Organised Easter groundhops date back to 1993 when Mike Amos of the venerable Northern League came up with the idea of pulling in extra fans and revenue for the League’s member clubs. Stagger the kick-off times and wandering football watchers will come from far and wide to see multiple games in a day. A feast of football and conviviality, and a welcome few quid in the coffers of struggling clubs. Well what a fantastic notion that turned out to be, hops have been organised all over the country and each have been a roaring success.
So it was great to see the architect of this outwardly eccentric activity, Mike Amos, taking a rare step outside of his native North East to join the modern wave of Easter hopping in the environs of the Northern Counties East League, or the Yorkshire League for those still dealing in pre decimal currency.
When you deal with the irrepressible Chris Berezai and Laurence Reade, you know you are going to get a good weekend, clubs organised with military precision to cater for crowds they have no experience of dealing with. The time and effort these guys put into a weekend like this should not be understated, as well as hundreds of calls and emails, on this occasion they also had to deal with the fickle hand of Mother Nature. Snow drifts at Easter put paid to poor old AFC Emley’s opportunity to stage the opening game on Maundy Thursday but the resourceful duo quickly organised a replacement fixture to assuage the masses. So Good Friday arrived and people poured into downtown Castleford from all around the country as well as Sweden, Switzerland and Germany to name a few.
So here is a review of the seven games in two days around the highways and byways of Yorkshire. Needless to say there were great crowds, great food and good times. If you don’t fully enjoy one of these madcap weekends, then my friend, you must also be tired of life itself.
Friday March 29th 2013 – 11.00am
Glasshoughton Welfare 2 (Bell og 66, Pell 90) Nostell Miners Welfare 0
Attendance at Leeds Road was 307.
Friday March 29th 2013 – 1.15pm
Pontefract Collieries 2 (Durham 30, Catton pen 83) Selby Town 2 (Gray 2, pen 28)
Attendance at Skinners Lane was 424
Friday March 29th 2013 – 4.30pm
Hemsworth Miners Welfare 0 Knaresborough Town 4 (Bromley pen 12, pen 17, Freeston 21,34)
Attendance at Wakefield Road was 415.
Friday March 29th 2013 – 7.45pm
Athersley Recreation 8 (Bennett 15,45,81,86, Harban pen 30, Thornton 71, Bentley 73,87) Askern Welfare 1 (Brown 45)
Attendance at Sheerien Park was 507.
Saturday March 30th 2013 – 11.30am
Bridlington Town 3 (Batchelor 20, Cook 35, Greening 56) Scarborough Athletic 3 (Miller 19, Beadle 45, Blott 48)
Attendance at Queensgate was 1,569
Saturday March 31st 2013 – 3.30pm
Pickering Town 3 (Shepherd 30, Heads 41, Taylor 80) Worksop Parramore 0
Attendance at the Recreation Ground was 302.
Saturday March 30th – 7.45pm
Tadcaster Albion 5 (Taylor 59,67,Rice 78,Winn og 84,Youlden 88) Barton Town Old Boys 1 (Dexter 20)
Attendance at Ings Lane was 288.