Thursday 28 July 2022

Newhall United - Hawfields Ground

Newhall United FC
Hawfields Ground
The Gables
DE11 0SL

Ground Number: 1094
Wednesday 27th July 2022
Newhall United 0-3 Stapenhill


The club was established in 1926, joining the Leicestershire Senior League in 1929. They'd only stay for a single season, finishing 6th out of 7 teams. They then returned to local football, amongst others winning the Derbyshire Premier League three times during the 1970s. In 1983, the club became a founder member of the Central Midlands League and remained there until 1995. They remained in the second-tier Premier Division for the entirety of their stay, finishing 5th on a couple of occasions which is the best in their history. Following this, they spent a few seasons in the Midland Combination, dropping out of the league voluntarily in 1998. They returned in 2001, starting in Division 3. They were runners-up in 2002 and then finished 3rd in Division 2 in 2004 to return to Division 1. They generally finished around the bottom places in the league and in 2010 rejoined the Leicestershire Senior League, spending a couple of seasons in Division 1. In 2012, they joined the Midland Regional Alliance League, spending until 2018 in the Premier Division before they left. After a couple of years away they rejoined the league at Division 1 in 2020. Last season they won the league and are set to return to the Premier Division which sits at step 9 of the Non-League Pyramid for this coming season.

The club competed in the FA Cup in the 1950s and early 70s. Their best run came in 1951 as they beat Matlock Town 4-0 and Basford United 3-0 following a 1-1 draw before a 6-1 defeat at Ilkeston Town in the 3rd Qualifying Round. They also played briefly in the FA Trophy. In the FA Vase, their best run came in 1981 as they beat Lutterworth Town, Birstall United and Racing Club Warwick before a defeat in the 2nd Round to West Midlands Police. Newhall is a suburban settlement located in Swadlincote, South Derbyshire, England. As of the 2011 census, it had a population of 776. The nearest big town is Burton-Upon-Trent.


It was another Wednesday groundhop with MK-based Chris for me which was much appreciated as it opened up a whole new world of possibilities. We'd originally planned Shirebrook Town but then I saw Newhall United were at home. I'd been on my way there via Chris back in May but a puncture forced me to abandon the trip. The 7 PM kick-off and the closer distance would mean getting home a couple of hours earlier. I'd also already researched the club history for my blog so it was a bit of a no-brainer. I finalized all my research for the trip on Monday night including a reasonable-looking Chinese takeaway.
I'd been planning to go to Roade v Northampton ON Chenecks on Tuesday, but I wasn't sure if the game would be on. The hosts weren't tweeting at all and the visitors weren't responding. After some persistence, they told me that the game had been rearranged, possibly for Thursday. To muddy the waters further, the email I'd sent to Roade that morning was replied to saying that the game was going ahead. I decided to err on the side of caution and stay local. My decision was vindicated as Roade later got in touch to confirm that the game was off which was good of them. My first choice would have been a walk up to Holmer Green for their game against Flackwell Heath. However, Flackwell were listed as playing at home to Aylesbury and I decided to go to that instead. Maybe I'd not have bothered but I fancied an evening out. The morning was spent doing the usual walk to town and back, 9 miles in all which should help offset all the junk I eat. The evening saw me make the trip to Flackwell Heath, my fifth visit to Wilks Park. The hosts were extremely impressive, especially in the first half as they beat Aylesbury United 4-1. The England Lionesses were also impressive, beating Sweden 4-0 in the Euro Semi-Finals.
The day at work was not too bad and as I'd filled up with petrol in the morning, I got away just after 3. It wasn't the best for traffic again with a bit of a delay getting on the M1 but I was with Chris by 4.20. Our own journey went well and there were only a couple of delays. We were at China Town takeaway in Newhall by 6 where I had salt and pepper chips along with chilli and spicy king prawn. Both were delicious. We met another hopper who was very friendly and sorted us out a couple of old programmes as he was something to do with the club. 
 The hosts Newhall United were in navy shirts and white shorts whilst visitors Stapenhill were in red and white. The sides were just three miles apart, less than ten minutes drive or an hour's walk. Stapenhill, a couple of steps higher were the better side in possession but didn't really trouble the home keeper. Newhall's couple of chances on the break were probably closer. On 22 minutes, Stapenhill were awarded a penalty for a trip in the area. The spot kick was converted by George Teeney, a low shot sending the keeper the wrong way. Stapenhill continued to have the upper hand but Newhall came close to an equaliser on 34 minutes when they flicked a shot wide of the left-hand post. Due to the nights drawing in, the halftime break was less than ten minutes. After 55 minutes, it was 2-0 Stapenhill, a cross headed into the corner of the net from six yards out by Jack Roberts. It was 3-0 on 64 minutes, a low shot from Oli Roome wrongfooting the home keeper and leaving him on his backside. With around 15 minutes to go, the Newhall keeper came flying out and brought down the last man but the referee was sensible as it was a friendly. He only awarded a free kick which was blasted over. There were no arguments as the game was won and the game was played in a good spirit which hasn't always been the case in some of the friendlies I've seen.

