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Thursday 1st. March 2018

Chris Ord - 02 March 2018

Again, the four upcoming matches we mentioned in the Report last week went ahead and these were all tremendous games.

            The match played in the Under 12 eighth division saw Marske United gain three valuable points away at Northallerton Juniors following a 3-1 win. Marske are now six points behind the current League leaders, Catterick Garrison, but have three matches in hand so they are now in prime position and they have to be considered Championship favourites at this stage. Northallerton Juniors remain in third place, but their hopes of gaining end of season silverware look a little bit forlorn now. The Northallerton goal was scored by Coby Stooke but Harry Brooks, Jake Brunskill and Rio Johnson all scored for an upwardly mobile Marske United.

            An absolute belter of a game over at Cleveland Juniors when their “Pumas” side entertained Saltburn Athletic “Dolphins” in a top of the table match in the Under 13 fourth division, with the game ending as a 4-4 draw. “As you were” at the top of this division, with the point probably more beneficial to Saltburn as it keeps them eight points clear of their opponents at the weekend. This was, however, the first League game that Saltburn had failed to win this season and massive credit must go to Cleveland Juniors for managing to do that. The Cleveland Juniors goals were scored by Joseph Davis, who found the target twice, with Harvey Chapman and Lewis Sadler also scoring and the goals for Saltburn Athletic were scored by Lewis Robinson who also managed to find the back of the net twice, with Neo Mitchell and Brad Warnes scoring their other two.

            The match in the Under 14 third division, which was highlighted as the match of the weekend turned out to be a really close fought encounter when Normanby United “Orange” welcomed Redcar Newmarket across to their venue, with the home side just edging the game by two goals to one. This win has moved Normanby level on points at the top of this division alongside Redcar Newmarket, with the Normanby side having two matches in hand. However, this division is quite some way from being finalised, with Barnard Castle and Wolsingham hot on the heels of these two sides and realistically any one of those fours teams could yet lift the Championship trophy in May. The Redcar Newmarket goal at the weekend scored by Lewis Carragher, but Aiden Nicol was on target for Normanby, with an unfortunate own goal from Redcar Newmarket giving them the win.

            Finally from last weekend, from the Under 15 top flight, the Stockton Town “Yellow” team were in fine form as they hosted Thornaby FC and secured all three points with a 4-1 win. Stockton maintained their second place position with these three excellent points and Thornaby remain in fifth place, but this has to be one of the most fiercely competitive divisions in the whole of the League and there is a long way to go before anything is finalised here. Indeed Thornaby can go level on points with Stockton Town if they win their two games in hand, but this is one of those very close divisions where just about any result is possible, no matter which teams are competing each week. The Thornaby goal last Sunday was scored by Lewis Caswell, with Jake Picken scoring twice for Stockton Town “Yellow” and Gareth Basham and James Webb finding the target with a goal apiece.

            So, a huge amount of games played last week and probably a lot more than this coming weekend which, if the current weather is anything to go by, could see very few matches taking place.

           Well, we do have some really important Cup ties this coming weekend, in terms of catching up to where we should be with the Cup Competitions, but it certainly doesn’t look too clever out there at the moment. Nevertheless, in the hopes of a miracle or two we’ll select a few matches which, if the weather happens to relent and we get a green light, could be ones to watch out for.

            One of the matches I must mention takes place in the Challenge Cup Competition at Under 12 level where, in a quarter final tie, Teesside Rangers play hosts to Shildon AFC “White”. Great to see two sides from lower division contest this Cup tie in the hope of reaching a semi-final and whilst Shildon play their League games out of a division above Teesside Rangers, this Teesside Rangers club had a great season in the Cup Competitions last year and are looking to carry on in that rich vein of form. Shildon, who are currently sitting in third place in the third division, will probably start as favourites but I think this could be a really close end result on Sunday, weather permitting of course, and this intriguing Cup tie should be kicking off around 10:30am.

            Onto a few of the League matches now where we have a great local derby taking place in the Under 12 top flight, as Whinney Banks YCC welcome Marton FC “White” the short distance across to their venue at Sandy Flatts.Whinney Banks are currently in third place, but only two points behind their visiting local rivals who are top and this match could be a really tasty encounter. The incredible Marton defence, which has conceded only four goals in their ten matches so far, against a Whinney Banks YCC attack-minded outfit who have scored no fewer than 55 goals already in their ten games. Possibly one of the best games of the season in store in this division, which has a scheduled kick-off time of 11:00am.

            Leven AFC play hosts to Richmond Town in the Under 13 third division on Sunday with Richmond top and a single point ahead of their visitors. Leven have played two matches more than Richmond and with Darlington TSC breathing down their necks in third place they will know that this really is a must win match if they want to pick up any silverware around the end of May. Richmond will be short-priced favourites to win this match and that may be reflected in the final result, but you can be certain Leven will not make this an easy three points for their visitors at the weekend. This match should also be kicking-off around 11:00am.

