Walsall Wood in Wonderland…


A great night of football at Oak Park last tuesday saw Walsall Wood beat the Pitmen 2-1.

There was a real treat for the Walsall Wood fans on Tuesday Evening last (21st October 2014) as a patchy home team were proven unexpectedly superior to their visitors, and the Woodmen fought to  a very respectable victory over Hednesford.

Bill Shaw was there, as he always is, to witness a remarkable match. He sent the following report:

Hiya Bob,

Well I never expected that, when I received the team sheet there were seven absentees from Saturday’s winning line up. Five of them occupied the bench but wonder goalscorer Scott Cooper and keeper Mario Kisiel had a night off. With the exception of Tom Evans who had started 14 games this season the other 6 newcomers to the side could muster just 7 starts between them all.

Walsall Wood 2 v 1 Hednesford Town

There was no hint of the shock to come as the Pitmen put Wood under pressure from the start. After 11 minutes Jamey Osborne had the first clear chance racing onto a ball left of the box, keeper Dale Faultless out quickly and bravely to make a superb full length block.

The sides swapped chances but the visitors should have gone ahead on 31 minutes, Steve Diggin stepped inside Lee Stretton who slipped, the striker raced for goal, his low drive bringing a brilliant fingertip save from Faultless, (Coach Ray Monaghan take a bow for all the hard work).

Two minutes into the second half skipper Darren Campion made space left of the box before curling a shot inches wide of the far post. A minute later Stretton bravely threw himself in front of a vicious effort from Alex Melbourne.

The breakthrough came on 53 minutes, a long ball forward found Leon Taylor right of centre, he out-muscled one defender and just powered away from another leaving him labouring in his wake, before firing the ball past the advancing Ryan Price.

On 63 minutes Osbourne had a shot charged down, four minutes later Jamie Crowther ran at the Wood defence before releasing Diggin into the right of the box, Stretton saving Wood with a superbly timed last ditch tackle. The Pitmen were now really ratcheting up the pressure, but couldn’t break down a resolute Wood defence, when they did on 80 minutes Faultless made a full length save from substitute Tom Thorley and again 3 minutes later diving full length to deny the ever dangerous Osbourne.

Wood sewed it up on 85 minutes, Craig Deakin fed Tom Evans down the right touchline, his neat little ball inside found Max Black on the right edge of the box, he cleverly drew players towards him before playing the ball unselfishly across the face of the box to drew Aiton who scored into the bottom left hand corner to put Wood in Wonderland, (No Alice to be seen, but visibility wasn’t too good).

With the clock showing 90 minutes, a long ball forward seemed to hold up in the wind, Tom Peers first to react, firing the ball home from close range to pull a goal back, but it was too little too late and Wood played out the last 5 long minutes of added time to record a brilliant, albeit unexpected victory that was greeted with euphoria by the rain lashed Wood faithful, deservedly so, this is what being a loyal supporter is all about.

So it’s Wood into the last 8, now wouldn’t a home tie against Chasetown be good?

It’s away at Lye on Saturday, followed by a home league cup tie against Continental Star on Tuesday night.

Bill Shaw.

Thanks to Bill for a great and thoroughly honest match report, as ever.

Walsall Wood Football Club are a top local side with a big-hearted faithful who know how to have a great time supporting their lads, and welcome all comers to come enjoy great local soccer. The boys from The Wood have been at the heart of the local community for a century or more, so please do go check out a match or two if you’re curious.

Cheers old chap. For the good of The Wood!

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The Rovers return…

Gerald Reece flyer

Why not print out a few of these flyers and pass them around?

Top contributor, commentor and all round good egg David Evans has been busy over the last few weeks organising a treat for local history buffs in Brownhills and the wider community.

David has been back in correspondence with the elder statesman of Brownhills local history Gerald Reece, who last gave a talk in Brownhills in 2012. That event was also organised by David and raised £520 for MacMillan Cancer Support, and now the two have got together and organised another presentation on local history.

All this is quite remarkable considering Gerald moved to Devon some years ago, but still loves Brownhills and it’s history enough to continue his research.

Gerald will give his talk at Brownhills Methodist Church in Silver Street, Brownhills on 28th November, 2014. Gerald, of course, wrote that definitive work on our town, ‘Brownhills: A walk into history’, a book upon which this blog has leant quite heavily over the years.

This time, the presentation will be amplified, as I gather a few had trouble hearing last time, and there will also be a visual display along with the talk. The first part of this one will be concentrating on the Manor of Ogley Hay, and the second on the planned Brownhills new town in the mid nineteenth century.

Gerald is a fascinating and engaging man, expert in his field, and from what I can ascertain, has plenty of remarkable and new material to share. Seats for the 7:30pm talk are a snip at £3 a pop, and all proceeds will be going to Macmillan Cancer Support, a charity which I feel we all can get behind in their essential work.

I’d like to publicly thank both David and Gerald for their efforts and selfless contribution to the continued preservation and investigation of our local history. This will be a cracking night and I implore anyone interested in our communal past to attend.

