Castleford Tigers 54 Hull Kingston Rovers 12
Sunday 1st June 2014 - 1530
Referee: Tim Roby
With York City Knights not playing today, my attentions turned to other games to go to. However upon looking at the fixture list there was nothing in my price range with me saving my money to go watch York City in Scotland in July, I decided I was going to have a weekend off. However, Saturday I was given an offer from my father which I couldn't refuse.
This was to be my third trip to Castleford, fourth in total. I'd already seen them beat York Knights 62-6 in a pre season friendly and then saw them beat Catalans 32-6 in thier first home game of the season. Prior to that I saw them lose on their first home game of that season to Bradford 12-20.
Before kick off, Hull KR were a point outside the play offs but had a game in hand on Catalans who were in 8th. They had been in decent form as well, winning their past 2 games, one of which was against Hull FC in the annual Magic Weekend fixture.
Cas on the other hand had returned back to Classy Cas as they used to go by. They have shot up the league this year. After finishing 12th last season, with only Salford and London below them, they currently find themselves in nose bleed territory in 3rd. The change in fortunes can only have happened due to the hard work Daryl Powell (Head Coach) and Steve Gill (Chief Exec.) have put in at the club. The team spirit seems to be on a high as well. The Cas fans are singing louder than ever, especially with thier new club anthem 'Sweet Caroline' by Neil Diamond. They had also won their past two games against Wakefield & Widnes. The only downside for Cas is that Justin Carney was suspended for fighting against the Vikings. It was set to be a very interesting match.
The only other fixture of note is the 12th v 13th clash of Wakefield v Bradford at Odsal.
We set off at 1410 and arrived at the ground at 1450 after parking about 3/4 of a mile away.
The ground is a very traditional one. We went through the turnstiles at the Wheldon Road End and walked up the very steep steps into the ground. We had a wander around the ground behind the main stand where I picked up the official programme 'Black & Amber' for £3, before making our way to the Railway End where the sun was beating down on us.
The Railway End was a steep terrace at Cas which was open to the elements. The terrace was crumbling slightly and the barriers were a tad too low for me. Behind us was the supporters club bar where several fans stood out us. The Castleford faithful were all in the Wheldon Road End opposite us. It was a covered terrace full of their flags at the back of it. To the left of us was the Princess Street Stand. The camera gantries and commentary positions where at the top of the stand dangling off the roof. Interestingly, this is where Daryl Powell watched the game from. To the right was a crumbling main stand which ran about half the length of the pitch with an open terrace adjoining each end. The roof of the stand appeared to be coming off its hinges. Empty glass panes were at the sides as well as orange sprayed poles. The stand was complete with the dug outs and the players' tunnel.
The match kicked off and Cas took an early lead from some good footwork from Michael Channing down the right hand side. He weaved in and out of the defenders. Sneyd added the extras with his rather distinctive kicking where he rotates so that his back is at goal.
Castleford then doubled their lead when a good Hauraki offload near the line sent Dorn crashing over for what was to be his first of many. Sneyd this time couldn't add the extras.
Ten minutes later Cas were in again when a high kick to the corner was tapped back for Grant Millington to touchdown unmarked. Sneyd added the conversion this time.
On the half hour mark, A scrum on the twenty metre line saw a poor flick on from Hauraki picked up by Kirk Dixon who zigzagged his way through the defenders to touch down in the corner. Sneyd missed the kick again.
A good string of four passes saw Channing in for his second of the afternoon on the 34th minute. He scored right in the corner which meant Sneyd missed the conversion again. Normally he scores for fun but the heat must have been getting to him.
With 2 minutes to go until half time, a quick tap from Kirk Dixon on the 20 saw him pass the ball to Luke Dorn who broke free and ran 60m to score in the corner to put Castleford up 28-0 at half time.
Interestingly, all of Cas' tries had come from the right hand wing where Rovers' defence was very poor. Something had to change in the second half for Rovers'... and it did! Six minutes into the second half and a good sidestep from Travis Burns saw KR under the sticks, he then completed it by converting his own try.
