South Elmsall United Services v Kinsley Boys

2pm  28 March 2016

Doncaster and District FA Challenge Cup, Quarter Final
South Elmsall United Services 1 Kinsley Boys 4 (att 27)

A wet and windy Bank Holiday meant I had to settle for a relatively local trip and just a single game, once my evening's intended game in Derbyshire was off.

It wasn't a bad one though, as two rivals from the Doncaster and District Senior League battled it out for a place in the last four of the district FA's cup.

Kinsley had the benefit of a strong wind behind them in the first half and used it to good effect, although they should have scored more than the one goal they managed by half time.

South Elmsall's second half leveller may also have been aided by the conditions, although the long-range strike looked destined to beat the keeper from the moment it was struck. It turned out to be just a minor setback for Kinsley, who got back on top for a convincing win.

South Elmsall United Services are based at the Quarry Lane home of Upton Amateur Rugby League Club. The football pitch is hemmed in between the clubhouse and changing rooms and a railed off rugby pitch. The football pitch isn't roped or railed, but at least feels enclosed.

I'm yet to watch a Doncaster Senior League game, but there was enough to enjoy in this cup tie to tempt me to tick off a few more of its venues in the future.








Padstow United v Roche

2.30pm  26 March 2016

East Cornwall League, Division One
Padstow United 0 Roche 4 (att 18)

I'd barely dried out from standing in the wind and rain during the morning's match at Sticker when I arrived at Padstow's Jury Park ground. It's an exposed venue, high up and well out of the town, and perhaps not the best place to be on a wet and windy day.

Many of the small crowd watched from cars parked close to the pitch, but I stuck it out and braved the conditions as I watched as Roche stroll to a surprisingly easy victory.

Both sides struggled in the bad weather, and clear chances were few. There was little between the sides until Roche edged ahead before half time, but in the second half they were much the better side, adding three further goals.

Jury Park is easy to spot on the Wadebridge road out of Padstow. The pitch is roped off, through permanent posts, and there's a dugout on either side of the pitch.

The changing rooms are towards the corner near the entrance, where there's also a small shelter for spectators in front of a tea bar. In good weather I imagine it's a lovely place to watch a game.









Sticker v Wadebridge Town

10.30am  26 Match 2016

South West Peninsula League, Division One West
Sticker 6 Wadebridge Town 1 (att 372)

A larger than usual crowd for Sticker's Saturday morning kick off against Wadebridge was mostly groundhoppers, as this was one of the matches chosen as part of the South West Peninsula League's "Easter hop",

As usual for hop games, the host club were well organised to cope with the influx of visitors, and their players put on a decent show on the pitch, especially in the first half.

It didn't take long for Sticker to go in front, and by half tine they were 5-0 up, Then again, the horrendous weather was a factor, with Wadebridge playing into very strong wind and rain for the first 45 minutes.

With the conditions behind them Wadebridge did get the second half's opening goal, but Sticker soon scored again to confirm their superiority.

Sticker is a small village not far from St Austell. Burngullow Park is a neat ground a little way from the village itself. The pitch is fully enclosed and there's a decent section of cover for spectators, sadly not large enough to accommodate the crowd for this game, and I was relieved to hear the final whistle.









Brixham v Galmpton United

11am  25 March 2016

South West Peninsula League, Division One East
Brixham 5 Galmpton United 0 (att 154)

Opportunities to visit new grounds on Good Friday are few are far between these days, and it took an early start to get from Manchester to south Devon in time for a morning kick off between local rivals Brixham and Galmpton.

Heavy traffic around Paignton made the final few miles more stressful than they should have been but I just about made it to Wall Park Road in time. It was a good job I did, as Brixham had this game wrapped up early on.

Three goals in the first 25 minutes settled matters, the third a penalty that also resulted in a red card for a ragged Galmpton side.

It was still 3-0 at half time, and in the second half Galmpton at least tightened their performance enough to stop Brixham running riot. The home side did manage two more goals, one with about 20 minutes left, and a fifth in stoppage time, moments after Galmpton had a second man sent off.

Brixham AFC has a relatively short history, formed in 2012 after a merger between Brixham Villa and Brixham United. Pre-merger, Wall Park Road was United's home, and is a decent enclosed venue, although the far end and part of one side are out of bounds for spectators.

Spectator accommodation is on the side nearest the entrance, where there's a clubhouse, snack bar and changing rooms. There's mixture of seated and standing areas, and an enclosed viewing area in front of the clubhouse. The far side and the near end are flat open standing.










Llanystumdwy v Rhyl Town at Nantporth 3G

5pm  19 March 2016

North Wales Coast FA Intermediate Cup, Semi Final at Nantporth 3G, Bangor
Llanystumdwy 2 Rhyl Town 1 aet (att 50)

My second game of the day was a 5pm kick off on the artificial pitch next to Bangor City's impressive new home. The North Wales Coast FA used the ground to stage both semi finals, the early game starting at 1pm.

