Saturday, 16 October 2021

Horden Community Welfare - Welfare Park

Horden Community Welfare FC
Welfare Park
15 South Terrace

Ground Number: 1011
Saturday 16th October 2021
Horden Community Welfare 2-6 Carlisle City
Northern League D2


The current club was established in 2017 as an attempt to bring football back to the village that the original club left the previous year to become Darlington 1883 Reserves. The chairman of the original club had claimed that the club would have been dead by Christmas and the move was sanctioned mid-season. They started out in the Durham Alliance Combination but after one season, the league was swallowed up by the Wearside League. The club finished 8th in their first season but their performance was good enough over the two abandoned seasons to see them admitted to the Northern League D2 for this season. So far they are in a mid-table placing of 10th. 

The original club, Horden Colliery Welfare were established in 1908. They played in local leagues at first, before joining the North Eastern League in 1935. They were champions here in 1938 and aside from four seasons in the late 1950s and early 1960s where they played in the Midland League and Northern Counties League. They would win the North Eastern League again in 1964 but would leave to return to local football after this latest success. They would resurface in the Wearside League in 1972, winning the title in their first season. The club would make the step up to the Northern League in 1975. Their best finish here was 3rd in 1980 and 1983. By the time of the second finish, the league had expanded to two divisions but this proved to be their undoing in 1985 when they were relegated to the second tier after a second-bottom finish. The first half of the 90s was a tricky time for the club and they finished bottom of the league twice and rarely finished outside of the bottom places. By 2003, they had recovered sufficiently to get back up to Division 1 after finishing as runners-up to Penrith. Horden Colliery Welfare would last here until 2007 when they were relegated back and aside from one season, would remain in the second tier until they were relegated to the Wearside League in 2013. After three mediocre seasons, the local parish council served notice of eviction from the ground for unknown reasons and despite a court appeal, the decision was upheld. With no firm home, the club shared at Hartlepool FC's Grayfields Enclosure. They eventually upped sticks and moved to Darlington to become the National League North side's reserve team. Horden Colliery Welfare reached the FA Cup 2nd Round in 1938, losing 3-2 to Newport County. They would also reach the 1st Round five more times, the latest in 1981 when they narrowly lost 1-0 to Blackpool.

The village of Horden is located near Peterlee in County Durham. It was a mining village from 1926 until 1987 and the loss of jobs hit the village hard. It has a population of 8,500 and its most famous former resident is Bob Taylor, the ace striker who played for Bolton Wanderers, Leeds United, Bristol City and West Bromwich Albion.


I only decided I was going to come here on the Thursday before the game, having already decided my morning game in the Sunderland Over 40s League. I'd whittled it down to eight choices, none of which were an especially simple journey, nor with any amazing pubs en route. I put my dilemma out on Twitter to canvass opinions. In the end, the top 3 all started with H - Horden Colliery Welfare, Heaton Stannington and Hebburn Town. In the end, I realised that I didn't have the luxury of too much time between the games and so I headed to the Wetherspoons site to see if there were any nearby. Horden Colliery Welfare came up with the closest, therefore sealing the deal. It was also the best-looking ground and the only one that was not easily doable from Newcastle, so the decision made even more sense.

After my morning game in Castletown, I got a bus back into Sunderland. I wanted to visit CEX and Cash Converters in search of a new camera. The former came up trumps and I got my hands on a nice Sony one for £42. I've only had my current one less than a year but its too big and bulky to carry around and the app for transferring photos to your phone is hopeless. I did forget one small detail though - an SD card. I decided to try and lookout for a cheap one until I can get home to get my original out of my current camera. I walked to the interchange and for once my luck was in. I only had to wait 2 minutes for my bus and I was in Peterlee just after 1.40. Time was quite tight and so I headed straight for Wetherspoons number 213. The Five Quarter was fairly average but provided me with a decent pizza and a bottle of Aspalls for around £9. I left the pub at 2.25, walking straight to the ground and getting there at 2.50. It was a fiver to get in and I had a good chat with a hopper I met in Snodland in July whilst watching the game.


