Wednesday 22 September 2021

Bedlington Terriers - Doctor Pit Welfare Park

Bedlington Terriers FC
Doctor Pit Welfare Park
Park Road
NE22 5DA

07935 840277

Ground Number: 999
Wednesday 22nd September 2021
Bedlington Terriers 1-3 Birtley Town
Northern League D2


The club was established in 1949 as Bedlington Mechanics, disbanding and reforming in 1965 as Bedlington Colliery Welfare before finally settling on their current name of Bedlington Terriers in 1980. They started off in the Northumberland Miners Welfare League and were champions of the North section in 1952. They were Northern Combination champions in 1955, before joining the Northern Alliance. Champions in 1967, they were long-time members before they were founder members of the Northern League's new Division 2. They finished as runners-up spot behind Brandon United in 1985 to win promotion to Division 1 and despite another runners-up spot in Division 1, this time behind Bishop Auckland, they were relegated back in 1987 after finishing bottom. The club would remain in Division 2 until 1994 when they went back up as champions. Bedlington Terriers were much better equipped this time and after a number of great finishes, they won the league five times in succession between 1998 & 2003. After some seasons of struggle, Bedlington Terriers were relegated back to Division 2 in 2016 and haven't really recovered since.

The club enjoyed their best FA Cup run in 1998. They thumped Pickering Town 11-1 in the 1st Qualifying Round before 1-1 and 4-4 draws with Bamber Bridge ended up with Bedlington Terriers triumphing 4-3 on penalties. The Third Qualifying Round saw a pair of 1-1 draws before another 4-3 penalty win this time over Whitby Town. The team then won 2-1 at Stafford Rangers before a famous 4-1 win over football league side Colchester United. The dream run ended in the 2nd Round as they lost 2-0 at Scunthorpe United. Later that season, they would reach the FA Vase Final, losing 1-0 to Tiverton Town at Wembley Stadium.  Local cup wins include two Northern League Cups, two Northern Alliance League Cups, four Northumberland Senior Cups and the Northumberland Minor Cup in 1954. Their record attendance of 2,400 came for the 1998 FA Cup game in Colchester United. The town of Bedlington is located in Northumberland, ten miles north of Newcastle. It has a population of around 18,500 and has a history in the mining industry.


Originally on this day, I was hoping to see a game in the North West, due to Wycombe being at Manchester City the night before. However, not much was showing at the time and so I booked a coach to Newcastle where there was far more choice. I had a healthy choice of games but in the end, I chose Bedlington Terriers over games at Blyth Town, Jarrow, Sunderland West End and Farringdon Detached. It looked the best ground and as it was my last one before 1,000 tomorrow, I wanted it to be a decent one. The day of the game came and I awoke at 6.30 after a decent nights sleep. I caught up on my phone and had some grapes for breakfast before going for a shower. I decided to stay in my room until the checkout time of 11 as I didn't fancy carrying my bag around all morning. I used the time to finish off last night's blog, as well as starting today's and future blogs. I also bought a train ticket for on Friday from Newcastle to Darlington for the price of £8.50. A decent price considering it's a £20 return or £10 for a bus journey that takes four times as long. I headed to Lidl after leaving my hotel, picking up a litre of flavoured water, a brownie, a pizza and a pretzel for £2. I was back at the coach station 40 minutes before departure as there was nowhere I fancied going.

The coach left promptly at 12 and was sparsely populated. The journey was a tiring one for some reason with us stopping at Middlesbrough and Sunderland on the way. We were at Newcastle at 3.40, ten minutes later than scheduled. I walked to my hotel - Newcastle Central Travelodge which was twice as far as their Newcastle Quayside hotel. And to cap it all, the Quayside was a couple of minutes walk away from my room. I dropped my bags off and got my things together before heading out for the game. The Split Chimp was my first port of call with me having a pint of Farmer Jim's Dry which was nothing special. Then it was around 15 minutes walk to The Mean Eyed Cat via a stop at Tesco for a big bottle of Irn Bru. They were still operating table service at the Mean Eyed Cat but I wasn't bothered by that. A pint of Ross On Wye Oak Cask Blend was consumed and it was good to be consuming a pint from my favourite Cidery in my favourite city. An email from RightMove came through indicating that there were well-priced properties within the area after I set up an alert last year. It's something I'm still seriously considering, with prices half of what they are in Wycombe. I headed across to the bus station and I was thinking that I might have to change my game. But the bus eventually showed up and was ten minutes late leaving. It all made things a bit tight. I'd thought more about stuffing my face than the footy and my takeaway was a mile away from the ground. I'd just about make it, all things being well, but would have preferred a bit more time. The Hotshot Parmo was excellent, though the chips could have been fresher. Overall, good value for £6.50 though. I just made kick-off and met a nice pair of dogs - ironically a pair of Bedlington Terriers at Bedlington Terriers. They enjoyed being made a fuss of.