            Finally for this coming weekend, from the Under 16 fourth division and the fixture which has to be selected as my number one choice sees Hartlepool Pools Youth travel down to Great Ayton for a real top of the table clash. Level on points, but with Hartlepool having two matches in hand, means Great Ayton really have to gain the three points from this match. The Great Ayton attack has been in sparkling form this season though and they have already amassed 72 goals from their fifteen League matches. Pools Youth have lost only once this season and have also scored seventy goals themselves and certainly appear to have the more robust defence. This may be quite a high scoring affair, but it’s sure to be close and hard fought and could be a great advert for the junior game at this level. This final highlighted match is also scheduled to get underway around 1:30pm.

            So, horrendous conditions at the moment may mean we have very little, if anything, to report back on next week and it’s likely that the Divisional Co-ordinators are kept really busy with the rearrangements necessary for their particular age groups from this coming weekends postponements. Fingers crossed for a bit of a thaw and better weather in time to get some of those games played.

Thursday 22nd. February 2018

Chris Ord - 23 February 2018

Well, all four matches highlighted in last weeks Report went ahead so plenty to look back on and a couple of very close end results in those matches.

            We’ll start with the game played in the Under 12 sixth division when Greatham FC “Red” travelled across to Richmond Town to play their “Blue” side in what was highly likely to be a close run affair. This was absolutely right, as a single goal scored by Isaac Hill for Greatham was all that separated the two sides at the end. In a really close division, in terms of the race for the Championship, this result has put Greatham just one point behind Richmond now, with both sides having played the same number of matches. Wolsingham and Hartlepool Pools Youth, who lie in third and fourth places respectively, are only two points behind the current League leaders, so a really exciting climax in store in this division.

            In the Under 13 seventh division Catterick Garrison faced possibly one of their toughest matches of the season as they travelled across to Brompton Juniors who were in third place, but Catterick were much the better of the two sides and they kept their enviable 100% winning record intact with a comprehensive 6-1 win. Brompton remain in third place, but Catterick have opened up a gap at the top and even with another five or six matches to play they look nailed on for the Championship now, with the other sides in this division realistically scrapping over the runners-up position. The Brompton goal at the weekend was scored by Raidon Smithson-Hogg, but the leading goalscorer in this division, Taylor Thackray, was again in top form and he managed to hit the target another four times for Catterick. The other two Catterick goals were scored by Harvey Bradley and Daniel Langford.

            Bishop Auckland “Aces” travelled across to the east coast to play Seaton Carew “Tigers” in the Under 14 second division and produced a really fine display to come away with all three valuable points following a 4-1 win. Seaton Carew have possibly lost their chance to gain silverware following this defeat, but overall they have had a fine season and things can still go their way as they do have matches in hand, but Bishop Auckland go marching on and it now looks as though this Championship will be a two horse race between themselves and Eaglescliffe Elementis “Blue” who are joint top. The Seaton Carew goal at the weekend was scored by Ben McMorris, but Kai Dobson struck twice for Bishop Auckland, with Ruaidhri Heath and Callum Watkinson also finding the back of the net.

            My selection last week as the match of the weekend certainly didn’t disappoint as, in the Under 16 second division, top of the table Bishop Auckland “Kings” also travelled across to the Hartlepool area to play second placed Greatham FC “White”. In a match which could easily have gone either way the points were shared at the final whistle following a really exciting encounter which finished with a 3-3 scoreline. With sufficient matches in hand Stokesley, who lie third, can now go top but they have to win all five matches to do that and in a very competitive division that won’t be at all easy. Bishop Auckland preserved their unbeaten record with this draw and their goals last Sunday were scored by Jack Jones, Curtis Curl and Charlie Malcolm, with Joey Jackson, Jack Sullivan and Ben Weighill all on target for Greatham “White”. 

 

            So, many more games played last week and more teams edging towards Championships or Runners-up silverware as we move into the last 10/11 weeks of the League season.

            Another boatload of matches to cast our eye over this coming weekend, with many of them considered really high profile. We’ll give a quick mention to a handful of them here.

            We’ll start in the Under 12 eighth division which sees second placed Marske United travel down to Northallerton Juniors who currently occupy third place. Marske have three matches in hand over top of the table Catterick Garrison but are only six points behind, so they will want at least a point from this match to keep the pressure up on the current League leaders. Marske will start favourites, boasting a defence which has conceded only seven goals in their twelve League matches to date, but Northallerton have proved capable in finding the back of the net having scored 65 goals already this season and this will be no walk in the park for Marske. This good-looking fixture should be getting underway around 11:00am.

            Saltburn Athletic “Dolphins” are enjoying a fabulous season in the Under 13 fourth division and have won every one of their ten matches played in the League at this stage. This weekend sees them make the relatively short journey across to Middlesbrough to face perhaps their biggest challengers for the title, as they meet up with second placed Cleveland Juniors “Pumas”. Cleveland themselves will have ambitions to lift some silverware this season and they will not make this easy for their visitors. On match based figures it would be expected that Marske will bring home the three points from this game but you can be certain Cleveland will make them work extremely hard and the end result could be much closer than many people imagine. This match should also be kicking-off around 11:00am.

