TT No.140: Mike Latham - Wed 10 April 2013: Lancs Amateur League Prem Div: Horwich Victoria v Hindley Juniors; Result: 7-4; Attendance: 10 (h/c); FGIF Match Rating: 4*



Matchday images (24)


I must declare an interest here as several players and officials of Vics are friends of mine and, as I do, occasionally frequent the Crown Hotel in Horwich.  The Vics goalkeeper is also Cumberland’s wicketkeeper and one of their defenders played cricket for Derbyshire Seconds and was a pro’ in the Bolton League. They have some class players, a talented young left-winger with great feet and touch and a centre-forward who scored a hat-trick and is clearly capable of playing at a far higher level.


I keep in touch with Vics’ results, keep updated on their Twitter feed and share an occasional pint or two with their Chairman in the Crown.  What a superb chap he is, dedicated to providing a good, competitive level of football for local players in an enjoyable environment.


What a fantastic game this was, with many a sting in the tail before third placed Vics earned the spoils.  Played on the 3g pitch at Essa Academy, a hugely impressive new development at Lever Edge Lane, Bolton there were plenty of thrills and spills with Vics almost letting slip a commanding position.


Hindley arrived in dribs and a tardy start was made at 6-45pm, the referee opting to play two halves of 40 minutes despite the floodlights as the pitch was booked for another game at 8pm. Vics were 2-0 up at half-time, soon stretched this to 3-0 then took off their centre-half who had played the night before.  Cue some Comic Cuts defending as the visitors came back into the game. With a whirlwind of goals it was suddenly 5-4 with Vics hanging on before they scored two late goals to decide a fast flowing game in which they never trailed.


The set-up is not dissimilar to many in Scotland and reminded me of Carluke’s new stadium though minus the spectator facilities. The game finished under lights at 8-10pm and the next game started soon after.  I really enjoyed my evening here, it was great entertainment and Hindley, second from bottom in the league more than played their part despite having what appeared to be a depleted side.  There’s an interesting article on Essa Academy here:


Playing here stretches the club’s finances and every effort is made to generate fund-raising with a sportsman’s dinner every year.  But the playing area and facilities are superb and, unless there is heavy snow the game is virtually guaranteed to go ahead. From watching the game it was obvious that many players had developed their skills playing on such a true surface. Previously Vics played on a pitch adjoining Bolton Arena, close to the Reebok Stadium but that was prone to water-logging.


I’ve enjoyed watching games in the Lancashire Amateur League these last few nights; it is amateur football at its best.  The League also operates an excellent website as part of the FA Full-Time network. The next time I see the Chairman or some of his players in the Crown I’ll have plenty to talk about and I’ll look forward to continuing to support this friendly grass-roots club as best I can.


contributed on 10/04/13