It didn't last though as Cas sought to take control again. Josh Hodgson had possesion for the Robins on Cas' 40m mark when he knocked it backwards was hoisted up by Millington who passed it right to Weller Hauraki, to Jake Webster. Webster then offloaded backwards to Hauraki who ran around him who passed it onto the wing to Dixon. Dixon cut inside beating to KR defenders before giving a one handed pass to Jamie Ellis to cross over the whitewash. Sneyd managed the extras this time.
As 3/4 of the way through the match was approaching, Clarke broke free beating two Hull defenders before passing left to Dorn to beat Cockayne. Dorn celebrated his hat-trick by pointing to the crowd. Unfortunately a missile was thrown at him, luckily though it missed both him and the referee. Sneyd couldn't miss this time being directly between the sticks.
The Red-Red Robins were soon seeing red after Weyman allegedly abused Tim Roby who showed him the red card, however he was soon cleared of any wrong doing as he 'directed it at a team mate' instead.
Castleford took full advantage of the extra man and were in again within five minutes. A kick from Ellis towards the right wing was tapped back by Dixon to Webster who touched down. The ex-Robin then applauded the home crowd. Sneyd once again, mis-converting.
Daryl Clarke then wanted a piece of the action too. After ripping up the Hull KR defence on his own 40, he ran rings around the defenders before finally being tackled 10m away by Kris Welham. Castleford were lining up on the right but Adam Milner chose to go left and passed the ball to Craig Huby who crashed down underneath the posts. Sneyd managing to add the extras.
A long pass from Sneyd opened up KRs' left hand side for the first time as James Clare got round Ade Gardner with some neat footwork to touch down. Sneyd missed the target.
Hull KR had the final say in the match when an intercepted pass saw winger Wayne Ulugia score with Burns adding the extras.
Full Time came and it ended 54-12 to Cas, who ended with their newly adopted anthem of Neil Diamond's 'Sweet Caroline'.
Shaw Lane Aqua Force 2 Hallam 0
Tuesday 15th April 2014 - 19:45
Northern Counties East Division I
Referee: Mr. Wayne Cooper
Matchday Photos: Click Here
"Shaw Lane who?" was the answer I got when I told people where I was going tonight. Shaw Lane Aquaforce were originally formed in 1991 as an under 11s side. For the next decade and a half they expanded the amount of teams they had and became a part of the Shaw Lane Community Sports Association in 2004. Six years later they joined forces with Worsbrough Common to become Aqua Force Barnsley. They changed their name at the start of the 2012/13 season, a successful season in which they became champions of the Sheffield & Hallamshire County Senior Premier Division and were promoted to the Northern Counties East League Division I. The season so far has been a successful one. They currently lie third in the table with two games in hand on first and only six points behind. In their last game as well they beat Grimsby Borough 13-0 so I was expecting some goals. Shaw Lane Aquaforce now play at their Shaw Lane Ground which is about one mile away from Barnsley Station.
Hallam on the other hand were founded in 1860 and have been members of the NCEL since 1982. They are one of the oldest football clubs in the world, second only to Sheffield FC. They also have the oldest football ground in the world. The reverse fixture back at the start of November finished 4-0 in the favour of Shaw Lane so they were out for revenge.
After having a pre match meal at the KFC in York, I walked to the station where I bought my ticket. I had planned to go on the 1657 train to Leeds then onto Barnsley, however there was a train already waiting for us on Platform 3. We therefore took the 1626 train direct to Leeds.
Upon arriving in Leeds we had about 45 minutes to kill before we went on the 1737 train to Barnsley. After a stop at Wakefield Kirkgate, we got off at the next stop being Barnsley where the train continued its journey onto Sheffield.
