Richmond Town Reserves v Northallerton Town Reserves, Wednesday 10th August 2022, 6.30pm

I’d been hoping to watch a game at Earls Orchard for a while. It’s the pitch that’s alongside Richmond Castle and occasionally pops up in groundhopper threads about picturesque venues. Richmond Town played their games there until joining the Wearside League and then moved to the Dave Clark Arena, which sounds grand, but in reality is a school pitch.

Richmond Town Reserves play in the less demanding Wensleydale League and when I noticed that they had a pre-season friendly against Northallerton Town Reserves at Earls Orchard, I thought I’d go along.

Richmond is an ideal location to go for a walk and so Jen and I turned up a couple of hours prior to kick-off and took Henry for a stroll along the River Swale. The Coast to Coast National Trail runs alongside the river for a while and as we thought we’d be unlikely to get lost if we kept the river in sight this seemed like a simple option.

The path took us through some fields of sheep and kept returning to the river, which allowed Henry some drinking opportunities. Wildlife sighting were rare, with rabbits in a field being the highlight. There were lots of people around though with some family barbecues being held on the river banks and groups of teenagers dipping in and out of the water.

We were back at Earls Orchard in time for kick-off and, as suspected, the castle did provide a spectacular backdrop. Richmond were in blue with Northallerton dressed up as Newcastle. There weren’t many people watching, maybe twenty or so most of the time, and I suspect some of the lads in the crowd were either first teamers or squad members who hadn’t been selected.

Not a lot happened in the first half but the game came to life in the second half with Richmond scoring two penalties in quick succession. They added a third on the hour before Northallerton pulled one back from a spot kick of their own.

Richmond had the game well under control though and rattled home another three goals before the end for a comprehensive victory. If I lived in Richmond I’d probably pop along every week, set up a camping chair, and watch the football in front of a special backdrop.

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