Wednesday 8 November 2023

Stapenhill - Maple Grove

Stapenhill FC 
Maple Grove
DE15 9NN

Ground Number: 1242
Tuesday 7th November 2023
Stapenhill 6-0 Borrowash Victoria
Derbyshire Senior Cup 2nd Round


The club was established in 1947, a couple of years after the end of World War 2. In 1957 they joined the Leicestershire Senior League. Starting in Division 2, they finished as runners-up to Donisthorpe Colliery in their debut season, winning promotion to Division 1. They were long-time members here, winning the title in 1959, 1960 and 1987. They remained there until 1989 when they won what was by now called the Premier Division. Promotion to the Midland Combination Premier followed and in 1993, they were runners-up to Armitage 90. In 1995, they made the sideways switch to the Midland Alliance. They generally struggled here and in January 2002, they resigned from the league. Later that year they re-emerged in the Leicestershire Senior League Division 1. Promotion was earned as runners-up to Epworth in their debut season. In 2007, they won the Premier Division for the fifth time and won promotion back to the Midland Alliance. Disaster struck in 2008 when an arson attack on their ground forced the club to close for a season. Back in the Leicestershire Senior League Premier Division, a 5th place finish in 2013 was good enough for promotion to the East Midlands Counties League. They were runners-up to Thurnby Nirvana in their debut season, their best finish to date. They joined the Midland Combination in 2018 and the 2021/22 season was their best in this league yet as they finished 3rd. 

Their best season in the FA Cup came in 1996 as they beat Salford City and Blidworth Welfare before losing to Bamber Bridge. They reached the same stage again in 1998, losing to Rothwell Town. They've also twice reached the 2nd Round of the FA Vase. Local cup wins include the Bass Charity Vase on five occasions, the Leicestershire Senior Cup twice and the Trebutt Brown Cup twice. Their record attendance of 2,000 came against Burton Albion in the early years of the club. Stapenhill is a village in Burton-Upon-Trent with a population of just under 8,000. Several major music festivals take place every summer at Catton Hall, on the outskirts of the village. The village was once owned by Nigel Of Stafford back in 1086. One of the most famous families from the area is the Eversheds, They were prominent in cricket whilst father Sydney was the liberal MP for Burton.


It would only be Anwar and I for this Tuesday as Colin was busy elsewhere. Had I been on my own, I probably would have done either Downton or if the weather was bad, a revisit to Bracknell Town v Poole Town in the FA Trophy. However, Anwar was willing to join me which I was pleased about. Stapenhill was one of just two grounds that I needed in the Midland League Division 1, the other being Shawbury United who I had seen at Sutton United on Saturday. I had already started a blog as I'd attempted to visit at least twice before. Firstly on 10th January, I attempted to go to their game against Wednesfield but it fell victim to the weather. Then, in July, I was going to visit for a friendly, but for whatever reason, it didn't happen.
It had been a very boozy Saturday, so I was glad to have a few days off the drink. Sunday at work was the usual slog but it has always been that way. It was made worse by the start of the Christmas songs being played. A two-month countdown to the worst time of the year. I loved it as a kid but as an adult, it's all a pain in the backside. Monday threw me another curveball when my hours at work were changed and I've now got to go in at 6 a.m. four days a week. Aside from me probably being tired on Wednesday morning, it makes little difference to me and I certainly won't miss fighting my way through rush hour traffic for a 9 a.m. start. Having started as early as 3 in the past, I'm used to it and I'll still not have to be in until 9 on Sunday. It might mean the occasional overnight stop on Friday though as I don't want to get tired when driving.

It was my usual Tuesday off on the day of the game but I didn't have the best night's sleep. It was the usual walk down Wycombe to get a few bits from Lidl. Normally I'd walk back too but I got the bus as I had some fairly heavy stuff. These included some nice Boerwors sausages that I had for lunch. The afternoon was spent at home but I was just killing time until it came to time to leave. I left at 3.50, getting to Anwar at 4.30. The journey was not too bad, the only delay on the M42, around half an hour due to congestion. We went near Gresley - one of my favourite grounds and Moira United - one I'd really like to visit We got to our pre-match takeaway of Royal Pizza at 6.55 and I ordered a half-pound jalapeño burger and chips. It took a while but the portions were huge and the food was tasty. We went to the ground, arriving five minutes before kick-off and paying £6 to get in.
This clash was between Stapenhill who were  6th in the Step 6 Midland Division 1 and Borrowash Victoria who were a tier lower with them sitting in 16th in the Notts Senior Premier. I was surprised when I checked and it was as long ago as 2016 that I'd been to Borrowash, ironically for an East Midlands Counties League game against Stapenhill. The two sides had enjoyed contrasting fortunes since and I was disappointed for Borrowash as I'd enjoyed my visit. The hosts had not played on Saturday due to the weather but they had won their last three including a 5-3 win at Shawbury United in their last game. The visitors hadn't played since 17th October when they lost 1-0 at home to Stapleford but they'd been unbeaten in the three games before that. Borrowash started brightly but didn't threaten. Stapenhill soon took control and went ahead on 14 minutes through a close-range finish by Ben Novis. It was 2-0 on 22 minutes, a low shot into the bottom right corner from just inside the area. Ben Novis again and now Borrowash had a mountain to climb. It was 3-0 on 29 minutes, a good run and a composed finish by Sam Birks. Despite Borrowash offering very little, it stayed that way until halftime. The second half was a more muted affair although only a great save prevented Borrowash from pulling one back on 55 minutes. Soon enough though, Stapenhill were back in the ascendancy. They'd had a decent effort saved shortly before Tommy Large took advantage of a dodgy backpass to make it 4-0. A minute later, a low Jude Ayetine shot from around 5 yards outside the area found the net for 5-0 and it was a miserable night for Borrowash. On 84 minutes it was 6-0 when a Cameron Steele shot was put in the top left-hand corner from inside the area after the visitors put too much pressure upon themselves by not clearing the ball.
It had been a pleasant evening but too one-sided to make for a decent game. Time had been a bit tighter than I hoped so my blog would have to wait for the following day to sort pictures and finish it. I was hoping for a good journey home with me up early. It was also a bonus not having Colin as he does tend to dawdle and hang about. It also added 20 minutes to the end of the journey. It was not a good start with it taking us an hour until we got to the motorway. It was further complicated when a stretch of the M1 was closed and we didn't get on until south of Leicester. We'd been mucked about around that area before but at least on this occasion, we kept moving. It added miles and time to the journey but it was OK from there on. I dropped Anwar off at 11.55 and got home 25 minutes later. It took me ages to get to sleep, not ideal with a 5.20 alarm. For that reason, I dismissed any thoughts of going to York next Tuesday. It took me a while to get going, but after a couple of energy drinks, I was fine.


MAPLE GROVE or EDGE HILL to give it a former name is a good ground for the level which could probably be used a couple of levels higher. There's a large main stand with around 150 seats and also a small terrace in the corner near the turnstile. Aside from that, it's open to the elements but the ground has lots of character. There's a smart bar which also does basic food. The car park is of a reasonable size and along with street parking should cope with most crowds.

I also visited the ground on Saturday 9th October 2010 for pictures. This was a year before I started groundhopping properly and was prior to Wycombe Wanderers' 2-1 win at Burton Albion. Cosmetic improvements and the removal of a camera gantry appear to be the main differences.


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