Saturday 20 August 2022

Kimberley Miners Welfare - Stag Ground

Kimberley Miners Welfare FC
The Stag Ground
17 Nottingham Road
NG16 2NB

Ground Number: 1099
Saturday 20th August 2022
Kimberley Miners Welfare 2-0 Leicester Nirvana
FA Cup Preliminary Round


The club was established in 1926, a year after the Miners Welfare club itself opened. They joined the Notts Spartan League and were champions in 1948, 1965 and 1966. A spell in the Notts Combination followed with them winning it Iin 1972 and 1976 before they joined the Notts Amateur League which they won in 1986. In 1995, the club joined the Notts Alliance, winning Division 2 in 1997 and Division 1 in 2000. They then spent four seasons in the Senior Division, finishing 4th in their debut season. In 2004, the league became the Notts Senior League - Premier Division and in 2014, Kimberley Miners Welfare finished as runners-up to Selston with both clubs promoted to the East Midlands Counties League. A couple of years earlier, Kimberley Miners Welfare had moved from their long-time Digby Street home to the Stag Ground, the former home of Kimberley Town FC. They remained here for seven seasons when in 2021, the league was disbanded, following a pyramid restructure. The club's new home was the United Counties Division 1. The team felt right at home in their new surroundings, winning the title at the first attempt and winning promotion to the Premier North Division.

Kimberley Miners Welfare have entered the FA Cup twice before, reaching the Preliminary Round on both occasions. The first occasion was notable as they were beaten 4-2 by Blaby & Whetstone in the previous round, only to be reinstated after their fielded an ineligible player. They have also reached the FA Vase 2nd Round twice. Local cup wins include the Notts Combination Junior Cup in 1973, the Notts Combination Senior Cup in 1936 & 1972, the Notts Alliance League Cup and Notts Intermediate Cup in 1997 as well as many others for their reserve and youth teams. Famous names in the dugout include former Wycombe Wanderers, Chester City and Carlisle United (as well as a host of non-league clubs) striker Tony Hemmings who managed the club during the 2015/16 season.

The town of Kimberley is located six miles northwest of Nottingham. The town grew as a centre for coal mining, brewing and hosiery manufacturing. Together with the neighbouring villages of Giltbrook, Greasley and Swingate, it has a population of around 6,500 people. One of Kimberley's most notable structures is its unusual war memorial, in the form of a rotunda which is used as the emblem of Kimberley School. Kimberley Brewery was taken over by Greene King in 2006, another major brewer in a multimillion-pound deal which marked the end of the traditional Kimberley Ales as ale brewing ceased shortly afterwards and only a distribution centre remained there. They used to have another team in the town. Kimberley Town FC existed up until 2012. They played as high as the Northern Counties East and Midland Leagues and also played in the FA Trophy. Kimberley Institute also represents the town in cricket.


I was very keen to do an FA Cup game on this Saturday and preferably one on public transport. My latter wish would not be granted though, as due to the poor management of the railways, the workers were on strike once more. Sadly, the government won't give them the kick up the backside that they deserve, perish the thought that the management would actually do their job and negotiate a fair deal with the unions. So, I was going to have to drive, but all the options were a fair distance away. I already knew that Colin was off to Barnsley v Wycombe Wanderers and thought that Anwar might be also. So I contacted Milton Keynes based hopper Chris and gave him a list of around 15 options. Some of them would have involved huge journeys, so I was glad when he selected Kimberley Miners Welfare v Leicester Nirvana. It wasn't the best of ties, being that the teams played in the same division. But it had been one we had both been trying to do for ages, so we were glad to get a game pinned down.
I'd been to a couple of games since my last groundhop. On Thursday, I headed to Windsor v Balham in the FA Youth Cup. My main objective was to help Colin get Windsor ticked off and a visit to Stag Meadow is never a bad thing. I'd have probably headed to my local team Holmer Green had I been alone. But nevertheless, it was a decent night out. The first half took a while to get going, but Balham took the lead just before halftime. They had the better of the second half but Windsor had good spells. They got a last-minute equaliser only for Balham to prevail on penalties. Then on Friday, it was the grown-up FA Cup at Chesham for Aylesbury United v Ardley United. The higher-placed hosts just did enough to get a 1-0 win in what was a decent evening with Colin and his mate Joe. In the reverse fixture of the game I saw in Wales last week,  Newport City beat Undy Athletic 5-4 which made the 0-2 I saw last week seem pretty dull.
Elsewhere it has been the usual palaver at work and I was glad of my day off. The day of the game came and I had a decent night's sleep, waking up at 9. Without time to go for a walk, I settled for breakfast a shower and getting dressed before I  left at 10.45. I had to stop for petrol at Tesco in Aylesbury on the way and due to traffic, I didn't get to Chris until 11.55. We had an OK journey, arriving in Kimberley at  1.35. Rather than go for something to eat, we popped to a local Micropub. It was a disappointment with only flavoured 'ciders' and so I just settled for a pint of Aspalls which would leave me OK to drive later. From there it was to the ground where it was £6 entry. The selection of food was not as good as expected but the steak pie at £2 was tasty and good value. Still peckish, I also had a bag of cheese and onion crips for £1.

Both teams played in the United Counties North and both would be vying to get to the 1st Qualifying Round for the first time. Kimberley Miners Welfare had got this far by thumping Lutterworth Town 5-1 whilst Leicester Nirvana had drawn 1-1 against bottom of the table Selston before winning the replay 2-1 at their place. The hosts were 12th in the table having beaten Skegness Town 4-0 and Selston 3-2. They'd suffered a couple of heavy losses - 5-1 against Sherwood Colliery and by the same scoreline at Quorn. The visitors were in 5th. They had beaten Belper United 1-0 as well as a 3-1 victory at Heather St Johns. They'd drawn 4-4 at Quorn and 1-1 at Heanor. The conditions were sunny and windy. The hosts were in red and black stripes, the visitors in blue and black stripes. In my usual game of matching the colours to other teams, I decided it was the Milan Derby. Kimberley dominated the first half although they only once seriously tested the keeper with Leicester Nirvana defending well. They continued to be on top in the second. They finally opened the scoring on the 65 minutes. A man was tripped just inside the area and James Shaw stepped up to convert the spot kick. The lead was doubled on 73 minutes by Tom Eccleshall, possibly straight from the corner. Leicester Nirvana offered little and the remaining chances went to Kimberley.

The attendance was given as 128 and it was nearly 5 by the time we left. We made our way to Digby Street, the home of Kimberley's old ground. It was all shut up and fenced off but it would make a decent venue for a step 7 side. I was in a good mood as Wycombe had gained an excellent 3-0 win at Barnsley to end our bad run. We listened to the TalkSPORT phone in on the way home, but it was pretty poor compared to the Five Live one. We had no choice however as the BBC were covering the Bournemouth v Arsenal game. I dropped Chris off at around 6.40 and made my way to Aylesbury, picking up a few bits of shopping I needed. I was back home at 8, having some of the cider I bought. I only had mediocre stuff and resolved to order some decent stuff online pretty soon. As well as having dinner, I caught up on YouTube and typed my blog before the football highlights came on.


THE STAG GROUND is a pleasant place to watch a game. There are two covered areas, one a seated stand holding around 100 and a standing area of around the same size. The rest of the ground is open. Everything is well kept and neat. It also has plenty of character with the pitch sloping from side to side. There are basic bar and tea bar facilities in the ground or there is a wider selection in the local area, albeit with a lack of takeaways. Parking at the ground is quite limited but there's plenty of street parking. The ground also appears to be well served by buses. 


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