Horden CW were in excellent form, unbeaten in their last seven games. They'd beaten Washington 3-1, won 4-1 at Blyth Town, beaten Bedlington Terrier 1-0, won 1-0 at Redcar Town and beaten Esh Winning 3-0. They'd also drawn 1-1 at Billingham Synthonia and 1-1 against Boldon CA. Carlisle City were in decent form also. In their last five, they had beaten Brandon United 3-1, Sunderland West End 2-1 and Billingham Synthonia 4-2. They'd also drawn 2-2 at Heaton Stannington and lost 2-1 at Jarrow. Horden started strongly but didn't really test the keeper. Carlisle City soon took control though and they took the lead on 28 minutes. A ball was put across and Jordan Irving finished from close range. It was 2-0 on 34 minutes, Jordan Longcake with a lovely curling shot from the edge of the area. Strangely, the club played goal music for the away team goals too, the classic Tom Hark song. Horden finished the half strongly and didn't really deserve to be two behind. On 59 minutes, it was 3-0 to the visitors, a shot from the edge of the area by Jordan Holt. Horden got one back on 70 minutes, David Doughty finishing from six yards out. There was then a hat trick of penalties for the visitors, one for a tug back, one for a trip and one very soft one. They were all successfully converted, two by Irving to complete his hat trick and one by Keighran Kerr to make it 6-1. Horden Community had a few chances and they reduced the arrears on 87 minutes Barney Dobinson with a deflected shot.

It had been a deserved win for Carlisle City but maybe the margin was a bit harsh on Horden. I left at full time and was in town at Argos by 5.15. It was about the only place that was open and the town was dead. I got the SD card I needed for £6, this will prove useful to get better pictures at Newcastle tomorrow. I then headed to Lidl to get some cans for later and a soft drink. I headed back to the bus station and waited less than five minutes for a bus I was back in Sunderland about 6.30 and with the app indicating that Wetherspoons had replenished the Black Dragon, headed there. They had indeed and it gave me a good chance to have a rest, charge my phone and work up an appetite for dinner. I had a couple of pints as I still wasn't hungry after my first. I still wasn't peckish after the second, so I headed to a pub near my hotel, The Avenue. This wasn't a bad place and I had a pint of Sandford Orchards. But I was hungry now, but all the sit down Indian places were back in town. I couldn't be arsed with that, so just got some salt and chilli chips from a Chinese called Amigos. I was back at my room by 9.30, cans in reserve, waiting for the football highlights and hoping for a good nights sleep.


THE WELFARE GROUND is a delightful venue. The centrepiece of the ground is the main stand, which still looks pretty solid. It's got a leaky roof, hence a lot of seats are covered over but apparently, the council have condemned it and want rid. It'll probably be replaced by some metal monstrosity which is a real shame. The council probably aren't football people so they don't understand the importance of such structures and in my mind, they should have preservation orders on the stand, unless they want to provide something better. In its heyday, it would have held 500 but it must be around 150 today.

The rest of the ground is also great, with plenty of terracing which would give it a capacity of about 3,000. The tea bar at the ground is excellent, although there is no proper clubhouse, only cans. The only merchandise I saw was badges. There's plenty of car parking and the ground is well served by buses. It's a must visit for any serious groundhopper. 

Sunderland The Times Inn - Billy Hardy Centre

Sunderland The Times Inn Over 40's
Billy Hardy Centre
Grange Road

Ground Number: 1010
Saturday 16th October 2021
Sunderland The Times Inn 0-5 Penshaw Catholic Club
Sunderland Over 40's League Premier Division


This game was being played at the Billy Hardy Complex in the Castletown area of Sunderland. The ground's primary tenants are Hylton Colliery Welfare. Their formation date is unclear but as you will have guessed from the name, their roots lay in mining. They've never played higher than the  Wearside League and that is where they play in the present day, competing in the league's second-tier. The team I was going to see, Sunderland Times Inn competes in the top tier of the Sunderland Over 40's League. They are a pub team from a boozer that is situated near the Stadium Of Light, around two miles from their home pitch. They were struggling in the league when I visited, sitting third from bottom. They spent last season out of the league, following the abandonment of 2019/20 due to the pandemic. They've struggled in recent years but were runners-up in 2009 before winning the league the following year. The venue is named after Billy Hardy (born 5 September 1964 in Sunderland), a former bantamweight and featherweight boxer champion. He held the British championship at bantamweight and featherweight, as well as the European and Commonwealth featherweight titles.


When I planned my weekend in the North East, a big draw was the Sunderland Over 40's League. It may not be the finest football level but it is an extra game in the morning and is always entertaining. There are too few leagues that play Saturday morning which is a shame as they could draw plenty of extra fans in. The only other one I know of is the Midland U21 League. Neither of these is in the Football Traveller which is a bit of a surprise given how low down they go with all manner of basic pitches. I'd have loved to have gone and seen Sherburn Over 40's again, but they were away in Middlesbrough at a basic venue. I decided to go for the closest decent ground to my accommodation and that was Sunderland The Times Inn. I did my research and found out the team was linked to a pub near the Stadium of Light. I was hoping to visit there on Friday night to get a feel for the place and team but it would all depend on time.

The day of the game came and I'd had a late night thanks to traffic noise outside my B&B. The same noise woke me just before 7 and I must have only got around 4 or 5 hours of sleep. I felt OK though and at least it gave me a chance to start the day ahead of schedule. After getting washed, dressed and getting my things together, I left just after 8.20. I decided to walk to town for the exercise and got there just after 9. A McDonald's breakfast roll with brown sauce was a good start to the day and I also had a look in Cash Generator but there was nothing that I fancied. I got a couple of cans of drink and a Honeycomb Twin Peaks bar from Poundland before getting my day ticket from the station. I got the 9.50 bus which was on time for once and was near the ground by 10.05. Google maps directed me to the wrong entrance unless I fancied going through someone's back garden but I found the correct place and was pitchside by 10.15. I was definitely supporting the Times Inn, they'd been very welcoming when I'd visited the pub last night and even gave me a free shirt.

The Times Inn were in disappointing form and had lost their last five games. They'd lost 3-1 at Washington EMS, 4-0 against Sherburn Village, 5-3 at Easington Colliery, 5-3 at Hartlepool FC Blues and 4-1 at Wallsend. Their last victory had come on 4th September as they beat Ryhope Forresters 4-1. The hosts sat in 14th place while the visitors, Penshaw Catholic Club were in 8th. They'd won 4-1 at Wallsend in their latest game and had also beaten Washington EMS 3-1. However, they had lost 3-0 to Sunderland Ryhope Forresters, 3-1 at Ferryhill Greyhound Vaux and 2-1 at Hartlepool FC Blues. It was a good start for the visitors, they took the lead after 3 minutes, #8 finding the top corner from the edge of the area. It was a fairly even game though and the Times Inn manager came and said hello after he was told that I was coming. On 18 minutes, Penshaw had a goal disallowed for offside. They were generally on top and the lead was doubled on 40 minutes. It was a cross from the right, a party from the keeper and #8 following up for his second. The Times Inn captain was not happy and gave his team a dressing down at halftime. Five minutes into the second half Penshaw hit the bar with a header and went on to dominate the second half. They made it 3-0 on 65 minutes and on 70 minutes it was 4-0, #9 slotting home from the right. The home keeper was keeping things respectable with some good saves but he couldn't prevent Penshaw from making it 5-0 a few minutes from time, the ball hitting the bar on the way in.


THE BILLY HARDY SPORTS COMPLEX is a decent venue, set in pleasant greenery. The pitch is railed but aside from a few steps of terracing, it's only grass to stand on. There is plenty of parking and it is a couple of miles from Sunderland on a few bus routes. There's a bar at the ground or a few shops nearby. 

Friday, 15 October 2021

Durham Corinthians Reserves - Ford Quarry Football Hub

Durham Corinthians Reserves
Ford Quarry Football Hub
Keelman's Lane
South Hylton

Ground Number: 1009
Friday 15th October 2021
Durham Corinthians Reserves 2-2 Wheatley Hill WMC
Wearside League 2


The club appears to be a fairly new one, having been established in 2018, at least that's when their Twitter was established and as far back as records go. They started out in the Wearside League Division 3 and in their debut season, they finished 2nd behind Sunderland Town End, winning 12 of their 16 games. For the 2019/20 season, they were elevated to Division 1, which is a feeder to the Northern League and sits at step 7 of the non-league pyramid. Their first season at this level, playing under the name Durham United saw them sitting in 9th when the season was abandoned. The 2020/21 season was also cancelled with the team returning to their original name and finishing 6th. Currently, the team sit 7th and but have games in hand on the teams around them. The first team play at New Ferens Park, the original home of Durham City. That club left in 2016, following a dispute with the landlord and Durham Corinthians took up residence upon formation.