            We now move onto my selection as the match of the weekend which comes from the Under 14 third division and is being played over in Normanby, when the Normanby United “Orange” team play hosts to Redcar Newmarket. Normanby currently sit in second place, three points behind their visitors, but Normanby have two matches in hand and a win in this match would make them warm favourites to go on and win the outright title. Redcar Newmarket themselves are having a fabulous season though and they sit top, boasting the best attacking figures in this division having scored 65 goals in their 14 matches so far. With third placed Barnard Castle and fourth placed Wolsingham FC having seemingly easier games this coming weekend both Normanby and Redcar will know just how important the points are from this particular match. Certainly not one to miss if you are in that area this Sunday, this cracking match is scheduled to kick off around 1:30pm.

            Finally for this coming weekend, a fixture which was close to being selected as my top match sees Thornaby FC make the really short journey across to Stockton to play Stockton Town “Yellow” in the Under 15 first division. This particular division was always going to one of the closest and hard fought from all of the divisions we look after and this has certainly been the case this season. No fewer than six teams will all consider they have a chance to pick up some coveted silverware in May and these two sides are most definitely amongst the favourites. Stockton currently sit in second place, but they are only three points in front of Thornaby who have two games in hand and these are two quite attack-minded sides who should put on a terrific display for any spectators on Sunday. A really close end result is likely and this particular match will also kick-off at 1:30pm.

            So, more great action in store this weekend as a number of teams continue to look for those valuable three points in an attempt to gain some form of silverware in a few months time.

Thursday 15th. February 2018

Chris Ord - 16 February 2018

Apologies for the lack of the weekly Report last Thursday, but this was entirely due to workload issues.

            Alongside all of the League games, one League Cup match was played last weekend, this at Under 14 level, which saw a very accomplished first division side in the shape of Guisborough Town take on an extremely solid second division Bishop Auckland St. Mary’s “Aces”. It was Guisborough who find themselves in the hat for that live semi-final draw in a couple of weeks time following a 6-0 win. Bishop Auckland are having a great season in the League though and it would be no surprise to see them gain divisional honours at the end of this playing season. No doubt Guisborough will be looking forward to hearing who their opponents are now though, as goals from Ciaran Darby, who netted a fine hat-trick, Colby Agnama, Sam Innes and Kai Wright secured their place in one of those two semi-finals.

            Whinney Banks Under 12 go marching on and remain top of the Under 12 first division following a fine 4-1 over Boro’ Rangers “White”. This was only the third defeat of the season for Boro’ Rangers and they are still remain with an outside chance of honours themselves, but this was a great result for Whinney Banks who, although they still have other teams snapping at their ankles in the chase for League honours, can do no more than win the games in front of them. The Boro’ Rangers “White” goal was scored by James Sayer, but Reece Lowthian, Callum Mallia, Jake Williams-Muthana and Finlay Wray all found the target for the home side to keep them firmly on course for end of season trophies. Also, it’s pleasing to mention that the Match Official, Paul Stalker, received maximum marks from both sets of team officials on the day, so well done to Paul.

            In the Under 12 eighth division Catterick Garrison continue to force the pace at the top after winning against third placed Northallerton Juniors by four goals to nil. They do, however, have Marske United to contend with and if second placed Marske win the games they have in hand they can go top. Still some way to go in this division and Northallerton themselves are not out of the chase for honours just yet. The Catterick goals at the weekend were scored by James Wiseman, who found the target twice, with further strikes by Tyler Baker and Dylan Greaves.

            A sensational final scoreline in the Under 15 top flight as the joint top sides, in the shape of Boro’ Rangers Boys and South Park Rangers “Red”, went head to head with the match ending with a win for Boro’ Rangers by seven goals to six. Boro’ Rangers have now extended their lead at the top to three points, but there are a number of sides in the chasing pack who are certain to make this particular divisional Championship one of the hardest to secure. The goals for South Park Rangers “Red” were scored by Thomas Gregory, who netted twice, with Spencer Bache, Justas Kairevicius, Bradley Stephenson and Ben Walton all hitting the target. The goals for Boro’ Rangers were scored by Ellis Creighton, who scored a great hat-trick, Samuel Conway managed to score twice and Brandon Mallaburn and Max Taylor were also on the scoresheet.

            Finally, the match between Stokesley FC and Greatham FC “White” in the Under 16 second division always looked as though it would be close and the final result of 1-1 proved exactly that. Jake Ward was on target for Stokesley, with Ben Weighill scoring for Greatham and this is yet another division which still has some way to go in terms of knowing who will secure end of season awards. Greatham remain in second place one point behind the current leaders Bishop Auckland “Kings” having played the same number of games, but Stokesley are in third place and have sufficient matches in hand to go joint top if they will them all. A really exciting run-in to the end of the season looks on the cards.

            So, we had more games played than originally anticipated, bearing in mind the poor weather conditions during the week and hopefully we will remain on course to end the League playing season on the first weekend in May. 

            We’ll start our look ahead in the Under 12 sixth division where top of the table Richmond Town “Blue” play hosts to second placed Greatham FC “Red”. Four points the difference between these two sides and Greatham will not want that gap to open up any further. Very similar scoring records indicate a really hard-fought match could be on the cards, with perhaps very little to separate the two teams at the final whistle, and this fixture was really close to gaining my selection as the match of the weekend. This fabulous game should be getting underway around 11:00am.

