Toolstation NCEL Premier Division
Hemsworth Miners Welfare
Hemsworth Miners Welfare are beginning an exciting new era as the 3G pitch is laid. With the off-field work flourishing, can the first team continue their constant year-on-year-on progression?
Luke Danville & Luke Potter
Danville replaced the legendary Wayne Benn as player/manager in November 2019 while former Barnsley defender Potter arrived during the following summer. Provided the season finishes, this will be the pair’s first full campaign in charge.
Opening Five Fixtures
Bottesford Town (a), Redcar Athletic – FA Cup (a), Barton Town (h), Knaresborough Town (a), Sherwood Colliery (h).
In: Kane Swinburn (Athersley Rec), Connor Brunt (Worksop Town), Dan Morton (unattached).
Out: Brett Souter (Brighouse Town), Declan Parker (Bridlington Town), Jack Wilson (Armthorpe Welfare), Matty Hughes (Armthorpe Welfare).
One to Watch
The stalwart defender has spent nearly his whole Non League career with Hemsworth since breaking through from the under 19s in the early 2010s.
Luke Danville reckons there is no pressure on Hemsworth Miners Welfare going into the new season.
Rewind 12 months and Danville and Luke Potter were stepping into the unknown with a rebuilt Hemsworth side.
It was a journey of discovery that turned into a successful as the Wells picked up some tremendous victories against heavyweight teams such as Staveley Miners Welfare and AFC Mansfield.
Now in 2021, Danville feels his side can play with freedom and without the weight of expectation.
“Like when I spoke to you last year I think it is a free year again,” Danville told Non League Yorkshire.
“Nobody is expecting us to do much as they did last year.
“I think it is a free hit.
“With the teams (Yorkshire Amateur, Liversedge and Bridlington Town) going out of the league, you look at it now and it is wide open.
“We surprised a few people last season. Nobody expected us to beat Staveley 1-0 in the first game of the season.
“I think the biggest problem has not been beating the top sides, but not beating the sides we should be beating if we want to challenge.
“That’s something me and Potts are working on to get the right mentality into the players.
“They have to treat every game like a cup final.
“We were picking points up against teams when people didn’t expect us to, but then getting beat in the game after and having no consistency.
“It is a mental thing.
“But we’ll see how the season goes. I’ve seen who people have tipped for the promotion spots so people are writing us off already. We’ll take the season as it comes and play with no pressure.”
The installation of the 3G pitch is a project led by former Crystal Palace midfielder and ex-FC Halifax Town manager Jamie Fullarton.
The superb surface has been in use for several months and Danville agrees the Wells could have an edge in home games.
“It will give us an advantage against teams who don’t play on it regularly,” he said.
“It will give us an advantage against teams who like to get the ball forward early.
“Our pitch is tight anyway.
“We’ve always liked to play football and against teams who like to load it on us the winter months have sometimes found us out and it has suited the other teams.
“Maybe in the winter months the 3G pitch may suit us a bit more.”
Fairly quiet could be the phrase used to describe Hemsworth’s recruitment.
However, Danville has confirmed further incomings are on the horizon.
“(There’s) just (been) a few comings and goings,” he said.
“Obviously we lost Brett (Souter) but we knew about him early doors.
“Declan Parker has gone to challenge himself at Brid which I’ve no problems with.
“Jack (Wilson) has gone to Armthorpe and Matty Hughes felt he had a better chance of getting regular first team at Armthorpe.
“It looks like he has done well in pre-season.
“The lads who have come in during pre-season have been class.
“We’re still hoping to sign a couple more.
“Everyone is feeling the same pressure (on the recruitment front).
“With the NPL starting later, a few who have big squads are going to struggle to keep everyone happen.
“It is the same in our league for the clubs who have 19 or 20 lads signed on,”
Hemsworth ended a very disjointed pre-season with the penalty shoot-out defeat to Ossett United in the Steve Kelly Memorial Trophy clash on Tuesday night.
Danville actually scored in the 2-2 draw and he admits the last few weeks have been tough.
“It has been disruptive and there’s been no fluidity to it,” he said.
“We’ve not just had to call a few games off, we had to call off a few training sessions when the rules were a bit tighter.
“So there’s been no chance to get any rhythm. It has been stop-start all the way through.
“We lost the Pontefract game (and were unable to rearrange it), but we managed to rearrange the Ossett game to tonight.
“Although it is a bit close to the opening game it gives us the chance to get some more minutes in the tank as some of the lads haven’t even been able to make the five games.
“We’re not the only club, others are struggling for minutes in pre-season.
“It might take four or five games to get everyone up to speed, but that’s the world we’re living in today.”
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.
Our work is playing 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.
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.