Dodworth reaping the benefits of exodus of players from NCEL to Step 7

Dodworth Miners Welfare 5-2 Hall Green United

A beaming Calan Rollinson celebrating his goal in Dodworth Miners Welfare’s 5-2 win over Hall Green United

The number of players quitting the NCEL for Step 7 appears to be rising weekly. Certainly in Barnsley, a mass exodus is the right phrase. The main reason is clear as day – travelling and the potential midweek fixture carnage if the season actually does start. 

The Sheffield & Hallamshire Senior Cup Premier Division offers a good standard of football, without players having to ridiculously go to Skegness Town on a Saturday or Tuesday.

Visit Dodworth Miners Welfare and you have the ex-Nostell Miners Welfare Owen brothers, Jack and Liam, as well as the Rollinson brothers, Calan and Connor, the former Worsbrough Bridge stalwarts, all wearing the red and black stripes of the Barnsley-based community village club. 

The quartet are loving and thriving playing hassle-free football at Dodworth. Inadvertently as the first players to publicly step down because of travelling concerns, they are also the poster boys for Step 7 football as the news effectively put out a bat signal out on behalf of Step 7 clubs shining at NCEL players considering their options.

“You talk to players in the NCEL and the travelling is going to kill them this year, especially with how many midweek games they’ve got,” Dodworth manager Darren Young told Non League Yorkshire.

“We won’t know (how many) until the season starts, but you hear of a lot of players dropping down. Wombwell Town in the Division below have attracted some decent players, Wombwell Main have and you have Silkstone in Division Two and they have got NCEL players in their teams.

“We have signed four and a lot of the lads know the four of them from previous as I think some of them play in the same Sunday League team so it wasn’t a shock the kind of quality we were getting. But we have quality already so they’ve made our squad stronger and added to that quality.

“What we have done is get our name elevated. A lot of people are coming down to watch and other clubs are coming to watch us and I think they’ll walk away and say ‘Dodworth are doing some good stuff down here’.

“You can see on social media that the signings have created a buzz around the club. There’s a lot of people talking about them and what it has done is great is get other players interested in playing at this level because they realise clubs like ourselves are doing things right.

“I think more players are going to come into this league because they understand it is a decent league. I’ve had a few phone calls from players and I have been surprised by some of them who want to come down. 

“But we’re happy with what we have got. We’re not looking for anymore players, we just want to keep the players we have got happy.

“We also want to make sure the squad is a nucleus of Dodworth players because if we are successful the village will back us, but they won’t back us if we haven’t got Dodworth lads in the side.”

Dodworth manager Darren Young
Former Worsbrough captain Connor Rollinson is one of four Dodworth players who have quit the NCEL
Liam Owen in action during Dodworth’s win
The Rollinson brothers enjoying friendly banter with Billy Mole, the Nostell starlet who will be playing in the West Yorkshire League for Hall Green this season

The Rollinson’s and Liam Owen were at the heart of Dodworth’s victory over West Yorkshire League Premier Division side Hall Green United in their final pre-season fixture which had the local Non League great and good watching in Showman Ryan Poskitt, now finding fame as the talisman of the Silkstone All Stars, and former Athersley and Nostell joint boss Jason Dodsworth.

Even their opponents had NCEL talent in their ranks as the Owen brothers’ ex-Nostell colleague Billy Mole is going to be turning out for Hall Green this year. Mole was Hall Green’s best player by a country mile, but his efforts were in vain as the home side out-classed their visitors, who are one of the stronger sides in the West Yorkshire League.

Bear in mind as well as that Jack Owen was not in the side, Dodworth’s dominant display would have still given an NCEL team a run for their money.

Quality and experience runs right through the very solid Dodworth side which faced Hall Green. Nine of the starting line-up have significant NCEL experience. Goalkeeper Josh Herring, plus cousins Ben and Sam Severn, Rich Lavery, plus the Rollinson’s and Liam Owen have donned Worsbrough and in some cases other NCEL clubs’ jerseys. 

Simon Rogers and prodigal son Danny Barlow have scored season-defining goals for Ossett Town and Penistone Church in the past and played for other NCEL teams. Barlow remains a class act and would fit into any NCEL side, Premier Division or Division One.

The new lads have key roles and are clearly enjoying their football. Ex-Worsbrough right-back Connor Rollinson has transformed himself into a shouty, but effective midfield general. Man of the match Liam Owen will carve open up many teams this year, while the immense Calan Rollinson is reaping the rewards of his intense work in the nutritional department during lockdown as Hall Green could not handle his electric speed. Until his early second half withdrawal, he was in the driving seat for the man of the match award.

Aaron Brotherton’s cross or shot heads towards Calan Rollinson
Rollinson was able to ‘shin’ the ball home
Rollinson was pleased with his goal

Dodworth shot out of the blocks. Striker Aaron Brotherton did all the hard work as he beat a defender on the left-side by the dead-ball. He made his way to the edge of the penalty area and sent a ball over towards the far post where a nervy-looking Calan Rollinson was lurking with intent. Perhaps it was more by luck than judgement when the net was bulged as the youngster enjoyed a moment of good fortunate as the ball accidentally ricocheted off his shin and past the visiting goalkeeper. 