There had been around 100 in attendance and two dogs including a lovely friendly whippet. By the time we left at 8.45, the light was quickly fading. Stapenhill were good value for their win, but it was a shame Newhall United couldn't get a goal for their efforts. It had been a great club to visit, a nice ground and the programme was excellent too. It started to rain as we left and got heavier as we headed for home. It was still going well though and things only started to go wrong as we got nearer home. First there was 20 minutes delay on the M1. Then, with us a mile from dropping Chris off, I went over something in the road and damaged my two driver-side tyres. It was big inconvenience but I was glad that I had Green Flag cover to get me home. Chris got a taxi home and I phoned for recovery. On the bright side, hopefully, it was only tyres and slight damage to the alloy and I was able to type my blog, edit photos and order replacement tyres for £130 on my mobile. The rescue guy was great and the wait was not too bad at just over an hour. I was home around 12.50, staying up for a bit although it took me ages to get to sleep.


HAWFIELDS is a great ground for step 7 with plenty of character. There are two covered areas, one along the side with a few random chairs and another behind the goal which used to be larger until it was partially demolished. The rest of the ground is open to the elements and there is some hard standing. There's a small car park at the ground, plus a bar offering bottles and cans plus roles. The main part of Newhall is around a mile and offers various takeaways.

Saturday 23 July 2022

Ingles - Homestead Road

Ingles FC
Thringstone Miners Welfare
Homestead Road
LE67 8LL

Ground Number: 1093
Saturday 23rd July 2022
Ingles 5-2 Friar Lane & Epworth


The club was established in 1972 and upon formation, joined the North Leicestershire League. Starting in Division 1, they finished 9th in their first season which saw them relegated to Division 3. They bounced back as champions the following season and this started a huge run of success as they won Division 2 and finished as runners-up in Division 1 to find themselves in the Premier Division. This would remain their home for some time and they were runners-up four times and champions three times although this period included a short spell back in Division 1. After their third title in 2014, the club made the step up to the Leicester Senior League. A third-place finish in their first season behind the reserve sides of Ashby Ivanhoe and Lutterworth Athletic. After two good seasons, Ingles were Premier Division Champions in 2018. A groundshare with Shepshed Dynamo allowed them to earn promotion to step 6. After a couple of seasons in the East Midlands Counties League, and another pair in the United Counties Division 1, Ingles transferred to the Midland Division 1 for this season.

The club first played in the FA Vase in 2018. They've reached the FA Vase on each of those occasions, although their debut was remarkable. They played Melton Town and before the game, both sides had opted for a replay if the game was drawn. However, after drawing 2-2, the sides told the referee that they wanted to decide on penalties. The man in the middle agreed and Melton won 6-5 and they thought that was that. However, the FA had other ideas and insisted that the clubs stuck to their original decision. The replay resulted in Ingles winning 1-0 but their joy was shortlived as they lost 2-0 to Rugby Town. The club's status has prevented them from competing in the FA Cup so far, but they've won a number of competitions. These include five Cobbin Trophies and two Premier Cups whilst members of the North Leicestershire League.

The club's original home was at the Little Haw Lane Playing Fields in Shepshed and indeed their reserves still play there. It boasts a railed pitch but to gain promotion to step 6, the club had to move a mile to groundshare at Shepshed Dynamo. Ingles did secure a ground of their own at Thringstone Miners Welfare, some four miles from their original home. The town of Shepshed where the team are originally from has a population of 13,500. The most famous person to come from there is Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall who after starring at Luton Town on loan last season has broken into the Leicester City side this season. The town's main team is Shepshed Dynamo who play at the Dovecote on Butthole Lane, a notorious address in lists of funny place names. Rugby and cricket are also played in the town. Their new home is also home to Thringstone Miners Welfare, who play in the Leicestershire Senior League Division 2.


Once more on a Saturday, there was a lack of inspiring options on this Saturday. There was a potential North West treble at Pilkington, Widnes and Runcorn Linnets but the sheer mileage and cost prevented me from getting any takers for it. I was very keen on a double, so as to get my June & July total up to 25. I'm sort of aiming to do 200 games this season. I doubt I'll get there but I wanted to get a good start under my belt. Barwell turned out to be the saviours with an 11 am kickoff. It would be a revisit but it had been 9 years since I'd visited. It would be doubled up with Ingles who were playing at their new home at Thringstone Miners Welfare. This double was decided on Thursday and I was glad to have fellow hoppers Colin and Anwar on board to make it possible.

Thursday had seen me revisit Amersham for the third time as  I decided to go up to one of my local clubs. They'd had big news in the afternoon as they had signed the prolific non-league marksman Lewis Putman. Around 13 years ago, he'd hit over 80 goals in one season and was even on Wycombe's transfer radar at one point. The transfer never came to fruition but Putman continued to score plenty for whoever he played for. He certainly looked a class above in the game that I saw as Amersham Town beat Sarratt 4-0. Details were unconfirmed at present but the new man might have had a hat trick including a fantastic free kick. Friday was a bit of a return to reality. Schools breaking up meant clear roads but it also meant that the store was packed with undesirables and screaming brats. I really should look for a new job but I really like the people that I work with and if I'm too lazy to even look, what do I expect. Respite was provided by a Whin Hill Medium Sparkling cider as I did my research for this blog. I also had a revisit to Penn in the evening, a nice six-mile round walk to make up for the lack of one tomorrow.

