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Home: Ground Hopping & Programmes: General:
Scottish Hop 2019 - Useful (?) Information

 



prorege
Man City Transfer Target!


Mar 11, 2019, 12:47 PM

Posts: 6666
Location: Kingdom of Fife
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Thought I should post some info for those coming up for the Scottish Hop. I’ll add the remainder of the games over the next few days, as well as suggesting some alternatives for the Saturday.

Friday March 29
Dunipace v Bonnyrigg Rose (8pm KO)

If you arrive safely in Dunipace then you are in the wrong place. Dunipace Juniors don’t play in Dunipace. They’ve played in Denny since 1974. That;s when they moved from Carronbank Park to their current location at Westfield Park.

If you’d visited Westfield Park last season you’d have found a crumbling ground with many interesting features – a cavernous shed down one side, rotting railway sleeper terracing behind one goal, al fresco pissoirs in two corners and the wreckage of the burned out social club down the other side. All that was swept away last Summer when a new artificial pitch was put down.

The ground is not a cage – it is a proper ground – but it feels a bit like a cage. All the amenities, such as they are, are down one side. There’s no cover and hard-standing on the one side only. You can watch from all four sides and the far side is banked but it is treacherous in wet weather. It's worth noting that despite being as Astro pitch a game here was called off due to waterlogging this season.

Improvements are promised for next season, including a covered enclosure and small seated stand, so it might have been better to have left this one off the schedule for now.

The match itself will be a dead rubber. Bonnyrigg Rose are unbeaten in their 20 league games so far, having drawn only one. They will be confirmed as Champions before the hop game takes place. Dunipace are at the other end of the table and have no chance of making the cut for next season’s Premier League. When the teams met at Bonnyrigg earlier in the season it was 6-0 to the home side and it would be no surprise to see that scoreline repeated.

Bonnyrigg do carry a decent support – without hoppers I would have expected this game to attract around 200 / 250. That means parking may be a bit tricky – there is a car park at the ground but it is not very big and not marked out in any way. In the past Bonnyrigg have been known to bring a squad of trouble-seeking neds but there hasn't been much evidence of them this season. I came across them at Bo'ness a few years ago when they chucked lit flares into a busy pub causing a minor commotion.

The town of Denny has little to commend it. However, it features several decent chippies if you need food. Pub-wise it is a desperate place – the Railway Tavern is probably the best of the lot – it is close to the ground on the corner at the traffic lights in the town centre. There's a wee hut in the ground that sells cans of Tennents etc.

As alternatives, if you still have some SPFL grounds to do, then Livingston v Hibernian and Dunfermline Athletic v Ayr United are on the Friday night. It’s a 7.45 ko at Livi and a 7.05 start at EEP.

I'll add the Camelon info later today or tomorrow.


prorege
Man City Transfer Target!


Mar 11, 2019, 5:34 PM

Posts: 6666
Location: Kingdom of Fife
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Saturday March 30th

Camelon v Edinburgh United (11am)

Camelon Juniors ground should be the highlight of the weekend for visitors. It’s a traditional Scottish Junior ground with many interesting features.

The side by the entry gates has a long covered enclosure. The pavilion is opposite and has another covered enclosure in front of it. One end has superb concrete terracing while the other end, a grassy bank, was strictly out of bounds on my last visit a few months ago. There’s plenty cover but no seating, nor floodlights. The pie hatch is on the end of the pavilion.

Visitors are frequently interested in the home made raised executive box which a neighbour has built in his garden overlooking the west end of the ground.

The match may well be another dead rubber. By that time Camelon will be safely in the top five of their Conference but they have no realistic chance of winning it. Edinburgh United are battling with Ormiston and Inverkeithing to avoid bottom place. Camelon will be expected to win by several.

Average crowds at Camelon are around the 100-120 mark. Big games have brought out far larger crowds, including some fairly hard-core neds. They are unlikely to be out of their beds at 11am in the morning.

The Forth and Clyde Canal passes directly behind the pavilion on a raised embankment – hence the drainage problems at the ground. It doesn’t take much rain for games to be in doubt at Carmuirs Park. The canal also gives the club their unusual nickname, The Mariners.

Camelon itself is a westward extension of Falkirk. The residents definitely think of themselves as separate from Falkirk – Camelon should never be referred to as a Falkirk club. The streets around the ground are very narrow residential roads with very little parking, and the car park at the ground is small.