If you wish to enquire further about the talk, you can mail David on dastaneva02 at aol dot com, or comment here. In order to gauge numbers expected to attend, it would be nice if anyone planning to go could comment on this post, please. The evening is pay at the door, so estimating numbers in advance could be tricky.

A simple ‘yes’ here would be very helpful to David if possible. Cheers.

Posted in Brownhills stuff, Clayhanger stuff, Environment, Events, Followups, Fun stuff to see and do, Local History, Local media, News, planning, Reader enquiries, Shared media, Shared memories, Social Media, Spotted whilst browsing the web, Walsall community, Walsall Wood stuff | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Stolen Landrover – please keep an eye out, folks

I’ve been contacted by reader Gemma Clarke on behalf of her pal Rebecca Sketchley King, who’s asked if I could possibly request readers look out for her stolen Black Landcover Defender, which was taken from Erdington Road, Aldridge tonight (Monday, 20th October 2014) between 7:40 and 7:55pm.

Rebecca posted the following message and above images on Facebook:

Land Rover Defender 90 TDI 5 Reg S2 JSK.

Taken from Erdington Road, Aldridge.. Next to St. Francis School. Taken tonight between 7.40pm and 7.55pm.

If anyone has seen or heard anything please can you get in touch! Please share!

Please, if you have any information on this theft, or see the vehicle around, please do contact West Midlands Police by dialling 101 or speak to Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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Building your new transport network… in 1974

busmap 1974

A 1974 guide to getting about Walsall, Cannock, Lichfield and Sutton by bus and rail. Click for a larger version

I’m hoping some of the bus and rail enthusiasts can help with this one – a few weeks ago I picked up a 40 year old bus route map for Walsall, Aldridge Lichfield, Brownhills and Cannock, and it’s an interesting little time capsule all of it’s own.

This is the leaflet that was handed out just after Midland Read services were pulled into the West Midlands Passenger Transport Executive – WMPTE – which was controlled and run by West Midlands Council Council and the individual boroughs (I Think).

Wallow in this, it’s great.

Four quid for a month’s free travel on busses? It’s a lot more than that now. Note there’s a reference to Birmingham ‘All Night’ services. All night? Really?

Also note the little rail map. Some interesting things to note there. No station at Telford, but one labeled ‘New Hadley’ between Oakengates and Wellington. Smethwick West served that grim estate, but Galton Bridge Station didn’t exist, and neither did Snow Hill and the Jewellery Line. Halstead was called Great Bar. No services north of Walsall yet, and some odd conjoined names; ‘Grimes Hill & Withall; Birches & Bilbrook; Vauxhall & Duddeston.

I welcome comment on this, and I know one regular used to drive at least some of these routes.

One thing that will surprise you – this flimsy, worn sheet cost more – by several orders – that the 6 foot long mining plan featured earlier. It’s an odd world.

Comments, clarifications? Leave them here, or mail me: BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com.

busmap1974 rear

This is worthy of study; some interesting snippets mentioned here. Click for a larger version.

Posted in Brownhills stuff, Clayhanger stuff, Environment, Followups, Fun stuff to see and do, Local History, Local media, Local politics, News, Shared media, Shared memories, Spotted whilst browsing the web, Walsall community, Walsall Council, Walsall Wood stuff | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Wood ‘n’ heart – a new book out now!


A new history book for Walsall Wood, by a local man. Some wonderfully off-beat stuff in here – and only £8. What’s not to love?

The young David Evans has kindly alerted me last week to a new history book on Walsall Wood, written by local author Clive Roberts who’s a lifelong Walsall Wood mon™, local historian and occasional contributor to the blog.

It’s a great follow up to Clive’s previous work ‘Snippets of local history in and around Shire Oak‘, which went down well with locals and soon sold out.

I asked Clive to send me a few words on his latest book, and he had this to say:

Hello Bob.

I’d just like to let you and the readers of the blog know that I have a new book on sale, its called Snippets of history in and around Walsall Wood.

Some of the subjects I have covered in the book include how Freizland Lane got its name, the lost Walsall Wood Institute, some local football teams, a few post cards of Walsall Wood, Walsall Wood folk up before the bench, the history of the Wheel Inn pub, plus lots more.

The book can be purchased from: Egans shop, High Street, Brownhills, also Walsall Wood Library and the Corner Shop, Friezland Lane, Shire Oak.

There are some books at Walsall Local History Centre as well.

In total there are 79 pages of history.

The book costs £8.

Best wishes to you Bob and the readers of the Blog.

Clive L Roberts

I haven’t got my copy yet, but when I can procure one I shall review it more extensively – but from what David was telling me, it really is rather good. I loved – as did so many of you – Clive’s detailed and thorough work on Shire Oak, and expect the same high quality research and personable style will be evident.

I will repeat this until I’m blue in the face: grab these local history books while you have the chance. There are so often printed in short runs, and soon become rare. I get continual enquiries for past books, and people end up paying fortunes for them on eBay and the like once they’ve sold out.

Thanks to David and Clive for letting me know, and look out for my review later in the week.

