TT No.72: Andy Gallon - Sat 15th December 2012; Hessle SC v Scarboroí Ath Res; Humber Premier League Div One; Res: 2-0; Att: 26; Admission: Free; Programme: £1 (16pp); FGIF Match Rating: ****.

 

 

 

Matchday images (16) https://picasaweb.google.com/footballgroundsinfocus/HessleSportingClubFC

 

Saturday morning does not often dawn without me having a clear idea where Iím hopping. But the days leading up to this particular weekend began with four of hard frost and ended with one of torrential rain. Canít say I was optimistic about finding a game on at a ground I hadnít visited. One fixture on my alarmingly short Ďpossiblesí list was the Humber Premier League First Division game between Hessle Sporting Club and Scarborough Athletic Reserves. It made the cut because (a) Hull isnít far from York and (b) Iíd heard Hessle, as a water-tester, were issuing a programme. A check on their website revealed that, yes, there would be paper and (this was the real clincher) they played on a 3G pitch at South Hunsley. Hurrah! No need to worry about the weather or being lumbered with a referee terrified of taking a risk on a dodgy surface. Further investigation revealed South Hunsley to be a school-cum-sports complex between the East Yorkshire villages of Melton and Welton. The latter I knew well: Welton Dale is a classic Wolds dry valley and Weltonís pub, the Green Dragon, the place where infamous highwayman Dick Turpin was finally arrested. Well, thatís how the story goes. Conflicting tales suggest otherwise. ĎSaltí and Ďpinchí spring to mind!

 

Iíd been to only a couple of Humber Prem games in the past - and none in the second-tier First Division. Before setting out along the A1079 (one of Britainís most dangerous roads: true to form, I had to divert via back lanes because of an ugly pile-up on Market Weighton bypass), I ascertained that Hessle Sporting Club and Scarborough Athletic Reserves occupied - respectively - fifth and fourth places in the table. Looked promising! Generally, I can spot a fellow hopper at a hundred paces and, on arrival at South Hunsley School, a couple of the species could be seen prowling about. Clearly, word about the paper had got around!

 

The programme, which turned out to be an impressive effort, told me everything I didnít know about Hessle Sporting Club. Formed in 1976, they field numerous junior teams that over the years have acted as conveyor belts of talent for local amateur, semi-pro and pro football. The present senior XI were established in 2005 and secured promotion to the Humber Prem in their debut season. Relocation to South Hunsley School was required in 2006 because the Hessle Sporting Club facilities werenít up to scratch. In 2008, they won the First Division title, but were relegated from the top flight following a disastrous 2010-11 campaign. Last season, Hessle Sporting Club recovered from a poor start and finished fourth (just outside the promotion places) having remained unbeaten after Christmas. The hope this term, of course, is to go one better.

 

Hessle Sporting Club pride themselves on being a community club and this game was sponsored by myhessle.com. The chap who maintains this community website, photographer Adam Jennison, was on hand to take pictures. He told me the local evening paper (staff cut to the bone, Iíve no doubt) could never be persuaded to cover Hessle events, which prompted launch of the website. With regional newspapers of all sizes doomed to internet-inspired extinction, maybe this is the way forward for those wishing to promote their towns and villages.

South Hunsley School (I was told) has about 2,000 pupils and, academically, is one of East Yorkshireís star performers. The sports facilities, shared with the community, are superb and include a swimming pool. The floodlit 3G pitch is separated from the busy A63 (the main route into Hull from the west) only by a mesh fence and a culverted stream. One major drawback is that spectators must watch from outside the cage surrounding the pitch because the 3G isnít railed off. League rules, apparently. However, on production of my journalistic bone fides and offering to contribute gratis my better pictures, club chairman Rich Nichols was happy for me to share the touchline beat with myhessle.comís Adam.

 

What followed greatly exceeded my expectations. It was a hugely entertaining contest between teams eager to capitalise on a super rubber crumb-dressed surface by playing progressive football. It was a fitting tribute to Brian France, Scarborough Athleticís first manager, who had died a few days before. A minuteís silence in his memory preceded kick-off and the visitors wore black armbands.

 

The hosts won thanks to two goals between the ninth and 11th minutes. Scott Richards showed great composure in a one-on-one to slide home the opener from 12 yards before considerable determination gave Perry Skelton an opportunity to make it 2-0. The goals apart, there was little to choose between the teams. Scarborough had plenty of chances - hit a post near the end - but couldnít find a finish when in promising positions. I certainly shouldnít suggest Hessleís victory was daylight robbery, but Dick Turpin, had he been amongst a very sparse crowd, would have tipped his feathered hat in salute to the home teamís style. 

contributed on 16/12/12