Where Are They Now? Yorkshire’s Former NCEL Teams

NCEL football prpgrammesIntro:  Over the summer, with the lack of football being played I thought I would occasionally add a couple of other general articles to this blog.
For the first of these, I have decided to have a brief look at the whereabouts of all the former Northern Counties East League (NCEL) teams to have come from the Yorkshire region (I have also included some teams which were located slightly outside the Yorkshire border, such as Staveley and Dronfield).
I thought it would be interesting to see which grounds have been lost completely, and how many are now being used by other clubs – along with details of their new inhabitants.
The list includes those teams which have dropped out of the league via a downwards or sideways movement only – i.e. being relegated, voluntarily withdrawing (including the club folding) or merging with another club.
So it does not include the following clubs, all of which left the NCEL via promotion and are currently higher up the pyramid (in either the Northern Premier League or one of the Conference divisions):
Emley / Farsley / Garforth / Goole / Guiseley / Harrogate Railway / Harrogate Town / Ossett Albion / Ossett Town / Sheffield / Stocksbridge .
For each club, I have included the following information:
  • Period of NCEL memebrship
  • The ground they played at during their time in the NCEL
  • The league they were in immediately prior to joining the NCEL
  • Why they left the NCEL and what subsequently happened to them
  • The current ground they play at (if the club is still in existence)
  • Any additional notes, including whether a new club now plays at the same ground
A brief list of info which is still required is listed at the end – please do get in touch if you can provide any missing info / or spot any errors, or other gaps. Thanks!
Club:  Bentley Victoria Welfare
Years in NCEL:  (1982-87)
NCEL ground:  Bentley Colliery Ground, The Avenue, Bentley, Doncaster
Pre-NCEL league:  Yorkshire League
Reason for leaving NCEL:  Withdrew after having finished in 14th place in the Premier Division in 1986-87. It was reported in the local press that the club was repeatedly suffering from vandalism, and this ultimately brought about their demise.
Post-NCEL league(s):  Unknown (Club possibly folded immediately?)
Additional notes:  The ground is now used by Bentley Colliery in the CML. This club formed in the 1970s as a Sunday League side, before switching to Saturday and joining the D&DSL, then entering the CML in 2001-02.
Club: Bradley Rangers
Years in NCEL: (1982-92)
NCEL ground: Warrenside, Deighton, Huddersfield
Pre-NCEL league: Yorkshire League
Reason for leaving NCEL: Club folded during 1992-93 season
Post-NCEL league(s): none
Additional notes: The ground – which comprises adjacent cricket and football pitches – is still intact (though the football stand and dressing rooms were removed following the demise of Bradley Rangers), and has been used by local community teams in recent years. The cricket pitch is used by Bradley & Colnebridge CC.
Club: Bridlington Trinity
Years in NCEL: (1982-90)
NCEL ground: Queensgate, Bridlington (groundshare with Bridlington Town)
Pre-NCEL league: Midland Counties League
Reason for leaving NCEL: Folded in 1990 following the ending of their groundshare agreement with Bridlington Town
Post-NCEL league(s): none
Additional notes: Queensgate is still used by Bridlington Town
Club: Brook Sports
Years in NCEL: (1982-84)
NCEL ground: Thorncliffe Road, Staincliffe, Dewsbury
Pre-NCEL league: Yorkshire League
Reason for leaving NCEL: Resigned (after finishing bottom of Div2 North on goal difference) + joined the more local West Riding County Amateur League
Post-NCEL league(s): Spent one season in Div 1 of the WRCAL, then the club folded
Additional notes: The land at Thorncliffe Road has been redeveloped and is no longer a football ground
Club: Collingham
Years in NCEL: (1982-90)
NCEL ground: Harewood Road, Collingham, Wetherby
Pre-NCEL league: Yorkshire League
Reason for leaving NCEL: Resigned having finished mid-table in their final season in the NCEL. The main reason was probably ground-grading related, as their ground was very basic, with no stand or floodlights and only a very small capacity
Post-NCEL league(s): None (club folded)
Additional notes: Ground currently used by Collingham Juniors Old Boys of the YOB League (and by various Collingham Juniors sides).
