Sunday, 28 August 2011

Oadby v St. Andrews

Saturday 27th August 2011
East Midlands Counties League
Greene King Park

A visit to Oadby Town Football Club was not on my agenda this afternoon at all, actually in fact six weeks ago it was not on my agenda all season!!!! Not because I have no interest in the club but because I was planning to spend the season, like previous ones ground hopping. A couple of weeks ago when driving up to Derby I lost a lot of interest in this hobby of mine and missed the buzz of supporting a club week in week out. This is when I offered my services to run a club shop that Oadby are planning to set up, but would only be on a Saturday due to work commitments.

My interest in Oadby goes back to January 1997 when I first went down to watch them for an FA Vase tie against Tooting & Mitcham United. This game ended in a 2-2 draw after extra time and following this I went to watch them a couple more times during the season. In the summer I wrote to them offering to edit their match day programme and spent three years doing this around the turn of the century. I have always kept in an interest in the team despite not going down much over the past few years, in fact it is just over two years since I last saw a game here, though I did see them twice away from home last season @ Tividale in the FA Cup and Tipton Town for a Midland Alliance encounter.

Last season was probably the worst ever for Oadby on the field as they were relegated for the first time in their seventy four year history and this season find themselves in the East Midlands Counties League. Lee Harriman took over as manager in the summer with Jeff Stocking as his assistant. Oadby have started well this season picking up four points from their opening two league games (5-0 @ Holwell and 1-1@ Ibstock) plus a 6-1 thumping of United Counties League side Northampton Spencer in the FA Cup last Saturday. The reward for the Cup victory is a trip to local rivals Quorn next Saturday in the next round – and yes I will be there.

Today’s game against St. Andrews will be the first time that they have played each other in a competitive match since the 21st January 2003 when Oadby recorded a 5-3 victory after extra-time in the 2nd round of the Leicestershire “Westerby” Challenge Cup. The last league games between the two sides were in the 1998/99 season when they were both members of the Leicestershire Senior League (LSL). A 3-3 draw @ St. Andrews on the 3rd October 1998 was followed by a 2-1 victory for Oadby in the reverse fixture on the 3rd April 1999. Oadby went on to win the LSL title and gain promotion to the Midland Alliance. Oadby spent twelve years in the Alliance, winning the title at the first attempt finishing ten points ahead of runners-up Stratford Town. The nearest they came to winning a second title came in the 2000/01 and 2002/03 seasons when fourth place finishes was achieved.

Oadby’s ground is located on the B582 Wigston Road and is opposite the Leicester Tigers training ground and in front of Parklands Leisure Centre. Car parking is available inside the ground behind the goal at the Oadby end, while the clubhouse, changing rooms and burger bar all at the other end of the ground. There is only one section of cover at Greene King Park – a 200 seater stand that straddles the half way line on the Wigston Road side of the ground. The ground has gone through various names due to sponsorship over the years. When I first went down in 1998 it was called Invicta Park and this was followed by Events & Leisure Park and Topps Park (named after Topps Tiles) before Bury St. Edmunds brewers Greene King.

Oadby had to work hard for this victory against the early pacesetters and came through with a 3-1 victory. They should have made the perfect start as Michael Reeves was clean through after only twenty odd seconds but the ball ran away from him as he tried to control it. The opening ten minutes saw both sides evenly matched in the middle of the park as either side struggled to gain the upper hand. Following successive corners Oadby took the lead on twelve minutes when the ball was headed back into the penalty area and Reeves finished from close range. Former Leicester City and Sunderland midfielder Matt Piper was a constant threat all afternoon for Oadby and was he who created their second goal on fifteen minutes. Excellent work and cross on the left saw John Stevenson control the ball before finishing into the roof of the net. To be fair the visitors did not let their heads drop and were the better side for a short period leading up to their goal. A free kick on the left found Kris Stevenson unmarked in the penalty area and he headed home from a few yards out. The remainder of the half and the opening exchanges of the second half saw either keeper rarely tested as both sides were well organised in defence, in particular Joe Latham for Oadby giving the Andrews forward line very little all afternoon. The referee did not help matters as he seemed very quick to dish out yellow cards for what appeared to be for very little. I don’t think he took into account the conditions as the game was played in either heavy showers or bright sunshine. Just after the hour mark Oadby put the game to bed by making it 3-1. Stevenson smashed the ball home from fifteen yards out that gave Warren Butlin in the Andrews goal no chance. The final twenty minutes saw Oadby come close to adding to their goal tally on several occasions. The closest the visitors came to scoring in the latter stages came in stoppage time when a free kick was deflected wide.

