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A drive over to the Horsfall Community Stadium today (5/3), where West Bowling opened their National Conference League season by beating First Division rivals Stanningley 24-16. The third venue at which I've seen Bowling play (after Bankfoot Cricket Club and Emsley Rec).

An entertaining contest on a plastic pitch, which ensured the players could be sure-footed. Stanningley scored converted tries in the third and 79th minutes, otherwise the hosts, 16-10 ahead at half-time, were generally on top. In the 58th minute, trailing 10-22, Stanningley were held up in goal close to the posts. A crucial moment. Six minutes later, Bowling landed a penalty.

There was one apparently concerning injury. Hope the player is OK.

Admission was £3, with a 12-page programme a quid extra. My headcount put the attendance at 220.

Edited by Hopping Mad
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Skirlaugh v Dockers 

Very poor conditions resulted in a low scoring Skirlaugh win via an interception try .

10 / 8 ? final score .

Both teams struggled to put much rugby together due to very wet n windy conditions .

Dockers possibly trying to play to much rugby when a few drives and a kick might have been the better way to go . 

  

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First post for three weeks after working away in Scotland and football at Elgin City and Lossiemouth of the Highland League and a fair amount of snow

Journey back via Candy last Saturday

Back to Merseyside today, this time a train trip to the new boys Liverpool Lizards. There has been comments about them elsewhere but form what I can gather there is no side with unrealistic ambition simply because they come form an area which the game would love to conquer. Manchester Rangers they are to.

From what I could  gather they are a group of players primarily from the university who have now left end want to keep playing. If they had come through Leeds Uni., they would nearly have been noticed

Home is the university playing fields, well used for a Saturday with ladies followed by men’s hockey and two RU games.

There are three rugby pitches and at least the RL one was marked out for league.

Pre match my opinion was that as a new team Div 3 was quite optimistic and with a player injured and 6 down in the first few mins, nothing has altered by opinion of  a 40 point victory for Woolston A.

Thirty mins later we were at 28 6 and I was highly impressed with all but the conversion attempts. A late try made it 28 10 at heart time

The second half was a complete turnaround, no obvious reason, maybe fitness and Woolston pulled ahead were brought back level and then scored in the 79th min.

Thoroughly enjoyable and delighted to be wrong again in my prediction. 

 

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By far the most beautiful  motorway road trip in the UK  and  on a fine spring day that is the  M6 route I took to Cumbria yesterday.

North of Preston it is quite frankly staggering. Great sweeping vistas as you approach Tebay then over Shap to Penrith before joining the equally stunning A66 route to Workington.  Snows on the tops everywhere but Daffodils covering the roadsides as you sweep past Bassenthwaite Lake ( the only  actually named lake in the Lake district ) to Cockermouth

A route of course taken by many  NCL clubs for years

Took lunch at the Belle Vue in Papcastle with Cumbria legend administrator Roger Blair in Cockermouth- I totally recommend that pub - before pushing on that further 6 miles to my ultimate destination - Seaton Village.

Festive day for Seaton Rangers in their first game in the NCL . Eastmoor Dragons from Wakefield being their visitors.

The whole village turned out and the atmosphere was great. To be honest the Yorkshire men were up against it from the start but battled hard. Seaton though turned out what was once remembered by most posters on here as a typical Cumbria welcome -  6 ft + athletes across the park running straight and hard to the final whistle in an effort to dominate.....

Hard and wider grounds  may expose them if guile is adopted but at first sight these guys are at least Div 3  play off material.

Off the park their facilities are superb with everything a community club would need. Indeed they are now the ' go to ' facility for all functions in Seaton itself.The committee are a genuine bunch and have their feet on the ground- loved what I saw..

And then took the drive back on that same  spectacular route as the sun sank....

Before ending up in a Wigan pub till well after midnight.........

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Went to the Wath Brow V Lock Lane game,high quality match played in front of a big crowd of 300+ that was in the balance until Wath Brow pulled away in the last 10 mins.

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The Neil Hunt Memorial Ground for me this breezy afternoon (12/3), where Heworth - after last week's postponement, playing their first game of the season - condemned NCL Division Two rivals Bradford Dudley Hill to back-to-back defeats. Eight tries to one, with a final score of 42-6.

