I decided a trip back into the Sheffield and Hallamshire County Senior League Premier Diovision would be my Saturday afternoon football. A trip to Swinton to see the last years runners up, to progressive Wakefield, was planned. I had really enjoyed watching football at this level last season when I spent a balmy spring evening at North Gawber Colliery FC.
I delayed my journey to the last minute because of a morning commitment and arrived at the ground with 8 minutes in hand. There was however no sign of football, you can see Swinton’s pitch from the road. Surely they would be warming up by now I thought. I checked the Leagues Website which still listed a game but on checking Swinton’s twitter feed it told me that they had no game this weekend. The ground itself looks definitely worth a visit in the future. Some of the games listed took place so I didn’t beat my self up.
So sat in the car I was reminded of a phrase that is written in the front of our address/phone number/email address book, ‘Failure isn’t fatal but hesitation can be’. In researching this league I had noticed that nearby Denaby were at home to Sheffield Union in Division 1. So with Google maps engaged I didn’t hesitate and I was off to arrive 8 minutes after the start.
Denaby’s ground is next door to Denaby & Cadeby Miners Welfare Social Club and I walked through the entrance and didn’t have to pay or donate anything. There were a crowd of about 50 watching the game and what struck me was the mix of ages and sexes, infact one of the youngest attendance I have seen for sometime. It is set on the side of a hill with a newish brick built club house which had changing facilities an area for reception after the game and a food bar and tables. The food bar had all sorts of delights with one person eating a bacon sandwich and another waiting for a burger. There are two small stands on either side and a perimeter fence around the ground with a paved walk way. Siting in one stand I could see fields and wind turbines on the distant hills. The playing surface looked a lush green but there were some patches where the dry summer has taken its toll and a few undulations were evident.
Denaby were making use of the small slope from end to end and a steady breeze from behind their goal which gave an autumn feeling. Some fluffy grey clouds were fighting off some blue skies and the clouds became darker and more fierce as the game went on.
I have failed to find out anything about Sheffield Union only that they joined the League in 2019.
Denaby is a different matter, the current club being reformed in 2011 but football goes back locally to a team called Denaby Parish Church in 1895. Becoming Denaby United within a few years they competed at the highest non-league level for some time. They notably made it to the first round of the F.A. Cup on three occasions losing to then football league opposition in Southport, Carlisle United and Oldham Athletic. Their senior Non-league days were cut short in 2001 when the Miners Welfare told them they could no longer play at their Tickhill Square home from 2002. The current club was reformed in 2011 playing in the local Doncaster leagues and in 2015 moved on to their current league status, inexplicably at the Tickhill Square ground.
Denaby Main JFC (Adult) First 3 Sheffield Union FC 0
Saturday 23rd September kick off 15.00 pm. Tickhill Square Ground
Sheffield & Hallamshire County Senior League Division One
Denaby, red and black vertical striped shirts, black shorts – Sheffield Union, black and white vertical striped shirts and black shorts,
The first half was an end to end affair with both sides having chances and on 22 minutes a Union forward went down, what looked to me easily, in the box but the player who stepped up to take the penalty blasted the ball onto the cross bar and over. Sheffield Union looked the more composed side playing some good team football but it was Denaby who ended the first half on top. It may have been playing against the slope and the wind that seemed to tire the away team.
The second half was a different game with the home side taking control and going ahead after 9 minutes when a Sheffield defender made a mistake that gifted the ball to Pilling who lifted the ball over the goalkeeper into the net, With no time to settle Sheffield found themselves two down a minute later when Hancock received a through ball and he ran some way to slide the ball past the goalkeeper.
Main were out of sight after 23 minutes when a shot was parried by the keeper but Pilling swept in to head the ball home. It was all over at 3 nil and with a Union player sin binned they didn’t look like coming back. However they showed some good resilience and play in the final 20 minutes to show that they will do better as the season goes on.
Denaby are now top after just two games and look strong contenders for promotion. Their diminutive number 7 impressed either on the right or left supplying some effortless crosses from either feet.
The food was great and the chips were cooked separately for me, they were hot, golden, fluffy on the inside, tasty and with no greasy after taste. the portion was also smaller than some and did not over face me. A great score of 79.