Saturday 16 September 2023

The Milbourne Arms - Bates Cottages CC

The Milbourne Arms FC
Bates Cottages Cricket Club
Pavilion Bates Cottages
Tranwell Drive
Seaton Carew
Whitley Bay
NE25 0HU

Ground Number: 1221
Saturday 16th September 2023
The Milbourne Arms 3-3 South Shields
Sunderland Over 40s League D1


The Milbourne Arms are based out of a pub of the same name, just under a mile or 15-minute walk from their home venue. They play at Bates Cottages Cricket Club which has a football pitch on the side. Both are located in Seaton Delavel, a village near Whitley Bay with a population of just under 4,400. The name 'Seaton Delaval' was first attested as 'Seton de la Val' in 1270. 'Seaton' simply means 'sea town', referring to the village's nearness to the North Sea. The land was held by the Delaval family, who took their name from Laval in Maine in France. Famous residents include the former Liverpool and Arsenal player Ray Kennedy. It is home to Seaton Delavel FC who play in the Northern Alliance.

As for the football side, the first record I can find of them in the Sunderland Over 40s League is when they finished 8th in Division 1 during the 2014/15 season. The following year they were relegated to Division 2 and spent three seasons down there before a 3rd place finish saw them promoted back in 2019. The following season was abandoned due to the pandemic but when football returned The Milbourne Arms would finish a credible 5th. The same place the following season saw them promoted to the Premier Division. Last season saw them spend their sole season in the top tier, finishing 15th and being relegated.


One of the things I enjoy most about my weekends in the North East are the morning games in the Sunderland Over 40s League. Morning games are rare in football, the only other prominent league with decent grounds is at the other end of the age spectrum - the Midland U21 League. I preferred this league though, the choice was far more abundant, maybe because I'm older too. I had been to four previous games. Sunderland Ryhope Forresters gave me the chance to visit Ryhope CW's ground for my first dip into this league in 2018. I drove that time but had learned to do things better by 2021, taking the National Express which saved me loads. Sherburn Village was my next stop in March 2021, a nice railed pitch and a friendly welcome. It was a similar venue for my next visit later that year as I watched Sunderland The Times Inn and even visited the pub the night before. It was another friendly welcome at both the pub and the ground. Finally, I went to North Shields Pineapple in March 2022 and had another great morning of football at the ground used by FC United Of Newcastle.

A trip to the North East had been long overdue - it had been 18 months since my last visit to my favourite part of the country. Again, I had plenty of choices, around ten games at decent venues. But first, I had to choose an afternoon game to pair it up with and Whitley Bay edged it over Morpeth Town due to the latter being 3G. Whitley Bay was also better connected for my morning game. I had four options and the ones that lost out were Killingworth YPC, North Shields The Three Sails and CSSC Newcastle Darsley Park. The latter was the most tempting as it was at the former home of West Allotment Celtic. However, Twitter updates for most sides were sporadic and I wanted to minimise chances of a wasted journey for a no-show from one of the sides. South Shields, the away side tweeted regularly, so I put my faith in them.
I awoke on the day of the game at 6.30 feeling fine. The Internet was still slow and my clothes were still soaking, at least the bottom half. I'd not bought a change as I'd wanted to travel light and so didn't bring a change of clothes. I felt better after a shower but a trip to a shop was needed. No Asda was convenient but Primark were the saviour with them opening early and being located en route. As it was, it could have been normal opening hours with Colin taking his time. I got some jeans and shoes and felt a bit better now I was dry. It then a few minutes to the bus station with us getting there five minutes before our X7 towards Blyth. The bus was comfortable and dry and it allowed me to get last night's blog up whilst Colin slept. We were at the pleasant cricket club twenty minutes before kickoff.
The Milbourne Arms had started the season badly with a 4-0 defeat at Redcar Town. However, things had improved vastly since with a 4-2 win over Dubmire Club, a 4-4 draw at Hartlepool Jacksons Arms, a 4-3 win over Newcastle East End and a 4-2 win at Hebburn Town. They sat 5th whilst South Shields sat 3rd. They'd also started their season with a defeat 4-3 at Newcastle East End. However, they'd won all four since with a 2-1 win at Hartlepool Cricket Club, 3-2 wins over CSSC Newcastle Darsley Park and Sedgefield as well as a 7-2 win over Sunderland Last Orders. It was a lively start. South Shields took the leads on 8 minutes. Despite the Milbourne keeper making a great save, the rebound was headed in from close range. It was fairly end to end, perhaps South Shields edging it but the home keeper was having a great game as Shields were a lot better up front. The Milbourne Arms equalised on 35 minutes, an attack down the left with a shot finding the top-right corner from the edge of the area. Nine minutes into the second half Milbourne Arms took the lead following a great run down the left and a shot after cutting in. Less than a minute later, it was 2-2, a low shot from the edge of the area. Milbourne Arms were the better side by now and the visiting keeper made a decent save to keep the scores level. South Shields got what they thought was a late winner in injury time as a shot was put into the bottom left corner past the despairing dive of the keeper. But an even later goal made it 3-3, a shot into the roof of the net. It had been a great game and a good advert for the league.

BATES COTTAGES CRICKET CLUB is a pleasant cricket club with a decent football pitch attached to it. The pitch is railed on three sides but has no hard standing or cover. There is space for expansion but it also feels enclosed. Parking is plentiful and it is on bus routes from Newcastle.


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