The best place to park, I reckon, is the large car park at the Union Inn pub on the canal side. The street is officially called Portdownie, just off Glenfuir Road.. From there you cross the canal and head along the bank for 100 yards to the ground. This also allows for some decent panoramic photos of the ground from an elevated position. I’d certainly not recommend parking your vehicle in the streets around the ground and not just because they are narrow. Games at Carmuirs Park attract lots of feral children.


The Union Inn and the Lock 16 are “interesting” pubs, known locally as Auntie Kate’s and the War Office respectively. The grim looking Social Club art the ground no longer has anything to do with the club despite still using their name.

Culture vultures shouldn’t miss visiting the nearby Antonine Wall and the Falkirk Wheel, both wonders of their particular ages.

If you’ve been to Camelon before, or if proper football grounds don’t float your boat, then there are plenty alternatives in the various Glasgow area Saturday Morning Leagues, numbering four in total. Fixtures and venues will be firmed up nearer the time. You might be lucky and hit a weekend with a Cathkin Park game but I think it is unlikely. Most of the venues for these fixtures are bog-standard caged astro pitches with no redeeming features.

Glasgow and District Saturday Morning League:

https://www.leaguewebsite.co.uk/gdsml/

Strathclyde Saturday Morning League:

http://www.ssmafl.co.uk/

Glasgow Colleges League (not actually College teams):

http://www.glasgowcollegesfa.co.uk/LeagueFixtures

Strathclyde Evangelical Churches League (not particularly Evangelical in my experience):

https://www.churchesleague.com/


prorege
Man City Transfer Target!


Mar 12, 2019, 10:46 AM

Posts: 6666
Location: Kingdom of Fife
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Saturday March 30th

Inverkeithing Hillfield Swifts v Heriot Watt University (2.15 KO)

HIS stepped up from youth football to the East OF Scotland League this season. The Hillfield part of their name refers to a housing scheme in Inverkeithing although nowhere near where they now play.

Swifts home ground is the Ballast Bank in the lower part of Inverkeithing. The town was formerly a centre for ship-breaking with dozens of huge vessels dismantled there, the most famous probably being the Mauretania. The ships ballast was dumped to form the Ballast Bank which was later grassed over to form a park area. The site of the shipbreaking yard is still a centre for scrap metal export and is visible from the ground.

In fact, the best thing about Ballast Bank is the photo opportunities. Although the Ferry Hills are in between, the tops of all three Forth Bridges can be seen from the ground providing impressive backdrop, although you will be facing into the sun to get them in pictures.

Otherwise Ballast Bank has few redeeming features. There is no cover, no hard standing, no banking – just a metal rail around a wide-open unenclosed pitch. Thankfully that rail is inside the running / cycle track which surrounds the pitch. The prime use for the ground each year is for the Inverkeithing Highland Games, which draw a crowd of several thousands. That means no permanent structures can be built adjacent to the ground.

The players change in a pavilion at one end. A little group of portakabins at the other end, about 100 yards from the pitch, provides a pie stall and toilets.

The ground has reasonable drainage but it is not unknown for it to be waterlogged at this time of year. There is street parking adjacent to the ground , accessed via Commercial Road – some may be brave enough to park on the grassy areas but I’ve seen cars needing rescued from there by winch. Avoid parking in the Fraser Avenue area.

The match sees IHS host the students of Heriot Watt University. HIS have no chance of making the top five cut. Heriot Watt, at the time of writing have an outside chance, but that may be gone by the time the match comes round. It has the makings of another dead rubber, I’m afraid.

The pubs of Inverkeithing are really nothing special. Gallagher’s, the nearest to the ground, is a Celtic shop and quite old-fashioned in many ways. The High Street has a fine selection of take away eateries. Of the two chippies I’d recommend Maurizios simply because the service is much quicker than in the Ca’doro.

Hoppers who like panoramic photos of grounds can get one of Ballast Bank from a little cul-de-sac called Friary Court which opens off the High Street. It’s a fifteen minute walk from the ground and not suitable for a half time stroll but the view is superb, assuming it isn’t raining.

The timings of the games are good for opting out of this venue if you want to. The morning game at Camelon will finish by 1pm, and the tea time game at Blackburn kicks off at 5.15. This means that almost any Junior or Lowland / East game from the east side of Glasgow, right across Central Scotland to Edinburgh, is well within reach. Alternatively there will be plenty other games in West Fife. West Juniors usually kick off at 2pm, East Juniors and Seniors at 2.30pm, and Lowland League at 3pm.

If anyone wants specific recommendations then reply here and I’ll provide them.


prorege
Man City Transfer Target!


