Bilston Town

West Midlands Premier 

Bilston Town 0 
Smethwick Rangers 2
Gate £5
Atten 100ish

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What a cracking ground Queen Street is. Situated in the Black Country Wolverhampton as you enter the ground you can just smell the history. The Main Stand is obviously the focal point and it is fantastic. It just oozes charm, beauty and .... Orange. Even more Orange than David Dickinson, Dale Winton and the Tango guy. There was even some orange coloured soap in the toilets. Whilst walking round to the other side of the ground if you start to get 'Orange withdrawal symptons' dont worry because you will bump into Bilston's number one and loudest fan Mr Bilston who is clad from head to toe in ....... Orange ! After today i am eating no more jaffa cakes, drinking no more juice and changing my mobile service provider ... as i am 'oranged out'.

Mr Bilston
The Club has had an eventful history and in the last few years has had over 130 break-ins from the local recidivists. But they keep bouncing back, for which i doff my cap to them. They are determined to be an integral part of the local community , forge partnerships with multi-agencies, and host fundraising events for the locals who are more needy than themselves. Another eye catching feature of the ground is the Orange hypercube style fencing which surrounds the periminter which you can see from the from the Black Country Route Road. 

The game itself was quite an even affair and goals just minutes before the end of each half gave the visitors Smethwick the 3 points. Must admit the pitch was a bit bobbly and quite of few of the home players would possibly fail the Body Mass Index testing. The welcome given by the Clubs Officials was excellent as well as very friendly. 

I would strongly recommend a visit to Bilston Town. Because like David 'Orange' Dickinson would say "Its a Bobby Dazzler" ! 

Hade Edge

Huddersfield & District League 
Division 3
Hade Edge 0 Marsden 0
Atten 14 h/c

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 The earliest records show that Hade Edge had a team in the Holmfirth & District League in the 1909/10 season. Today they have reached the 'dizzy heights of the 3rd tier of the Huddersfield District League. They have an excellent brand new clubhouse after obtaining a grant from Sport England.
No furniture except dugouts but superb views over the West Yorkshire Countryside. Worth the journey alone if only to stock up on meats at the outstanding quality butcher in the village.

Classic Clubhouse
 The game had few chances and this was my first 'bagel' for over a year. It seems i got the short straw tonight as far as goals were concerned as every other match in the league had 5 goals or more. I blame the big Marsden centre forward ! He was proudly wearing his brand new 'super duper' bright green boots , much to the amusement of his teamates. If i was him, i would return the boots to the shop. Every time he attempted a shot on goal it came off his boots like a "sherriff's badge" or the ball went twenty feet high and wide.

 Some may call this 'extreme' groundhopping. I would agree ! and i look forward to see what Division 4 has to offer in this league as this was very enjoyable in a weird way.  I was asked by the Hade Edge Manager/Goalie why i had decided to come and visit their Club as this is an extreme level of hopping to say the least. My answer was "why not" ?

Pre-Match Warm Up -  " a quick can"

Extreme Non League  - Pump up your own balls !

Tow Law Town

Northern League Div 2
Tow Law Town 1 
Darlington Railway Athletic 2
Atten 50ish
Gate £5

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After a long wait i finally made the pilgrimage to Ironworks Road. As you drive up high into the Weardale hills going to Tow Law feels like going to Mecca.
I arrived earlier than usual and spent time visiting the war memorial in the village centre. It's awesome, a soldier with rifle and bayonet and a huge list of local men who gave their lives for the freedom we enjoy today. Pre-match meal was enjoyed at "The Pantry" in the high street. A delicious freshly cooked breakfast , the best i have had for  a long time, all washed down with tea from the most inaccessible regions of the himalayas where the leaves of tea are rolled on the inner thigh of a geordie lass before your very eyes.

The ground is situated on Ironworks Road - a steep hill to be more precise. The Clubhouse and Social Club are situated just outside the ground and hanging on the wall proudly are photos from the good old days. Including their visit to Wembley in 1988 when the whole village had descended from the Durham Coal fields to the smoke and bright lights of London. I got chatting to an elder who was enjoying his lunch time tipple who had lived all his life in the village and how he remembers those days with much fondness and how his famly go back generations following their 'heroes' in black & white.

The Lawyers first ground was in Church Lane but the present Ironworks Road ground was built by volunteers during the miners strike of 1892/93.
Another memory was the tremendous F.A. Cup run of 1967/68. Having reached the first round Tow Law beat Mansfield 5-1 and in the second round drew 1-1 with Shrewsbury at Ironworks Road. The Lawyers went into the hat for the Third Round and drew a home tie with Arsenal. Sadly it was not to be after they went down 6-2 at Shrewsbury in the replay. Frank McGee reported after the replay "Arsenal were saved from a fate worse than death - a trip to Tow Law in January".

The game itself was not the best as both teams struggled with the very strong winds. The wind turbine was at full speed and noise !. Tow Law scored with their first real shot on target possible against the run of play. Visitors RA equalised before half time as the game entered its later stages the only winner looked like being the wind. But the RA goalie made at least thress excellent saves and mnutes before the end RA broke clear to score the winner and complete the smash and grab.

The obvious focal point of the ground is the impressively painted main stand , possibly the most colourful in the league. The views over Weardale are spectacular and a typical warm geordie welcome awaits.

I decended down the hills from 'Mecca' and entered civilisation again. Going to Tow Law is like visiting another world. I wonder what it's like here in January ?