British-based writer with a passion for sport and travel, music and photography. Proud dad, exploring the world anew through the eyes of a forthright toddler.
Stirrings in Murton
In East Durham, football is escaping from its ‘black hole’. After seeing Saturday football in Shotton once again, another trip brought more Wearside League action, this time in Murton. Once a Northern League ground, Welfare Park suffered more than most from vandalism but even as the off-field facilities disappeared, it retained its impressively large playing surface. And, with Ryhope CW U23s playing there this season, it’s hosting games once again.
After the final whistle
For a football fan, there’s something irresistible about a stadium. Whether it’s the grandest of international arenas or the most primitive of fenced-off fields, the very grass seems to resonate with great goals and famous victories. No matter how modest the team, there’s always ‘that game’.
Not by banana bread alone ...
Step one: Take one kitchen, a little boy and his mother. Wait for a rainy afternoon when the weather is too bleak to go outside. Season with the detail that it’s 1980, kids’ TV runs for a couple of hours each day, and there’s a long time to fill between lunch and dinner. Start preparing some pastry.
Junior Stars look to the future
Ice hockey in the Northeast has a proud history. Teams from Durham, Whitley Bay and Billingham were top-flight mainstays in the old Heineken League era, more recently Newcastle Vipers won an Elite League championship in 2006. Internationally renowned coaches Mike Babcock – a triple gold club member once of Whitley Warriors – and Jukka Jalonen – twice a world champion after coaching Newcastle Riverkings – are among the illustrious names to pass through. Even today, Whitley Bay provides talent for GB women, while Durham-born Ben O’Connor and Billingham’s Robert Dowd were among the key players in GB’s fairytale rise to the World Championship Elite Pool.
Football comes back to Shotton
One of the unexpected side-effects of the coronavirus lockdown has been a groundswell of support for our local communities. And, in Shotton Colliery, an old pit village in East Durham, it’s been a trigger for a new football club aiming to bring the game back to town after 15 years without a team in the Saturday leagues.
Hope in East Durham's 'Black Hole'
This story was originally published on Groundhoppers.blog in November 2018. Two years later, happily, both Shotton and Murton have Saturday football back at their grounds. Shotton Colliery FC, newly formed for the 2020/21 campaign, plays in Wearside League Division 2, one level below a reborn Horden CW. Among their opponents, Ryhope CW U23s have moved into Murton's ground. Peterlee is still home to the local rugby club.
A new weigh to shop
It’s time to raid that cupboard of old bottles and jars. The ones stored up because they might be useful one day. That day, at least in Durham, has come.
Reinventing the High Street
There are bright spots on the High Street – if you know where to look for them. While the old certainties are disappearing, local producers are taking the chance to boost their presence. And Discovering Durham, in the Prince Bishops Centre, is at the heart of that process.