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