Saturday, 26 February 2011


Saturday 26th February 2011
Leicester & District League Division 1
Rearsby Road

With heading off to Germany next Saturday with Gary I wanted to have a cheap day today, and cheap for me nowdays means attending a game in which a) there would be no admission charge and b) it would not cost me much in terms of fuel to get to and from the game. Queni' was suggested (along with several others) by another friend of mine Kevin Zupp, who could not attend Lutterworth Athletic's game in the Leicestershire Senior League @ Stapenhill and thus we agreed to meet up. This would be the first time since May 1st when we attended the encounter between Ringstead Rangers and Welford Victoria.

Queniborough is a village located between Leicester and Melton Mowbray, just to the north of Syston and has a population of around 2,000 inhabitants. Leicester is 7 miles to the south west with Melton around 10 miles to the north east. The oldest part of the village on Main Street dates back around 500 years, with the majority of properties built between the 16th and 19th centuries. The village is home to two pubs (The Horse & Groom and Britannia Inn), a branch of the Royal British Legion, primary school and St. Mary's Parish Church.

To get to Queni' from my home in the Braunstone area of Leicester is straight forward due to the A46 Western Bypass, as this road covers about 75% of my route. The 12 1/2 mile journey takes around 20 minutes.

Their ground is located on the northern edge of the village and is (like you would expect) a basic affair, but it is more than enough for their needs. The pitch is railed off along the two touchlines and partially behind each goal.

Queni' were formed in 1921 and are one of the longest established amateur clubs in the midlands. They currently play in the Leicester & District League (LDL) but have previously been members of the Leicester Mutual League and North Leicestershire League. They have won a number of honours over the years at in both league and county cup competitions, some of which is listed below: (most recent first)

1996/97 Leicester & District League Division 2 winners
1978/79 Twinning Cup winners
1977/78 Twinning Cup winners
1975/76 Leicestershire County FA Medals 'B' competition winners
        Mutual League Division 2 winners
1973/74 Leicestershire County FA Medals 'A' competition winners
1972/73 Mutual League Division 4 winners
1959/60 Mutual League Division 6 winners

This season Queni' find themselves in mid-table in the thirteen team division with nineteen points from their fourteen league games, recording five wins in the process. Last time out they lost 2-1 @ Birstall Social a week ago. Opponents Thurnby United come from the Thurnby Lodge area of Leicester, and whose ground is on Thurncourt Road just round the corner from East Midlands Counties League side Thurnby Nirvana. They are currently top of the division with an unbeaten record from thirteen league games and sit eleven points clear of second place Glen Villa. Their last match was two weeks ago and they recorded a 3-0 home win against Burbage Old Boys.

The pitch seemed in good condition on arrival with the only centre spot showing visable sign of water. By kick off the rain had passed away eastwards and the game was played mainly in bright and breezy conditions. I was told that they very rarely have games called off here. The outcome of the game was one that on the basis of league positions you would not have predicted. Thurnby lost their unbeaten record in emphatic style as Queni' deserved their victory and probably should have won by a greater margin. The opening exchanges of the half were fairly even though neither team troubled the opposing keeper. The opening goal came around the 20 minute mark through Michael Lock, who hit a first time shot from the edge of the penalty area. From this point onwards Queniborough were always in control and added a second goal on 34 minutes. A diagonal pass into the penalty area found Warren Smith who drilled the ball home from close range. The early part of the second half saw Thurnby put a bit of pressure on the home side, but two goals in the space of two minutes midway through the half saw the game end as a contest. Firstly Lock got his second of the game with another long range effort, and secondly a cross from the right was flicked on and this allowed Ash Hastings to score with a first time shot from twelve yards out. It did appear during the final quarter of the game that Thurnby were playing with a 2-4-4 formation and their defending at times was what can only be described as "schoolboy". How Queni only added one further goal is another matter, but the one they did score came from Chris Shaw five minutes from time.

Admission / programme: none
Attendance: around 20 (head count)
Match rating: 2 1/2 out of 5

A slideshow of all the better photos can be viewed below:

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Late Saints

Saturday 19th February 2011
United Counties League Premier Division
Hunts Post Community Stadium

This bloody weather...postponements on mass caused by rain spreading across the country in an easterly direction overnight Friday and Saturday morning. Luckily our (my dad I’s) first choice survived. Two phone calls to the club, one at 11.30am and one at 12.30pm reassured us that the game would go ahead with no problems. And thus we set off from Leicester to make the seventy mile journey. The route took us down the M1 to junction 19, then the 45 miles or so along the A14 to the A1, onto the A1 itself which took us to St Neots.

