Saturday, 19 March 2022

Crossgates Primrose - Humbug Park

Crossgates Primrose FC
Humbug Park
Windmill Knowe

Ground Number: 1052
Saturday 19th March 2022
Crossgates Primrose 1-2 Penicuik Athletic
East Of Scotland League Premier Division


The club was originally established in 1923 and have played in the Fife Junior League for the vast majority of their history. They folded in 1960 and would not reform until 1983. They remained there until 2006 when the Scottish Juniors system was re-organized and they were placed in East Region, Central Division. Their best finish was 6th in 2008 and they switched to the Southern Region in 2014. During the 2015/16 season, the club failed to complete their fixtures and went into abeyance for four months. They would reemerge the following season and in 2018, joined the East Of Scotland League. Starting in the Conference B division, a 5th place finish in their first season was good enough for promotion to the Premier Division, where they remain to this day.

Local cup wins include the Cowdenbeath Cup in 1929 when they beat Dunnikier Colliery 1-0. The 1947/48 season saw them win the Fife Cup, beating Lochgelly Violet 4-1 in the final, and the West Fife Cup, which was secured with a 1-0 victory over Dundonald Bluebell. 1952-53 saw the club put together their most successful run in the Scottish Junior Cup. Polkemmet were dispatched 5-1 in the first round, and the second saw Crossgates win 4-3 at Alva Albion Rangers before receiving a bye in the third round. A single goal at Crieff Earngrove in the fourth round earned the team a draw against Auchinleck Talbot in the fifth. A record crowd of 7,600 - necessitating the club buying and installing 400 railway sleepers - watched the tie at Humbug Park which was drawn 2-2, remarkably Primrose then went to Ayrshire and came home with a 4-1 win. The quarter-finals again saw a trip to Ayrshire and to Annbank United. A 2-2 draw was followed up by the same score-line at Humbug in front of nearly 5,000 supporters before the second replay was lost 3-0 at Cambuslang. Annbank went on to the final where they lost to Vale of Leven. The club's best-known former players are Scotland legend Jim Baxter, who Crossgates sold to Raith Rovers for £200, and his second cousin George Kinnell. 

Crossgates is a village around two miles from Dunfermline with a population of around 2,500. has a long history of mining. In 2008 a mine was opened at Muir Dean to the south of the village, with the intention of removing 2,000,000 tons of coal. Planning permission for the mine was initially refused by Fife Council but the decision was later overturned by the Scottish Government. The mining company later went into administration, leaving an ecological disaster with an uncertain future at the time. The majority of reparation works have now been completed, with the former mine infilled, and the landscape returned to farmland.


With not much to talk about with so many blogs in a short space of time, I thought I'd talk about the value for money on this hop. Whereas I felt that the North West Counties Hop wasn't great value - just £25 less than this hop, and you had to get up to Yorkshire, this one was great value. I'd opted for the single room option at £270, though you could have got a shared room for £210. With petrol prices going through the roof, plus the servicing costs on your car taken into account, I reckon that the 954 miles we had covered on the journey would have cost £210 alone. Add to that the inconvenience of driving and it seemed even better value. Had I done it on my own, I'd have been looking at around £40 a night minimum in a hotel and then £50 for tickets & programmes. So I'd saved myself a good amount by going with Groundhop UK and it also took all of the stress out of the trip.


From the game at Glenrothes, it was around 20 minutes on the coach to Crossgates Primrose. As usual, the hoppers took a while to get off the bus, clogging up the aisle so I wasn't outside the ground until 20 minutes before kickoff. I wasn't that hungry, so skipped the chippy visit and headed straight in. There was a big crowd already there and it looked as if the club had published the event well. The tea bar was doing a roaring trade, but it did mean long queues. I gave up waiting when I realised that I was only waiting so I could help the club out rather than actually being hungry. I was disappointed by the lack of a  bar though. The hosts had a great bunch of youngsters giving them vocal backing throughout the afternoon.


Crossgates Primrose were sitting 7th in the table. In their last game on 5th March, they had triumphed 3-1 at Livingston United. In their last three league games, they had won 4-1 at Tynecastle, drawn 1-1 with Inverkeithing Hillfield Swifts and lost 5-2 at Linlithgow Rose. Penicuik Athletic. Penicuik Athletic were sitting 2nd and could go top if they won their game in hand. They'd lost 2-1 to lowly Blackburn United in the league cup but had triumphed by the same scoreline in their last league game. They'd also won 2-1 at Lothian Thistle but lost 3-0 to Tranent. The visitors took the lead on 25 minutes, a good through ball found Cameron Dawson who finished well from ten yards. It was all square on 44 minutes when a great cross found Brian Ritchie who headed home from five yards out. Penicuik grabbed the winner on 58 minutes, Dawson completing his brace when he followed up a parried shot. It had been a decent atmosphere but the majority of the 434 crowd went home disappointed.

HUMBUG PARK is a basic venue but with lots of character. There's no cover but there is some grass steps that offer an elevated view but the steps get slippy. There's merchandise but no bar. The food selection is good but it's not really built to take big crowds and service is slow, though I'd imagine on a normal day that it's fine. There's a chippy just up the road and this looks decent.

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