Tuesday 18 July 2023

Blisworth - Courteenhall Road

Blisworth FC
Courteenhall Road

01604 858024

Ground Number: 1205
Tuesday 18th July 2023
Blisworth 2-2 Newport Pagnell Town


The club was established in 1898 but where they played in their early years is unclear. In 1970, they joined the United Counties League's third tier. They stayed for eight seasons initially, their best finish being 7th in 1976. They then returned to local football between 1978 and 1987. They would return to the United Counties League Division 1, staying until 2006. Their best finish was 3rd in 1988 behind British Timken Duston and Mirlees Blackstone. After leaving the UCL they joined the Northants Combination where they remain to this day. They dropped down to Division 1, winning promotion back as runners-up to Ringstead Rangers in 2011. They won the Premier Division four times in a row between 2016 and 2019. From 2006 until recently they were known as James King Blisworth, thanks to a sponsorship deal with a local plant machinery company.

In terms of local cups, they have won the Northants Combination Premier Division Cup four times and the Northants Junior Cup twice. Blisworth is a village around five miles from Northampton. The West Coast Main Line, from London Euston to Manchester and Scotland, runs alongside the village partly hidden and partly on an embankment. The Grand Union Canal passes through the village and the north portal of the Blisworth tunnel is near Stoke Road. It has a population of just under 2,900. There is an annual Canal Festival held in the village every August, held to help celebrate the part that the canal has played in Blisworth's history. This festival is organised by the Blisworth Canal Partnership whose aims are to promote, maintain and improve Blisworth's Canal environment.


This game was only decided upon on Sunday as I wanted something local. My preference would have been a revisit to Holmer Green, but they cancelled their game against Tring Athletic. I did consider a revisit to Amersham Town or Chalfont Wasps. But then an interesting choice came up for a new ground within a reasonable distance. I'd done a few in the Northants Combination and Blisworth, although quite basic, seemed worth the trip. They had a friendly against Newport Pagnell Town Development and the early kickoff meant I could get back nice and early.
The reason for staying local was that I'd done a lot of travelling recently. I had come back from Plymouth on the overnight coach the night before. I was back at 8.30, catching a few hours of sleep, then bathed and did my blog. I then walked down town with Colin, though the exercise was undone by the huge curry I had for lunch. We then went to Lidl to get some stuff for tonight's game before getting the bus home. It was annoying to see the bus we needed leaving the station as we arrived and due to the inconsistent buses, there was nothing towards me until the next one that went to Colin's. Sometimes the buses work out well, other times, especially in the evenings, the service is non-existent. It was a 50-minute wait and in the end, it probably would have been quicker to walk. The only consolation was that the ticket machine was up the spout, so I got a freebie.
It was a very noisy and full bus too due to the previous one not turning up. I was home at 4.15 and had less than half an hour before I had to go out again. Though Colin opted out at the last minute, I was glad as I got an extra 10 minutes at home. Still not enough time to research the history of the club though, before I left at 5. It was a reasonable journey to Anwar and then onto Blisworth with us getting there at 6.40. It was a nice village on the drive-in and a well-appointed ground for the level. The cover was most welcome as it started to rain. There were a couple of dogs there including a black labrador who was enjoying the rain.
Blisworth made the early running and had a couple of chances. Newport Pagnell took the lead after 20 minutes, a well-worked move, a square ball and a low finish from ten yards. They started to have the better of proceedings. Blisworth were usual on the break and it was one of these moves that got them an equaliser on 41 minutes. A swift move down the right and the ball was sent into the roof of the net from ten yards. It was quite competitive with some strong tackles. An amusing moment happened when someone shouted 'Oi ref, the lino have it the other way' to which the ref replied 'It doesn't matter, I'm the referee. Being pre-season, it was spare players running the line, so he was right to overrule. The game was fairly equal from then on. Around 65 minutes, the visitors retook the lead. Their right back who had played very well finished a jinking run by planting a shot in the bottom right-hand corner. A couple of minutes later, it was all square. The close-range effort was initially ruled out for offside by the club linesman but he was overruled once more by the ref making the correct call and it was 2-2.
It had been a decent game for the 50 or so fans in attendance. I've enjoyed a fair few games in the Northants Combination and will be considering completing the league. Some of the venues are a bit basic, but at the top of the list is Roade, Sadly, it barely ever seems to come up but it is a decent ground. Lots more rain, road closures and the nights rapidly drawing in made it a fairly unpleasant journey home. I dropped Anwar off at 9.45 and got in myself at 10.15. With a lot of things to catch up on, it'll be a few days off groundhopping for me, before hopefully a Welsh double on Saturday.

COURTEENHALL ROAD is a good venue for the level. The pitch is not railed and three sides are hemmed in and have no spectator access. But the one remaining side is decent, having cover for around 50 fans thanks to the clubhouse overhang. It is a decent clubhouse with a fair bit of old club stuff on the walls. There's not much near the ground with it being in the middle of nowhere but there is a reasonable amount of parking. It is well worth a visit in my opinion.

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