Monday 30th December 2013
North West Counties League Challenge Cup 2nd Round
ATHERTON COLLIERIES 6 BACUP and ROSSENDALE BOROUGH 0
Programme: £1 (oh dear)
Tea Hut Stuff: Pigged out before I got there
Weather: Chilly but calm evening after a stormy day
Parking: 20 yards from the turnstile
"In the bleak mid winter" goes that hymn I always remember from school. Never was it more apt. After weeks of storms, gales and driving rain it was a miracle that this stand alone fixture survived the elements one day before New Years Eve. I've been to Colls before but never witnessed a match, I was a victim of a daft late postponement a couple of seasons ago that left me fuming at the gate. I swore never to return. I gave in, mainly as a result of post christmas boredom as day after day of crap tv and gross over indulgence took a grip. I have to give full credit to the Colls groundstaff for getting this game on against all the odds. The pitch was understandably a bit of a glue pot as the game wore on but they had done a fantastic job of providing a playable surface under the circumstances. I'm sure everyone thought it was well worth the effort as well, that is apart from the Brent Peters Bacup squad in the 'Pepto Bismol' style pink away kit. 'Pepto' is famed for its unique diarrhoea control, apart from the garish pinky colour it certainly had little in common with the visitors leaking defence during the game?
I got the Match Tank safely parked down one of the tight backstreets surrounding the ground and entered the stadium via the brick built turnstile with the famous art deco lettering.
I rashly gambled on a programme as it was rumoured that the North West Counties League hell raiser and new world journo Joseph Gibbons put a lot of it together. Bit of a bummer that the Bacup edition had received a diluted contribution from the editorial team due to some apparent printing difficulties and the muddled mid holiday planning of the fixture. I feared the worst when the first third of the programme got swallowed up by adverts for economy funerals, portable toilet deals and other local traders, ratings plummeted even further on my 1 to 10 scale when the first inch of the comments page went missing due to probable printer misalignment. I only paid a quid for it but sadly I have to say, I was ripped off. The Alder House ground has a bit of a well worn feel to it but still manages a quirky but homely charm of no frills non league architecture.
It has the usual little main stand running towards the corner flag (why are so many non league stands down near corner flags rather than in more sensible halfway line positions?), there are some portakabin style changing rooms behind the nets with the snazzy addition of one of those fancy tunnel covers,
an imposing black and white striped tea hut on the far side (I'd had a very big dinner before heading down from the hills so I didn't get involved in tea hut action on this occasion),
there is also a nice warm clubhouse full of half cut blokes supping lots of pints
and finally we get to a further covered seating area down the touchline which housed a single solitary groundhopper all the way from Alfreton for long spells of this game (nice friendly chap he was too).
As regards the match it was great if you happened to be a Colls fan but pretty much pants for the neutral (dare I say it 'suicidal' if you were supporting Bacup). The young Colls side from the lower division to their Premier League visitors handed out a calculated tonking and basked in the glory that a full-on 6 nil drubbing provides.
The game was never in doubt right from an early 2-0 dart from the blocks and Bacup ended up chasing shadows for the rest of the chilly nights proceedings, much to the dismay and anger of a typically lyrical Brent Peters in the dug out from hell.