Bay Athletic have a brand new home at Brackenhall – but they are plotting the same old success.
The Huddersfield side have had a stranglehold on the West Riding County Amateur League in recent times, winning six titles in the last eight seasons.
Last season’s championship success, accompanied by their fourth straight Huddersfield FA Challenge Cup triumph and an appearance in the West Riding FA Challenge Cup final, was achieved despite a nomadic existence.
Bay, who left Canalside when Town began redeveloping what is now their impressive training complex, played games at Overthorpe, North Huddersfield Trust School and Ossett Town as they waited for work to be completed on the pitch at North Field Hall.
And even this season, they forfeited home advantage against Storthes Hall, who are now based at Warrenside, and played a game at Laund Hill.
Now the waiting is over, and the first game at North Field, once the home of former District League kingpins Brackenhall United, was marked with a 5-2 victory over Salts, putting Bay sixth in the table, four points behind leaders Ovenden WR with a game in hand.
Kitson Gayle scored twice, while Nathan James, Iwan Healey and Craig Burns also counted for a side which includes former professional Colin Alcide, who played for Brackenhall before enjoying stints at Emley, Altrincham, Lincoln, York, Hull, Cambridge and Exeter amongst other clubs.
Bay are managed jointly by Marcus Mitchell and Craig Waterworth, who have had to cope with the loss of leading players like Keiran Ryan to Brighouse Town, Brighton Mugadza and Sam Jerome to AFC Emley and Steve Smith to Golcar United.
Meanwhile reserve team manager Marlon Adams has become manager of Lower Hopton, of the WRCAL First Division, the same section as Bay’s second string, with former Bay player Steve Perrin returning to take the reins along with David Todd.
“There’s been a lot of change over the last two years, players have come and gone and it’s not been easy having to move around different grounds, but now we have the chance to get settled again,” said Bay secretary Kevin Burns.
“Problems with pitch drainage and last winter’s poor weather put us well behind schedule, but the waiting is over now and it’s great to be at the new ground.”
Former Huddersfield Giants rugby league player Basil Richards is spearheading the North Field Hall community project.
And Burns added: “Basil has done a fantastic job and has helped us create links with Deighton Juniors, which in time, should provide players for our senior sides.”
Bay Reserves were 4-3 winners at Tingley Athletic.