            My second selection comes from the Under 13 seventh division, as another top side, this time in the shape of third placed Brompton Juniors try and burst the bubble of the League leaders Catterick Garrison who have won all eleven League matches they have played so far. Excellent in attack, where they have scored well in excess of 100 League goals, Catterick are also more than useful defensively and have conceded only 9 League goals thus far. This might be one of their more difficult fixtures, but no-one can bet against this Catterick side this season and they currently hold a really healthy eight point lead at the top and also have a game in hand. Whilst Brompton will not just roll over, a win for Catterick in this one would give them an almost unassailable lead at the top. This match should also be kicking-off around 1:30pm.

            My penultimate selection as a top match to watch out for this weekend is being played across at Seaton Carew as their “Lions” side play hosts to Bishop Auckland “Aces” in the Under 14 second division. Nine points behind their visitors, but with two matches in hand, Seaton Carew will be desperate for all three points in this game and likewise Bishop Auckland, also in with a major chance of League honours themselves will be wanting at least point themselves. Similar defensive qualities in terms of goals conceded Bishop Auckland have the slightly better attack and this could prove decisive in this game. A cracking match in prospect which has a scheduled kick-off time of 1:30pm.

            Finally for this coming weekend, a fixture which just had to be given my selection as the match of the weekend is on the schedule, as this time the “Kings” team from Bishop Auckland also make the journey across to the Hartlepool area, for a match in the Under 16 second division where they will face an outstanding Greatham FC “White” outfit. Bishop Auckland are just one point in front of their opponents and are unbeaten in the League at this stage, but Greatham have lost just the one game themselves and will be going all out to secure the vital three points in this game. A no quarter asked or indeed given fixture is on the cards and this may well be one of the best games of the season in this particular division. With Stokesley waiting in the wings in third place, with matches in hand over these top two sides they, along with many others, will be keen to find out the final result from this one. This particular match will also kick-off at 1:30pm.

            So, hopefully with the weather set fair, if a little on the cold side, we should see many more League games being finalised this coming weekend and some of the fixtures should be terrific spectacles for the masses of junior football supporters across the area.

Thursday 1st. February 2018

Chris Ord - 02 February 2018

A much improved weekend in terms of matches being played than the previous week and all matches highlighted in the report from last week went ahead, although a couple of them produced 0-0 scorelines.

            That’s exactly where we start this report as, in the Under 12 fourth division both sides drew a blank, when Greatham FC “Blue” entertained TIBS FC and the game ended 0-0. This is developing into a really tight division where only three points covers the top five sides and there’s sure to be some great games remaining involving those top teams. The point gained from this match for both Greatham and TIBS keeps them in first and second positions respectively, but the pack are closing in behind and some real excitement is in store as the season progresses.

            Another really close and hard fought game took place in the Under 12 age group, but this time in the eighth division, as Marske United made the lengthy trip down to Catterick Garrison where they lost their first game of the season by the narrowest of margins going down 2-1. This was the first loss of points for Marske United who had won all ten League games prior, but the win for Catterick has now moved them level on points at the top, albeit Marske United do have a game in hand. The goal for Marske was scored by Harry Brooks, but Jackson Whiteley and James Wiseman both found the target for Catterick to make this yet another division where the top four sides are all in with a shout for League honours.

            In that same division another side to lose their 100% winning record were East Middlesbrough who hosted a strong and attack-minded Northallerton Juniors outfit, with Northallerton gaining the vital three points following a 2-0 win. Northallerton are now only three points off the top two sides in this division, where East Middlesbrough, even allowing for this defeat, are only nine points behind but they have a number of matches in hand over those three sides above them. The Northallerton goals at the weekend were both scored by Lewis Pearson.

            Redcar Newmarket are having an excellent season in the Under 14 third division and they produced a blistering performance at the weekend to beat another of the top sides in this division, Barnard Castle, by five goals to one. Selected as my match of the weekend in last weeks report, I must admit that I thought the end result would have been much closer, as Barnard Castle had lost just the one game out of their previous nine prior to this. In fairness the Barnard Castle side, who have now slipped to third, are not out of the chase for honours in a division where the top four or five sides are all very closely matched, but Redcar Newmarket are setting the pace at the top. The Barnard Castle goal was scored by Joe Lee-Shield, but a brilliant hat-trick by Lewis Carragher, with strikes from Dan Davison and Kian Hood enough to secure a tremendous win and those vital three points for Redcar Newmarket.

            Finally, from the highlighted matches last week another really close game which ended 0-0 took place in the Under 17 second division, as neither Seaton Carew nor Redcar Athletic could find a way through the well-drilled opposition defences. In truth this was a very good point secured by Seaton Carew, as they were up against a Redcar Athletic side who had won all of their previous six League matches and although Redcar remain top of the table their lead has been reduced to four points and there are still a number of matches left to play before they can guarantee any sort of silverware this season.

            So, really pleasing that we can report back on some action from last weekend and we certainly need everything in our favour for this coming weekend, when we have a large number of Cup games to get through which will enable us to carry out those live semi-final draws on BBC Tees towards the end of February.

