This should have been my 2nd game of my little North-East “holiday” visiting my girlfriend (who I have been instructed under strict rules not to call my “missus”) in Newcastle. It was a big Northern League derby between Newcastle Benfield and West Allotment Celtic, who are just 2.2 miles away from Benfield in Longbenton.
I had even planned this game meticulously and went to Benfield the day before just to take pictures in the day time which is dotted around this report. Sam Smiths Park is the first Northern League ground I’ve seen in the flesh and so I would have to compare it to other Level 9 grounds I’ve seen (Western Premier, basically) and it compares quite well too, as there are two covered stands on both sides of the pitch as well as a covered standing area next to one of the stands as well. The rest of the ground is uncovered but has ample space for standing which makes this a great wee ground.
The game was meant to be a Northumberland FA Senior Cup QF game with the victors joining Blyth Spartans and Ashington in the Semis already. (The other QF is between Newcastle Utd Reserves and Bedlington Terriers) However, just as I had paid my admission fee and programme (£5), all the lights went off…. And while some did come on again, forcing the teams to start warming up, the rest couldn’t come back on and so at 8pm, the game was called off.
So my 1st Northern League ground will have to wait and the rescheduled game is actually taking place tonight (Wednesday 26th Jan) yet I cannot make it due to the fact I am 391 miles away in Devon. Although Benfield did give me a pass to use so the day I actually do return, I want in with the pass!
N.B – It was nice to meet up, albeit briefly with Ian “Percy Main” Cusack who told me a bit of information about the teams and the ground, excellent stuff! Read his blog here.