Scott Wilson
Chief Sports Writer Scott Wilson looks back at the highs and lows of the week in sport
Backtrack
Northern League chairman Mike Amos on grassroots sport and that of yesteryear
Feel Great For Sport
North-East physiotherapist Paul Gough offers tips on keeping your body in prime condition

Hawley unlikely

The Northern Echo: UP HILL, DOWN DALE: Spout House v Duncombe Park, who have moved to a level playing field

10:15am Thursday 17th April 2014

CRICKET re-emerges, the Feversham League’s unique joys await. This season, sadly, the deeply grass-rooted North Yorkshire competition is again reduced to just four teams.

Germany calling

The Northern Echo: FACE TO FACE: The West German and Crook teams meet council chairman Councillor RW Coates

10:13am Thursday 17th April 2014

Another mystery: did Der Kaiser and Der Bomber touch down in County Durham?

St Andrews, cross

The Northern Echo: CELEBRATIONS: West Auckland after their win over St Andrews

11:17am Thursday 10th April 2014

FOR West Auckland and St Andrews, the Railroad to Wembley proved what we train spotters called a double header: semi-final first leg in Co Durham, second a week later in Canal Street, Leicester.

Benefit of the doubt

The Northern Echo: FAMOUS NAMES: The match programme for March 20, 1961

11:07am Thursday 10th April 2014

It was meant to be an All Stars XI: only the great Tom Finney really shone

Northern lights

10:20am Thursday 27th March 2014

The Northern League has been celebrating its 125th anniversary. Mike Amos, its chairman for 18 years, reports from the inside

Speak of the devil

The Northern Echo: Help from their ‘friends’: the Sgt Pepper album cover

10:34am Thursday 20th March 2014

FAB Four and then some, lots of readers knew that the only footballer featured on the sleeve of the Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band LP was Albert Stubbins, a Wallsend lad most affectionately remembered at Anfield.

Serious business

The Northern Echo: MILESTONE: Len Walker, former Darlington manager, celebrates his 70th birthday

10:31am Thursday 20th March 2014

Len Walker was one of those footballers for whom they shouted down the pit shaft. Now he hits 70

Robson’s choice

The Northern Echo: FONDLY REMEMBERED: The late Barbara Robson, looking through cuttings about her husband Lance, a Darlington footballer and dentist

10:44am Thursday 13th March 2014

BARBARA Robson, whose funeral was held last Friday, was the widow of one of the best and most colourful footballers Darlington ever had.

Bulldog creed

The Northern Echo: NO BEAUTY: The British bulldog

10:42am Thursday 13th March 2014

IT can’t be much fun being a bulldog. The poor things are unlikely ever to receive a telegram from the Queen, not unless they qualify at the age of about eight-and-a-half.

From the sublime...

The Northern Echo: MUGS GAME: ‘Sublimation mugs’ feature in the merchandise

10:56am Thursday 6th March 2014

THE first day of what apparently is termed meteorological spring and the weather’s positively vernal for the latest Groundhoppers’ event helping celebrate the Northern League’s 125th anniversary.

Kasher delivery

The Northern Echo: FAMILY LINK? Joe Kasher

10:53am Thursday 6th March 2014

They shared a surname and rare football ability, but what else?

Sir Tom remembered

The Northern Echo: MATCH MEMORIES: Colin Barker on the front cover of the benefit match programme

10:38am Thursday 6th March 2014

HAD the great Tom Finney played in a benefit match at Feethams, last week’s column wondered?

Barnes stormer

The Northern Echo: IN THE RUNNING: Ian Barnes pictured in training last year

10:36am Thursday 27th February 2014

THE Lions’ Bookshop in Darlington celebrated its 20th birthday on Saturday, the column invited to add a few words to the millions already therein. No matter that some of the Lions are getting a bit long in the incisor, they do a remarkable job.