            Where better to start our look ahead then than to one of the quarter finals in the TJFA League Cup Competition when, in the Under 14 age group, two first division sides go head to head when Boro’ Rangers “Boys” play hosts to Stockton Town “Yellow”. With Boro’ Rangers top of this division and Stockton Town currently in fourth place most people would make the Boro’ Rangers side firm favourites, but results over the last couple of weeks haven’t really gone their way and Stockton Town could just turn in a display which ends up with the match producing a very close end result. A cracking Cup tie in prospect which should be kicking off around 1:30pm.

            The top quarter final match in the Challenge Cup could be the one being played in our oldest age group at Under 17 level, as Darlington RA welcome Seaton Carew across to their venue. Darlington RA are a first division outfit, but they are playing a team who produced a great performance last weekend in holding the League leaders in the second division to a goalless draw and another bold display is likely from the Seaton team. Really hard to guess the outcome of this particular game and it could be one of those that requires extra time and indeed that dreaded penalty shoot-out to decide the winners. A cracking no quarter asked or given match on the cards which should also kick-off around 1:30pm.

            The League programme again throws up some really mouth-watering matches, perhaps none more-so than the game taking place in the Under 16 first division which has been given the selection as the match of the weekend. TIBS FC make the journey up to Bishop Auckland to play the St. Mary’s “Aces” side. TIBS are in second place but only two points ahead of their hosts and St. Mary’s have a game in hand. With other teams very much on their coat tails in terms of gaining divisional honours this is a match both sides will be going all out to win and it should be a brilliant match to watch as a neutral supporter if you happen to be in that area on Sunday. Another game which has a 1:30pm kick off.

            Normanby United “Orange” are having an excellent season in the Under 14 third division and they welcome another side to be enjoying their own particular season in the shape of Wolsingham FC. Normanby are five points behind Redcar Newmarket who head this division, but Normanby have a couple of games in hand. Likewise, although Wolsingham currently sit in fourth place, they have enough games in hand to go top if they win them all. This was close to being my selection as the match of the weekend as much is at stake and the end result could be really close as the final whistle sounds. This game is also scheduled to kick-off around 1:30pm.

            The Wolsingham Under 12 team are also on their travels this week as they head over to the east coast to take on Hartlepool Pools Youth in the sixth division. Pools Youth are top of this division, but are just to say hanging on to that position as teams below them, including Wolsingham, all have enough games in hand to catch them should they win them all. Similar scoring figures for both of these two opposing sides this weekend and this may be one of those very exciting end to end matches where an odd goal in what could be a high-scoring game may just be enough to secure the three valuable points. This match will kick off around 11:00am.

            Finally for this coming weekend, from the Under 15 fifth division, a very rare local derby in the Whitby area, as Fishburn Park welcome Whitby Fishermens the short distance across to their venue for what looks like a cracking match on paper. Both sides score plenty of goals, with Fishburn currently lying in fourth place having scored 50 goals in their twelve matches to date, but Whitby have knocked in 74 in their thirteen matches. These players will all be trying to gain the bragging rights next week as they head back to school and a superb game is in store between two very accomplished sides. This match will kick-off at 1:30pm.

            So, hopefully we will move a step closer to knowing many more of the semi-finalists are after this weekend and we also have some top League matches to look forward to as well.

Thursday 25th. January 2018

Chris Ord - 26 January 2018

Well, the weather took its toll last weekend and apart from nine Development matches which were mainly played on artificial surfaces there is nothing to report back on from last week. As most people are aware we are not permitted by The FA to disclose results, nor goalscorers, from games classified as Development.

            However, we are pleased to report that in no less than six of those nine Development matches the Referees gained maximum marks from both sets of team officials, so we’ll give them a quick mention here:

            Jake Jamieson who looked after the Leven Athletic v Stockton Town “Blue” game in the Under 7 Durham “Red” Division.

            Lewis Hardy who took charge of the game over at Hartlepool FC where they were entertaining Seaton Carew in the Under 8 Durham top flight.

            Ryan Kirby also attained maximum marks over at Wynyard Village who were hosting Darlington FC “Quakers”, also in the Under 8 first division.

            Daniel Brown received top marks in the game he took charge of between Leven “White” and Shildon AFC in the Under 9 Durham fourth division.

            Matthew Iceton was another of the six youngsters who received 100 out of 100 from both teams in the game between Leven AFC and Stockton Town “Blue” in the Under 10 Durham first division.

            Last, but certainly not least, Lucy Jamieson also received top marks from both teams in her game across at Leven where their “White” team were entertaining the “White” team from Greatham FC in the Under 10 Durham fourth division.

            Bearing in mind that most of these officials are really young themselves, it is good news that we have so many talented Match Officials coming through the ranks, so a huge well done to all of them.           

            We now move on to some of the upcoming games at the weekend and, with the weather improving all of the time now, we would hope to have much more action to report back on next Thursday.

            We start with a great looking match in the Under 12 fourth division between two sides looking for promotion, as the “Blue” side from Greatham FC play hosts to TIBS FC. Having played the same number of matches, Greatham are top of the table at the moment a single point ahead of their weekend opponents and this has all the makings of being one of the best games of the season in this division. With a number other useful sides queuing up behind them in the table, both sides will be desperate to gain the three points from this match, but I can see the spoils being shared at the final whistle. A really close game is anticipated and the kick-off will be around 11:00am.

