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groundhopper

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  1. May 11 Askam 28 Aspatria 20 With a preference for a new venue for my RL fix, generally I am visiting new clubs or those that have moved at this stage of the season and there are few in Lancs or Yorks I have not visited. Cumbria is however too far for the drive to be enjoyable but when the effort is made, it is probably the best place for a friendly welcome and competitive matches. Despite being in the NCL for years, Askam is one I missed so lovely to visit a propert club. On the field they are going through a difficult spell and there is no obvious league for them to play in. There are 8 amateur clubs in what came under the Barrow League, 2 play NCL, the others North West Men’s whilst the local league is mostly A teams. Askam had these options but being on the road north decided to join Cumbria this season after a year rebuilding in the A team league. Going into the game they were played 4 lost 4 but defeats had been mostly close. Despite this, the club is in good shape off the field, a nice clubhouse, railed off pitch, floodlights and today a crowd of nearly 200, helped by good support for the visitors despite a near 70 mile journey, the longest in the league. The club produced an 8 page programme, given away free in the club entrance. Just the teams, results grid and tables but still nice to see the effort being made. On the field the first half was dominated by the visitors but swung in the second half. Overall a great day out, made by train at huge expense as my 5 year son came for the journey. For once train delays on the way back were not a concern as Northern failed to make a connection at Barrow and the result was a one hour delay and hopefully half the cost back under delay replay. To anyone who likes amateur RL make the journey to one of the Cumbria teams, a great day is almost guarantied .
  2. Saturday May 4 Took in the first Scunthorpe Steel game and the first in the town for 13 years Match played at a college which seems to be sports orientated so if this is the permanent home, as I had a different address until the day before, there could be long term potential for some development. For now just good to see another area with a team. To an outsider it seems odd that Hull is an RL city but south of the Humber had nothing, it was explained to be me one that before the bridge there was minimal contact in terms of sport, shopping or social mobility between the two sides and only an infrequent ferry. The RL aside are based socially out of the RU ground and were heading back there after the match. I was told about half the team are from Scunthorpe RU but certainly not all and that many other players and members attended. They have not opted for an easy route, there are now 3 teams in Lincolnshire but Boston are over 60 miles away on bad roads. They have therefore opted for league games not a merit table and apart from visitors Cottingham, the others in the Hull Division of the Yorkshire league are A teams. I would guess the standard would be about Yorkshire 2 so it could be a steep learning curve. As for the game, the score of 34 46 to the visitors was about right and whilst I suspect these may be the bottom two, there was some excellent play especially in attack. A crowd of about 130 by the end was another good sign.
  3. April 21 Moortown Mambas 20 Keighley Albion A 16 Moortown are an established RU team in the northern suburbs of Leeds and whilst the city has more RL teams than any other borough, none are particularly near to here. In fact this area is dominated by the other code. The Mambas do appear to be mostly players from the host club, but in this area will be very familiar with the game. it would be nice to encourage a junior RL team for the summer but the reasons why this will not happen are obvious Keighley now only have one amateur team in the town so good to see they are running an A team and could travel with a squad of 20 plus. Mambas went into the game with 2 wins from 2, the visitors had not yet played. They went 10 0 up in a game that was always equal in possession but then scoring went to 20 10 and 20 16. Two minutes from the end Keighley had a try disallowed for a forward pass
  4. Limehurst Lions 14 Leyland Warriors 40 April 20 2024 I have to admit despite having a modest knowledge of the amateur game, I had never heard of Limehurst. There is however a social media presence indicating they were around in 2013. This may be their first game at Open age Limehurst is an area of Oldham, not far from where the semi pro team were playing last season. The other clubs in the town are primarily to the East and North where the semi pro side traditionally played. What is good is the team may have developed from the junior set up. Home is Hollingwood Cricket club, which is not where the Rl team of the same name play. There is however no cricket team and the square is just possible to make out. There used to be a football club of the same name in Saturday football but they have moved to a 4g pitch. The rugby side seem to be the only tenant but the clubhouse was hosting a kids party. There are two pitches, both seem short with the first unfit but probably for juniors only. Neither even have a rope Leyland have played in the North West league for many years but are outside the heartlands and are rebuilding by just playing friendlies The game was therefore at the very lowest level played and combined with a large amount of penalties, was not a great spectacle but played in a good. This was Leylands third game of the season and that gave them the edge in fitness and a score line that flattered them Hopefully both will improve as the season progresses
  5. April 13 2024 York Barbarians v Dewsbury Moor A With the wife in London for the weekend, I was in charge of the 5 year old. As he likes trains a 240 mile round trip to the National Railway Museum was his treat and by coincidence there was a match at a club I had not been to a bus ride away. My wife is already challenging the word coincidence. Barbarians play at the city’s St John’s university which has its own sport pitches. The age of the players suggested most of the team are students. This is their second season playing in open age. Facilities are good a 4g pitch inside a cage. Spectators can stand on one railed side or on a balcony attached to the dressing rooms including a club room/ cafe. Attendance grew as the game when in peaking at about 60. Comfortable home win in what is division 4 of 6 in Yorkshire, Just five now to visit in Yorkshire, four of whom Emley Moor, Sheffield Hawks, Bentley and Harrogate moved grounds at the start of the season.
