As one tournament was edging towards its closure at the weekend, than the non-league scene, up and down the country, was beginning in earnest, and, for Nottinghamshire, their clubs in the Uhlsport United Counties and Toolstation Northern Counties leagues, got their respective campaigns up-and-running.
There’s plenty to shout about this season as well, several sides looking to build on last seasons’ title-winning, promotion campaigns, and, in turn, meaning more, local derbies for spectators viewing pleasure.
It’s in the United Counties, Premier Division North, were one of those promoted champions, got off to a winning start, Kimberley Miners Welfare starting off brightly with four goals, three points, and a clean sheet, when home to Skegness Town.
And that was after a goalless, first half as well, in fact, all four goals would not arrive until the closing ten minutes, the hosts finishing off with a goal from a debutant, just for added measure – Kaylum Mitchell would open the scoring with nine minutes to go before a crazy, closing spell from the hosts.
Ryan Wheatley would head home the second, with two minutes of normal time remaining, but the hosts weren’t done there, far from it as, in stoppage time, Tom Eccleshall made it three, and second half substitute, debutant Jay Bruce, finished neatly to put the seal on a 4-0 win, in front of 165 spectators.
The starting eleven for Kimberley’s opening match of the season was –
Danny Rigley, Lewis Partridge, Tom Eccleshall, Michael Pearson, Sam Brown, Ryan Wheatley, Kaylum Mitchell, Aarron Coyle, James Shaw, Ryan Whitehurst, Nathan Banton.
Elsewhere in the UCL Premier North there would also be a home win for Sherwood Colliery, they seeing off Deeping Rangers 2-1 thanks to goals from Lewis Belgrave and Louis Rose, whilst Newark & Sherwood United won by the same score when at Heather St Johns, goals coming from Ainsley Finney and Liam Mays.
Division One meanwhile saw a derby on the opening day, an entertaining one at that, unless you’re Paolo Piliero that is, Gedling Miners Welfare edging it 2-1 against visiting Newark Town.
Piliero would open the scoring, from the spot, inside twenty minutes, before going on to miss not one, but two further penalties for the hosts; the two sides would go in level at the break, Alexander Hales level proceedings minutes before the interval.
Both sides would finish with ten men with Jack Jepson (Gedling) and Ben Sharpe (Newark) seeing red, the visitors conceding the points late on, as Gedling sub, Kieran Harrison, snatched a winner at the death.
Missing out on promotion last time around, Radford continued that blistering form with an opening day, 5-1 win, when away to Barrow Town, leading by two goals at the break, Jordan Alls with a brace in the latter stages of the half.
The second period began in the same vein as the first had finished, this time Jevin Seaton notching a brace, in a matter of minutes, Radford being four goals to the good in under an hour; a fifth goal was added the visitors as the game ticked into the final ten minutes, Jonathan Jebbison registering, the hosts with a consolation effort shortly after.
Radford lined up for their opening day win as follows –
Hadlee Dunn, Will Bailey, Daniel Fletcher, Joseph McLaughlin, Conor Moore, Jonathan Jebbison, Craig Meakin, Michael Fitzhugh, Callum Smith, Jordan Alls, Jevin Seaton.
Clifton All Whites picked up three points when they won 2-0 away to Grantham Town, whilst the early pacesetters, Radford, found themselves joined at the top by Aylsetone Park, they hitting hosts Rainworth MW for six without reply, with other Notts clubs either drawing, or suffering defeat on the opening day.
Blidworth Welfare earned a point when they drew 1-1 at home to Harrowby United, Hucknall Town drew 3-3 away to Holwell Sports, and Southwell City made their bow with a 2-2 draw at home to Kirby Muxloe.
Of those losing, Clipstone would fall to a 3-1 reverse when at Bourne Town; Dunkirk, fell in a seven-goal thriller when home to Blackstones, home goals coming from Scott Litchfield, Max Taylor, and Aaron Large, whilst on the Sunday (there was an opening day, groundhopper weekend), West Bridgford lost 2-1 at St Andrews.
Three Notts sides were on duty in the Northern Counties Eastern League, with mixed fortunes, one win, two losses, as Retford got off to a flier thanks to a first half hat-trick off Matt Parkin, it featuring in a 5-2 home win over visiting Nostell Miners Welfare.
Parkin’s treble, in thirty minutes, was added to after the break by further goals from Luke Abdy, just before hour mark, and Alex Wonham, with less than twenty minutes remaining, the visitors netting themselves late in each half.
Retford’s starting line-ip for their opening day win would be –
Jon Kennedy, Liam Loftus, Haydn Goddard, Drew Allwood, Matt Parkin, Liam Bennett, George White, Luke Abdy, Alex Wonham, Zach Casburm, Jack Johnson.
As for the remaining sides in the NCEL, Shirebrook fell to a solitary goal loss when home to Harrogate RA, and Ollerton Town, they suffered a five goal thumping when away to Horbury Town.
UHLSPORT UNITED COUNTIES LEAGUE PREMIER NORTH
Heather St Johns 1 Newark & Sherwood United 2; Kimberley MW 4 Skegness Town 0; Melton Town 2 Selston 0; Sherwood Colliery 2 Deeping Rangers 1; Sleaford Town 1 Eastwood CFC 0; Wisbech Town 1 AFC Mansfield 0
UHLSPORT UNITED COUNTIES LEAGUE DIVISION ONE
Barrow Town 1 Radford 5; Blidworth Welfare 1 Harrowby United 1; Bourne Town 3 Clipstone 1; Dunkirk 3 Blackstones 4; Gedling MW 2 Newark Town 1; Grantham Town 0 Clifton AW 2; Holwell Sports 3 Hucknall Town 3; Rainworth MW 0 Aylestone Park 6; Southwell City 2 Kirby Muxloe 2; St Andrews 2 West Bridgford 1 (Sunday)
TOOLSTATION NORTHERN COUNTIES EASTERN LEAGUE DIVISION ONE
Horbury Town 5 Ollerton Town 0; Retford 5 Nostell MW 2; Shirebrook Town 0 Harrogate RA 1
*Article provided by Peter Mann (Senior Correspondent).
*Main image @NeilTom75425607 Kimberley players celebrate a goal against Skegness.