            Also at Under 12 level, but this time from the eighth division there are two matches which have the top four sides all playing each other. Second placed Catterick Garrison play hosts to top of the table and 100% winning Marske United with the visitors having a tremendous season so far. Marske have won all ten matches at this stage, and have scored 60 goals against only 5 to be three points clear with a game in hand at this stage. Catterick will know that defeat is not an option in this massive fixture and will make it as difficult as possible for their opponents this weekend. Also useful in front of goal Catterick have already scored 70 goals from their opening eleven matches and the end result could be closer than many imagine come the final whistle, although Marske have to start as warm favourites. Hoping to prosper from any loss of points in that particular game, third placed Northallerton Juniors make the journey up to play fourth placed East Middlesbrough with the East Middlesbrough side having won all seven of their opening matches. The exceptional defence of East Middlesbrough may be tested in this game as Northallerton are also very adept in attack, where they have scored 60 goals themselves in their first eleven games. However, East Middlesbrough are an extremely useful team and will start this match as firm favourites. Both of these top Under 12 division eight matches are also due to kick off around 11:00am.

            My selection as the match of the weekend though comes from the Under 14 third division when Barnard Castle make the quite lengthy journey across to East Cleveland to play Redcar Newmarket. Redcar Newmarket are two points ahead of second placed Barnard Castle, but the visitors have two matches in hand. This should be an absolutely brilliant game on Sunday and one not to miss if you are in that area. The excellent defence of Barnard Castle will have to be at it’s very best to prevent the marauding forwards of Redcar Newmarket, who have already scored 51 goals in their eleven games to date and this is a game which really could go either way. The kick off for this match is scheduled for 1:30pm.

            Finally for the forthcoming weekend, from the oldest age group in the second division of the combination Under 17 age group, Seaton Carew welcome Redcar Athletic across to the Hartlepool area for a no quarter asked or given match, scheduled to kick off at 1:30pm. We have another 100% winning side in the shape of Redcar Athletic who have won all six League matches so far and they sit proudly at the top of this division with a clear six point advantage. Seaton Carew have aspirations of their own, in terms of gaining some League honours this season though and are sure to make this a real test for their high-flying visitors. Redcar are certain to start as firm favourites, but Seaton Carew are more than useful on their day and the end result could be much closer than many imagine.

            So, we should have lots more to offer next week, in terms of matches played, that’s if the current weather conditions remain favourable and we’ll report back on some of these tremendous fixtures next Thursday.

Thursday 18th. January 2018

Chris Ord - 19 January 2018

A much improved weekend of weather allowing the majority of scheduled matches to be played.           

            The match we highlighted as a massive Club derby in the Under 12 top flight was always going to be close and this was the case as Marton FC “White” drew 0-0 with their “Marton “Blue” side at the weekend. Not surprising either that the end result produced a 0-0 scoreline, bearing in mind that the “White” team have conceded only one goal in their seven matches and the “Blue” team only four in their six games. Both Whinney Banks YCC and Newton Aycliffe Juniors have now moved into the top two positions in this division, but each of the Marton sides have games in hand which, if they win those will move them back into the top two places.

            In the Under 13 second division Golden Flatts “Green” proved a bit too strong for Redcar Athletic “Red” who were their hosts at the weekend, with Golden Flatts eventually winning by a relatively comfortable margin of five goals to one. In fairness this always looked a tough game for Redcar as Golden Flatts head this division and have now won all eight League matches to put them in a commanding position at the top where they are clear by six points from their nearest rivals. The Redcar Athletic goal was scored by Charlie Bonas, with Alex Bell netting twice for Golden Flatts and Bradley Foster, James Hogan and Sol Sullivan also finding the target.

            The match in the Under 14 second division, highlighted last week as the game of the week, certainly didn’t disappoint as Eaglescliffe Elementis “Blue” made the journey up to Bishop Auckland to play the “Aces” side. This was indeed a brilliant game and a great advert for the League where, in a match which could have gone either way, a wonder goal ten minutes before the end from Kai Dobson was enough to secure a vital win for the Bishop Auckland side. Eaglescliffe had earlier hit the post and had a shot cleared off the line, but it was that fabulous strike by Kai Dobson which separated these two very accomplished sides at the final whistle. By gaining these three points Bishop Auckland have now opened up a four point gap at the top but Elementis, who remain in second place, have a game in hand and this close fought division in terms of end of season awards is a long way from being finalised just yet.

            A real set-back for Bedale Juniors in the Under 15 second division, as relegation threatened Thirsk Falcons travelled the short distance across and inflicted only the second defeat of the season on them, eventually winning by two goals to one. Bedale were top of this division until the weekend, but Billingham Synthonia have now gone top after they won 3-2 in another really close and hard fought match across at Stockton Town “Blue”. This was though a tremendous result for Thirsk Falcons, who were winning for only the second time in the League this season and they’ve now moved from second bottom to fourth bottom, with other results affecting teams around them also going their way. The Bedale goal was scored by Rory Franks, but Jake Pavey struck twice for the visiting Thirsk side to send their supporters home in great spirits. Pleasing to report that the Match Official, Peter Hazleton gained maximum marks from both sets of team officials, so congratulations to Peter.