Man of the match: Matt Piper (Oadby Town)

Overall a good performance from Oadby who remain unbeaten in the early stages of their 2011/12 campaign, and on a personal level I really enjoyed being back seeing old faces and meeting new ones.

Admission: £5
Programme: £1
Attendance: 120
Match rating: 3 out of 5
Greene King IPA: £2.70
Large Hot Dog: £1.80

Some photos of the ground and game taken inbetween the heavy showers can be viewed below: 

Oadby Town: official - forum - twitter - facebook
East Midlands Counties League: official - mitoo
Greene King

Sunday, 21 August 2011

B & T

Saturday 20th August 2011
Hellenic League Division 1 West
The Meadow, Brimscombe

A day out in Gloucestershire for the Rambler today. I had arranged to visit Colin Buchanan, my Cheltenham supporting friend today as like always when we meet, with Cheltenham having an away game. We had several options and did not decide until I got down to his house at midday. 

The drive down to Cheltenham is like every time straight forward from Leicester, only being held up a couple of times. The first being in roadworks when trying to get onto the M6 between Nuneaton and Coventry and secondly due to the volume of traffic on the M5 south of Worcester. The decision was made to stay relatively local to Cheltenham and visit Hellenic League newcomers Brimscombe & Thrupp for their Division 1 West fixture against Oxfordshire side Hook Norton. 

Brimscombe and Thrupp are two seperate villages located on the main A419 London Road between Stroud and Cirencester in the Frome Valley. 
The canal @ Brimscombe (source: wikipedia)

The following information on Brimscombe is taken from its wikipedia page:

"Brimscombe was an important local centre during the Industrial Revolution with its canal and rail links, with Brimscombe Port serving as the hub of the Thames and Severn canal.
Brimscombe Port was originally built to transfer cargo from Severn Trows, which travelled from the River Severn down the Stroudwater Navigation, to Thames barges which carried the goods eastwards towards London. This was necessary because the locks to the east of the port were too narrow to accommodate the larger sea-going Trows. There were also several boat-building yards at the port, including Abdela & Mitchell, who exported boats, notably paddle steamers, all over the world. According to recent on-the-ground research the legendary riverboat ‘Queen Of Africa’ which gave a star performance in the John Huston movie The African Queen was built at the Abdela & Mitchell Brimscombe works between 1908 and 1911.

Many of the Abdela & Mitchell river-boats went to the Nile, the Niger and other African rivers, and especially to the Peruvian Amazon and other Amazonian tributaries. The Abdela river-boats were highly regarded for their elegance, shallow draft (often less than 40cm), and flexibility, viz the ‘Adis Ababa’ for Lt-Col John Harrington’s White Nile/Ethiopia expedition of 1903 – ‘boiler arranged to burn oil, coal or wood’. Lesley Abdela who lives in East Sussex is the last direct descendant bearing the name of the Victorian/Edwardian shipbuilding family which owned yards on the Manchester Ship Canal, Queen’s Ferry, and Brimscombe. Her marine architect grandfather Isaac Abdela was the proprietor of the Abdela & Mitchell shipyards when the ‘Queen Of Africa’ was built at Brimscombe. The Shipyards announced themselves as ‘Contractors To The Admiralty, War Office, India Office And Allied Governments’.

Until the construction of what is now the A419 road along the bottom of the valley in 1815, Thrupp Lane was the main thoroughfare between Stroud and Chalford. The condition of this road was such that it required a whole day for a team of horses to draw a loaded waggon and return, a distance of only four miles each way.

Brimscombe railway station was opened on 1 June 1845 as part of the Cheltenham and Great Western Union Railway from Swindon to Gloucester. It closed on 2 November 1964, and the nearest station is now at Stroud.

The former port is to be regenerated as part of the canal restoration project by the Cotswold Canals Partnership. This will require considerable engineering expertise as much of the basin has been infilled and in places factories have been built over the canal. Initially the canal is planned to become navigable from Brimscombe Port to the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal. Plans are in place, and much activity being undertaken to restore the whole length of what is now known as The Cotswold Canals, eastwards from Brimscombe to Inglesham on the Thames."

