Monday, April 28, 2008

Long Time - No Sheffield FC

Never mind all that hype over whether Manchester United or Chelsea will win the Premiership, below you will find the final league table for the UniBond First Division South.

Unfortunately, the runaway Champions Retford Town will not obtain promotion to the Unibond Premier League because their ground does not match up to the grading conditions. As a consequence the second team Cammell Laird have been given the automatic promotion place, leaving the teams between the 3rd and 6th positions to compete for a second promotion place via play offs. This means that tomorrow 3rd placed Nantwich Town will play at home to 6th placed Grantham Town, whilst my locals' Sheffield FC play at home to Stockbridge Park Steels. The winners of these games then play each other on the home ground of whichever of them finished highest in the league. So if Sheffield get to the final play off, I will be hoping that Grantham defeat Nantwich so that the final ends up a 15 minute walk from my home.

Each team played 42 games. These are the League placings and the points. For full details see here and trawl down.

1...Retford United 99
2...Cammell Laird 86
3...Nantwich Town 79
4...Sheffield FC 76
5...Stocksbridge Park Steels 72
6...Grantham Town 70
7...Colwyn Bay 65
8...Belper Town 64
9...Goole AFC 64
10..Carlton Town 59
11..Gresley Rovers 59
12..Quorn 53
13..Warrington Town 47
14..Alsager Town 43
15..Shepshed Dynamo 38
16..Brigg Town 36
17..Kidsgrove Athletic 31
18..Spalding United 19

With 17 teams to play, you might have expected each team to play a total of 34 games. But that would have left us with a thin season on the terraces, so each team played 42 games meeting 8 of their opponents on 3 occasions.

Due to a series of postponements and having to fit in a run of cup games and all those celebratory games in connection with our 150th birthday celebrations, Sheffield FC were pushed to complete their programme in time for the Saturday dead-line. It meant that (with the extra commitment of a Cup Semi-Final Game), they had to complete 5 games within 8 days. Furthermore one of the home games scheduled for last Thursday evening was itself postponed and had to be played on the Friday. But they finished the rush of games in fine form, with 3 wins and 2 draws.

Unfortunately, I missed the lot due to a severe cold. But I intend to make tomorrow's play-off semi-final - except that it has been raining heavily, so we could be in for a further postponement.

Then there is the final of the Sheffield and Hallamshire Senior Cup (founded in 1876) to look forward to at Sheffield Wednesday's Hillsbrough on 8 May against Worksop Town who finished in the middle of the league which we are seeking promotion to. We won this Cup in 2004/5 and 2005/6. Whilst Worksop have won it a record 11 times.

It could yet be a great season, with Sunderland also having avoided relegation. I am due to make my annual pilgrimage to the Stadium of Light for our final game of the season against Arsenal. In the meantime, I should finally make it back to both Sheffield FC's Stadium of Bright and to that game at Hillsbrough - it will be my first visit to the latter since 1992 when Sunderland defeated Norwich City in the Semi-Final of the FA Cup.

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