  6. March 30 2024 I think for an RL day out, Cumbria is my favourite overall, especially when everything comes right. The problem is the distance and like other areas marches being called off. Yesterday was Lowca, a real RL village, the club may be the only licensed premises and they are league champions. On arrival a girls match was taking place As for setting, a track runs between the changing rooms and pitch and 100 years up that and you are on the Coastal Path with views down to St Bees Head. Drove across from Darlington and back as wife away so football Friday and York RL this afternoon, the one major ground I need outside of France. Viewed some churches in Teasdale on the way across and the only minor point was I was naive regarding traffic at Easter on one of the main roads into the Lakes The game finished 42 26 after Lowca being 30 up in just over 20 mins. Keighley never gave up and got close a couple of times. Apart from the location, the main feature is a clubhouse behind the posts with a small viewing balcony. The pitch is raised off all four sides. One of the Lake District hills is visible but the sea only if a back is climbed behind one goal. Admission for all this was only £2. We do now have to give our game away cheap. It was £6 for a match at level 10 football in Middlesbrough the day before. Much to my pleasure because I still like them the club did a 4 page prog, possibly only their second ever having produced one against Edinburgh for the challenge cup. Now for a criticism and an annoyance, nothing to do with the hosts, visitors etc but the RFL. This was a Barla National Cup tie which means it does not exist. No doubt if I searched I would find the earlier girls game on the match centre but not this one. As far as I can see almost all of the teams entering play in Summer. There were close to 200 there but the RFL a would rather no one knew that publicise a BARLA tournament. We have enough trouble as a sport getting publicity. I would love to hear from the person making this decision as to how this can be justified.
  7. Many people who have built up a good collection of progs are disappointed to the response when thinking of sale. Thought I would provide some background. Going back to the period when I started watching sport, kids collected almost everything, our school had a stamp and coin club, a transport club even if not one for programmes but most kinds owned the latter. you could show off something that had the name Peter Osgood or Alex Stepney within it. In the late 70's i took over the programme shop at Dulwich Hamlet in South London who were struggling financially and in the first couple of year could made over £1000 per year. we specialised in small almost unheard of clubs and we traded, swapped etc. Being near central London we even added to the attendance of the club by up to 20 on a midweek night. People collected different things, kids still wanted Man Utd and cup finals, others wanted away progs for their own team etc. Unusual items were still available, someone handed in a collection that included the oldest known Wimbledon programme. The hobby grew through the 80's as more clubs made the effort. some programmes exchanged hands for huge amount of money and there were full time dealers and a monthly magazine. Buying the right item was considered an investment. The along came the internet, programmes were less interesting to youngsters than Space Invaders let alone what has followed and the youngest end of the market declined but values could still increase. Eventually the collectors became older but also the values stopped increasing. it became clear that the prog bought for £200 might only be worth £100 in the future. this reduced the number of sales and eventually the average of collectors increased. Clubs including within RL were not interested in flogging a few progs when you could sell an overpriced replica shirt. The last decent RL shop was at Keighley which remained a treasure trove and resulted in the fact I have been to the ground more than any other non local team. I think the person running was pushed aside and treated badly. The market moved to the internet which became highest bidder rather than searching for gems. The final straw was that the collector who had almost every match for years of his team found none were being produced and collecting just odd matches is not the same. There are almost no kids collecting or anywhere to have fun buying. The consequence is visible on ebay 4000 pus items for sale and 13 bids. What sells are usually older progs 40's and 50's where long term collectors have gaps, the matches against the Aussie club sides with a degree of history and little else. Were an Acton or Streatham prog become available it would still get £100. So if you have 100 Leeds, Wigan or other clun collection from the 70's there are no buyers. I collect different clubs and have a rare collection of the summer league amateur teams from 2000 plus. Rare but of no value. i still but National Cup games involving small teams from earlier years but only find about three a year and have stopped looking. Apologies for length but may explain a few things interne
  8. For anyone going BBC and RL express have the first game as 3pm but website, Facebook etc, which I am sure is accurate has 2pm.
