It’s cold at Harworth but the football kept us warm.

Continuing my journey to some ex mining football clubs I ventured to Harworth Colliery F.C. in the northern corner of Nottinghamshire very close to the South Yorkshire border.

I recently attended a talk at Worksop Library about the history of Harworth Colliery and its interesting history by David Amos a Nottinghamshire mining historian. The pit had an chequered past having been developed by a German company in 1913 and at the outbreak of war caused a lot of local intrigue. Some locals were convinced that the owners were going to install surveillance and disruption on the A1 which is very close. The German sinkers were interned and the pit was nationalised during the war and sold to Eastwood based Barber Walker Co after it. They ran it until nationalisation and was latterly developed as a super pit which never lived up to its promise, being closed in 2006 when under the ownership of UK Coal. The football club was started in 1931 playing locally but rising to the prestigious Yorkshire League in 1946 where they stayed for 4 years before droping back into local South Yorkshire Football.

By the 1980’s they had progressed well to the Northern Counties East League but were relegated after a short while droping back to the Central Midlands League but were again promoted back into the NCEL in 2018 after 32 years. This uplift was only to last one year and they have stayed in the Central Midlands League since being proud to develop young talent in the Under 21’s, reserves and senior team.

What is noticeable is the development of the ground over recent years, situated off Scrooby Road along with other sports pitches and not far from the modern Bircotes Leisure Centre, the large tarmacked parking area is exceptional.

The land around here is very flat and on entering the ground this is continued with a lovely thick grass covered pitch. There are new LED floodlights, Toms tea rooms, a Shaft Side bar with outside fan zone, a small 50 seat covered stand on one side of the pitch mirrored by a similar standing area opposite. I’m sure the facilities go a long way in attracting the 118 hardy souls who were there to watch. You had to be hardy as the car temperature said 6 degrees but the biting strong wind blowing straight down the pitch cut you in quarters not half. This was despite the sunshine and clear blue skies.

I have written about Staveley Miners Welfare before having visited the ground more than once. They have been going for over 100 years.

Harworth Colliery FC 2 Staveley Miners Welfare Reserves 2

Saturday 14th January 2023. Kick off 15.00 pm

Central Midlands League North Division

5th v 7th, Colliery v Miners

Harworth Colliery orange shirts, black. shorts: Staveley blue and white vertical stripes shirts with blue square on the back, blue shirts.

Immediately it was noticeable that it was two young teams and both displayed some good skills in a well matched first 10 minutes despite the windy conditions. It was however the home side who scored first when with 13 minutes gone a Staveley defender turned in his penalty area and lost the ball to Bailey Lowe who made no mistake in finding the net.

Staveley did not lose heart and they drew level on 22 minutes when a ball was chiped over the top of the defence for Charlie Bingham to run on and score placing the ball across the goal keeper.

The pitch was drying with the wind and 1.1 at half time was a fair reflection of play.

8 minutes into the second half the Staveley substitute for the centre back, who had been injured through a tackle in the first half that had resulted in a booking, brought down a Harworth player, Mason Laws, in their penalty area. It seemed to me a soft penalty but it was dispatched easily by Bailey Lowe , sending the goalkeeper the wrong way.

Harworth were now on top but the visitors equalised on 65 minutes when the Harworth defence momentarily stopped appealing for a free kick. Staveley kept going and the ball was put through to Reece Clegg who fired it into the top of the net.

Staveley took the initiative for the rest of the game partly helped by a 10 minute sin binning of Harworth’s number 10 who appeared to argue with a linesman and the fact that he had been booked in the first half for kicking the ball away. Despite his return to play and some substitutes Harworth were on the back foot and the woodwork saved them in the last few minutes.

The end to end game had helped to fight off the biting wind along with the facilities that gave some shelter and the opportunity for warming food and drink. With players as young as 16 you have to say that there is luckily some great future talent coming along.

The chips were cooked for me and they were hot, crispy, tasty with no oily after taste. A good score of 68 would have been higher but sor a soggy inside.

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