Once out of the station, my friend Haydn and I went the wrong way before we realised and turned around using the map on his phone. To our surprise, at the first corner we heard a voice telling us to turn right. We wondered who it was and then realised it was the phone. Haydn had said that the voice had never worked previously and was amazed how it was suddenly working. It made our journey a lot easier, but we did look like prongs talking back to it.
We finally arrived at Aquaforce’s ground, Shaw Lane, after a 20 minute walk in the nice evening sunshine, something we don’t experience a lot in Britain. We walked up the drive, Barnsley Cricket Club’s pitch on our left and the Rugby Club’s social club on our right, we found the ground at the end of the sports complex.
I paid my £2 entry fee and £1.50 for a prog (to which I still owe 50p to Haydn for so I didn’t have to break, will do that later!) and entered the ground where I, as always at a new ground, take lots of photos. I wandered around the ground, twice, taking plenty of photos with a piss stop in the middle of it. I also trundled back to the ‘turnstile’ where I bought a club badge and started talking to the man taking in the money. He told me about the recent success of the club and how that if they do get promotion this season to the Premier Division, under their ambition chairman with a bit of dosh, they’d be looking to be going up again into the Norther Premier League Southern Division. Something which I don’t personally agree with as I believe success should take time, but I wish them all the best with. After walking back around I then took my place in the Main Stand with about forty minutes until kick off.
Shaw Lane Aquaforce are known as ‘The Ducks’ and are one of the few clubs to have a mascot at that level. Out from the clubhouse appeared their Donald Duck looking mascot who even posed for a photo which I took of him. He didn't really get the crowd going but it added something to the trip.
The Main Stand I’m guessing was a former terrace with a clubhouse at the back of it. Over time it appears that seats have been bolted on to the terrace meaning there was plenty of leg room and a roof has been added to the clubhouse roof to protect the seated spectators. I must admit that it was something that many other clubs in the division above would be jealous of.
At the opposite side of the ground were the changing rooms and the toilets. It was paved flat in front for spectators to stand and watch the game from behind the rail. Only half of this was open though as the other half was blocked off for players only.
To my left there was no stand. Instead there was a Braga-esque cliff to replace it, only on a much smaller scale. Only the ball boys were there.
Finally to my right was just a railing and a flat path behind the goal. The majority of people were in the main stand with us with the rest spread out sparsely across the ground.
The match kicked off at a fast pace. There were 4 chances in 4 minutes for Shaw Lane which gave the impression that it was going to be a one sided match. The fourth chance of that led to a goal. Aquaforce’s number 10, Shane Kelsey cut inside from the right wing to run across the 18 yard box where at the centre he unleashed an unstoppable shot into the left hand side of the goal. The 'keeper didn't even move a muscle.
Several more chances passed for Shaw Lane. They hit the bar twice, several headers went over from corners and several shots went flying over the crossbar. If they hadn't have been so wasteful or not been offside as many times, they might have had 4 or 5.
Hallam also had a few good opportunities to equalise but once again they wasted their opportunities.
One thing that had to be said about the first half was the goalkeepers' kicking game. A lot of goal kick were going straight out for an opposition throw in.
Half time came and it was 1-0. I had another walk around the ground to get some night photos before this time standing just to the left of the stand.
The second half kicked off and a lot of hoofball was being played. Most of the time was up in the air in the middle of the park. I would say that Shaw Lane were once again the team on top but this time only just. Several chances would be put across the 6 yard box only for nobody to be on the end of it.
In the 77th minute, Shaw Lane finally doubled their lead. A scramble in the box led to their number 10 once again scoring. This time he was around the penalty spot and he half volleyed it into the bottom left hand corner. The 'keeper once again didn't even flinch.
The game finished at 2-0 pushing Shaw Lane up to 2nd and Hallam 3rd bottom, but they can't get relegated. Even though it is a ground which I doubt I'll return to in the near future, I would recommend it to anyone.
Next Goal Wins
This is my blog from my football trips. Not all trips will be added but when I feel like writing a report, it'll be below.