Saturday, 19 December 2015

Penistone Church 3 Knaresborough Town 0

Northern Counties East League, first division
Attendance: 80

Peering up to the floodlights in the gloom my son and I could see the rain sheeting down cinematically and it barely abated the whole match. Showers rattled the roof of the stand where we cowered and  the subs and the lino squelched in front of us in the touchline mud. The conditions when you visit new grounds have a great bearing on the experience and that was certainly so today. The weather was grim.

Pity because Penistone’s ground (near Barnsley) would make for a good trip on a sunny day with a bike ride along the nearby Transpennine route into the bargain, perhaps. (Click here for pics by a chap who had the sense to go to Penistone on such a day last August for the club’s debut in the FA Cup). There is a Pennine backdrop to the far touchline while the church tower appears behind the near touchline with roofs of terraced houses visible behind the single stand. It has just two rows of seats and PCFC painted white on black on the wall at the back.

A smart, proud club sporting Juventus livery, Penistone is enjoying only its second season in the pyramid. I was confused on arrival. A sign in one direction said pay kiosk’ and, in the other, over 35 spectators and players’. I thought that the Church may have instigated an admission scale according to age and I might be in for a sort of pre-pensioner discount. But it transpired that the latter sign led round to a veterans match on the pitch behind the ground.

There was no getting away from the fact that today’s match was a very run-of-the-mill league fixture. The interest for us was visiting a new ground, getting out of the house on a dull day and seeing our local lads into the bargain. (I last saw them at Hall Road Rangers). Town went one down in seconds and were played off the park thereafter. A woeful performance by Knaresborough, in fact. My son joined me in anticipation of an away the lads vibe but it seemed that we were the lads’ and we weren't exuding much vibe come the final whistle. I like to go to church at Christmas but the village chapel on Christmas Eve will probably be easier to enjoy.

Programme notes: Among the pen pictures was reference to Alvyn Riley who has a wand of left foot and James Young who has a cultured left foot. They’d go well in that Daniel Day-Lewis film ...

Off the rails: Lincoln Moorlands Railway, also in the NCEL first division, are taking some tonkings. They’ve conceded 11, 12 and 14 goals in matches so far this season and are only one defeat or so away from a minus 100 goal difference. An end of season trip to see them trounced at Yorkshire Amateur (long wanted an excuse to go there) is in order. New Mills are struggling too having lost all 19 matches to date in the Northern Premier League first division and scored only 11 goals in the process.

Rub-a-dub-dub: Great write-up and pic, below, in The Guardian about when Bournemouth played Man U in 1984. Ah, those were the days ...

Cup runners: I've come across a couple of blogs of lads on FA Cup trails, both southern based. One blog is here and the other here.

A spot of egg chasing: I experienced another new ground in vile weather last month: Harrogate RUFC’s new enclosure with clubhouse. I watched the match against Preston Grasshoppers (15-5) in the fourth tier of English rugby.