Club: Denaby United
Years in NCEL: (1982-2002)
NCEL ground: Tickhill Square, Denaby
Pre-NCEL league: Yorkshire League
Reason for leaving NCEL: Club folded at the end of the 2001- 02 season due to the loss of their ground
Post-NCEL league(s): none [NB Although a new Denaby United club has been formed and entered into the D&DSL in 2011-12]
Additional notes: The ground has been in constant local/community use, and is currently used by Groves Social in the Mexborough & District Sunday League (though the previous stand was demolished soon after Denaby United folded)
Club: Dronfield United
Years in NCEL: (1984-91 + 82-84 as Norton Woodseats)
NCEL ground: Coach & Horses Ground, Dronfield
Pre-NCEL league: Yorkshire League (as Norton Woodseats)
Reason for leaving NCEL: Resigned after finishing third-from-bottom in Div2 in their last season in the NCEL
Post-NCEL league(s): Spent three seasons in the CML, then the club folded at the end of 1993-94 season (after being unable to meet the rising rental cost for the ground).
Additional notes: After Dronfield Utd folded, the ground was subsequently used by the Coach & Horses pub team, before being bought by its current inhabitants, Sheffield FC.
Club: Frecheville Community Association
Years in NCEL: (1982-90)
NCEL ground: Silkstone Road, Frecheville, Sheffield
Pre-NCEL league: Yorkshire League
Reason for leaving NCEL: Withdrew/ prohibited due to new ground grading criteria (finished just below mid-table in final season in NCEL)
Post-NCEL league(s): Joined S&HCSL the following season, and have remained there to date
Address of current ground: Frecheville Sports & Social Club, Silkstone Road, Frecheville, Sheffield (same as NCEL ground)
Additional notes: Ground also used by Sheffield City Frecheville in the S&HCSL D2 (who were renamed from Sheffield City at the start of 2010-11, also coinciding with a move to play home games at Silkstone Road rather than their former base at Meadowhall)
Club: Fryston Colliery Welfare
Years in NCEL: (1982-91)
NCEL ground: Fryston Colliery Welfare, Askham Road, Ferry Fryston, Castleford
Pre-NCEL league: Yorkshire League
Reason for leaving NCEL: Resigned after finishing mid-table in Div2 in final season in NCEL
Post-NCEL league(s): Joined CML / club later folded
Additional notes: now reformed as Fryston FC in Cas & District Sunday League
Club: Grimethorpe Miners Welfare
Years in NCEL: (1982-90)
NCEL ground: Grimethorpe Miners Welfare Ground, Cemetry Road, Grimethorpe
Pre-NCEL league: Yorkshire League
Reason for leaving NCEL: Having finished next-to-bottom in the Premier Division in 1989-90, a few games into the following season (having lost all their opening matches) the club withdrew from the league and had their record expunged.
Post-NCEL league(s): A reformed version of the club joined the CML in 1996-97, then folded in 2000.
Additional notes: AFC Grimethorpe founded in 2010 + play at the same ground in the Wakefield & District League
Club: Harworth Colliery Institute
Years in NCEL: (1982-86)
NCEL ground: Scrooby Road, Bircotes, Doncaster
Pre-NCEL league: Yorkshire League
Reason for leaving NCEL: Resigned in order to join the newly-formed CML Supreme Division instead (having finished mid-table in Div1 in their final season in the NCEL)
Post-NCEL league(s): CML (have had continuous membership since 1986-87)
Address of current ground: Recreation Ground, Scrooby Road, Bircotes (same as NCEL ground)
Club: Hatfield Main
Years in NCEL: (1982-2003)
NCEL ground: Dunscroft Welfare Ground, Broadway, Dunscroft, Doncaster
Pre-NCEL league: Yorkshire League
Reason for leaving NCEL: Resigned for financial reasons
Post-NCEL league(s): Joined D&DSL / then CML / now back in D&DSL
Address of current ground: Dunscroft Welfare Ground, Broadway, Dunscroft, Doncaster (same ground as NCEL)
Club: Kiveton Park
Years in NCEL: (1982-91)
NCEL ground: Miners Welfare Ground, Hard Lane,Kiveton Park, Sheffield
Pre-NCEL league: Yorkshire League
Reason for leaving NCEL: Resigned, having finished 4th from bottom in Div2 in their final season in the NCEL
Post-NCEL league(s): Joined CML / now back in CML after a 3 year gap between 1996-99
Address of current ground: Miners Welfare Ground, Hard Lane, Kiveton Park, Sheffield (same as NCEL ground)
Club: Leeds Ashley Road
Years in NCEL: (1982-83)
NCEL ground: Temple Newsam Park Sports Arena
