Thursday, 4 May 2017

Denton Rock

Denton Town  1  Linotype Cheadle Heath Nomads  0

Cheshire League - Premier Division

Visitors to Manchester who choose to make their way via the M67 from the East will be familiar with Denton Rock.

To best describe it to those who haven't had the good fortune to be in a queue of traffic approaching the junction with the M60, it's a blue coloured structure that looks like a cross between a lighthouse and an air traffic control tower. It announces itself to you with the words "Welcome To Denton Rock" in bold letters on the side.

But it's always begged the question to me, what purpose does it serve, and why is it named so?

Firstly the name, and from what I can glean it has no significance with anything historical, industrial, geographical or cultural whatsoever. Allegedly some bright spark at the council decided to simply name it that, along with the retail park that sits alongside it. It was all a bit disappointing when I found that out, I was hoping for a tale with a twist, or maybe even a sub-plot, but no, it was just a case of.... "I know, lets call it Denton Rock...."

What does it do though? Rumours circulated upon it's construction that it was a Police lookout tower, but no, it is simply an eye-catching gateway to the Tameside area of Greater Manchester that doubles up as a quirky form of advertising hoarding. A useful purpose? The jury is probably still out on that one.

It did something else though, something the architects, planners and councillors perhaps didn't consider, and to be fair you could forgive them for that when I explain....

Tea, Coffee, Pies, But No Rock.......
When Denton Town were promoted to Step 7 football in 2011 and I read about it, the first thought that came into my head (other than 'A Touch Of Frost'), was that weird building at the end of the M67, so first of all I could instantly place the club and the town itself, no need for a postcode and Google Maps for this one, it was no Greenalls Padgate St Oswalds!

I've journeyed that way countless times since, and every time I passed the signs for Denton and saw the Rock, I said to myself that I must pay Denton Town a visit. The time had finally come, 3rd May 2017, the calling was strong, it was as though the Rock had mystical powers, it was dragging me in....

Moving swiftly back to reality and sensibility, Denton Town have had a very good season, they sit third in the league behind champions Whaley Bridge and Poynton, while only tonight's visitors Linotype Cheadle Heath Nomads have a chance of overtaking them. It's been a steady rather than a spectacular rise over the seasons, and you could argue that's the right way to do it, building strong foundations and making gradual steps forward.

The ground is not the easiest to find, tucked away at the very back of a housing estate, it kind of opens up on you as you come to the end of a cul-de-sac. It's surrounded on three sides by houses but the final side behind the Eastern goal opens out and gives views over Hyde towards the Peak.

Views Of The Peak
Whittles Park is railed on three sides, it has a smart dressing room complex and club room that served drinks and food. In front of this was an area of hard standing where the bulk of the spectators congregated.

It was a chilly night, and I have to be honest, the football didn't do an awful lot to warm the soul. Billed as a local derby, both sides gave their all and it was undoubtedly a competitive game, but it lacked quality in the final third of the pitch, with less than a handful of chances being created throughout the entire 90 minutes.

The only goal of the game came with around 20 minutes remaining, falling to Denton who managed to breach the visitors back line and finish calmly with a low shot into the bottom corner. I had resigned myself to a 0-0 at this stage, so it was something of a bonus. What it does do though is consolidate the third place Denton hold, and I suspect had they been offered that at the start of the season, they would have taken it.

I See No Rocks?
A good club though, friendly people, and a nice ground that you sense is a real labour of love for those involved.

Maybe if the powers that be would allow them to use that huge advertising space on the side of the Rock to promote future games, crowds could really start to pile into Whittles Park, then it really would be seen as serving a useful purpose!
A Quick Toss

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