  9. Took in the Toll Bar v West Hull game Only previously visited in 2010 and thought then they were building towards the NCL. They have now established themselves as as good as any in the Yorkshire League. I was told only running one open age team was a problem but I doubt they would be alone any more and they run all ages at youth level. There has been a slight change of identity in that the programme and the badge on the short identified them as Doncaster ARL. With the village being very small, 1100 population according to Wikipedia and with Bentley only a mile or so down the road, I was told they represent the mining villages to the north such as Askern who formally ran a side. I gained the filling they were confidence of a win but it has to be remembered that West Hull are actually four divisions higher. I am sure Toll Bar could beat much of division 3 but the visitors were 12 0 up early and whilst Toll Bar closed the gap, there was always the feeling West Hull had much more in reserve. Although not local, this is the type of team, I would love to support. They handled the day well, organised parking, a great choice of food, some home made and friendly people. The ground is fully railed. Overall as good as any in YML. Hopefully not 14 years for next visit. Crowd c350. There was also a programme, Hopping Mad of this forum kindly sent me one form the first round and very similar today. Admission including this was £3. As always the best value of any sport.
  10. There may be a Hurricanes prog this year Website indicates Eye of the Storm prog available and included in deal for season ticket holders. It does not refer to this being paper or digital. Either way don’t think there has been a prog since Cov Bears days. Will update if I get to Doncaster Game
  11. Attended the SW Jets game at Ebbw Vale Firstly kudos to Stanningley who stayed down the night before and will also stay tonight. Hopefully they will receive traditional valley hospitality. Less so in the game. One incident ten mins from the end resulted in two Jets and one Stanningley seeing red, with some in the crowd indicating they had drunk too much, but were not adverse to throwing it at players. There were two further cards, I think yellow so we finished with 21 on field. The game was however much much more than late incidents and I was impressed with the visitors who should have scored more. NCLshould always beat a feeder league side but especially in the off season it is easy to slip up. A superb ground with a big stand and probably higher terracing on the far side than exists at any remaining RL ground. Overnight frost did not materialise and pitch played well. Our party had needed to check the weather in the build up with Jets owner who kept us informed and took time to introduce himself on what would have very busy day. First RL of the year and already a contender for day out of the year. Bring on round 2 and a pity Edinburgh are not at home.
  12. This seems a negative thread. The reality for most Championship 1 clubs that don’t own their ground is they need a backer. The figures shown for the unpaid wages indicate the average wage depending on the squad size to be c£250/300 per week even with a backer. To put your body on the line against full time players and to have to travel for hours on a coach, this is not a lot., My 17 year old has taken on a part time summer job and will be earning close to the lower of the above figures for making Ice cream The main issue the club face long term is either too high wages which can be dismissed, or too little income. Cutting wages leads to poorer results and lower crowds. Increasing income requires investment in facilities or the squad. Even if carried out the extra support may not equate to the win bonuses. i don’t believe you can run a championship team on gates of under 1000 without the backer but as we have seen relying on the backer is dangerous. I don’t think Whitehaven have done anything wrong and are right to try and avoid relegation, especially with fewer home matches being the result along with lower central funding and minimal away support. Overall I would challenge those saying the club are badly run to draw up a successful business plan that results in the club making a profit and sustainable growth. I have no idea of the answer as to how many clubs have a significant backer and would be in trouble without their financial input throughout the three divisions but I guess it is at best a significant minority We cannot as a sport afford to lose Cumbria. There would be nowhere else in the UK that could replace it,
  13. There was a prog yesterday at Seaton, just a fold sheet with front cover, teams on back and chairman’s and coaches comments internally. Hardly took a long time to read but still nice to get on and good set up with over 150 there despite only one previous win.
  14. No programme for the match against Hurricanes on Sunday. Hopefully a one off.
  15. Sitting right now in a less that sunny LLanrwst waiting for North Wales v Hurricanes. The ground is not as good a that yesterday from Torfaen Tigers v Rhondda Outlaws at Talywain. However as with any ground in this level in Wales the welcome is good and Crusaders are doing what they can in difficult circumstances. Hurricanes have just arrived finding the bridge between town and ground was narrower than the coach. Back to yesterday and an even game even if Torfaen scored most of the early and late points. I noted the score but have left the note at home but I think 32 34. You won’t find Torfaen on a road at last but it is the name of the local authority for Cwmbran and Pontypool as well as the World heritage centre of Blaenavon. Talywain is between the last two. I was told they were one of 15 RU teams competing for players in the Borough. Facilities comprise a covered enclosure half way up a grass bank and two small other areas of cover with the banking just vanishing into woodland. THis was Torfaen’s first game of the season, they have been running for 25 years frequently in national leagues and the collapse of Southern Conference West left them in limbo and early matches have been cancelled. I had seen Rhonda a couple of weeks ago and they looked really good and the Tigers performance suggested they would do OK this season. Back to today and does anyone know a good way of explaining that Father’s Day should be a day when father does what he enjoys, rather that what is expected of him. I haven’t managed to find the words myself and probably best I don’t try. Maybe a gift for the wife to celebrate the day.
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