Pre-NCEL league: Yorkshire League
Reason for leaving NCEL: Club folded, having finished 10th in Div 1 North in their only season in the NCEL.
Post-NCEL league(s): none
Additional notes: The council-owned pitch at Temple Newsam Park is still in use for non-senior football
Club: Leeds Carnegie
Years in NCEL: (2007-11)
NCEL ground: Throstle Nest, Newlands, Farsley (groundshare with Farsley AFC)
Pre-NCEL league: West Yorks League
Reason for leaving NCEL: Withdrew for financial reasons (brought on by funding cuts at Leeds Met)
Post-NCEL league(s): Will be playing instead in the midweek universities league from 2011-12 onwards
Additional notes: Throstle Nest ground still used by Farsley AFC
Club: Mexborough Town / Mexborough Town Athletic
Years in NCEL: (1982-91)
NCEL ground: Mexborough MW & Athletic Club, Hampden Road, Mexborough,
Pre-NCEL league: Midland Counties League
Reason for leaving NCEL: Resigned? (having finished bottom of Div1 the season before the NCEL abolished its Div2)
Post-NCEL league(s): Joined CML / folded in 2001 after finishing bottom of the CML Prem and not being re-elected
Additional notes: Mexborough Pocket (now AFC Sportsman Rovers) use ground in D&DSL
Club: Phoenix Park [Bradford]
Years in NCEL: (1982-85)
NCEL ground: Phoenix Park, Dick Lane, Thornbury
Pre-NCEL league: Yorkshire League (1981-82 season only, after having moved from the WRCAL)
Reason for leaving NCEL: Having finished just below mid-table in Div1 N in 1984-85, the club merged with Eccleshill United of the WRCAL (whose ground they had been sharing during their final season, due to Phoenix Park undergoing redevelopment)
Post-NCEL league(s): None. The name Phoenix Park disappeared, while Eccleshill United were placed in the NCEL Div3 (due to being classed as a new club entering the league)
Additional notes: The Phoenix Park/Dick Lane area is still used for community pitches,  however the exact site used by Phoenix Park FC has been redeveloped and is no longer a football pitch. Bradford Park Avenue have recently used this area for training, and the club has also cited an area very close to the old NCEL ground site as a potential location for building a new stadium if this were to happen in the near future.
Club: Pilkington Recreation
Years in NCEL: (1982-91)
NCEL ground: Pilkington Sports Ground, Moor Lane, Kirk Sandall, Doncaster
Pre-NCEL league: Yorkshire League
Reason for leaving NCEL: unknown? (finished bottom of Div2 in their final season in the NCEL – and there was no Div3)
Post-NCEL league(s): unknown/none?
Additional notes: Club was connected to Pilkington Social & Recreation Club. After Pilkington Recreation folded, the ground was taken over by Barnaby Dun Social FC, who currently play in the Doncaster Sunday Alliance (Barnaby Dun is the village next door to Kirk Sandall). The Barnaby Dun & Kirk Sandall Sports Association are currently trying to get funding to develop the ground to provide community sports facilities (at what is now also known as ‘Glass Park’).
Club: Rowntree Mackintosh
Years in NCEL: (1982-91)
NCEL ground: Mille Crux, Haxby Road, York
Pre-NCEL league: Yorkshire League
Reason for leaving NCEL: Withdrew voluntarily at end of 1990-91, having won Div1 in 1989-90 but been relegated to Div2 instead for ground grading reasons (and finished third in Div2 in their final season in the NCEL).
Post-NCEL league(s): Spent four years in the Teesside League (winning it twice) / then moved to the West Yorks League (winning it three times, while fielding two Reserves sides in the Y&DL still) / then moved to Y&DL in 2002-03 (after scrapping one of the existing Reserves sides) and remain there to date – now renamed Nestle Rowntree
Address of current ground: Mille Crux, Haxby Road, York (same as NCEL ground)
Club: Staveley (Works)
Years in NCEL: (1982-88)
NCEL ground: Handley Wood Sports Ground, Whittington Road, Barrow Hill, Chesterfield (AKA Staveley Works Sports Ground)
Pre-NCEL league: Midland Counties League
Reason for leaving NCEL: Resigned and joined CML (finished just below mid-table in Div 1 in their final season in the NCEL)
Post-NCEL league(s): Played one season in the CML and then folded at the end of 1988-89
Additional notes: The ground was situated next to Barrow Hill engine shed, and at one point also had a cinder cycling track running round it. Basically just a patch of grass/playing field these days (+also has a golf driving range next to it), +is used by Handley Wood Juniors.
