Sunday 31 March 2013

Tadcaster Albion - 2inspire Park

Tadcaster Albion FC
2inspire Park
Ings Lane
North Yorkshire
LS24 9AY

01937 835017

Ground Number: 261
Saturday 30th March 2013
Tadcaster Albion 5-1 Barton Old Boys
Northern Counties East League - Premier Division


For the final game of my 4 part hop, I was off to Tadcaster Albion. It was the only ground out of the 4 that I had been to, having visited on the way to York v Wycombe last August to take pictures. Tadcaster is a famous brewery town, having both the Samuel Smiths and John Smiths breweries located there. While the beer companies had enjoyed lots of success, the football team have never been higher than where they currently are, and I had not seen them play before, neither did I know much about them I had been to see tonight's opponents, Barton Town Old Boys very recently though. Only last month I saw their home Lincolnshire Trophy defeat to Bottesford Town. I had enjoyed my visit there, thanks to a nice club, but mainly because of the good company of my Grimsby supporting mate William, who came along for the game. Having left Pickering at 5.25, we made good time and was in Tadcaster by 6.15. The coach dropped some of us off in town so we could have a better selection of pubs. I opted for a Samuel Smiths one, as the cider they do is very nice - the first time I tried it I had a fair few it was that good! After that, it was just a short walk to the ground. 
I arrived at the ground just before 7 and went straight in, getting some raffle tickets and going in the bar for another pint and chicken curry and rice. I then went outside and chatted to a few people I knew whilst I waited for the game to start.

Adam Dexter gave Barton the lead on 20 minutes, but it was the only time they would be ahead all evening. On 39 minutes it was 1-1 as Terry Taylor equalised, making it 1-1 at the beak. But a sending off would change the game, but not in the way you would expect. Just into the second half, Tadcaster's Callum Ward was sent off for elbowing, which really should have given the visitors the initiative. But football is a funny old game, and from then on, the home side dominated. Terry Taylor got his second on 67 minutes and they always looked like they could add to their tally. But it wasn't until 10 minutes from time that Stuart Rice scored a thumping goal to make the points almost safe. If the victory wasn't all but confirmed, it was 5 minutes later as Phil Winn deflected the ball into his own goal. They saved the best till last, Chris Youlden finishing a mazy run past the tired looking Barton defence with a decent finish. So it had been a great day, with 3 entertaining games seen, new friends made, and new places visited. But all good things had to come to an end. We made our way back to the hotel in Wakefield where we were based, making good time again, and getting back at 10.10. I nearly did a double take as my Sat Nav quoted over 4 hours to get home, but then I realised that it included the clocks going forward. I was a bit more frugal on the accelerator pedal going home, as I wanted to bring my fuel costs down a bit. Even so, I still shaved 15 minutes off my journey time, getting in just before 2am BST.


2inspire Park as it was called, was probably my least favourite of the grounds that I visited on the hop, but it was still a good venue with good people running the club. It also lacked the novelty of it being a first-time visit, unlike the other 3. Two sides of the ground are open. Behind one goal is 2 seated stands, though one of them is now closed, despite looking open when I went there in August. The one remaining side, where the clubhouse and dressing rooms are situated has a mixture of terracing and seating. The clubhouse itself is pretty large. They do beer from the local Sam Smiths brewery, but sadly none of their cider, opting for Strongbow instead. There is a table selling a small range of club items including pin badges. And the tea bar, like all the others I went to on this hop has a good selection of tasty treats.

Pickering Town - The Recreation Ground

Pickering Town FC
The Recreation Ground
Mill Lane
North Yorkshire
Y018 7DB

01751 473317
Official Website

Ground Number: 260

Saturday 30th April 2013
Pickering Town 3-0 Worksop Parramore
Northern Counties East League - Premier Division


For the second game of the day, I was off 30 miles down the road to Pickering. Our progress was halted somewhat with some idiot blocking the car park with his car while he ranted at the Bridlington Chairman for 5 minutes over them charging his kid to get in. I was annoyed as I wanted to get to Pickering as soon as possible to get to the pub. A lot of others gave him stick too. We eventually got on our way and after a cross country trek, we were at the ground at 3, half an hour before kick off. The pub I fancied, the Sun Inn was 13 minutes walk away according to Google Maps. I thought 'sod it' and decided to go anyway. I made up some time and got there at 3.10. I had both the ciders before but had a pint of Black Dragon anyway. After 10 minutes in the pub, I headed back to the ground and got in just in time for kick off.