Mar 13, 2019, 9:44 AM

Posts: 6666
Location: Kingdom of Fife
Team(s): Fife teams

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Saturday March 30th

Blackburn United v Preston Athletic (5.15KO)

Blackburn in West Lothian is famous for 2 things – it is the origin of Tam Dalyell’s “West Lothian Question” and the home town of Susan Boyle. It’s not much of a place in all honesty. The original small village was expanded as a massive housing scheme in the 1950s and 60s mainly to serve the British Leyland car factory at Bathgate.

Blackburn United are comparative newcomers to the Juniors having stepped up from Welfare football in 1980. There was a previous Junior club in the town called New Blackburn Athletic but they folded in the mid 1970s.

New Blackburn Athletic and Blackburn United both played at Murrayfield Park. A few years ago Blackburn moved in to New Murrayfield Park, now known as the Purdie Worldwide Community Stadium. It is next door to the old ground which is still there. A third pitch, to the east of the new ground, was used by Blackburn for a single season while their artificial pitch was being put down.

Their new stadium ticks all the boxes without being visually inspiring. Utilitarian would be the word to describe it. All the amenities are in a large building at one corner – changing rooms, committee room, pie stall, toilets etc. Only two sides of the ground are open to spectators – behind one goal where there is flat hard standing, and down one side which has a large covered section. This was brought from the original Murrayfield Park. Unfortunately there is very little elevation under it so the view is poor if there is a crowd taking shelter. There is no spectator access behind the far goal, and the dug-out side is out of bounds, presumably to prevent abuse of staff in the technical areas.

Initially the new ground had a grass pitch but it was replaced with an artificial surface after just one year. Consequently this game should go ahead whatever the weather. It can be a cold and bleak place. Typical attendances are around the 70-80 mark, having dropped markedly since the club quit the Juniors for the East of Scotland League.

Parking at the stadium itself is restricted. The nearby Community Centre car park can sometimes be used, depending what is taking place there. Other than that you just take your chances on the street leading to the ground or possibly in the small shopping precinct on the other side of the road.

I’ve never tried any of the pubs in Blackburn but none look particularly welcoming. Belhaven Best is probably the nearest thing to real ale on sale.

As for the match, both Blackburn and Preston currently have a chance of making the top five in their Conference. Preston are better placed; Blackburn’s chances could have gone by the time the game comes around unless they keep winning.


prorege
Man City Transfer Target!


Mar 14, 2019, 11:23 AM

Posts: 6666
Location: Kingdom of Fife
Team(s): Fife teams

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Saturday March 30th

Linlithgow Rose v Jeanfield Swifts (8pm KO)

This match will be one where groundhoppers are in the minority. Linlithgow regularly get crowds of 300+ and the curiosity of a Saturday evening game will probably entice even more locals out. Linlithgow are also a notoriously “conservative” club and I wouldn’t expect them to make any special arrangements for one-off visitors.

Prestonfield is arguably the best ground in Scottish non league football. Earlier this season Premiership side Livingston played two league Cup tiers there, against Annan and Berwick. There is a seated stand on one side, holding around 200 people. Unlike these “Atcost” contraptions this is a proper raised grandstand with a decent view of the game. The club, quite rightly, charge extra for entry to the grandstand – transfers from the ground via the stairway at the end of the stand.

Opposite is a large covered enclosure with concrete terracing. The Social Club end has shallow concrete terracing and the far end is a huge grassy mound. The ground now has excellent floodlights which would comply with SPFL standards.

The streets around the ground are fairly narrow and congested. The best place to park is to drive past the entrance gates to the school which is just beyond the ground are use their car park or the streets around there.

The Linlithgow pie stall is rightly renowned for its quality produce. The steak and haggis pie is superb. It is also renowned for not opening until 5 minutes before kick off, slow service and often running out before half time. There are several very good chippies on the High Street within five or ten minutes walk of the ground.

The Social Club just outside the ground is the obvious place to go for a drink. Like all Scottish social clubs you may have to sign in and make a donation to charity to gain entry. There is a plethora of superb pubs on the High Street. The two nearest the ground are the West Port and the Black Bitch. The West Port is more of an eating place than a proper pub, whilst the Bitch is a proper drinking pub. The other best places in town are the Four Marys and the Platform 5, towards the far end of the High Street some 15 minutes walk away. The Old Post Office and the Footballers and Cricketers are more for youngsters than decrepit eccentrics like myself and most of the groundhoppers of my ken.