The club's reserve side was established in 2019 and they have played in the Wearside League Division 2 ever since. They were in good form in the two abandoned seasons, sitting 3rd and 5th when the season was abandoned. This season they are in 9th place at the time of my visit. Their home ground is at the Ford Quarry Complex in Sunderland which is also home to Northern League side Washington FC. The ground is based in South Hylton, a suburb of Sunderland with a population of 10,500. It boasts its own Metro station and has a number of listed buildings including St Mary's Church, The Golden Lion pub and a war memorial.


When I saw that Newcastle United were at home on the Sunday of my time off, I knew that a revisit was in order. I had been to the ground before but I wanted to update my blog and a weekend in the northeast is always decent. The only question was, when was I going to leave. I'd have done an overnight coach if there had been no Friday night games but thankfully, Durham Corinthians and the Wearside League came to my rescue. Despite the club's name, their reserve side played at the Ford Quarry Sports Hub in Sunderland which was convenient for me. I'd been hoping for a game higher up the pyramid, preferably in the Northern League. With that in mind, I booked a hotel in South Shields which was up nearer Newcastle. When none materialised, I exercised my right to cancel and instead booked a hotel in Sunderland. I had two choices - some rooms in Sunderland centre with some mixed reviews or a B&B on Roker Beach. It was slightly out of the centre but had much better reviews. Although I'd already booked my National Express coach to Newcastle, I was hoping that I could get off at Sunderland half an hour earlier which would give me time to check-in and get something to eat before the game.

I'd not been able to get to sleep on Thursday night so I was slightly tired when a trio of alarms woke me at 6am on the day of the game. I got washed and dressed before slinging the rest of my things in my bag. I quickly had a porridge pot for breakfast before leaving. It was dark when I got up, something I'd been used to when I did 3am and 5am shifts, but not something that I've suffered the pleasure of for a while. I was slightly behind schedule leaving but I made that time up and was parked up as intended in a side road near Chalfont Station by 6.45. In fact, I caught a train ten minutes ahead of schedule. I'd already factored in extra time in case of any problems, so had plenty of time to kill. I used it to visit the toilet facilities at Victoria Station, far more pleasant than on the coach. I was at the coach stop with half an hour to spare and read a paper whilst waiting. The coach was on time at 9 which was a good start and we made good progress up the M1 once we had left London. I was glad of a double seat to myself and pleased that the coach was sparsely populated. I killed plenty of time doing research for the Newcastle United part of my blog.

We were half an hour ahead of schedule, so had an hour in Leeds. I fancied a pint but my favourite venue, The Hop was 15 minutes walk away. Instead, I explored the local area. The first pub I went in only had Lilley's cider so I went next door to the Outlaws Yacht Club. This too was infested by Lilleys so I had to settle for a pint of Orchard Pig Reveller. Although not the greatest, at least it was apple-based and cooled me down a bit for the price of £4.80. I then headed towards Cash Converters, looking for a potential new camera but no such luck. Next up was Pound Bakery for a chilli beef slice before getting some cash out for the weekend. Time was a bit tight for another drink, so I had a look around the market, getting back to my coach stop at 2. I wished I'd planned things better but the coach only usually stops for 20 minutes at services. I got on my coach and soon we were on our way. On previous experience, Leeds folk love a coach and why not. I looked at train fares on the day and it was nigh on £60 for a single ticket to Sunderland, utterly ridiculous. A few more got on this time, but I retained my double seat. My coach ticket incidentally had cost me £11.70, around 4p a mile and an excellent price as driving costs five times that, once you take all your costs into consideration. A lot cheaper than the 61p per mile for the train though. We were making good progress along the route and missed out a few stops along the way. There was horrible news as a Tory MP called David Amess had been murdered in broad daylight in his constituency office. I'm no fan of the government but you should be able to do your job without fear of being killed. I know this sort of thing has been going on for centuries but it feels like this country has really been going down the khazi in the last couple of years.

In the end, the time saved was all eaten up by Friday afternoon traffic and I was at my stop at the specified time of 4.40. I walked to the stop for my bus, which was late of course. I was there and checked into my hotel by 5.20. It was a decent room for £32 a night. I had a bit of luck with the bus back into town, again it was late, but this time in my favour as I missed the specified time by a minute. I was back in Sunderland by 5.40 and headed to one of the Wetherspoons, the William Jameson. They had said on the app that they had Black Dragon Cider, but it had sold out. Instead, I had a pint of Thatchers Gold as part of my fish and chips meal for £8.65. The other Wetherspoons was closed so I headed to the Ship Isis. It was a pub I'd visited when completing the 92 back in 2013. I then got a big bottle of Irn Bru from a local shop before going to a nearby bus stop for a bus to the ground. The first bus didn't turn up, but that didn't matter. The second bus dropped me a few minutes away. First impressions were not great, it was fences galore then I had to give all manner of details away to get in. It wasn't the worst 3G cage I've ever done, but I'd not want to use up a Saturday for it. For my circumstances, it was a perfect Friday night game though.

