Saturday, 21 September 2019

Hemsworth Miners Welfare - Springfield Training Stadium

Hemsworth Miners Welfare
Springfield Training Stadium
Wakefield Road
West Yorkshire

01977 614997

Ground Number: 880
Friday 20th September 2019
Hemsworth MW 3-2 Thackley
NCEL Premier


The club was established in 1981 following the demise of Hemsworth Colliery the previous year. They joined the Doncaster & District Senior League upon formation, finishing 3rd in 1986 which was good enough to win promotion. Another third-place finish in 1987 and a runners-up spot in 1988 saw them earn three successive promotions to find themselves in the Premier Division. In 1995, the club joined the West Riding County League, winning the Division 1 title in 1997. Hemsworth would remain here until 2008 when a 4th place finish was good enough for entry to the Northern Counties East League. Starting in Division 1, the team finished a credible 3rd in 2015, missing out on promotion by three points. The following season, they were champions and have been in the Premier Division ever since. Finishes have been impressive so far - 9th, 6th and 4th representing good progress and the team sit 8th so far this season.

In the FA Cup, Hemsworth Miners Welfare have reached the Preliminary Round on four occasions - the latest being this season when they won 4-0 at Kendal Town in the Extra Preliminary Round only to lose 1-0 at Sunderland RCA. They also matched their best ever FA Vase run this year, reaching the 2nd Round. A walkover against Rylands was followed up with a 3-2 win at Bishop Auckland, however, they went on to lose 3-1 at Irlam. Local cup wins include the Doncaster FA Challenge Cup in 1996, the Sheffield Junior Cup in 1998, the West Riding Premier Division Cup in 1998 & 2002 and the West Riding Division 1 Cup in 1997. The record attendance of 505 came against Kinsley Boys in 2007 whilst the record appearance and goals holder is Stuart Clark who scored 377 goals in 811 appearances. The small town of Hemsworth has a population of 15,350 and was featured in Series 4 Episode 2 of Top Gear. The traditional industry has always been mining and is where the football team are derived from.


It was a long-awaited break from work for me as I was enjoying my first period of time off since July although that was only a few days. All in all, I was going to enjoy a 12-day break. The time off got to a disappointing start as our family had to cancel our trip to Bulgaria due to my Mum hurting her leg. Luckily, we were able to get pretty much a full refund, but I'd been looking forward to seeing some games out there. Thankfully, I was going to see a game on my first day off, something which was arranged with fellow hopper Chris a few weeks ago. I was grateful to him as I'd not have been able to justify the cost on my own. I did my research the night before and was glad when Chris said that he'd do a game next Wednesday. On the day of the game, it was my annual trip to the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford for a checkup for my heart condition, as expected, all was fine and dandy. I came home, via Morrisons and Lidl to get some stuff for the weekend and spent a couple of hours at home. I took the opportunity to make up for my missed jaunt to Bulgaria by booking Eurostar tickets to 'any Belgian station' for next March to maximise my options, all in all, £108 as I wanted to come back on Friday night.


After a spot of lunch, I left home at 2PM. Three sets of roadworks in the first couple of miles driving were not what I wanted but after stopping at Tesco for petrol, I was with Chris by 3.30. As usual, the M1 was playing up, there were delays around Northampton due to roadworks and delays at Lutterworth due to some pranged cars. There was also the general congestion associated with the rush hour and so after around an hours delay, we were parked up near the ground at 6.50. Dinner was needed and so we headed to a local takeaway called Pizza Time. An excellent half-pound chilli burger was £4.60 with fries included and filled me up before the game. It was 7.10 by now and so we headed to the ground. Entry was a fairly priced £6 and a decent programme was £1.50. I noticed that a fair few people I knew from Twitter were in attendance, but sadly we never crossed paths. Looking at the formbook, Hemsworth had started the season well with three straight wins - two in the league at home to Grimsby Borough (2-1) and Eccleshill United (3-1) as well as a big win at Kendal Town in the FA Cup (4-0). Their form had tailed off since they'd been forced to travel with defeats at Albion Sports (0-3) and Staveley Miners Welfare (0-1) and they'd also gone out of the FA Cup at Sunderland RCA (0-1) The last game had seen a recovery and a rousing 5-2  home win over Bottesford Town which left them 8th at the time of kick-off. Thackley were a few places above in 4th. They'd kicked off their season with a 3-3 draw at Bridlington and since then had gained wins at Silsden (2-1) Albion Sports (3-2) as well as a 2-1 win against Grimsby Borough. They'd suffered a 4-1 defeat at Handsworth in the FA Cup and at home to Goole (0-1) as well as going out of the FA Vase 2-1 at Thornaby last Saturday.


The game took a while to get going, despite intent by both sides, neither tested the keepers. 20 minutes in, Thackley were ahead when a good through ball found Jack Normanton and he finished from the edge of the area pas the advancing home keeper Jordan Greaves. Five minutes later Thackley's Adam Muller was sent off for a bad tackle on Greaves, the glovesman thankfully able to continue. Despite the man advantage, Hemsworth weren't really creating any chances in the immediate aftermath of the sending off. They would equalise on 38 minutes however, a ball was put across from the right and put home at the back post, an own goal as it turned out. There was another goalmouth scramble a few minutes later with the post being hit twice, but the hosts were not to be denied a half time lead. Deep into time added on, a ball was put in from the left. Several players missed it but Jason Davies was there to turn it home. I grabbed myself a Bovril at half time for the cheap price of 80p and went out for the second half. A penalty was awarded to Thackley in strange circumstances early on in the second half. It took around six minutes from it being awarded to it being actually taken due to a head injury to Hemsworth's Steven Jeff. When it eventually time, Normanton stepped up and dispatched the penalty with aplomb to get his and his team's second. Both sides had chances, the hosts having the better of them and they had the ball in the net but the goal was disallowed. It was a feisty contest which saw a player sin-binned near the end for talking back to the ref. Seven minutes into injury time, the hosts got a winner, a ball from the right was turned home from 10 yards by Seon Ripley to spark scenes of jubilation.


It had been a good evening at a lovely club and I'd enjoyed my latest visit to see a game in my favourite league.  The game had also been rich entertainment for the 151 in attendance, around 50 added to the club's average gate. It was a result that sent the hosts top of the league and the players looked like they'd enjoyed the win. We didn't get away until 9.50, but made good time on the way back, even with a stop at services for a rest. Chris spent a lot of the time asleep so I caught up on my podcasts. I dropped him off at 12.20 having enjoyed his company. It was then a drive down the M1 and around the M25 for me, with me getting home an hour later. With no need to rush to bed, I stayed up until around 4 am, starting my blog, watching YouTube and editing photos. I was hoping for a good day for Wycombe v Portsmouth and maybe a game on Sunday too.


You'll get a friendly welcome at Hemsworth Miners Welfare and the facilities are pretty decent too. There's a decent stand with seating for over 100 but despite appearing otherwise, the structure beside it is actually a large pair of dugouts. There's further cover on the clubhouse side, but aside from that, the ground is open. Talking of the clubhouse, the drink selection is limited - no real ale or cider but prices are at least good. The tea bar had a much better range and looked to be knocking out some pretty tasty stuff. Nearby are the excellent Pizza Time takeaway and the untested Catchpenny Arms pub.

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