Sunday, 26 March 2017

Phoenix Days

Brinsworth Whitehill  1  Oughtibridge War Memorial  4

Sheffield & Hallamshire County Senior League - First Division

The Phoenix Sports & Social Club in Rotherham is one of only two establishments of it's type in the UK.

It shares the accolade with the Leyton Orient Supporters Club in East London, and that honour, to the best of my knowledge is that they are the only two football social clubs listed in the Good Beer Guide.

Having been in a large number of social clubs over the years, to a degree I can see why so very few are listed, and having also experienced the Leyton Orient establishment earlier this season, I can clearly see why both venues make Roger's legendary tome.

I first came across the Brinsworth based boozer many years ago when I made a visit to Phoenix Sports & Social FC, who as a new club in the Central Midlands League, were playing at home to Bolsover Town, and getting spanked 5-0 into the bargain. Brinsworth Whitehill joined the County Senior League at the start of last season, but it has taken until now for me to get round to paying them a visit.

Someone's stolen the back of the stand.....
Before anyone thinks it's the same ground, it's not! Whitehill play about 200 yards from the more developed venue Phoenix use, on a roped pitch with a small piece of cover on the half way line. However, as you would expect, they both use the social club.

It's a very busy venue, golfers were coming in and out, locals were calling in for lunch, gymnasium users were also popping in for a drink, it was doing a brisk trade. As it's got it's GBG accreditation, as you can imagine it served some of the more unusual beverages, Grandad's Sweaty Knacker, Bishop's Cock, Old Trumper, whereas I plumped for the Lord's finest, Carling Black Label......

I have to say though, what a cracking venue, and on a beautiful day, people were sat outside having a meal and a drink, and that's probably the first time this year it's been possible to do that.

We had a game to watch, Whitehill were at home to the wonderfully titled Oughtibridge War Memorial, and along with the twenty or so other folk who had wandered along, the first half was a pretty one sided affair.

Bridge (it's quicker to type that), took an early lead and then scored a well taken second as the half drew to a close. Whitehill were falling out amongst themselves, and if it hadn't been for the break, I had visions of a real thumping on the cards.

Credit to the hosts though, they re-organised, gained confidence and put Bridge under considerable pressure at the start of the second period, and deservedly scored a well taken headed goal. However, they were throwing men forward and that left space at the back.

Bridge squandered a number of chances but ave themselves some breathing space with a third goal, and then the fourth arrived almost on the final whistle.

It was a fair result in the end, and maintains Bridge's promotion push back to Step 7 football. A word as well for referee Daniel Smith, I spoke to his Dad late in the game, he's only nineteen, having taken up refereeing after previously playing for Athersley Recreation. He had a great game and his performance belied his youth. Well done Daniel, you'll go a long way!

While I hit the road, the players of Whitehill and Bridge hit the social club, Saturday night's for many in Brinsworth is Phoenix Nights, and I'll hazard a guess that they've never had to deal with a pissed horse in the Jockey Wilson Suite.

"Someone get it a kebab....."

Is it time for a pint yet?

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