The ground is located on London Road is is very easy to spot, helped by a large sign that is clearly visible whether coming from either direction. We drove past the ground with the intention of finding a pub to have somewhere to eat. Despite The Ship Inn being close to the ground we ended up in the sleepy town of Minchinhampton. With the only pub that we saw being The Crown it narrowed down our choices somewhat and we had a pleasant lunch and pint. While having lunch it started to rain but our fears we allayed as with around fifteen minutes to kick-off it stopped and the game was played out in glorious sunshine.

You enter the ground from the main road and the car park is to right with the clubhouse and changing rooms to the left. We were charged £3 for admission which included a 28 page programme. This was a ground that I liked immediately with the pitch being set below road level with a stand set into the grass bank that runs along the near side. There is also another grass bank behind the far goal. Behind the ground are industrial units, railway line, Thames & Severn Canal and the hills of the southern Cotswolds. When the sun came out is was a superb setting to watch football and it is doubtful whether I will get to a more pleasant one all season.

The game was an entertaining one right from the start with both teams always looking to go forward. It was also competitive without a niggly element that often  creeps into games. The first half was primarily determined by the the keepers - Hook Norton's Matt Dixon made two excellent saves while two errors at the other end cost Brimscombe two goals. The opening goal came after just nine minutes when a cross field ball was misjudged by the Brimscombe keeper and Raymar da Silva headed the ball into an empty net. Hook nearly doubled their lead soon after when a Jamie Wyatt saw his shot well saved following good work on the left from the ever dangerous da Silva. Hook's second goal of the afternoon came just after the half hour mark. Danny Poole took advantage of a mix-up between the home keeper and a couple of his defenders on the edge of the penalty area, and rolled the ball into the unguarded goal. 

Within a minute or two of the restart Jonny da Silva nearly put the game to bed but his shot was cleared off the line. The first twenty minutes of the half saw the home side have their best spell in terms of possession but did not seem to have the nous (or ability?) to break down the Hook defence. With the visitors seemingly in a comfortable position Brimscombe were awarded a free kick on the edge of the penalty area with twenty minutes remaining. John Dalton stepped up and curled it round the wall into the net with Matt Dixon rooted to his spot. Game on? Well all it did was wake up the visitors and in the end they should have had a couple of more goals as they created two excellent chances. Firstly some superb harrowing of the home defence their #10 rounded the keeper only to see his shot cleared off the line, and secondly when the ball fell kindly to Danny Poole inside the Brimscombe penalty area he dragged his shot wide with only the keeper to beat.

Admission: £3 including programme
Admission: 71 (official)
Match rating: 3 1/2 out of 5

It was a cracking day out at a lovely little venue that is well worth a visit, and with traffic being light on the motorways I was home by 8pm.

A slideshow of photos of the ground and game can be viewed below:


Sunday, 14 August 2011

Rolls Royce

Saturday 13th August 2011
Midlands Regional Alliance Premier Division
Rolls Royce Sports Ground, Moor Lane

Last week I a saw last seasons Midlands Regional Alliance (MRA) runners-up in action and today sees me take a look at the defending champions Allenton United. They have won the MRA for the past two years, firstly finishing three points ahead of Melbourne Dynamo in the 2009/10 season and a massive fifteen points ahead of Willington last season. Today sees them take on Derby Rolls Royce Leisure (DRRL) for a very local derby. The two teams play at different locations within the Rolls Royce complex - DRRL play on Moor Lane while the entrance to the complex Allenton play on is through "gate 1" which is on Victory Road, just to the south of the junction with Moor Lane. Nearby is the Moorways Stadium in which several teams in the MRA use the outside pitches, though I am not aware of anyone using the main stadium itself - if there is then despite it being an athletics stadium I will be interested in visiting.

A map showing the location and close proximity of the two pitches is below: (blue - DRRL; red - Allenton)

View Rolls Royce in a larger map

Rolls Royce - the company
The name of Rolls Royce is one that is well known the world over and its logo is one of the most recognizable of any company. A brief overview below of the Rolls Royce group is taken from the official website:

"Rolls-Royce, a world-leading provider of power systems and services for use on land, at sea and in the air, has established a strong position in global markets - civil aerospace, defence aerospace, marine and energy and nuclear.

Civil Aerospace

The civil aerospace business powers over 30 types of commercial aircraft and has a strong position in all sectors of the market: widebody, narrowbody and corporate and regional aircraft. Over 13,000 engines are currently in service with 650 airlines, freight operators and lessors and 4,000 corporate operators. A Rolls-Royce powered aircraft takes off or lands every 2.5 seconds.