As for the match – at one point this looked like it might be a really important title decider. Both teams will qualify comfortably for the top five of their Conference but Jeanfield’s chances of winning it have now fallen away. Linlithgow are in pursuit of Broxburn at the top and it may be that they will need a win in this game to keep their hopes alive. Jeanfield, from Perth, are an ambitious club with a good community set up and one to look out for in future.


Henfield Bee
Reserve Team Regular

Mar 14, 2019, 8:38 PM

Posts: 592
Location: Henfield
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Andy, we would be a lot poorer off without your interesting and valued 'local' knowledge...m



nb: i will only post re new grounds when BurgessHill Bee doesn't..(since he's far better informed than I)


prorege
Man City Transfer Target!


Mar 15, 2019, 9:35 AM

Posts: 6666
Location: Kingdom of Fife
Team(s): Fife teams

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Sunday March 31st

Peebles Rovers v Newtongrange Star (12.30KO)

The opportunity to have a day out in Peebles is most welcome. It’s a brilliant little town, far and away the nicest of the various places in the Scottish Borders.

Home club Peebles Rovers have a varied history. In the 1920s they were briefly members of the Scottish league, playing at their current ground in Whitestone Park – it was very different in those days. They were then stalwarts of the East of Scotland League scene through the 30s, 40s and 50s before switching to Junior football in the late 1960s. By this time Whitestone Park was no longer properly enclosed and when they switched back to senior football in the mid 1970s they were unable to regain full SFA membership. This left them at a disadvantage compared to local rivals Vale of Leithen, Gala and Hawick, and the last forty years have been largely unsuccessful.

Whitestone Park is a large public park and the football ground is not enclosed in any way. It’s simply a pitch with a rope round it. There’s a small grandstand on one side, named after a Peebles player who was called in the Afghanistan war. A few steps of terracing can be found to one side of the grandstand. Otherwise it is just flat grass, and often quite soggy grass at that.

The River Tweed flows next to the pitch and not in frequently over the pitch. Home games at Peebles in March, the wettest month of the year, are something of a rarity. The club occasionally decant to one of the other, slightly more elevated, pitches in the park, usually used by Amateur side Tweeddale Rovers.

Entry should be made from the car park adjacent to the much more developed rugby ground, home of Peebles RFC. Walker’s Haugh is the street you want. That’s where the pay table and pie stall are. The steak pies, from Forsyth’s of Peebles, are works of art.

You do get a good view of the ground from Innerleithen Road which runs along the north side of the bigger park. It’s really too busy a road for parking, however, but good for taking a half time panoramic photo.

The match pits the locals against Newtongrange Star, one of the most famous names of Junior football, having produced such legends as Dave Mackay and Alex Young, inter alia. Star will have qualified for the top five of their Conference by then and Peebles will be closer to the foot of the table, so there will not be much at stake. I’d expect an away win.

Peebles has won awards as one the best town in Scotland for independent shops – it’s quite a well-to-do place. The Bridge Inn was Camra’s Scottish Pub of the Year in 2017, and the Tontine, Crown, County and Central are also good places. One to avoid is the Cross Keys, a particularly bland Wetherspoons.

The town centre is only five minutes walk from the ground via Walker’s Haugh and a flight of steps leading up to the High Street. If the sun shines then the town will be hoaching with dat trippers from Edinburgh. If the sun doesn’t shine then you might not be in Peebles at all.

That concludes my brief notes on the various game scheduled for that weekend. I'll hopefully be at most of the games, lookin forward to seeing some familiar faces.


youngster
Chelsea Transfer Target

Mar 21, 2019, 9:20 PM

Posts: 3141
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In Reply To
Saturday March 30th

Inverkeithing Hillfield Swifts v Heriot Watt University (2.15 KO)



Otherwise Ballast Bank has few redeeming features. There is no cover, no hard standing, no banking – just a metal rail around a wide-open unenclosed pitch.
The timings of the games are good for opting out of this venue if you want to. The morning game at Camelon will finish by 1pm, and the tea time game at Blackburn kicks off at 5.15. This means that almost any Junior or Lowland / East game from the east side of Glasgow, right across Central Scotland to Edinburgh, is well within reach. Alternatively there will be plenty other games in West Fife. West Juniors usually kick off at 2pm, East Juniors and Seniors at 2.30pm, and Lowland League at 3pm.

If anyone wants specific recommendations then reply here and I’ll provide them.