Cinque or swim

The Northern Echo: HORRIBLE HAPPENING: The Mignonette was the scene of cannibalism

10:24am Thursday 27th February 2014

A true story of Confessor and cannibalism, into which a little football overlaps

Baden farewell

The Northern Echo: NAME TO REMEMBER: Baden Powell, front left, in the Quakers line-up, in February 1952

10:21am Thursday 20th February 2014

BADEN Powell, a fleet footballer with a memorable name, has died, aged 82. He was also a formidable foot runner, caddie for 25 years to Ryder Cup golfer Peter Butler and in later life a teacher.

Bourne again

The Northern Echo: NAME’S THE SAME: Eastbourne Sports Complex, in Darlington, hosts a hockey match between Bishop Auckland (red tops) and Marton Furness

10:17am Thursday 20th February 2014

The Railroad to Wembley becomes yet another victim of the storms

Creaky blighter

The Northern Echo: ALL SMILES: George McGeachie shares a joke after his cartilage operation

10:30am Thursday 13th February 2014

LAST week’s column on 60s centre forward Bill Hopper recalled the illuminating Wednesday night in Blackpool when his goal helped Darlington to a 2-1 League Cup victory over s first division side including four England internationals.

Reasonable grounds

The Northern Echo: TAKING THE BUS: Katie Wallace and Lee Stewart

10:29am Thursday 13th February 2014

She’s an awfully long way from home, but Lee Stewart knows how to treat a girl

Bowled 104

The Northern Echo: REACHING HIS CENTURY: Bob with his band, The Rhythm Makers

10:14am Thursday 6th February 2014

BOB Murton, who not unreasonably we had supposed to be Britain’s oldest active sportsman, has died. He was 104 and still playing bowls at 100 – at which point, no less unreasonably, they gave him life membership. The rub of the green, as it were.

VIP referee

The Northern Echo: LINE-UP: George Courtney, centre, with assistant referees Anthony and Lee Harbottle and the Durham and Worcestershire captains

10:11am Thursday 6th February 2014

FAMOUSLY as fit as a butcher’s dog, former World Cup referee George Courtney – coming up 73 – was still matching the young ’uns last Saturday.

Lights fantastic

The Northern Echo: PLAYING DAYS: Bill Hopper

10:08am Thursday 6th February 2014

The night that the Quakers almost pulled the plug on Blackpool Illuminations

Old Pally’s act

The Northern Echo: BEDSIDE VISIT: Sunderland legend Jimmy Montgomery

11:37am Thursday 30th January 2014

THE morning after the night before – and more of that sticky situation very shortly – former England and Manchester United central defender Gary Pallister turned up breezily at the National Football Museum in Manchester last Thursday officially to launch the Northern League 125 exhibition.

Liz Husbands, I presume

The Northern Echo: DR LIVINGSTONE MOMENT: Liz Husbands, granddaughter of sporting visionary Charles Samuel Craven

11:35am Thursday 30th January 2014

The search for a sporting pioneer reaches a happy conclusion

Back up for the cup

The Northern Echo: HAPPY MEMORIES: Former Crook Amateur Cup final players Alan Brown, centre, and Jimmy McMillan, right, chat with Bill Lodge, whose grandfather scored a goal for Bishop Auckland in the 1896 Amateur Cup final

12:06pm Thursday 23rd January 2014

THE FA Amateur Cup has been back where it belonged: you may have noticed.

Colemen to Newcastle

The Northern Echo: GETTING THERE: Mike Amos tries to get his head around a timetable at Dunston station

12:04pm Thursday 23rd January 2014

The Railroad to Wembley again heads north, and with crossed lines even before breakfast

Twilight zone

The Northern Echo: FAREWELL VISIT: The funeral cortege of Horden stalwart Bob Wood pays one last visit to Horden Colliery football ground.

10:34am Thursday 16th January 2014

In a village where the pit has long been exhausted, Bob Wood still dug deep

Double cream

The Northern Echo: FIRST EDITION: Jack Chapman, pictured at Durham Riverside ground, with his book Cream Teas and Nutty Slack, which he has followed up with Cream Teas and Canny Crack

10:27am Thursday 9th January 2014

ON Christmas Eve, of all the glad mornings, Jack Chapman’s new cricket book falls festively onto the doormat and is rapturously received.