Defence Aerospace

Rolls-Royce is the world’s second largest provider of defence aero-engine products and services, with 18,000 engines in service for 160 customers in 103 countries. Our engines power aircraft in all sectors: transport, combat, reconnaissance, training, helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles.


Rolls-Royce has a world-leading range of capabilities in the marine market, encompassing the design, supply and support of power and propulsion systems. We are leaders in the integration of technologically complex, mission critical systems for offshore oil and gas, merchant and naval vessels.
Rolls-Royce has more than 2,500 marine customers and has equipment installed on over 30,000 vessels worldwide, including those of 70 navies.


The energy business supplies gas turbines, compressors and diesel power units to customers around the world. The business is a world leader in the supply of power for onshore and offshore oil and gas applications. Our developing civil nuclear capability has further strengthened our position in the power generation market.

On the 29th June 2011 the company won a $1bn order from Singapore Airlines. For details on this click on the link below:

The club

The records I have for the club only go back to 1983 and between then and now are incomplete. In 1983 they were known as Rolls Royce (Derby) and joined the Central Midlands League (CML), transferring from the East Midlands Regional League. They won the Premier 1 division title in their debut season in the CML and were promoted to the Premier Division. In 1988 a change of name to Derby Rolls Royce occurred and they remained in the CML until 1997 when they joined the Midlands Regional Alliance (MRA). I don't have any tables for the MRA until 2005 so have no idea how they fared, but during the early part of the opening decade of the 21st century another name occurred, this time to their present title of Derby Rolls Royce Leisure. In 2005/06 and 2006/07 they finished in the runners-up position, firstly five points adrift of champions Ashover and secondly seven points behind Rowsley '86. Last season they finished in 9th place in the sixteen team division. This season both teams have played two games so far. DRRL have won one (2-0 v Holbrook St. Michaels) and lost one (2-1 @ Swanwick Pentrich Road), while Allenton recorded a 4-0 at home to Cromford last Saturday and a drew 0-0   in midweek at home to newly promoted Derby Royals). 

Following a cagey opening ten minutes from both sides Allenton turned up a gear or two and hit the hosts hard in a devastating spell. Four goals were scored in the space of just seventeen minutes, but in reality they could and should have scored at least a couple more before the end of the half. The opener came on eleven minutes when a long ball was knocked down and their #9 side footed the ball first time past the Rolls keeper. The Rolls heads went down and just two minutes later the #7 was allowed too much time on the ball. He hit a speculative shot that went into the bottom right hand corner past the keeper. The third of the afternoon came on twenty five minutes when the #7 got his second of the game. He was played onside and slotted the ball past the advancing keeper. Three minutes later and it became 0-4 and game over. Following good work on the byline by the #10, he then laid the ball back for the #8 who had the simplest of finishes from a few yards out. Rolls best spell of the half came in the last ten minutes and were duly rewarded with a goal. Their #7 held off the challenge of a defender and finished well from a narrow angle.

HT: 1-4

The second half was just five minutes old when Allenton scored their fifth (and best) of the afternoon. The #15 found himself unmarked on the right hand corner of the penalty area and, taking a touch to control the ball curled it into the top corner - simply class. With the game won Allenton appeared to take their foot off the gas and were content to let Rolls have the majority of possession for the rest of the game. They added a sixth just after the hour mark when a cross was headed home from a couple of yards out from the #2. Rolls got another consolation goal back on 67 minutes to make it 2-6 when a free kick was fumbled by the Allenton keeper which was bundled home from a yard or two out. The final goal of the afternoon came in in the 89th minute. The number #7 completed his hat-trick when he hit a lot shot past the Rolls keeper from the edge of the penalty area. The keeper straight away admitted he was at fault and apologised to his team mates.

Overall an enjoyable game and at times Allenton were superb going forward. How they will fare if teams get at them more and put more pressure on them is another matter. One thing is for sure is that they will be there or thereabouts in pursuit of a third consecutive MRA title.

Admission: none
Programme: none
Attendance: around 30
Match rating: 3 1/2 out of 5

Rolls Royce
Midlands Regional Alliance (fa full time)

A selection of photos taken can be viewed below:

Sunday, 7 August 2011


Saturday 6th August 2011
Midlands Regional Alliance Premier Division
Twyford Road Playing Fields

This weekend is to be my first competitive fixture of the 2011/12 season and the game today was on an original shortlist of three possible fixtures. The other two were both in the Wolverhampton area, but about ten days ago my wife Angela was put in for an extra shift at work. Due to us going out for a meal this evening I was instructed to pick her up at 5.30pm. This left me with only one fixture in which I could get back in time with it being only a 40 minute drive back to Leicester from Willington.

