyle Ludlow from around 6 yards. It was soon 3-0 after 38 minutes and it was looking as if there would be a repeat of the reverse fixture on Saturday where Ollerton won 12-0. The second half started in the same fashion with the home side making it 4-0 pretty much straight after the restart. In truth it could have been a lot more had Ollerton decided to be more clinical rather than playing pretty football. An hour in and it was 5-0 thanks to a low hard fairly central shot by Karl Ludlow that deceived the keeper. A penalty was converted by Kyle Clarkson to make it 6-0 a few minutes later. The goals continued to rain in and a couple of headers later it was 8-0 with more than 20 minutes to go. The woodwork had saved it from hitting double figures on more than one occasion. There was a cracking lob with the keeper making a great save but it Kyle Ludlow followed up for his 6th of the game and it just crossed the line according to the linesman. A deflected shot by Sam Stretton made it 10 with around 10 minutes to go. It was 11-0 when Stretton’s shot crept inside the far left post and then 12 from a close range finish by Sam Dockwray after the keeper had made a few great saves to keep the score down. It was the biggest win I have ever seen (beating Coleshill Town 11-0 Ellesmere earlier in the season) and equalling the most goals in a game (Chalfont Wasps 1-11 Marlow United - a friendly in July 2014) However, there was a bigger score on the night and a number of hopper were there to witness it. Somerset County League side Fry Club had a 23-0 win against Cutters Friday.

OLLERTON TOWN 12
Lewis Bingham 15’
Kyle Ludlow 26’  47’ 59’ 69’ 71’ 77’
Jamie Charlton 37’
Kyle Clarkson 62’
Sam Stretton 80’ 86’
Sam Dockwray 88’

WELBECK WELFARE 0

So a complete hammering and a repeat of the scoreline when the sides met on Saturday. Chris had been good company and paid pretty much everything I had that evening. I did feel a tad guilty so didn't charge him the full amount at fuel but you get some hoppers who whinge if you charge than more than half the cost of the fuel, despite their being other numerous costs associated with driving. I listened to BBC Radio Nottingham on the way back and they had former Wycombe striker Mark Stallard on there who scored 23 goals in a couple of decent seasons for us back at the end of the 1990's. I had a good journey home traffic wise but annoyingly on the 70mph A46 a fox chose to run out in front of me. After hearing a thud and some scraping plastic I feared the worst and when I got to Wavendon to drop Chris off my worries were confirmed. The front of my car is only made of flimsy plastic and it had smashed to pieces on the front right hand corner of my car. That's the second time in a year that an animal has run out in front of me after a deer did the same last April, that time resulting in a £330 excess payment on my insurance that I could well do without. I got in around 12.20, watching TV and YouTube before trying to get to sleep at 2am. It was no good as my mind was full of the costs and hassle of getting my car sorted. So I woke up at 4am with hardly any shut-eye, though I caught up the next afternoon. 


THE LANE is a smart and tidy venue that is one of the better at step 7. There are 2 covered areas - one behind the goal and one along the side, providing cover for a few hundred and easily keeping any crowd that would be present on a normal day dry. There are no permanent seats, just random chairs placed for those who wish to sit. There is hard standing all around the pitch. The tea bar is pretty basic with hot and cold drinks and snacks, while there is no bar. They sell badges for £3 as well. There’s a fair bit nearby, the pick of which is Milano’s Pizza, offering decent food & generous portions at great prices. 


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