Their lead should been far greater by the interval. Owen missed an absolutely sitter moments after blazing the ball out of the ground in an effectively open goal situation. Calan Rollinson went close when attempting a Paulo Di Canio-style volley.

Jack Ripley doubles Dodworth’s lead
Dodworth have great facilities for Step 7 and if they had floodlights installed, they would be a great addition to the NCEL
Billy Mole in battle for Hall Green

Substitute Jack Ripley eventually doubled the lead with a superbly-hit effort from the edge of the penalty area.

Dodworth made several changes in the second half, as you would expect in a friendly and that disrupted their play. Mole dragged Hall Green back into the contest with a deflected from 18 yards after a corner was half-cleared.

Barlow delivered his magic touch to restore the two-goal lead with a delightful curled free kick which found the bottom corner.

However, that’s when Hall Green began to exert pressure. For ten minutes, the visitors were on top and Dodworth could not keep hold of the ball. Striker Jamie Miller, a Nostell throwback from the Paul Lines and Des Hazel eras, then hit the goal of the day. If it was a game of poker, Miller raised the stakes on free kicks. From 30 yards out, he planted his in the left-hand top corner – an absolute beauty.

Action from Dodworth 5-2 Hall Green
Ex-Nostell striker Jamie Miller scored a wonderful free kick
Action from Dodworth 5-2 Hall Green
Action from Dodworth 5-2 Hall Green
A spectacular own goal made it 4-2
Danny Barlow celebrates his second goal which increased Dodworth’s lead to 5-2

Until Barlow came back on after earlier coming off, it was a nervy period for Dodworth. When the forward stepped back on the field, the victory was sown up in a matter of minutes. Barlow’s free kick was spectacularly turned in by a brilliant diving header from a visiting player for number four. That flattened Hall Road and Dodworth showed a ruthless streak which will stand them in good stead if they are to challenge for honours this year by adding a further goal following a brutal surge forward.

Owen powerfully broke away in the build-up by racing down the right-wing before crossing for Barlow who lifted the ball over the goalkeeper from just inside the penalty area. 

That concluded a successful afternoon for Dodworth and Young was a happy man.

“We’ve been starting quite slowly in a lot of our games in pre-season so this week we focussed on starting fast and the lads did that,” he said.

“You are always going to lose momentum when you bring players on, but we have a big squad and we want to keep everyone fit because out of the 20 we have signed on they can all play.

“People look at results, but we’re looking at how we play and our own business. We’re happy with pre-season and that was a perfect game for us because we played well and it was a step-up on opposition from the week before.

“The week before the opposition weren’t great and we were probably in a false sense of security as to where we were. This result has reinforced that we are a decent team and we’re where we want to be when the season starts.

“The biggest headache we have now is that today a lot of players have put their hands up for next week for the starting eleven.”

Next week is when the County Senior League is meant to be begin and Dodworth are due to host Oughtilbridge. Kick off 3pm.

Dodworth Starting Eleven

Josh Herring, Ben Severn, Sam Severn, Simon Rogers, Rich Lavery, Connor Rollinson, Liam Owen, Jamie Horbury, Aaron Brotherton, Danny Barlow, Calan Rollinson.

Man of the Match

Liam Owen

Liam Owen in action for Dodworth

If you have enjoyed reading Non League Yorkshire over the past few months, please consider making a donation to the not-for-profit organisation NLY Community Sport which provides sport for children and adults with disabilities and learning difficulties. CLICK HERE to visit the JustGiving page. There is a video at the bottom of the page showing our work.

NLY Community Sport, run by James Grayson and Connor Rollinson, has always had combatting social isolation at the top of our objectives when running our Disability Football teams. As we slowly return to ‘action’, our work will play an important role in reintroducing our players, who have disabilities and learning difficulties, back into society.

We have six teams, a mixture of Junior and Adult teams – Nostell MW DFC, Pontefract Pirates, Selby Disability Football Club and the South Yorkshire Superheroes (Barnsley) – across Yorkshire.

We have enjoyed great success over the past three years. Several of our players have represented Mencap GB in Geneva, including Billy Hobson from Selby and Greg Smith, whose story is quite inspiring.

Like most organisations, we have been affected financially by the Coronavirus and because of the cancelled Lucille Rollinson Memorial Tournament, we are down on projected income for the year and we have incurred losses in the last few months.

We have not been hit as badly as other organisations, but we do need raise £2000 to put us back at the level we were at in mid-March and enable us to make a difference once again to our players’ lives in the future, without having financial worries. Several of our players are suffering from effects of the lockdown and we are determined to be in the strongest position possible to provide services for them.

Any amount raised above £2000 will be put towards new projects (when the world returns to normal) designed to further benefit people with disabilities and learning difficulties. You can learn more about the organisation HERE and on our Facebook page.

Watch the video below to see highlights from our three years as an organisation. The video was produced for our players at the end of March to remind them of good memories from the last three years.

One thought on “Dodworth reaping the benefits of exodus of players from NCEL to Step 7

  1. What a bad report. Players moaning about travelling…that’s the league!

    Dodworth would be a good addition to NCEL? So these players would leave would they?

    Smacks of players wanting to be big fish in small pond!

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