Durham Corinthians Reserves were in disappointing form. In their last five games, they'd beaten Wynard Village in their latest game. They'd also drawn 2-2 against Polton and 1-1 at AFC Durham. They'd suffered two defeats in this time, losing 1-0 to Ryhope CW U23's in the Washington Aged Peoples Trophy Preliminary Round and 2-1 to the same side in the league. Wheatley Hill WMC were in better form. They'd beaten Blaydon Community on penalties following a 4-4 draw in the Durham County FA Minor Cup 1st Round in their latest game. They'd also won 4-1 at Hetton and 5-2 against the same team in the Washington Aged Peoples Trophy Preliminary Round. However, they'd lost 2-1 at Ryhope CW U23's and 3-0 at Durham United in the first half of September. The referee was a rather rotund chap, but he was pretty good at his job and he wasn't taking any rubbish. It was even early on but on 14 minutes, Wheatley Hill took the lead. Josh Pettler's surging run into the area ended in a good finish. The Durham keeper was injured around the half-hour mark. It was a bit of a late challenge but nothing malicious but it was a good few minutes before the game restarted. The visitors' number 9 made a late challenge, claimed that he won the ball. He was a fool, he told referee John Harkness that he 'Won the ball for fucks sake' which was debatable. He was yellow carded, then proceeded to call the referee a 'fat cunt' on more than one occasion for which he got his marching orders. Rightly so to be honest, as referees shouldn't have to put up with that. The ten men were still on top and they hit the post. They made it 2-0, a run down the left and a finish from a tight angle reflecting the game so far. It was a deserved halftime lead and despite the half ending at 8.23, it was back going again within five minutes. Durham Corinthians were on top and they reduced the arrears on 49 minutes, an Elliot Howey shot going straight through the keeper and it had to go down as an error. It appeared to be his absent teammate that let the side down though, as the second half was a different game. The visitors hit the post, had a lob just over although Wheatley hill had a couple of chances on the break. It was a superb goal that brought things level, a 35-yard strike from Jake McArdle that found the top right-hand corner. Durham Corinthians hit the post again four minutes from time, but couldn't find a winner.

It had been a decent game to watch and whilst Durham Corinthians should have won, the result was not totally unjust. It was a good ground to do on a Friday night with no principal tenant and nothing to set it apart from any other cage. I had promised myself that I'd visit the Times Inn, the pub of your team that I'll be seeing tomorrow. As it was 40 minutes away, I fancied a walk. I was peckish so I got some salt and pepper chips from a Chinese called Peking Express on the way. These were good but not the greatest value. I got to the pub at just after 10. It was a proper Sunderland pub, so maybe not best to mention that I was a Wycombe fan up for the Newcastle game. There's been a bit of bad feeling between the two clubs but aside from a few Internet trolls, every Mackem I've met has been great. North East folk just get what football means and I'm not sure that the general Wycombe public do so much. Certainly the folk at Adams Park too, but not enough people in the town take pride in the team. It was a great pub anyway, with lots of Sunderland memorabilia. I had a couple of pints of Strongbow, the second one free for some reason, I think the barman won a bet. I had another pint of Strongbow Dark Fruits before leaving. The landlord was chuffed to see that I'd be watching their team tomorrow. His name was Lawson and he even gave me a free shirt of the team. One more pint was had before I left at 11.20 and I decided to walk back to my room. I passed the old Roker Park on the way back, getting back just after midnight. I wish I'd had some more as I was pretty much sober and there was constant traffic noise outside my room. I stayed up until around 2, typing my blog and hoping to get some sleep after.


FORD QUARRY SPORTS HUB is a pretty bland 3G cage but at least three sides are accessible. There are 100 covered seats but the rest of the ground is open. The ground is on bus route 10 from Sunderland, or 20 if you don't mind a walk. There is plenty of parking available. There are basic food and drink facilities available, but there's not a lot nearby as it's a residential area.