Saturday 21st July 2012
Pre Season Friendly
PONTEFRACT COLLIERIES 2 SILSDEN 3
Attendance: 39 (Head Count)
Tea Hut Stuff: Sausage Sandwich £2, Tea £1
Weather: Fine, dry, good periods of sunshine
Parking: Just outside the club entrance
Todays expedition witnessed the Match Shed heading east into the wild lands of Yorkshire, having bribed a way past passport control with a signed copy of an old Geoff Boycott annual we soon encountered the longest roadworks in the whole of Europe, I kid you not... 20 odd solid miles of cones and a 50mph speed limit and guess what?.. not a contractor in sight! The Match Shed came to a shuddering halt in grid locked traffic near Leeds and we crawled stop start for the next 40 minutes. Frugal Glenn was on board for his debut game of the season and he was getting bored. "F*ck this, I'm getting my butties out" he mumbled, I politely explained the Match Shed policy of him not being allowed to eat or drink in the vehicle (one look at his pants will explain why). "F*ck off, I'm starving" was his diplomatic response. And so I proceeded to encounter the delicate aroma's of his cobbled together Beef Paste sarnies backed up by a family sized bag of Mature Cheddar Cheese & Onion crinkle cut crisps (past the sell by date of course). I was trying to keep the window shut on account of my hay fever, the pong was atrocious... the trip had not begun well. Upon eventually reaching Pontefract we decided to take a quick stroll around. There is a great little racecourse here, very scenic on a sunny day and the ground is not far away just on the edge of the town centre. Looking around the centre there seem to be a good many pubs, two Greggs the bakers shops directly opposite each other, plenty of pork pies in the inside market and lots of remnant carpets for sale. I got a chicken and sweetcorn sandwich from one of the rival Greggs shops (it was crap). Has anyone else noticed that Greggs have almost halved the size of all their pasties, including the very popular cheese and onion variety, they've not reduced the price though? Time to get to the ground and the Match Shed was soon trundling down the tight little one track lane that suddenly opened up to a pot holed dirt track around a big playing field adjacent to the ground. This looked like it may have been a cricket pitch in the past? A couple of kids in orange Hi-Vi's took my 2 quid admission money and I was immediately greeted by a traditional style good old fashioned tea hut already advertising all manner of utterly unhealthy goodies (how I regretted having that silly chicken sandwich from Greggs, but I was still full, bugger). I decided to come back to the Tea Hut at half time.
The Colls Beechnut Lane White Rose Stadium has a main stand with plenty of seats down the touchline, this also houses the changing rooms and a club function area and bar, I think its only canned beer rather than draught though. The playing field end of the ground has a couple of steps of terracing and decent cover. The rest of the stadium is well railed with hard standing throughout. A railway line runs down the touchline opposite the Main Stand but there was only 1 freight service the whole afternoon (a busy railway line can often provide secondary entertainment for those totally crap matches you can encounter from time to time). Pontefract Collieries play in the Northern Counties East League Division 1, they've witnessed good times and bad over the years. There is a firm commitment to provide good football for the community and the club is having a good go at moving forwards and upwards. They strike me as a decent side and I rate them as one of the better outfits in the division. Silsden are from the Premier Division of the North West Counties League. They are the only Yorkshire side in the NWC League and have recently moved into a rather scenic new ground just off that dual carriageway that links Keighley with Skipton and the Yorkshire Dales (well worth a visit). Silsden haven't moved any mountains for a while but there are a few rumours that this seasons bunch may be dark horses and surprise a few sides. The game kicked off to the background of around 10 or so locals good humouredley getting very merry by necking vast numbers of luke warm cans of ale. Don't know if they paid in or not but they didn't watch much of the match, bit of a strange atmosphere as they made up 25% of the crowd? They didn't bother anybody though and it wasn't a problem. I quickly realised that todays game was going ahead without recognised linesmen? Not sure if they'd turned up or not (or got stuck in traffic). The referee (who had a good game throughout) had press-ganged a couple of young lads into waving the flag, I think he managed to get one lad from Ponte and another from the travelling Silsden squad. They naturally looked extremely inhibited but credit to the players, they hung back from the usual abuse they throw at recognised liners. Its a thankless task for sure.
The match was very competitive, slightly fragmented (as can be expected early season) but overall quite entertaining. Under (Ex Leeds United) Brendan Ormsby as First Team Coach Ponte will doubtless be there or thereabouts this season, they played some positive football which was equally matched by a quality Silsden performance, the NWCL side look to have 5 or 6 really good players in the squad. Silsden went 1-0 up before Ponte quickly replied but Silsden had just about earned the second goal that witnessed them going in 2-1 ahead at half time. Me and Frugal Glenn hit the Tea Hut during the break, we got a couple of tea's and I went large with a really nice sausage sandwich which was tastefully dipped in tomato jous, I finished it off with 3 or 4 squirts of brown sauce. Good stuff indeed. We retired to the Main Stand seats for the second half action. Leg room was at a premium in this right hand side of the stand, I had to sprawl my legs over the seats in front. The rows of seats were far too close together. Frugal gave it up after 10 minutes and went further back to sit on an old bench.
On the pitch Silsden were taking the game to Ponte and there was some nice passing movements to observe. A deflected third goal for Silsden was a tad harsh on Ponte but the home side roared back in the last 15 minutes. The Colls got it back to 2-3 and came ever so close to an equaliser but Silsden just about held on for a respectable win at a place like this. Good friendly match. Even the lads and lasses on the cans got involved in the latter stages, urging Ponte forward. A massive black bin bag packed full of crumpled cans of ale gave evidence of the beer session. They were still 'well at it' as the Match Shed made a sharp exit for the trip back west.