Club: Thorne Colliery
Years in NCEL: (1982-86)
NCEL ground: Moorends Miners Welfare, Grange Road, Moorends, Thorne, Doncaster, DN8 4LU
Pre-NCEL league: Yorkshire League
Reason for leaving NCEL: Resigned? (finished bottom of Div2 North in final season in NCEL)
Post-NCEL league(s): Initially joined D&DSL / then CML since 1993-94
Address of current ground: Moorends Miners Welfare, Grange Road, Moorends, Thorne, Doncaster (same ground as NCEL)
Club: Wombwell Sports Association
Years in NCEL: (1982-88)
NCEL ground: Wombwell Sports Stadium, Station Road (aka Dorothy Hyman Stadium), Wombwell, Barnsley
Pre-NCEL league: Yorkshire League
Reason for leaving NCEL: Resigned or relegated? (finished next-to-bottom of Div2 in final season in the NCEL)
Post-NCEL league(s): Joined the CML the following season; changed name to Wombwell Town in 1990; left the CML at the end of 1992-93 after a poor season; played in the S&HSL until 1999-2000, then folded
Additional notes: The ground is still used for football, though not currently by any senior side. The only senior side currently operating in Wombwell is Wombwell Main, who are in the S&HSL and play at Windmill Lane behind Wombwell Cricket Ground.
Club: Woolley Miners Welfare
Years in NCEL: (1982-90)
NCEL ground: Woolley Miners Welfare, Woolley Colliery Road, Barnsley
Pre-NCEL league: Yorkshire League
Reason for leaving NCEL: Withdrew (could poss be ground grading-related?) (having finished fourth in Div1 in their final season in the NCEL)
Post-NCEL league(s): unknown?
Additional notes: Woolley FC (who possibly have some connection with Staincross FC – maybe Staincross recently renamed?) now play at the Miners Welfare ground in the Barnsley & District Sunday League (Division Five).
Club: York Railway Institute
Years in NCEL: (1982-92)
NCEL ground: York R I Sports Ground, New Lane, Acomb, York
Pre-NCEL league: Yorkshire League
Reason for leaving NCEL: Resigned (possibly for ground-grading issues?) having finished third from bottom in the Div 1 in their final season in the NCEL.
Post-NCEL league(s): Y&DL / West Yorks League / then returned to Y&DL in 2002
Address of current ground: New Lane, Acomb, York (same as NCEL ground)
Club: Yorkshire Main Colliery (Yorkshire Main since 1986)
Years in NCEL: (1983-91)
NCEL ground: Miners Welfare Ground, Edlington Lane, Edlington, Doncaster
Pre-NCEL league: S&HCSL
Reason for leaving NCEL: Resigned for financial reasons (after finishing second-from-bottom of Div1 in their final season in the NCEL)
Post-NCEL league(s): Initially returned to S&HCSL, before joining the CML in 1998-99 where they remain today
Address of current ground: Miners Welfare Ground, Edlington Lane (same as NCEL ground)
Summary:
By my reckoning, there are two grounds which are no longer used at all. These are:
1. Thorncliffe Road in Staincliffe, which was used by the Dewsbury-based Brook Sports club. I never got chance to visit this ground personally, but by all accounts it was fairly basic, consisting of a railed off pitch, changing rooms, a small amount of cover and not much else. These days, the land contains a new housing development, a small grassed space and a children’s play area. The layout would appear to prevent any chance of it ever returning to use as a football ground
2. Phoenix Park in Bradford, the former home of Phoenix Park FC. Although football is still played in the vicinity, the exact site where their ground used to be is now buried under concrete (either at, or close to, where the current cinema is located).
In addition to this, there are several grounds which are no longer used for senior/Saturday football, but are still in use for football in some shape or form. Grounds in this category would include the former homes of Bradley Rangers, Denaby United, Fryston Colliery Welfare, Leeds Ashley Road, Pilkington Recreation, Staveley, Wombwell SA and Woolley MW.
Information still required:
What happened immediately after leaving NCEL to the following (i.e. folded, or continued in another league?):
Bentley Victoria Welfare (1987-88)
Pilkington Rec (1991-92)
Woolley MW (1990-91)
Also, the reason why the following left (i.e. resigned, relegated or removed for another reason)?
Thorne Colliery
Mexbrough Town
Wombwell SA
Woolley MW
+ The reason why York Railway Institute resigned from the league.

