May 16, 2009 – Ore Park, Glencraig
A Saturday afternoon trip into deepest Fife to Ore Park, home of Ballingry Rovers.
For the uninitiated, Ballingry Rovers don’t play in Ballingry because Ore Park is in Glencraig, a very small place a mile or two south. Lochore Welfare actually play closer to Ballingry than Ballingry Rovers do, but their ground is in Crosshill, not Lochore. Follow me?
To confuse matters further, to get to any of these places you need to get off the train at Lochgelly!
After a 15 minute walk from the station I spotted Ore Park and it’s distinctive bright orange sign just off the main road, next to a small group of houses which make up the tiny hamlet of Glencraig.
Set in a semi-rural location, my first impressions of the ground were positive. The junior level has quite a few grounds which want for care and attention but it was immediately apparent that Ballingry invest both time and money into ensuring that their place looks its best.
One unusual aspect is that the pitch is separated from the dressing rooms by the road which leads up to the ground. Within the same building is a social club from which periodic cheers could be heard – predictably co-inciding with goals in the day’s TV game from Ibrox.
The gates weren’t open when I arrived but it wasn’t too long before I was able to pay in, grab a programme, a handful of raffle tickets and have a wander round. The first thing that struck me was the sizeable slope running down towards the main road.
Ore Park has three areas of cover for spectators, two small standing enclosures running down one touchline with, very unusually, a seated area occupying a spot just behind the goal at the top end of the ground.
This ‘stand’ contains 64 backless red bucket seats, the same type as can be found in the main stand paddock at Tynecastle. Apparently the ones installed here came from Dunfermline’s East End Park, a few miles down the road.
In addition to the three covers there was a good sized portacabin from which the usual range of food and drinks were sold, and a small bothy in the top corner which I later discovered was where the tannoy announcer sat.
While it is not salbrious in any sense, I could not help but be impressed overall with Ore Park. Everything about it suggests ‘well-kept’, particularly the small litter bins which are screwed onto the rail which circles the field.
My hope was that the quality of the game would match the venue and I’d be in for a decent afternoon’s entertainment.
The visitors from the nearby village of Cardenden were in more need of a result than Ballingry going into the match.
Although not arithmetically safe from the threat of relegation, Rovers could afford to lose a couple of their final four league games of the season. Bluebell, on the other hand, occupied one of the relegation spots and needed a win in their penultimate game to keep alive hopes of avoiding the drop to the Central Division.
Bearing that in mind, it possibly wasn’t surprising to see them show the greater determination for the majority of this contest, something which didn’t go down well with one or two of the club tie clad Ballingry committee members on the sidelines.
Bluebell scored after only nine minutes after their impressive ginger number nine got himself onto the end of a monstrous uphill punt from his goalkeeper and prodded the ball home from little more than six yards.
Rovers’ had their best chance of the day later on in the first half but a long range shot came back off a post.
They also started the second half as the livelier side but they lacked any real conviction in attack. Bluebell, meanwhile, always carried a threat and should have gone two nil up but they were also denied by the woodwork.
In the final ten minutes they did get the second goal which I felt they deserved, although there was more than a slice of luck about the deflected shot from distance.
Scoring – 0-1, 0-2
Attendance – 100 (est)
Admission – £5
Programme – £1
Ground – 7/10 – Immaculate wee ground
Game – 7/10. Some good football played
Overall experience – 7/10. Good advert for the Junior game in Fife
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