Willington is a small village in South Derbyshire and has a population of around 2,700. It is situated on the River Trent and is located between Derby (7 1/2 miles to the north east) and Burton-upon-Trent (5 miles to the south west). 

The following history on the village is taken from it's wikipedia page:

"The meaning of the name Willington is the Old English tun (homestead or farm) among the willows.In the Domesday Book, the village was calledWilletune or Willentune, and the land belonged to Ralph Fitzhubert and was an agricultural village on the floodlands of the Trent. The village is recorded as Wilintun in c. 1150 and as Wyliton in 1230.

In the 17th century, Willington became the highest navigable port on the Trent[citation needed]. It first began to grow from a population of 477[citation needed]with the construction of the Trent and Mersey Canal in 1777 the same year Bass beer in Burton was started, at which time it became a small inland port and a village with four public houses: The Railway (which was later demolished), The Rising SunThe Green Man and The Green Dragon, all selling locally brewed beers from Burton upon Trent for the many Irish canal navvies.

The railway arrived in 1838, the station being known as 'Repton and Willington' and brought the scholars to nearby Repton School. Although the main-line station was closed in 1964, a new station was re-opened in the 1990s as part of the (incomplete) Ivanhoe Line project to link Leicester & Burton-on-Trent and runs mainline trains to Derby, Birmingham and beyond. The village's population increased to 708 by 1940[citation needed]. Trentside Cottage, Bargate Lane is the oldest cottage in the village[citation needed]. A two century old Cedar of Lebanon lies on the site of the now-demolished 'Potlocks Farm', on Twyford Road in the village.

The bridge over the Trent was opened on August 7 1839, being the only one between Swarkestone and Burton.

In 1995, the train station was re-opened at a cost of £565,000 funded by money from the EU."
Club badge (source: club website)

I don’t have a lot of information on the club as the earliest records I can find only go back to 2007. This is when they joined division one of the Midlands Regional Alliance (MRA). Their debut season in the league resulted in the division one title and promotion to the premier division. Their first two seasons in the premier division resulted in 7th place finishes while last season they finished in the runners-up position, though some fifteen points behind champions Allenton United. The two teams played this same fixture at the same stage last season with Willington recording a 2-1 victory. Rowsley got their own back in October when they recorded a 6-0 victory in the reverse fixture.

Note: On speaking to someone @ the club I was told they transferred from the Burton & District Sunday League.

The journey up to Willington was both traffic and hassle free with it taking around forty minutes. Like stated at the top of the report the ground is on Twyford Road which is the main A5132 that runs though the village. There are no spectator facilities and parking is at a premium as it also doubles up as a recycling centre. Like a few others I parked on the other side of the road, while the main Birmingham – Derby railway line runs behind the ground.

Beforehand I expected this to be a close game and this proved to be the case. Willington looked the better side in the opening forty five minutes and created a few half chances before they deservedly took the lead around the half hour mark. Robbie Cox was played onside and slotted the ball past the advancing Rowsley keeper into the bottom left hand corner. I can’t recall either keeper being tested in the half with the crossing from the visitors being particularly wasteful. The second half saw a more assertive display from the visitors and they equalised just four minutes in. A corner was headed home at the back post from (I believe) Andrew Rhodes. Rowsley continued to have the better of things and should have taken the lead only for two of their players to get in each other’s way with the goal at their mercy. Following their best spell of the half Willington retook the lead with the goal of the game with around fifteen minutes remaining. Substitute Matt Belmore hit an unstoppable shot from twenty yards that flew into the top right hand corner. The lead only lasted five minutes as Willington were undone from another set piece as a free kick on the left was headed home at the near post. Just as the game nearing its conclusion Willington were awarded a penalty, and following some protests Joe Brock stepped up and sent the Rowsley keeper the wrong way. With three minutes of injury time player a Willington player went down injured and the game was held up and hopefully the injury was not serious. With having to get back to Leicester asap I could not hang around indefinitely to see the games conclusion, and I am not 100% certain the game ended in a 3-2 victory for Willington even now as I am finishing my report @ 7.30am on Sunday morning.

For the record I got back to pick up the wife with five minutes to spare.

Admission / programme: none
Attendance: 13 (head count)
Match rating: 3 out of 5


A slideshow of photos taken at the game can be viewed below: