This Saturday sees the second annual ‘Non-League Day’. The brainchild of QPR fan James Doe, Non-League Day was initially launched to encourage fans of Championship and Premier League to use the international break in their own club’s fixtures to get along and support their local grassroots sides instead. The initiative proved a huge success last year, and as we were then Viva Rovers is fully behind it’s second coming in 2011, which is why we bring you this guide to where to get your fill of non-league football this Saturday 3rd September.
Of course the majority of Rovers fans should be no strangers to the non-league game, having watched Doncaster toil in the Conference for five seasons less than a decade ago, but to aid your selection of where to spend your Saturday afternoon we’ve picked out five key fixtures from Doncaster and the surrounding area for your consideration. And if you’ve made plans Saturday, we’ve thrown in a Sunday afternoon match too at, literally, no-extra cost.
(Baris Northern Counties East League Division One)
The day’s big Doncastrian derby in the Northern Counties East League is the pick of the games on offer locally this Non League Day, and as such it is where Viva Rovers will be spending our Saturday afternoon. Admittedly there is something of a vested interest for me, given that my dad is assistant manager for Rossington Main, but even without family bias, I challenge you to try not to like a club who put out this sort of press release. Rossington’s current league form should hopefully guarantee goals for the neutral with the ball hitting the back of the net 40 times in Main’s opening eight competitive fixtures this season. And if the visitors can replicate the form they showed as I watched them sweep aside Eccleshill United 3-0 on Tuesday night, then Villa could have their work cut-out.
(Evo Stick Northern Premier League)
Staying in the north of the borough with the town’s highest ranked non-league club Frickley Athletic. The South Elmsall based side entertain Ashton United from across the Pennines in the Evo Stick Northern Premier League giving you the perfect opportunity to dust off your “Yooooorrrrrrrkshire” chants for the afternoon. Frickley have also been one of the most creative local sides when it comes to marketing their games and unsurprisingly they’ve got fully into the swing of Non-League Day offering free entry (yes, FREE) for this game to any Premier League or Football League season ticket holders. So if you do take advantage of this offer please repay their kindness by spending generously at the snack-bar.
(FA Cup Preliminary Round)
For those not wanting to stray too far from the centre of town, then Armthorpe Welfare of the Northern Counties East League Premier Division offer your best bet. The Welfare also offer you an early chance to take in ‘the magic of the Cup’ as they entertain Brigg Town in the Preliminary Round of the FA Cup. Lincolnshire side Brigg, of the Evo Stick Northern Premier League Division One South, will be the favourites for this tie so lend your support to the underdogs for the afternoon. And if that’s not enough of an incentive… Leo Fortune-West plays for Armthorpe.
(Baris Northern Counties East League Premier Divison)
One for our North Nottinghamshire based fans, and particular members of the Retford Branch of the Rovers Supporters Club. The Badgers, as Retford United are known, have made an unbeaten start to their League campaign, with only a last minute Tadcaster Albion equaliser on Monday preventing them from boasting a 100% record. After defeat in their opening game at Maltby Main, Bridlington Town have won three from three in the league to sit just a point behind Retford in the table, meaning those who choose to head to Cannon Park on Saturday could be in for a real top of the table thriller.
(FA Cup Preliminary Round)
One for those out in the east fringes of the borough this with The Vikings of Goole AFC welcoming Staveley MW to the Victoria Pleasure Grounds in the FA Cup. Goole are the higher ranked of the two sides, playing in the Evo Stick Northern Premier League Division One South and should be favourites to progress to the First Qualifying Round, but Staveley have made a perfect start to their season in the Northern Counties East League Premier and so will be confident of an upset. Whatever happens on the pitch, the opportunity to visit the somewhat Dickensian sounding Victoria Pleasure Grounds should surely encourage a few of you to head towards the Humber estuary.
Additional Saturday Fixtures
If your tastes are a little more earthy, and the five games above are considered a little too lofty for your palate then fear not, there are other options. Each of the town’s four representatives in the Windsor Foodservice Central Midlands League (Step 11 of the Football Pyramid) are not only all former Colliery sides, but they are also all playing at home in the Black Dragon Northern Division. The games are as follows, with links to the location of the home club.
Bentley Colliery vs Phoenix
Thorne Colliery vs FC 05 Bilsthorpe
Yorkshire Main vs Ollerton Town
Harworth Colliery Institute vs Ollerton Town
All matches listed above are 3pm kick-offs on Saturday 3rd September; the way football should be.
For more information on Non League Day and for a list of matches elsewhere in the country (for the exiles amongst you) visit the event website; www.nonleagueday.co.uk
Sunday Bonus Game: Doncaster Rovers Belles vs Birmingham City Ladies
OK, so not strictly a non-league game, but still an under-supported local club in action whilst the Premier League and Championship are off duty. The inaugural FA Women’s Super League may have finished, but the action continues with the post-season Continental Cup and a Quarter Final for the Belles which mirrors their last league fixture. Doncaster host league runners-up Birmingham City Ladies for the second time in eight days hoping to replicate the fight which saw the Belles snatch a 2-2 draw, having been 2-0 down with three minutes to play last weekend. The match is a 2pm kick-off, and if that pre-amble hasn’t grabbed you the admission price should… its FREE. Absolutely free! So get yourself down to the Keepmoat and Back the Belles!