Hill actually took the lead, with a converted try, in the 12th minute. But Heworth hit back by scoring three tries (14, 32 and 37), all too wide to improve, for a 12-6 half-time lead. Comfortable second half for the York lads, who crossed in the 44th, 51st, 68th, 76th and 79th minutes. All were either under or near the posts and all were converted.

Too one-sided an encounter to engage a neutral, although Heworth will be pleased with their performance. Dudley Hill looked very poor.

The admission charge - £2.50 - included a 12-page programme. It appeared to be a season-long 'shell' - but lacked a match specific insert. Can't see the point of that. My headcount put the attendance at about 155.

Edited by Hopping Mad
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I popped down the road to watch Dewsbury Moor take on Crosfields.

The Moor started well having a try disallowed for touch in goal early on before actually getting over. They seemed to be stretching Crosfields with ease.

Crosfields fought back and aided by both teams’ ill discipline for offside and ball stealing with the game being nip and tuck until the last 15 minutes when Crosfields scored 2 converted tries to earn them a 26-16 victory. 

£2.50 entry including a programme.

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Dockers v St Pats 

Good game , both teams scoring well worked tries .

St Pats started strong , Dockers did well to get back into the game just before the half time whistle .

Dockers got themselves into a good position , trouble was they kept giving penalties away , St Pats made them pay taking advantage with a couple of tries .

Dockers deserved the win 28 points to 26 ?

Officials did well . Maybe ref could have allowed game to flow a little more . Its not super league , defenders deserve a little more time to clear the tackle .  

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Popped up the road to a windy Lowca to watch their game against a young Wath Brow A who after leading 16-4 at halftime pulled away to win 38-16,full credit to veteran ref Neil Byers for carrying on after being accidentally clattered by one of the Brow’s forwards.

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March 19 2022

Ashton Bears 18 Widnes Farnworth 10

Top of the table clash albeit after 2 rounds with both having won both fixtures, Ashton scoring lots of points

Some may remember Ashton’s clubhouse burnt down and the replacement bar and changing rooms are functional and probably amongst the best at this level but lacks character, not helped by losing all memorabilia. Nice to find a range of food available rather than a menu of items I would buy and then be told they are only available for the youngsters on a Sunday. 

The game promised much and there were some good moves but too many penalties and injuries for it to flow. Despite these exactly 40mins with nothing added on in either half

The ground is visible from a railway, I assume Wigan via St Helens to Liverpool and visible on the left if heading from Wigan. It is closer still to the M6 but you would need to heading south on the top deck of a coach to see it.

Apart from the clubhouse mentioned above, the ground has hard standing and a rail down one side and with plenty of youth sides, the club would only need minor changes to enter the NCL. Now on three from three in an eight team league, this may happen sooner than later.

 Crowd close to 200. 

Incidentally it has been mentioned I don’t name any players or scorers in reports. 

Although the hosts listed a team on Facebook the night before, I doubt this was accurate at kick off and I don’t have the means to do this, even it would make the reports more interesting

 

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Two teams - East Leeds and newcomers Seaton Rangers - who had won their opening two National Conference League Division Three games met at Easy Road. A comfortable 56-6 victory for East Leeds, who scored 10 tries, five in each half, with eight conversions. 6-6 after 16 minutes. As close as it got. 28-6 at half-time.

Highlights were a 65-metre solo try by full-back Luke Littlewood and an almost length-of-the-field interception try from wing Andy Djeukessi, his East Leeds team-mate.

Three quid admission included a 16-page programme (a rather odd one, to be honest, with a photocopied, match-specific wrap enclosing a glossy, static shell). But full credit to East Leeds for persisting with a printed programme. Attendance was about 125.

Edited by Hopping Mad
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Moorends-Thorne Marauders 30 v 28 Kippax & Swillington Miners

The Marauders first game of the season against KSM who were having their third hit out of the season, KSM had suffered two defeats in their opening games, both apparently in the last 10 to 15 minutes.

The game was at a decent standard and was end to end open rugby that was controlled excellently by the referee Mr Simon Horkin from Midfield.