Posted in Brownhills stuff, Environment, Events, Followups, Fun stuff to see and do, Interesting photos, Local History, Local media, News, Reader enquiries, Shared media, Shared memories, Social Media, Spotted whilst browsing the web, Walsall community, Walsall Wood stuff | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Hunting Lodge

chasetown 9

1905 postcard, sent to Aldridge Lodge. But what of the place? Image kindly donated by Ruth Penrhyn-Lowe.

It’s often the case when compiling the blog that unconnected threads spring at tangents from original articles – and so it was last week when I featured Ruth Penrhyn-Lowe’s excellent scanned postcards in the awfully titled ‘Overcome with emulsion’ post.

One of the cards was addressed to a Mrs. J. Harrison at Aldridge Lodge, Walsall, and a quite involved and interesting comment thread sprang from it.

Untitled 9

Back in it’s day, Aldridge Lodge was quite some place, as this extract from the 1884 1:10,000 Ordnance Survey mapping shows. Click for a larger version.

As sometimes happens, a passing local historian chanced upon the thread – and Lynne Ingram, Secretary of the rather excellent Lynn and Stonnall Conservation & Historical Society is somewhat coincidentally giving a talk this Wednesday about her own research into Aldridge Lodge.

How serendipitous is that? Just lately, everyone is talking about synchronicity…

Lynne wrote:

Hello Bob.

For the past 2 years I have been researching Aldridge Lodge and have just noticed a postcard on your website – whenever I find something new I get quite exited – how sad is that!

However, I just thought you might be interested to know that I will be presenting this ‘hot off the press’ research for the first time at the Lynn & Stonnall Conservation and Historical Society on Wednesday next.

The talk takes place at 7:30pm Wednesday 22nd October 2014, at the Youth and Community Centre in Stonnall to which you, or indeed anyone who may be interested would be very welcome.

Information about Aldridge Lodge over the centuries has been incredibly difficult to find but after 2 years I feel that I am getting to the bottom of it.

However, it is still relatively sketchy and I am hoping that people who attend the meeting may hold some keys to unlock some of the mystery.

Would it be possible for you to ask the lady who supplied the scanned image of the postcard of Aldridge Lodge if she would agree for me to keep a copy on record – not for use in my presentation next week.

With regards

Lynne Ingram
Lynn and Stonnall Conservation & Historical Society

I’d point out at this point that the Conservation & Historical Society are a wonderful group of dedicated historians who do this stuff thoroughly and well, and I have great respect for them. This talk will be well worth popping along to.

Thanks to Lynne for the heads – it just goes to show, you never know where a post will lead…

chasetown 8

Often, really interesting comment threads evolve from only tenuously connected subjects. It’s why I love doing this and it’s all good. Postcard scan generously supplied by Ruth Penrhyn-Lowe.

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Walsall Wood own Sphinx


Some great football happening at Oak Park these days…

Walsall Wood FC were at home to Coventry Sphinx yesterday afternoon (Saturday, 18th October 2014), and were back on stonking form with 90 minutes of wonderfully entertaining football, in which they beat the Cov boys 2-1.

Bill Shaw has submitted an excellent match report, as he always does – thanks, Bill!


Bill sent this report:

Hiya Bob,

Back to winning ways with local lad Scott Cooper (the quiet man of the squad) hitting an absolute peach of a goal to give us all 3 points.

Walsall Wood 2 V 1 Coventry Sphinx

A nightmare start for Walsall Wood, keeper Dutton saving bravely at the feet of Max Black. The ball  was then despatched into the Wood half, Giovanni Dainty running from right to left across the face of the Wood box before laying the ball back to Luke Downes, 25 yards out to hit a rising drive into the top corner.

Jack Rooney put a back header inches wide of his own goal on eight minutes and then five minutes later Harry Harris lobbed the visiting keeper, the ball again the wrong side of the post. Drew Aiton then found Harris in the box on 17 minutes, his low drive bringing a full length save from Dutton.

Rooney [not Mr. Potatohead himself, surely? - Bob] turned provider on 21 minutes, powering forward from halfway and putting Rikkie Cutting in on goal, his low drive bringing a superb full length save from Mario Kisiel.

Wood equalised on 57 minutes, Ben Evans fading across the face of the Sphinx box from right to left before finding Aiton, who cut inside and hit a vicious low drive that Dutton at full stretch pushed away. The defence couldn’t get the ball clear, Black pouncing to fire into the roof of the net.

Then 11 minutes later, a goal that would have graced any football ground in the world, from a right wing corner the ball was half cleared to Scott Cooper 30 yards out, he flicked the ball up into the air, turned and then hit an absolute screamer into the top right hand corner.

Walsall Wood could have added to their total but were almost made to pay at the very end, Sphinx raced out of defence, the ball was crossed into the right of the box, substitute Adam Bilic timed his run to perfection only to fire a first time effort into orbit.

Three well deserved points, an entertaining 90 minutes and it was good to see the Clayhanger Kid, Brian Stringer and former Chairman Geoff Powell in attendance.

So it’s Hednesford on Tuesday in the Staffs Senior Cup, kickoff 7.45 pm., don’t be late.

Bill Shaw.

Thanks to Bill, for an honest, entertaining and very fan-focussed match report, as ever. Really an honour to feature them here.

Check out Walsall Wood FC’s website here.

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