Absent friends

The Northern Echo: TIME FOR FAREWELLS: Stuart Leeming with Northern League chairman Arthur Clark at Tow Law, in 1995

10:25am Thursday 9th January 2014

By no means starting 2014 as it hopes to go on, the column has more deaths in the family

Lythe fantastic

The Northern Echo: SHIRTLESS: Hazard of Chelsea and Newcastle United's Davide Santon (left)

11:32am Friday 27th December 2013

SANTA came a little early for our remarkable friends around the small village of Lythe, on the coast above Whitby.

The ’ole truth

The Northern Echo: DIGGING IN: One of Bairnsfather’s most famous cartoons, here imprinted on a plate

11:29am Friday 27th December 2013

CHRISTMAS Day 1914. The truce in the trenches may best be recalled for a football match in noman’s land, but Captain Bruce Bairnsfather – wonderful name – effectively employed another sporting analogy.

Friend’s mutual

The Northern Echo: LOCAL HERO: Charlie Donaghy

10:47am Thursday 19th December 2013

PUBLISHED several times hereabouts, Middlesbrough defender George Friend is continuing his journalistic education by working with the BBC. Last Wednesday, the Corporation threw him into the deep end – straight from training to interview me.

Ahead of his time

The Northern Echo: OUT IN FRONT: James Falcon, 17, from Chilton, who has won a national cycling title in his first season

10:44am Thursday 19th December 2013

James Falconer has become a national champion in his first season of cycling

Whickham wanderer

10:45am Thursday 19th December 2013

SOMEONE once said that old age is a closed mind and open flies. Forgetfully, so it had seemed 12 days ago, when the Railroad to Wembley headed to Brighouse in West Yorkshire, but I came close to being locked up for indecent exposure on Darlington station.

Crying game

The Northern Echo: HAPPY TEARS: Frank Bruno is a winner at Shildon

11:33am Thursday 12th December 2013

SHILDON did to Frank Bruno last Friday evening what Mike Tyson could never do. It made him cry. The former world heavyweight boxing champion and genuine A-list celebrity was at a sportsmen’s evening in the Railway Institute, jointly organised by the town’s football and cricket clubs.

Time, flies

The Northern Echo: SUBSTITUTE GAME: Halifax Town v Woking

11:32am Thursday 12th December 2013

AT this advanced stage of the game, the lady of the house feels it necessary to run through a sort of checklist before I’m allowed out for the day.

RA the lads

The Northern Echo: CENTENARY CHALLENGE: Peter Eckels, left, and Rodger Darbyshire at Darlington RA Cricket Club

11:44am Thursday 5th December 2013

DARLINGTON Railway Athletic Cricket Club is marking its centenary, perhaps sidelined somewhat from the days when 2,000 spectators would crowd the boundary, but still batting, and battling, nonetheless “These days we don’t even get two men and a dog, because dogs aren’t allowed,” says former first team captain Peter Eckels, who has compiled a club history to mark the milestone.

Rovers return

The Northern Echo: LOOKING BACK: Brian Newton, left, and Jimmy Lee at Willington

10:44am Thursday 28th November 2013

EXACTLY 40 years since Willington hosted sixtimes winners Blackburn Rovers in the FA Cup, not so much David v Goliath as David v the Rest of the Known World, the County Durham club’s players reunited last Saturday.

Showing Willington

The Northern Echo: YOUNG FANS: Some of the enthusiastic Willington juniors watching the match against West Allotment Celtic

2:53pm Thursday 29th August 2013

WILLINGTON are back in the Northern League. Forty years after his part in one of the south Durham club’s finest hours, Jimmy Lee is back with them.

The man who fought to gain cross-country running foothold in the Olympics

The Northern Echo: RUNNING COLD: The Cross Country Championships at Herrington, near Sunderland earlier this year took place in snow

3:00pm Thursday 8th August 2013

MATT FRAZER, an energetically indefatigable athletics official who campaigned to get cross-country running into the Winter Olympics, has died. He was 81.