Fenced-in 3G pitches aren't usually great venues but this one is better than most, with a pair of small seated stands either side of the entrance. For the last couple of seasons it's been home to Beaumaris Town, of the Gwynedd League, despite its distance from Beaumaris itself.

It was one of Beaumaris' league rivals, Llanystumdwy, who eventually came on top of a very enjoyable semi final. That it took until the final minute of extra time before they scored a winner was remarkable, as they'd dominated the final half-hour of the 90 minutes, and all of extra time.

Rhyl Town, from the Vale of Clwyd and Conwy League, had taken a lead after just three minutes, but Llanystumdwy soon equalised as the game began at a breathless pace. After that start I expected more goals, but despite chances for both sides it took until the 119th minute for the deadlock to be broken.

Llanystumdwy's opponents in the final will apparently be Llandudno Albion, from the same league as Rhyl Town, who beat Bodedern, from the same league as Llanystumdwy, in the earlier semi final.








Pentraeth v Llanberis

2pm  19 March 2016

Welsh Alliance, Mawddach Challenge Cup, Second Round
Pentraeth 0 Llanberis 1 (att 40)

Anglesey-based Pentraeth put up a decent fight against their higher division opponents, in the Welsh Alliance's league cup, but were undone by a single second half goal.

The visitors could have sealed the tie before the end, but a penalty that would have put them 2-0 up was well saved. Llanberis were the better side, and should have scored more, but Pentraeth stayed in the contest until the final whistle.

Perhaps the narrow pitch at Pentraeth's Bryniau Field was a something of a leveller, which would be ironic as the one thing it isn't is level. Llanberis' second half dominance came when they were playing down the steep end-to-end slope.

The pitch is fully railed off, although on the road side the rail is so close to the boundary wall that it is, in effect, a three sided venue. There's hard standing on the opposite side, and at the end nearest the entrance. and some steep grass banking which shows how sloping the field must have been before it was levelled, to an extent, for football.









Dunbar United v Rosyth

2.30pm  12 March 2016

SJFA East Region, South Division
Dunbar United 7 Rosyth 2 (att 85)

I've been making slow progress with Scottish Junior grounds this season. New Countess Park in Dunbar was only the second one I've managed, but it was an enjoyable, if one-sided, 90 minutes that reminded me why I enjoy this grade of football.

Dunbar are towards the top end of this league, the third and lowest tier of East Region football, but promotion looks to be out of reach. Rosyth are lower down the table, and were blown away by the home side.

I don't usually take sides when watching games, I enjoy football as a neutral, but I was rooting for Dunbar in this. Not only were the home side friendly and welcoming (I was invited into the committee room for a half time cuppa), but Rosyth's roughhouse tactics, and their complaints when decisions went against them, became tiresome.

At one point in the first half the referee booked three Rosyth players in as many minutes. Amazingly they finished the game with 11 on the field, but one of their coaching staff was dismissed from the dugout.

It was all to no avail though, as Dunbar waltzed to a comprehensive victory. They should have scored more than the two goals they got in the first half, and could easily have added more than the five they got after the break. Dunbar switched off near the end, and Rosyth scored the game's final two goals, one a penalty.

New Countess Park is newish venue, at least by Scottish Junior standards. It's neat and tidy, with hard standing all around the pitch, some cover, and a tea bar selling hot food including an excellent steak pie.









Whitehill Welfare v Gala Fairydean Rovers

11am  12 March 2016

Scottish Lowland League
Whitehill Welfare 3 Gala Fairydean Rovers 0 (att 324)

Frustrating late changes to the schedule of this year's Lowland League "hop" limited the number of new grounds I could get to, but thankfully I'd not been to Ferguson Park in Rosewell so I made an early start to head north for an 11am kick off.

Rosewell, south of Edinburgh in Midlothian, was once a mining village and the former colliery lives on in the name of the local football club. Whitehill Welfare, like Borders visitors Gala, were founder member of the new Lowland League, having previously played in the East of Scotland League.

In front of a larger than usual attendance, boosted by groundhoppers from across the UK (most of whom were watching their first of four games in the day) Whitehill were comfortable winners. Two first half goals put them in control, the third followed after the break.

Gala's cause wasn't helped by a second half red card, and Whitehill even had the luxury of failing to hit the target from the penalty spot.

Ferguson Park is a decent ground, and more than capable of hosting a large crowd. The stand has several rows of seats under a high roof, and there's an open terrace on the same side. The rest of the ground is surrounded by grass banking.

Also worth noting the match programme, which was packed with loads to read in it and good value for £2.