The game at Penn was a decent one as Aylesbury Vale Dynamos won 2-1 in front of 56 fans. I had the good company or should that be the hindrance of Colin with me. It was free entry and I also got a pint of Burrow Hill cider at the bar as it was out of date. The club refused to take money for it and it was a cracking pint. I'd only had the top off of it when Colin booted it over whilst trying to stick an ice cube down my shirt. I'm a pacifist by nature and so we had a hug and got on with watching the game. I did want to put money behind the bar by buying another pint but the box had gone by full time. So I headed for home, with Colin and I altering UB40's Rat In The Kitchen to Grounhop Near Hitchin which is a whole lot more broadcastable than the lyrics that myself and MK-based hopper Chris think up for various songs whilst on our travels. There was the addition of a third game, and another visit to Boldmere St Micheals for DSC United v AFC Bentley. Another revisit and one that I've also blogged about before. Maybe the Barwell blog would have got a tidy-up had it just been two games but my small band of readers will have an extended blog here to read.

The day of the game came and it was another night's poor sleep with me waking at 5.30. With three games on today though, I felt great and raring to go. The research was done with regards to petrol and I found out that I could fill up cheapest in Aylesbury. I left at 8, meeting Colin 15 minutes later. From there we headed towards the intended petrol station. However, in Wendover, they were a penny cheaper than in Aylesbury so I filled up there for 179.9. It was the cheapest since the start of June when it had rocketed up 18p a litre in little over a week. We then headed to Anwar, getting there a few minutes later and being kept waiting for ten minutes. We got on our way and had a good journey, getting to the ground at 10.35. Dan, Richard and Andrew had come along and we had a brief chat. Gibbo and another hopper also came from York. Loughborough Dynamo started brightly and scored through a penalty after a few minutes, smashed home by #7. Barwell equalised when #17 scored on the rebound after 11 minutes. It was 2-1 after 20 minutes, a cross from the left and #11 fired home right on the line at the back post. The hosts would hit the post twice more before the break. Barwell did add a third in the second half on 62 minutes, a well-worked goal. On 70 minutes, the arrears were reduced thanks to a superb overhead kick. After the game, we made our way to Morrisons Cafe for lunch. I had ham and cheese toastie and sweet potato fries, very reasonable for under £6.

From there, we made our way to the ground, getting there at 2.20. Entry was free, so I bought a can of Strongbow for £3. Ingles were well on top throughout. They forced a few good saves out of the visiting keeper and wasted a few chances but finally took the lead on 32 minutes. A corner from the left was put in and the ball was headed home at the near post from a few yards out. It was 2-0 on 35 minutes, a lovely goal that found the top corner from the edge of the area. A few minutes from halftime, the deficit with a great free kick. The second half saw a vastly improved Friar Lane performance. They had the majority of play but were done by a goal on the break after 68 minutes. The hosts had the ball in the net with a huge lob from halfway, but the referee had already blown for a foul. The visitors reduced the arrears again on 75 minutes, a stunning curling shot from #15 which found the top left corner from outside the area. Ingles restored their two-goal advantage on 87 minutes with a great lob from outside the area. It was 5-2 thanks to a header a couple of minutes later.

 The afternoon had all been a bit too much for Colin who had fallen asleep at the side of the pitch due to the medication he takes. In fact, both of my passengers slept most of the 40-minute journey to Boldmere. I stopped at a Chinese called Chester House for my usual salt and chilli pepper chips. Not the greatest price at £3.90 but superbly cooked and great service. From then it was to the ground, arriving half an hour before kick-off. The bar was very impressive and I had myself a pint of Sharps Cold River for £3.85. This was nice and helped me relax after a long day. It was a decent setup, better than I remember following a face-lift. DSC dominated the first half, but couldn't get the ball in the net. They came good in the second half, scoring four goals but also missing a penalty. We left around 9.20 and made good progress home. After dropping everyone else off, I was home at 10.50. It was a less than happy homecoming thanks to it being the demon day tomorrow and also a malfunctioning PC that made sorting my blog a pain, I have a replacement in the works for the PC and the pain of Sunday was eased with a few drinks with me getting to sleep around 1 am. A great day with wonderful people ahead of the zombie apocalypse.


HOMESTEAD ROAD was very much a work in progress when I visited, with a lot of building work being done. There were a lot of nice touches that let you know who played there. When finished, it looks like there will be two stands, holding around 50 seated and 100 standing. Half of one goal is unavailable to spectators. The bar is smart and serves a basic range of drinks. The car park is quite small but there's plenty of street parking.