            For our final look back at the weekend, the 21st. Allstars Under 16 side from Darlington are having a wonderful season in the third division and what looked like a bit of a tricky match across at third placed Yarm Juniors proved to be a bit of a stroll in the park for them as they came away with the three points following a resounding 9-1 win. In fairness Yarm played the match with only ten players, but it’s nine League wins out of nine now for the Allstars and they look nailed on to become divisional Champions when the season ends in early May. Yarm remain in third place, but will have to keep their earlier season rich vein of form going, and attempt to get eleven fit players onto the pitch each week, if they want to gain some divisional honours this time around. The Yarm goal at the weekend was scored by Alfie Bartley, but Stevie Johnson was in fine form once again for Allstars and he netted five of his team’s goals, with Reece Barnden, Jamie Catterick, Jake Marsh and Elliot Shaw all weighing in with a goal apiece. Nice again to mention maximum marks awarded from both teams for the Match Official in this one, as Dave Roberts had a great game in terms of refereeing, so congratulations to him also.

            So, a much better weekend in terms of the number of matches we managed to play, but still a long way to go in all of the 72 divisions before the vast majority of teams gaining League honours will be known.

            Well, the weather could again play havoc with this weeks fixtures, but we’ll have everything crossed that we don’t have too many games to rearrange due to postponements again.           

            We start with a huge local derby match across in the Hartlepool area as, in the Under 12 fourth division, Greatham FC “Blue” welcome Hartlepool FC the short distance across to their venue for an 11:00 o’clock kick-off. Greatham are currently top of this division, but Hartlepool FC are third and only four points behind with a game in hand. Neither set of players will want to be on the wrong end of the bragging rights at school next week, so this should be a tremendous fixture to watch if you are in that particular area at the weekend.

            Also in the Under 12 age group, but this time from the eighth division, a fixture between two of the top sides as East Middlesbrough make the lengthy journey down to play Catterick Garrison. Catterick have won seven of their nine League matches to this point and have scored no fewer than 70 goals in the process, but they are up against a side who have won all seven League matches they have played so far and they’ve conceded only five goals. With such a great record it’s hard to oppose East Middlesbrough, but the goal-power of Catterick should make this an enthralling match, with this top class fixture also kicking-off around 11:00am.

            The top two sides go head to head in the Under 13 top flight in a match which almost received my billing as the match of the weekend, as Boro’ Rangers “Boys” are scheduled to play hosts to Stockton Town “Yellow”. Stockton are top of the table, but only by a point from Boro’ Rangers who have won every one of their five League matches so far and they also have two games in hand over their opponents. Stockton will know just how important this match is and will go all out for the three points, but they are up against a top class team, with a truly magnificent defence, which has shipped only one goal so far. Boro’ Rangers slight favourites on paper, but this could be a tremendous advert for the junior game which should also be kicking-off around 11:00am.                                                         

            So, we move onto my selection as the match of the weekend which has to be the game in the Under 15 fifth division when Whitby Fishermens travel across to Northallerton Juniors. Joint top of this division, with Whitby having slightly the better goal difference, these are two of the most attack-minded sides in the whole of the League, with both teams each having scored in excess of seventy goals already, and an enthralling game which could be end to end is envisaged. Both sides will be going all-out to gain the three points here, but Northallerton will also be attempting to maintain their 100% winning record this season which has seen them take maximum points from their eleven matches in the League so far. Whitby have lost just the once themselves at this stage and a real treat should be in store for spectators this weekend who will be looking forward to a mouth-watering game which will be kicking off around 1:30pm.

            Finally for this coming weekend, we take a look at another Under 15 match being played in the third division as, in yet another Hartlepool based local derby, Golden Flatts travel the short distance across to play Hartlepool Pools Youth, with this final highlighted game also having a scheduled kick-off time of 1:30pm. Pools Youth are currently top and have slightly the better scoring record than Golden Flatts who are in second place, five points behind their hosts but with a game in hand. A no quarter asked or given game is likely which may again determine the bragging rights across in Hartlepool, but I think this match has all the makings of ending up all-square at the final whistle. We’ll just have to wait and see.

            So, fingers crossed again that we don’t get too much disruption from the weather and, all being well, we’ll report back on some of the action next week.

Thursday 11th. January 2018

Chris Ord - 12 January 2018

The weather continued to cause one or two problems as we started out again in 2018. However, there were a number of games played, in both our Cup Competitions and in the League, which produced exciting spectacles and close end results.           

            We’ll start with a massive League Cup quarter final match played at Under 15 level between Thornaby FC and Boro’ Rangers “Boys”. Two very good first division sides on display here with Thornaby coming out on top at the final whistle by two goals to nil. This was the first loss of the season in any competition for Boro’ Boys, but in fairness Thornaby are a more than useful side in their own right and goals from Connor Hudson and Louie Middlemiss means they will now be in the hat for the semi final draw later this year.

            Depending on how that live League Cup draw works out Boro’ Rangers may meet up with 21st. Allstars “A” in the semi-final stages as, in another close fought quarter final tie at Under 15 level the Allstars team managed to secure their place following a 1-0 win against TIBS “Blue”. Two more first division sides on display here and the single strike by Josh Barker was enough to see the Darlington based side through.