In the last six games, Bedlington Terriers had suffered mixed fortunes. On Saturday, they had endured a 6-1 thrashing at Sunderland West End following a 3-1 defeat at Newcastle University. They'd also lost 3-0 at home to Jarrow. They had, however, enjoyed three wins - 2-1 against Easington Colliery, 4-0 at Brandon United and 3-0 at Chester Le Street. Bedlington Terriers were in 14th, whilst visitors Birtley Town were a couple of places higher in 12th. They'd been in poor form, their only win in the last six coming when they beat Washington 2-1. They'd suffered five defeats in this period - 3-1 at Tow Law, 2-1 against Blyth Town, 5-2 against Carlisle City, 2-0 at Ryton & Crawcrook and 4-1 to Newcastle University. Bedlington were in their usual red kit and Birtley were in Argentina style blue and white stripes. The floodlights were not the greatest, but my eyes eventually adjusted to them. There was a nice guy who I got chatting to and I found out he was also off to Esh Winning tomorrow. It was a very windy night and the play was a bit wayward as a result. Birtley were the better side but the first incident of note was the Bedlington striker being booked for a late challenge on the visiting keeper. It was another iffy challenge that led to the opening goal. A foul in the area resulted in a penalty. This was converted by Kaleb Young to make it 1-0 to Birtley. He got his and Birtley's second with a shot from inside the area on 43 minutes. Birtley should have made it 3-0 just before half-time, a great ball found Barwick but he somehow shot wide from not far out. Bedlington looked in dire straights and rather than giving them money for nothing, I took the walk of life to the bar and got myself a can of Strongbow for £2.50. Birtley did get their third on the hour mark. A free-kick into the area was knocked back to Young who shot home to complete his hat trick. Bedlington had offered little but they got a goal back on 65 minutes. The Birtley keeper did brilliantly to tip the ball onto the bar but Mal Kalimba pounced to put home the rebound. Birtley Town made it 4-1 on 84 minutes, Andrew Clarkson touching home a corner to put the game beyond doubt. 
So the game ended in a 4-1 win for the visitors, though it was hard to see at times with the floodlights not being the best. No doubt the manager would have taken a dim view of the situation. But they had been a good club to visit, even if the Twitter account wasn't the most interactive. Though to be fair, they were good at posting updates. It was around ten minutes to the bus stop but with buses going back at 36 and 11 past the hour, I didn't get too much luck with the timings and had nearly half an hour to wait for my bus at 22.11. It arrived bang on time and didn't hang about on the way back. I was back at Newcastle by 10.40 but was frustrated as all the decent places were closed. There were a couple of possibilities but they all closed earlier than their listed time too. I decided to head back to my room but on the way, I saw that the Head Of Steam was open. It was a nice place, even if it didn't have the greatest cider selection. I had myself a pint of Cheddar Valley for £4 before heading back to my room. It was a lively place, even at nearly midnight, mainly with young students enjoying life, which they totally should be. I was back at my room just after midnight, typing up my blog whilst watching Coronation Street.


THE DOCTOR PIT WELFARE GROUND is a nice ground with plenty of character. There's just one main covered area, holding around 400 with a mixture of seating and standing. There's also a bit of cover behind the goal in front of the clubhouse. The rest of the ground is open. There are basic food and drink options that are well priced. There's plenty of street parking from what I could make out. The main bus stop is around 10 minutes walk away with a better range of takeaways 20 minutes walk away around Station Road. 

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