The Miners opened the scoring after 7 minutes with a converted try 0 - 6, the Marauders replied 10 minutes later with a unconverted try 4 - 6, Moorends took the lead with a converted try on the half hour 10 - 6 but this lead didn't last long with the visitors scoring a converted try again just before half time  10 - 12.

Half-Time 10 - 12

The Marauders lost their shape for a while as their coach Tony O'Brien introduced new union lads to the game, The Miners took full advantage and soon advanced into a 10 - 22 lead, the Marauders pulled a converted try back on 55 minutes to bring hope back into the side 16 - 22.

Just as the Marauders looked like they were getting back into the game the Miners struck again with a converted try 16 - 28. with 15 minutes to go the Marauders seemed to shed  it's ring rust and clicked into gear scoring a further three tries with the last one being converted, 30 - 28

Full-Time 30 - 28

Good end to end game played in the right spirit in front of about 300 people, the referee was a 8/10 and it was a pleasure to have one who kept up with play.

We have next week off then we have three games were we will be running on two cylinders until the union season has finished, one of the downfalls with getting into bed with a union team but overall our little brotherly love seems to be working 

Edited by Marauder
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Carlsberg don't do Soldiers, but if they did, they would probably be Brits.

http://www.pitchero....hornemarauders/

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March 26

Folly Lane 24 Dalton 26. North West Men’s Cup

This is the type of game an RU commentator would rave over, a fairly poor game settled with the last move of the match. Dalton would not share that view with massive celebrations after their late try in the corner

The teams were evenly matched and the first half was low scoring and with few chances. A sin bin just after half time, when Folly Lane were ahead allowed Dalton back into the game

The ground is at the end of a cul de sac with many signs suggesting residents don’t welcome an influx of cars on a matchday.

Once inside facilities are good, two pitches running parallel with each having a rail down one side.  Slightly higher than the pitch is the changing rooms and a small bar doing a good trade today with a crowd of nearly 150.

Something that I realised at Ashton last week and today supported is the fact that below NCL facilities appear much better off the field West of the Pennines than East.

As for Dalton they appear a well run club and have had to do some travelling over recent years. A desire to stay in winter resulted in them having to play in the Pennine League for a year and like most Cumbria teams due to call off they play more away games than at home. I certainly enjoyed their set up, when visiting them a few years ago

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Glorious sunshine above the west Cumbria coast for a visit to NCL newcomers Seaton Rangers' smart and newly improved set-up.

The hosts bounced back from last week's 6-56 defeat - their first - at East Leeds by beating Leigh East 38-12.

Rangers were leading 18-6 just before the hour when an East player was red carded for aiming a punch at an opponent.

In the hothead's absence, Seaton added a penalty then three converted tries. A couple of the tries were from distance.

It was 6-6 - a converted try apiece - approaching the end of a tight first half when Rangers crossed again and added the extras for a 12-6 interval advantage. East's first half try, from a move begun just inside their own half, was beautifully worked.

In a temperature warm to enough to warrant shorts and short sleeves, a little over 250 turned out to watch. Three quid admission included a glossy, 12-page programme.

Victory meant Seaton maintain a 100 per cent home record.

Edited by Hopping Mad
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Saturday lunch involved a birthday meal ( mine ) at Sapporo Teppanyaki in Castlefields Manchester. If you are ever lucky enough , go for it !

Early  food start though allowed me to get back to Clarington Park  Wigan just in time for kick off.

Chris Parr top forward for Oldham etc in his day had organised a players re-union for his team against  a years ago Egremont team he played against  ( they brought 2 buses )  and the clubhouse was bouncing when I got there.

On the park I found this  Div 1 game really entertaining. Both sides played expansive flowing football. The wide field and excellent sunshine weather helped. More than a decent crowd in attendance.

Plenty of bouncing around on the touchlines but St Pats  Andy Gregory calm throughout. He's putting structure in to his side and they will compete at the top this year.

After the game the usual fun. An extended Irish  Paddy Day celebration, complete with live music,  required me to remain until 9pm......

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Very short trip - from one side of York to the other - for me this afternoon. 

