Pre Season Friendly
OXENHOPE RECREATION 5 BARNOLDSWICK TOWN 4
Attendance: 32 (Head count)
Programme: None available today
Tea Hut Stuff: Don't have one at the moment
Weather: Lot of light cloud, odd sunny spell, warm
Parking: Tucked in beside the adjoining cricket club
Bronte Country, majestic moorland, scenic views and plenty of fresh air. Nowadays the only 'Wuthering Heights' you're likely to see around here are a couple of 'no-prisoners' centre backs, if you're lucky one might even be called Heathcliffe?
This hidden gem of a no frills football ground nestles in the lovely village of Oxenhope which is famous for the Worth Valley Railway and its nearby proximity to the honey pot tourist trap of Haworth. The main football action takes place on the bottom pitch where the first team ply their trade in the West Yorkshire Premier, the top pitch has a Scafell Pike type slope to it and doesn't meet ground grading requirements.
There is a lovely introduction to the field down a wide tarmac path that runs past the changing rooms before meeting up with the local bowling green and a small playground. The pitch sits picturesquely before sweeping views of the Pennine Hills as the outskirts of Oxenhope village meet well kept farmland and the open fells. Due to the availability of practical space the spectator only has access to 2 sides of the pitch.
There is hard standing down the touchline beside the bowling green and a cracking view from above the raised banking behind the goals at the cricket ground end. Don't expect fancy stands or covered terracing, this is non-league uncut but it provides a great setting for watching a football match.
In the official non league grading system you will find Oxenhope Rec playing in a competition somewhat below the level where Barnoldswick Town do their stuff, Barlick, as their supporters call them, reside as a much respected side in the North West Counties League Premier Division. A number of Barlick supporters had travelled across to get a first glimpse of their heroes as the pre season build up started to finally get more serious. Hopefully a good open game was on offer, especially as Oxenhope still had the Keighley Cup triumph still fresh in the memory. We certainly got what I was hoping for. No less than 9 goals were provided as both sides played some fine enterprising football in rather warm and slightly humid conditions. I wont pretend to know all the players, I just enjoyed a good open game. If I had to single out a special mention it would be for an extremely impressive performance from Barlicks young attacking midfield player Joel Melia. He looks a very good player indeed.
|The impressive Joel Melia|
I was pleasantly educated for the second week running that sides from lower leagues can still provide high quality football and that is what Oxenhope dished out for Barlick. In response, Barlick themselves came back from some gearbox problems early doors to finish the afternoon with some scintillating attacking entertainment. A quick word of praise for the Rec keeper who must have appeared 10 foot tall to the Barlick front line as we hit the final quarter, a very competent looking keeper who wasn't afraid to tell his back four what was expected.