Doesn't sound the most appealing so other recommendations would be gratefully received by those in my car. Anything with a bit of terracing (even some banking would suffice).


kizzye
Ballboy/girl

Mar 21, 2019, 11:00 PM

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In Reply To
Saturday March 30th

Inverkeithing Hillfield Swifts v Heriot Watt University (2.15 KO)



Otherwise Ballast Bank has few redeeming features. There is no cover, no hard standing, no banking – just a metal rail around a wide-open unenclosed pitch.
The timings of the games are good for opting out of this venue if you want to. The morning game at Camelon will finish by 1pm, and the tea time game at Blackburn kicks off at 5.15. This means that almost any Junior or Lowland / East game from the east side of Glasgow, right across Central Scotland to Edinburgh, is well within reach. Alternatively there will be plenty other games in West Fife. West Juniors usually kick off at 2pm, East Juniors and Seniors at 2.30pm, and Lowland League at 3pm.

If anyone wants specific recommendations then reply here and I’ll provide them.


Doesn't sound the most appealing so other recommendations would be gratefully received by those in my car. Anything with a bit of terracing (even some banking would suffice).


I'm looking at Albion Rovers v Clyde, only 25mins from Blackburn


colpic
Chelsea Transfer Target


Mar 22, 2019, 12:27 AM

Posts: 3258
Location: North West Lincolnshire
Team(s): Scotter United (Scunthorpe League), AFC Telford(home town club),

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We're looking at the 2pm ko at Thorniewood.



Where's the 'ignore this poster' button?


prorege
Man City Transfer Target!


Mar 22, 2019, 7:56 AM

Posts: 6666
Location: Kingdom of Fife
Team(s): Fife teams

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In Reply To
Saturday March 30th

Inverkeithing Hillfield Swifts v Heriot Watt University (2.15 KO)



Otherwise Ballast Bank has few redeeming features. There is no cover, no hard standing, no banking – just a metal rail around a wide-open unenclosed pitch.
The timings of the games are good for opting out of this venue if you want to. The morning game at Camelon will finish by 1pm, and the tea time game at Blackburn kicks off at 5.15. This means that almost any Junior or Lowland / East game from the east side of Glasgow, right across Central Scotland to Edinburgh, is well within reach. Alternatively there will be plenty other games in West Fife. West Juniors usually kick off at 2pm, East Juniors and Seniors at 2.30pm, and Lowland League at 3pm.

If anyone wants specific recommendations then reply here and I’ll provide them.


Doesn't sound the most appealing so other recommendations would be gratefully received by those in my car. Anything with a bit of terracing (even some banking would suffice).


Inverkeithing is nothing great – the spectacular backdrop of the three Forth Bridges is it’s only decent point.

My recommendations would be:

East Juniors (2.30 KO)

Whitburn v Kirrie Thistle – superb, characterful old ground that should be on everyone’s bucket list

Fauldhouse United v Broughty United – has some very unusual features, not least the grandstand on the back of a lorry

Bathgate Thistle v Harthill Royal – another excellent ground with lots of interesting features

Stoneyburn v Rosyth – huge, if slightly exposed, ground. Definitely worth a look

Livingston United v Kennoway Star Hearts – not brillioant but this should be a really good game


West Juniors (2pm KO)

Cambuslang Rangers v Beith – possibly the best remaining “classic” junior ground in Scotland

Cumbernauld United v Benburb – one of my favourites, although now a two-sided ground

Thorniewood United v Lanark United – crumbling old ground, located in Viewpark, just off the M8.


Programmes likely at Stoneyburn, Livingston and Cambuslang. Also possible at Thorniewood and Whitburn. Very unlikely elsewhere.


youngster
Chelsea Transfer Target

Mar 22, 2019, 8:11 AM

Posts: 3141
Location: The EAST
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In Reply To

In Reply To
Saturday March 30th

Inverkeithing Hillfield Swifts v Heriot Watt University (2.15 KO

If anyone wants specific recommendations then reply here and I’ll provide them.


Doesn't sound the most appealing so other recommendations would be gratefully received by those in my car. Anything with a bit of terracing (even some banking would suffice).[/reply

My recommendations would be:

East Juniors (2.30 KO)

Whitburn v Kirrie Thistle – superb, characterful old ground that should be on everyone’s bucket list




West Juniors (2pm KO)

Cambuslang Rangers v Beith – possibly the best remaining “classic” junior ground in Scotland


Thorniewood United v Lanark United – crumbling old ground, located in Viewpark, just off the M8.


.

Thanks for that, I’ve narrowed it down to these three, I’ll let my passengers have the final word.

 
 


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