Acknowledgements: My thanks to anyone who has contributed info to the above.
In particular, the NCEL website at: http://www.ncel.org.uk
The Football Club History Database at: http://www.fchd.btinternet.co.uk/
And to users of the Tony Kempster forum at: http://www.nonleaguematters.co.uk

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5 Responses to Where Are They Now? Yorkshire’s Former NCEL Teams

  1. groundhopper says:

    woolley left ground grading issues no lights, no hard standing, pitch not enclosed, changing rooms far side of cricket pitch, no turnstile pay gate, and no long term hope as woolley drift mine due to close.
    wakefield fc (city) the original one played at ground during 1990’s before moving to wyco at sandal walton lane.
    A sunday league had always been present and pitch in ground condition due to cricket groundstaff on hand.
    afc barnsley were planning to move there before they folded.

  2. Rennie says:

    Wombwell S A . Left because of Grading Issues no Stand, Changing rooms not up to standard among other things.

  3. bigj says:

    Bradley Rangers former ground has been redeveloped with a post and rail enclosed pitch and new clubhouse and dressing rooms complex. Currently home ground for Storthes Hall who play in the West Riding County Amateur League.

  4. Roderick Grubb says:

    Bradley Rangers – just done an article for the Nuneaton Griff programme on them. They were in the Huddersfield and District League from 1946 to 1976 then joined the West Yorkshire League. After winning the championship in 1979-80 they moved into the Yorkshire Leahue and stayed there (NCEL) until folding.
    Storthes Hall play at Warrenside now.

  5. Brian Jones says:

    Just a couple of things to add.
    York RI – was involved with them for 5 years trying to resurrect the NCEL side. They resigned because they had made some investigations into ground improvements but were knocked back by the councils refusal to allow lights on the pitch they were playing on. This and lack of volunteers meant the remaining few decided to fall back to their reserve side in the York and District League. Four year after they resigned major ground improvements were undertaken including a move of pitch and lights were installed pitched fenced off, barriered etc. At this time a decision was made to switch to the West Yorkshire League in an attempt to raise the profile and the club did play the first ever West Yorks League match under floodlights. Despite this and playing Stockton and Guisborough in the North Riding Senior Cup support was pitifully low and gradually the club dropped back and now grace the York and District League again. The lights are still there but rarely used.
    Wombwell – As far as I am aware Wombwell never played at the Dorothy Hyman Stadium in the NCEL, their ground was in Station Road and the revamped Wombwell Town played on a pitch next door to the previous ground.
    Woolley – Confirm that Wakefield FC played at the Colliery Ground in the West Yorkshire League for many years.
    Leeds Ashley Road – just for clarity the ground to the north of Temple Newsam Park is the ground of Whitkirk Wanderers of the West Yorkshie League and not the ground used by Ashley Road. This was a pitch next to the running track to the west of the house and to the best of my knowledge has no senior team playing on it.

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