The game was dominated by the home side, who won 3-0. Liam Shepherd and Lewis Taylor got the goals either side of a cracking second. The ball was rifled from the edge of the area and it thundered in off the crossbar. This was my 100th game of the season and although it wasn't as good as the other 2 that I watched, it was still enjoyable. The ground was my favourite of the hop and had nice surroundings too.


MILL LANE RECREATION GROUND is surrounded by nice countryside and buildings. The pitch has a slope from side to side and they also share with the local cricket club so the ground is 3 sided. The clubhouse end has an area of covered terracing, with 2 steps. The other end has a small seated stand and would probably serve as the away end in the unlikely event of segregation being needed as it has its own turnstile. The other side has a stand that is elevated to give a better view of the game. There wasn't a club shop when I went but I saw quite a few people wearing merchandise. The bar and tea hut area was large, the bar having a fairly decent selection and the tea hut being even better, doing good food at cheap prices.

Bridlington Town - Queensgate

Bridlington Town FC
Queensgate Stadium
East Yorkshire
YO16 7LN

01262 606879

Ground Number: 258
Saturday 30th April 2013
Bridlington Town 3-3 Scarborough Athletic
Northern Counties East League - Premier Division


Scarborough Athletic actually share at Bridlington Town's ground after the original Scarborough club went bust in the late 2000s. A group of supporters were inclined enough to form a new club, Scarborough Athletic, who I had not taken too much notice of until I picked up a copy of their excellent fanzine 'Abandon Chip' This contained many fascinating articles on their exploits in the Northern Counties East League, initially in Division 1, and latterly the Premier. It also heightened my interest in the League itself, so this groundhop was ideal. It must have been a bit of a culture shock for them, as recently as 2005 they hosted Chelsea at the now derelict McCain Stadium, and not long after, they were fighting it out amongst the likes of Worsborough Bridge Athletic and Rossington Main. There was no feelings of superiority from the vast majority of their fans though, from what I have read they just got on it, with mainly positive results. 

Bridlington had seen plenty of turbulence in recent years, back in 1994 they went bust and had to reform in the Driffield and District League. They made steady progress through the leagues and actually got to the Northern Premier League Division 1, just a step below the old clubs highest ever position. Sadly for them, relegation followed in 2008, and they remain in the NCEL Premier where they remain to this day.


When I heard about this game being part of the NCEL groundhop weekend, it swang the idea for me. I really wanted to see this game, but couldn't justify the petrol expense for going all the way up, just for one game. But with this groundhop on, I could do 3 games in 1 day, making it better value, even if I did have to book a hotel room as the day would be too long otherwise. On the day I woke up at 7.15, having a shower and being out of my hotel by 8. It was then a short journey to another hotel in Wakefield to meet the coach, which left at 8.30 I was surprised to meet fellow Wycombe fan Dave Finch who I have known for over 20 years and who had a season ticket behind me in my first few seasons of watching Wycombe. I also met Chris and Laurence who are the hop organisers and who have done a grand job of it. After a 75 mile journey, we were in Bridlington by 10.30. Initially, I was planning to go into town, but time was not on my side, so I just went to a local shop and got a paper. After that, I went and had a look in the clubhouse before going in the ground.

There was a decent attendance building for this local derby between landlord and tenant. After taking some pictures around the ground, it was soon time for kick off. 1569 witnessed a thrilling 3-3 draw. Scarborough were first to score - a long-range shot that the keeper could only parry into the net. Bridlington equalised almost immediately. They then took the lead with the goal of the game by their number 6. He lobbed the keeper from long range to give his side the advantage. It was all square by half time though as the Bridlington keeper could only parry a shot and the rebound was headed in. In the second half, long-serving player Ryan Blott gave the visitors the lead. Bridlington had the chance to equalise but a chance was missed when it looked easier to score and half the ground thought it was in. They made up for it shortly after when they did level things up. They looked the most likely to score a winner but there were no further goals. The game had a sour end as a Bridlington player dislocated his shoulder and the game was held up for 10 minutes before an ambulance came to take him away.


QUEENSGATE was in the NPL for a few seasons and so this is one of the bigger and better grounds in the NCEL. The main stand stretches for the whole length of the pitch and offers a mixture of covered seating and terracing. There are 2 small areas of cover along the side and behind the far goal, whilst the rest of the ground is open terracing. There is a club shop with a small range of merchandise, and there were programme stalls when I was there, but I am not sure if there is one there regularly. There is a large clubhouse which has a decent range. Best of all is the tea bar, again with a great range of stuff and the bargain of double sausage and chips for £1.50.