The following information on the town itself is taken from the page on Wikipedia:

“St Neots is a town and civil parish with a population of 26,356. It lies on the River Great Ouse in Huntingdonshire District, and is the largest town in Cambridgeshire, Cambridge and Peterborough both being cities. The town is named after the Cornish monk St Neot whose bones were stolen from the village of St Neot on Bodmin Moor and concealed in the nearby priory of the same name.

The pilgrim trade brought prosperity for the town, and it was granted a market charter in 1130. In the 18th and 19th centuries, the town enjoyed further prosperity through corn milling, brewing, stage coaching, and railways.

Today, St Neots is a thriving dormitory and market town. The modern town incorporates Eynesbury (originally the main settlement and the oldest part of the town) and two areas across the river, Eaton Ford and Eaton Socon, which were originally separate villages. Already the largest town in Cambridgeshire, after the cities of Cambridge and Peterborough, St Neots continues to grow rapidly due to a huge demand for modern housing.

Technology-based industries now operate from some of the town's light industrial estates, and there is a gas turbine power station at Little Barford on the edge of the town. Recent development has added Eynesbury Manor and The Island, Little Paxton bringing the population above 30,000.[citation needed] Over 1,200 new homes are in course of construction at Love's Farm Estate, to the east of the town.”

A history of the club is below, some of which is taken from the club’s website:

The football club were formed in 1879 as St Neots FC and the first recorded honour was winning the Huntingdonshire Senior Cup in the 1888/89 season. This was won a further four times before the turn of the 20th century. Around 1924 the club changed its name to St Neots & District and won the Huntingdonshire Senior Cup in the 24/25 season. They also won the local Scott Gatty Cup three times in succession between 1927 and 1929.

In 1927 the club joined the Bedfordshire & District League Division 1 which is the first league I know St Neots played in. They finished in the runners-up position in their debut season and 4th the following year. In 1929 the league changed name to the South Midlands League (SML) and the Saints were crowned champions in 1932/33. In 1936 they switched to the United Counties League (UCL) until the outbreak of World War 2. When football resumed after the end of the hostilities they rejoined the SML for three seasons before switching leagues again, this time to the Metropolitan & District League (MDL) in 1949. Success was immediate as they lifted the MDL title at the first attempt. Just one more season was spent in the MDL before another switch, this time to the UCL for the second time. In 1956 they changed their name to the present title of St Neots Town, and (something of which was becoming a habit) changing leagues again to the Central Alliance (CA). A mere four years were spent in Division 1 South of the CA before switching back to Metropolitan League. Not wanting to get to familiar they transferred to the UCL for a third spell in 1966. Three years were spent in the UCL with league and double being achieved in the middle of the three. A four year stint in the Eastern Counties League followed between 1969 and 1973 before they were back in the UCL. They remained member of the UCL until 1988 when they were forced to disband following the sale of their ground by the landlords. Re-forming in 1989 they joined the local Huntingdonshire and won the title four years in succession before re-joining the UCL in 1994. They subsequently won the division one title and promotion to the premier division at the first attempt, and have remained there since.

This season they are in a three way battle for the UCL title with Newport Pagnell Town and King’s Lynn Town and currently lead Newport by one point at the start of play. Visitors Blackstones from Stamford currently sit in mid-table.

This is to be my second visit to St Neots Town having seen them at their old ground, Rowley Park for a friendly against Oadby Town around eight years ago. The Love’s Farm estate now covers the site of Rowley Park.
Glen Fuff (St. Neots) striking at goal

David Burton-Jones heads home Blackstones 3rd goal

In the end it was an injury time equaliser from Lewis Webb that rescued a point for the league leaders and were only ninety seconds away from only their second league defeat of the season. The first half saw a disjointed display from the home side, who without Shane Tolley upfront struggled to get any rhythm going. Blackstones soaked up a bit of early pressure and for the majority of the half were at least the equal in terms possession and chances created. A touch of good fortune gave them the opening goal on 25 minutes when a Ben Porter shot deflected off the unfortunate Jordan Gent to wrong foot the St Neots keeper Tim Trebes. Around ten minutes later and the visitors doubled their lead. Billy Oliver split the stationary home defence with an accurate through ball, and Addie Staffieri rounded Trebes and finished with aplomb into the empty net. An expected St Neots came out firing at the start of the second half and Stefan Moore pulled a goal back from close range on 49 minutes. The Alamo didn’t materialise straight away and Blackstones stunned the home crowd by restoring their two goal advantage a couple of minutes later. A free kick from Elton Holmes was headed in by David Burton-Jones who just got to the ball a split second before the advancing Trebes. Moore then had a goal disallowed and the final third of the match was primarily played in the visitors half of the field. With around fifteen minutes to go Moore got his second of the game as he bundled home a Lewis Hilliard corner. The equaliser should have come earlier than when it did as firstly, Theo Davis side footed the ball wide with the goal gaping on 78 minutes and then a minute later a Kieron Davies shot crashed against the crossbar. With time about up Moore put in a cross from the left and Webb headed home to give St Neots a deserved share of the spoils and with it used up one of their “get out of jail free” cards.