Thornhill Trojans registered their first National Conference League victory - 18-10 - of the season at the expense of Premier Division fellow strugglers York Acorn. Trojans leapfrog winless Acorn, who sink to bottom place.

Little between the teams. Dark mutterings amongst the home spectators about the ref "giving Thornhill everything".

A converted try gave Trojans a 17th-minute lead. Acorn's former York full-back Ash Robson capitalised on an error to touch down, in the 32nd minute, after a kick to the corner. A near-touchline conversion made it 6-6.

Robson, a class above this level of rugby league, finished superbly in the 45th minute to push Acorn 10-6 up. Too wide for the extras to be added.

Eight minutes later, Trojans went over - after an impressive handling move - for a converted try, to lead 12-10.

That's how it stayed until deep into stoppage time, when Trojans full-back Joel Gibson - Carl's son - scored a fine solo try he also converted.

About 220 watching. Three quid admission included a 12-page programme.

Shame on the bloke from Thornhill who point blank refused to pay admission. "I'm not from round here," was his excuse. The gateman was too polite to deny him entry. Those who worm out of paying two or three quid to watch NCL rugby league really are the lowest form of spectating life. When a club folds, owing to financial difficulties, freeloaders like that are always the first to ask: "What happened there, then?"

 

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Hull Docker 30 West Bowling 10 . East Park Hull

Great 1st half for Dockers , defending strongly , attacking with speed and skill .

Not many mistakes with ball in hand .Not the usual stream of penalties helped Dockers secure a decent lead .

Bowling needed to fined another gear to stay in the game . They had a purple patch mid 2nd half to give themselves a sniff of getting back into the game .

Dockers found the energy to put the game to bed well before the final whistle .

Some great rugby on display , hard well organised defending was enjoyed by a decent crowd .

Score was a reflection on the game , maybe a little harsh on Bowling .

Ref was a little quick with another set of 6 tackles . In my view this rule needs removing for amateur rugby .

Apart from that game flowed quite well .

 

Edited by henage
wrong score for dockers 30 points not 40
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Ince Rose Bridge for me today. Saddlewoth Rangers  the visitors.

Lovely weather, decent attendance. My old mate Brian ( he's 85 and thinks there are some younger  pensioners out there that could help ) gate keeping and took  about £300 .

Rose Bridge are constrained by 2 major factors. The first is that they only have 1 pitch.  The FA  took from them their traditional pitches at William Foster fields.They have though plans via their major sponsor Marc Alder to look at derelict pitches - 3 fields - at the Local secondary Academy school. Got to be  the right move.

The second is that the club's finance structure ( like too many NCL clubs ) relies on income to run from subs etc at each level regardless of the  ' umbrella ' trading clubs takings. No one could tell me where any profit went.

At the last now moribund  Ken Gee Cup ( shortly to be re launched with Wigan Foundation support ) they sold 22 barrels in one afternoon......don't need to ask any treasurers on here what that would have brought in..

The game itself was well balanced but   I think the Bridge always had the edge.

I propped up a railing most of the time  with  one of the legends of the game  and true Rose Bridge man  - Bill Ashurst.

Got his  ongoing after speech patter for free.

Quip of the moment might have been when  after a great  Saddleworth wingman's try a frustrated Rose Bridge lad kicked the corner flag in frustration and that immediately skewered the unfortunate lad straight through his calf.

Does that count as a spear tackle? was the big guys query.

The injury took an hour to clear. Superb support effort from both sides  on the spot first aiders - shows why these RL /NCL requirements are so important. Greater Manchester  Fire Brigade finally sawed off the imploding missile  with NW Ambulance on the scene . One off opportunity for the winger to take ' Gas and Air ' normally  kept for pregnancy deliveries... 

All our wishes for a speedy recovery.

