By James Grayson (Twitter: @jamesAgrayson)
Glasshoughton Welfare chairman Phil Riding has praised Northern Counties East League officials ahead of the Easter Hop initiative next week.
Local football enthusiasts will be treated to eight specially-timed NCEL matches over three days – starting with AFC Emley’s Division One home clash with Bottesford Town on Thursday night.
Glasshoughton’s crucial Premier Division clash with local neighbours and fellow relegation strugglers Nostell Miners Welfare is the next fixture on the list – taking place at Leeds Road on Friday morning at 11am. The hop then moves onto matches at Pontefract Collieries, Hemsworth Miners Welfare and Athersley Recreation.
The final three games are the following day and they begin at Bridlington before Pickering Town’s home game with Worksop Paramore then the hop’s final match at Tadcaster Albion on the Saturday night.
Glasshoughton’s average attendance is 66 and the hop is likely to provide bumper crowds and much-needed revenue for the teams involved and Riding is fully in support of it.
“The NCEL officials deserve a lot of credit because they are working ever so hard behind the scenes and it is important their work gets recognised,” he said.
“They have brought recognition to the NCEL League with the Ground-Hop day and I hope they get rewarded with a good day out. It will be a fantastic day and we’re pleased to be recognised by the league and to be involved in the day.
“We believe there will be one to one and half full coaches and anything between 70 and 140 ground-hoppers. So we may get 200 for the game which would be financially welcome income. It is a really positive thing, but let’s not forget that there is a football match to be played and there is a lot at stake in it. It is a mammoth game and the pressure is really on.”
After four games without a win, Rob Hunter’s men beat Long Eaton United 2-1 after two goals from Darrell Young last Saturday to edge closer to safety. Glasshoughton currently sit in 16th, six points ahead of Nostell who are four points ahead of the relegation zone.
Weather-permitting, Armthorpe Welfare is next up on Saturday and Riding admits that the trip to Armthorpe and the Ground-hop day clash with Nostell are crucial matches.
“We had a mammoth win on Saturday,” he said. “We hadn’t played well in the last two games against Arnold and Winterton, but we managed to get a good win against Long Eaton and it has given the club a big lift.
“We’re coming down to the business end of the season and we’re on 33 points now and I think we need a couple of wins to be safe. It’s in our hands.
“We have Armthorpe on Saturday which is a winnable game, but the flipside is that if we lose the next two games then the gap closes and the pressure is back on.”
All admissions on the day of the game will be charged £5 as there is no concession price.
However, advance tickets may be purchased for £3.00 from the Club at all Glassshoughton first and second team games before the fixture.
For full list of the Easter Groundhop fixtures and more details see the NCEL website.