Following on from visits to Boston Town, King’s Lynn Town and Harborough Town this season, this leaves me with the grounds of division one sides Olney Town and Eynesbury Rovers to visit to complete the set.

Admission: £5
Programme: £1.50 – 16 pages and vastly overpriced. A complete rip-off.
Badge: £3
Attendance: don’t know. None announced and none on their website.
Match rating: 3 ½ out of 5

With Newport Pagnell’s game called off and King’s Lynn in League Cup action, St Neots have a one point lead over Newport but have played two games less. King’s Lynn themselves are seven points adrift but have played two games fewer than the Saints. The race for the UCL title is well and truly hotting up with St Neots still having to play both Newport (at home) and Lynn (away).


further photos of the game can be found here: SNTFC

Main Stand

Saturday, 12 February 2011


Saturday 12th February 2011
United Counties League Division 1
Bowden’s Park

Another Saturday and another game in my home county of Leicestershire for the third time in a row. This time my options were not that limited but I wanted to be back in a reasonable time so as to spend the evening with the better half. With yours truly being as indecisive as ever I told myself this morning to go with the original choice and stop pratting about. If this carries on for much longer I am going to christen myself “Mr Switzerland”!!!
St. Dionysius Church and Old Grammar School (source: Wikipedia)
Market Harborough is a market town that lies on the River Welland in south east Leicestershire. It is close to the border with neighbouring Northamptonshire and is the principal (if not) the only town in the Harborough district. The town does find itself at a crossroads geographically speaking with Leicester some 15 miles the north east, Northampton 17 miles south with Kettering and Corby 10 and 11 ½ miles to the south east and east respectively. According to the 2001 census the town had a population of just under 21,000 inhabitants. The town centre is dominated by the steeple of St. Dionysius church which rises directly from the street.

Harborough Town compete in division one of the United Counties League (UCL), which sits at step 6 of the English non-league pyramid. The earliest information on the club that I can find only goes back to 1996. A brief history of the club (in a timeline format) that is to the best of my knowledge is below:

1996    joined the Northants Combination as Spencer United
1997/98 Northants Combination Division 1 winners.
        Promoted to the Premier Division.
2002    changed name to Harborough Spencer
2003    changed name to Harborough Spencer United
2004/05 relegated to Division 1
2006    changed name to Harborough Town Spencers
2007    changed name to current title of Harborough Town
2007/08 Northants Combination Division 1 runners-up.
        Promoted to the Premier Division
        Division 1 Knock-out Cup Winners
2009/10 Northants Combination champions.
        Promoted to the United Counties League Division 1

This season the club sit in mid-table in their first season in the UCL currently occupying 10th place. Today’s opponents from Lincolnshire find themselves two places and one point better off, though they have played a game more.

The ground is part of a large complex that includes the leisure centre and rugby club and is very easy to find. If coming from the A14 whether it is from the east or west exit at junction 2 onto the A508 and follow the signs for Market Harborough. The complex is just inside the town boundary on the left hand side with the football club behind the rugby club. There are several pitches though the main one that they use is separated from the others by a wooden fence and the clubhouse. The pitch is accessed through the clubhouse itself which is home to a licensed bar, club shop and catering facilities. I was charged £3 admission and team sheets were given out free of charge because originally there were no programmes, these though arrived after about half an hour into the game and cost £1.