At 20 -10 on only 47 minutes the game had to continue but with every body in good heart. Saddleworth converted from the touchline to make it closer before Rose Bridge eased into a final commanding position

Quite a cold but bright day. Needed a double whisky  before a 2 mile walk home via  'Rabbit Rocks' ( on its day the largest Iron Works on earth ) and then the old  Whelley Loop line  through Haigh Plantations to the top of Wigan lane ,

Caught the second half of Cornwall's launch on Our League

Decent day all round

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I walked over to Elmpark Way to watch Heworth beat Beverley 40-8 in the NCL2. Very enjoyable afternoon. £2.50 admission, £1 for match programme. I'd guess about 300 people there, although some were in and out of the clubhouse watching the challenge cup on tv.

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Dewsbury Celtic v Crosfields for me

A decent game with some good tries ended in a 22-18 win for the visitors who had been down 12-0 early on but fought back to lead 22-12 before Celtic scored on the final whistle.

Crosfields were the much larger team which they used to their advantage once they had got off the bus but both teams threw the ball about.

Smallish crowd probably due to the weather and the challenge cup. No admission charge as it is a public field but £2.50 for a programme plus the standard halftime raffle.

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From a different perspective, I was at Tugun Seahawks v Southport Tigers in the Gold Coast League, 20-6 to the visitors in pouring rain.

Southport was where Israel Folau played last season while trying to get a gig in NRL before absconding to Japan RU. He has two family members in the Southport team.

Tugun’s ground is literally the end of the runway at Gold Coast airport with large planes landing and taking off every few minutes so makes for a noisy game.

$5 admission includes teamsheet for all three grades. 

Its an open field with a nice leagues club in one corner and a small hill on the opposite side with a beer hut for those not wanting to frequent the club.

Clint Barends is coach at Tugun. I believe he may have played at Barrow at one point.

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Marauders 36 v 40 Kirkburton Cougars 9/April/2022
· 1st Shaun Roberts 3 points
· 2nd Craig Hookway 2 points
· 3rd Greg Linsdell 1 point
 
Another very competitive game going from end to end with the Marauders well in control in the first quarter 12 v 6, then the wheels really fell off in the second quarter when the Cougars not only took our pants down, but they also well and truly spanked our butt, 4 v 22.
 
After half time the Marauders got back into the saddle and matched the Cougars stride for stride winning the third quarter 10 v 6 and the 4th quarter 10 v 6.
 
However victory belonged to the Cougars 40 points to 36, both teams displayed a standard well about the expectations of the division and both teams displayed grit and determination, Cougars could have folded in the first 15 minutes when the Marauders where firing on all cylinders but they didn’t and the Marauders could have also capitulated after an horrid 25 minutes leading up to the half time whistle when they conceded 5 tries on the trot converting 4 of the five.
 
In after game talks with a group of ex-players Dave Knott summed the game up in a few words “Could of, should of, spilt easy ball”
 
Dust down and onto the next game, Stanningley away 23/April/2022, all support welcome (They have a clubhouse for refreshments)
 
Man of the Match points Table 2022
· Shaun Roberts 6 points
· Craig Hookway 5 points
· Steve Shaw 2 points
· Mark Roach 2 points
· Greg Linsdell 1 point
· Dean Armstrong 1 point
· Tony Hodgkiss 1 point
 
Congratulations to everyone who pulled a shirt on and congratulations to our supporters (150ish) , you are well appreciated

Shaun Roberts mom v Kirkburton home.jpg

Edited by Marauder
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Carlsberg don't do Soldiers, but if they did, they would probably be Brits.

http://www.pitchero....hornemarauders/

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  • 2 weeks later...

Went over to watch York Acorn Vs Hunslet Club Parkside, two well matched sides, with the visitors pulling away in the final quarter to win 26-12. £3 admission including a programme. Around 200 there, boosted by about 50 people watching Acorn's A team take on Wyke.

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East Park . Tower Grange . Dockers A v Beverley A . Good win for Beverley . Played before Dockers 1st team play local rivals Myton Warriors.

Myton lost prop forward a few minutes into game for a head butt . Touch judge spotted the head been used , ref straight for the red card . Dockers never looked like losing the game . Scoring some well worked tries from long range , short range. Myton got over the dockers line once . 56 ish to 6 final score .

Dockers looked a well organised side both attacking and defending . To many penalties maybe the only downside to todays game .

Myton looked unfit , unorganised , not a lot of fight  . Good crowd watching as well , plenty from Myton .

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