            In the Under 16 Challenge Cup, also at the quarter final stage, Middleton Rangers were another side to win by just a single goal to gain passage into the semi-final draw, but this was a spirited performance from a Thirsk side who play their football out of the second division which is one below their hosts. The only goal of this particular game was scored by Alex Littlefair for Middleton Rangers.

            Into the League matches now and, in the Under 12 third division, we had a five goal thriller played across in Guisborough where the Guisborough team only just managed to hold onto their 100% winning record against a plucky Stockton West End side, eventually winning by three goals to two. Take nothing away from Stockton West End for a great effort in this match, but these three points have put Guisborough top of the table, level on points with Great Ayton, with Guisborough having a vital game in hand. Pleasing to report that the Match Official in this game, Andy Gatenby, received top marks from both sets of team officials, so well done to Andy. The goals last Sunday were scored by Jack Green, Charlie Stirland and Liam Woods-Ruddock for Guisborough, with Freddie Waites scoring both goals for Stockton West End.

            Also at Under 12 level, where there were a number of League matches which produced very close end results, we take a look at a match in the seventh division where South Park Rangers “Blue” hosted Leven AFC “Juniors” and caused a bit of an upset by winning 3-2. This was the first taste of defeat in the League this season for Leven and only the second win of the campaign for South Park Rangers who have now managed to move out of the relegation zone after gaining these three points. Both goals for Leven “Juniors” were scored by James Welham, but Max Levett, Jack Roberts and Liam Stephenson all found the back of the net for South Park Rangers to send their set of supporters home much the happier of the two.

            Finally, this time from the Under 14 second division, another team to make their hosts fight all the way for the three points were New Marske as they travelled across to Urlay Nook to play Eaglescliffe Elementis “Blue”. Whilst Eaglescliffe consolidated the second position they currently hold, this was a tremendous effort by New Marske whose position in the League looks a bit false based both on their performance in this match and indeed the fact that this was only their second defeat in the League this season. On this evidence New Marske may still have an outside chance of gaining something from their season. Eaglescliffe, however, are right on the coat tails of the current divisional leaders, Bishop Auckland “Aces” and are only one point behind with an all-important game in hand. The New Marske goals at the weekend were scored by Flynn Bell and Luke Forsyth, with Simon Waters netting twice for Eaglescliffe and Harry Close scoring their third.

            So, that was it for the first playing Sunday of 2018 and we hope that we can have even more top class action to report back on right up until the end of the season which should be finalised in early May.

            Well, looking to our first full weekend of League fixtures coming up in 2018 and as always there are a number matches which certainly shouldn’t disappoint. We’ll take a look at just a few of those here.           

            There are some cracking looking fixtures in the Under 12 age group this weekend, perhaps none more so than a huge Club derby as Marton FC White” “put the nets up” against their in-house Club rivals Marton FC “Blue”. The Marton “White” side have yet to lose a game in the League and have, after playing six matches, conceded only one goal. That is a brilliant record. However, the “Blue” team have won four of the five matches they have played so far and they themselves have conceded only four times. They will know that a win here would give them a definite edge over their counterparts and indeed the bragging rights throughout next week. This should be a hard-fought and fascinating match which is scheduled to kick off around 11:00am.

            In the Under 13 second division Redcar Athletic “Red” welcome top of the table Golden Flatts “Green” from the Hartlepool area across to their venue at Green Lane. Golden Flatts are enjoying a great season and have won all seven League matches at this stage, scoring 51 goals in so doing. But they are away to another high scoring side in the shape of Redcar Athletic who will know that this is a must win game for them at the weekend, if they harbour any genuine thoughts of gaining the League Championship. Redcar have scored no less than 41 goals in their eight League matches, so a high scoring game is definitely on the cards. This top class fixture should also kick-off around 11:00am.                                                         

            My selection as the match of the weekend has to be the game in the Under 14 second division when Eaglescliffe Elementis “Blue” travel up to Bishop Auckland to play the St. Mary’s “Aces” side. Following their narrow win last weekend Eaglescliffe will certainly have to step up their game this weekend as they are playing the League leaders and this game is likely to go quite some way in determining exactly where the Championship ends up in May. This is a match which has been eagerly anticipated and it’s likely to be one of the best matches of the whole season in this age group. Spectators should be treated to a tremendous end to end game which will be kicking off around 1:30pm.

            Finally for this coming weekend, we take a look at the Under 16 third division and a match between third placed Yarm Town Juniors and top of the table 21st. Allstars from Darlington who currently boast a 100% winning record. Although they are eight points off the leaders, Yarm will know that the three points here and a further three points from the match they currently have in hand will put them right in the mix for honours this season. Sure to be a no quarter asked or given affair, with Allstars perhaps starting as slight favourites to extend their excellent winning run, this final game also has a scheduled kick-off time of 1:30pm.

            We just hope that the weather conditions improve so that we can keep the League programme on course to finish on the first Sunday in May, without needing to schedule a massive number of midweek matches as the lighter nights kick in between March and April.