Matthew Gamble (HTFC)

The game was to be fair not the best with the first 45 minutes being better and more entertaining than the second. Bourne looked the better side and deservedly took the lead on fifteen minutes through John Currall. The ball was worked across the pitch from left to right and he drilled home a shot into the bottom corner across the Harborough keeper Luke Maher. Bourne continued to look the better side with the game being played primarily in the middle third. The second half saw the hosts come close on 55 minutes when a free kick caused confusion in the Bourne defence but Harry Parker headed wide. The next fifteen minutes was forgettable and to be honest it started to drag a bit, but on seventy minutes Harborough equalised. After good work from Parker on the right, the ball found its way to Will Arnold on the edge of the area who hit an unstoppable 1st time shot past Bourne keeper Dan Jarman. Arnold nearly got his second four minutes later but his curling shot was well saved by Jarman. This was probably the only save of note by either keeper in the whole game. Harborough’s winner came on seventy seven minutes when Greg Pitt hit a first time shot into the top corner from twelve yards or so. This chance came more about from poor defending than any decent attacking play. The final ten minutes were generally like the majority of the game played out in the middle of the park and Harborough comfortably held on for a victory that moves them above Bourne in the table.

Overall I found Harborough to be a very friendly and welcoming club. It is just a shame that so few people turned up and watched. Just three more grounds left in the UCL to visit to complete the set: Eynesbury Rovers, Olney Town and St Neots Town. 

Further photos of the game can be found at HTFC

Admission: £3
Programme: £1
Attendance: 22 (head count)
Badge: £2
Team Sheet: Free
Match Rating: 1 ½ out of 5

Sunday, 6 February 2011


Saturday 5th February 2011
Leicester & District League Division 2
Thurlaston Sports Ground

In the week leading up to today I could not decided whether I would bother going to a game today, with one of the reasons being the weather forecast. It stated that there would be heavy rain to go along with the strong winds already in place, but in the end the rain did not materialise and at around 11am this morning I made the decision to go somewhere. Like a lot recently I wanted (and had) to stay local due to meeting up with my brother in the evening so made the short drive to the village of Thurlaston for a 2pm kick-off.

All Saints Church
Thurlaston is a small village between Leicester and Hinckley located 1 ½ miles off the A47, which according to the 2001 census had a population of 745. It is home to two sports clubs which are at either end of the village. The Huncote Sports & Social Club is on the Enderby side while the Thurlaston Sports Club is on the Earl Shilton side. To get to the sports club enter the village from the A47 and turn right at the t-junction. Just after the Elephant & Castle pub turn right (sign posted Earl Shilton) onto Church Lane and this leads onto Earl Shilton Lane. The ground is outside the village boundary on the left hand side and is also home to the football teams’ junior sides and Thurlaston Cricket Club. The main football pitch is railed off on two sides, roped off on the cricket side with no access behind the far goal.

I am not sure when Thurlaston Magpies were formed but in 2005 they transferred from the Hinckley & District Sunday League to division two of the Leicester & District League. The five years spent in the District League have all been in this division and they have never finished above 5th place.

At the start of play the Magpies occupy sixth spot with six wins from their ten games play so far while opponents Kingsway sit at the top of the table with nine wins from eleven league encounters. What we got in terms of a game was one that was very competitive in which both teams struggled with the wind, and neither side could take advantage of when having it at their backs. It was also a niggly encounter especially in the second half though to be honest there did not seem to be any reason for this. The game was also marred by having to listen to the Thurlaston players and management argue amongst themselves which got tiresome after a while. Kingsway remain top of the table after this victory, though on another day the hosts would have got at least a share of the spoils as they had at least as much possession and created as many chances. The opening goal came around the 12th minute mark for the visitors when Stuart Iddisha scored with a tap in from a yard out following excellent work on the left from Ben Bayliss. Their lead lasted only two minutes as Charlie Singh took advantage of the wind and scored with a 40 yard free kick. No further scoring ensued during the remainder of the half and when the referee blew his whistle I took advantage of the break to escape from the wind and grab a coffee from the clubhouse. A few minutes after the restart things took a turn for the worse for the Magpies as their keeper suffered an injury which meant he was replaced in goal by an outfield player. Coupled with the wind at their backs Kingsway quickly showed why they are top of the table and scored two goals in the space of five minutes of each other. Iddisha got his second on 55 minutes when he kept his composure and finished from about six yards out, and Teejay Smith headed home a corner at the far post on the hour mark to give Kingsway some breathing space. Thurlaston were not done though and got a goal back just five minutes later through Brad Dexter to set up (what was hoped) an interesting final quarter. Alas we did not have a grandstand finish and the visitors held on for victory.

Admission / programme: none
Attendance: 12 (with some watching the game from their cars)
Match rating: 1 ½ / 5
Coffee: 50p

A few more photos can be found here: TMFC