Annual outing to the Feversham League

The Northern Echo: Annual outing to the Feversham League

3:57pm Thursday 4th July 2013

BLAKEY Bank is in Farndale, North Yorkshire daffodil country, precipitously descending onein- five to the hamlet of Church Houses and to one of the most delightful and most improbable sports venues in Christendom.

Buff and ready

The Northern Echo: Buff and ready

12:41pm Thursday 6th June 2013

BUFF. That’s what I am, apparently. It must be true because my wife told me when I took my shirt off recently.

Final whistle for John Morton after almost a century of refereeing

The Northern Echo: FINAL WHISTLE: John Morton with players from Stanhope Town and Howden-le-Wear Australian

12:40pm Thursday 6th June 2013

IT’S the last minute of the last match of a pretty inexorable football season – Stanhope Town v Howden-le-Wear Australian, Crook and District League second division. It’s also John Morton’s final whistle after 43 years’ refereeing.

Former Test cricketer Cairns lends ear to new challenge

The Northern Echo: Former New Zealand international and Bishop Auckland club player Lance Cairns returns to the ground

2:42pm Thursday 30th May 2013

LANCE CAIRNS, among the most successful club professionals in North-East cricket history and arguably the most popular, was back in his beloved Bishop Auckland last week.

Sickness and in health

The Northern Echo: JUST MARRIED: Arthur and Mary Puckrin leave Nunthorpe Methodist Church

2:27pm Thursday 23rd May 2013

THIRTY-FOUR years after they got together, three weeks after he proposed, that extraordinary athlete Arthur Puckrin finally married his partner, Mary, yesterday.

Belle Vue hosts its last match

The Northern Echo: BELLE MEMORIES: Alan McKinley, left, who as a ten-year-old helped with building of the stand, and club chairman Frank Bell

2:24pm Thursday 23rd May 2013

THERE’S a bit in A Christmas Carol where the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come, most frightful of phantoms, inexorably points old Scrooge towards what effectively is his own death bed.

Gold standard

The Northern Echo: GOLDEN DAY: Wigan Athletic winning goalscorer Ben Watson celebrates with the FA Cup trophy after their victory in the FA Cup final at Wembley

3:55pm Thursday 16th May 2013

UP for the FA Cup final last Saturday, presented at the pre-match lunch with one of the FA’s “Gold” Respect awards for the Ebac Northern League’s “Secret Shopper” initiative.

Journey’s end

The Northern Echo: THE WINNERS: Spennymoor celebrate their success. Right, Gavin Cogdon kisses the turf after putting Spennymoor 1-0 up

4:30pm Thursday 9th May 2013

THE Railroad’s different on final day. For one thing the national stadium really is the end of the line and for another, as almost it says in Mark 2:4, you can hardly stir for the press.

Old ball game

The Northern Echo: LOFT MUSEUM: Alex McKinley with his vast collection of Hartlepool Utd memorabilia and the 1905 football

4:02pm Thursday 2nd May 2013

OFFERED at £1,000, the ball from the 1905 FA Amateur Cup final – West Hartlepool v Clapton – spent last week for sale on eBay. It never really got rolling.

Helping hand

The Northern Echo: CAUGHT ON CAMERA: Marske United’s 92nd minute equaliser against Penrith, captured on film by Moss Holtby bearing a resemblance to Argentina’s Maradona in the 1986 World Cup opener against England

4:01pm Thursday 2nd May 2013

IT bears a remarkable resemblance to a more famous goal scored 27 years earlier, though the second hand-me-down came in rather humbler surroundings.

Golden oldies

The Northern Echo: NET PROFITEER: Steve Bloomer, 121 games for Middlesbrough

11:36am Thursday 25th April 2013

THEY still sing of Edgar Kail at Dulwich Hamlet, though he last played for them in 1933 and died in 1976. The column a couple of weeks back wondered if anyone longer dead still featured in a football song.



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