A century, five 4s and four 6s – the football club who score like a cricket team


Boldon CA travelled to Heaton Stannington on February 19th with justifiable trepidation.

Levi Cooper’s goals have turned the Northern League D2 predictions upside down
Photo: Mal Cooper Boldon CA

Heaton were runaway leaders of the Nothern League Division Two with 68 points from 30 games, double figures ahead of their nearest challengers.

With only one side guaranteed automatice promotion, few on Tyneside were questioning that the Mighty Stan were already heading up with at least nineother clubs  battling each other for the four play-off slots.

It looked inevitable then and it looks inevitable now.

You could be forgiven for thinking that Boldon manager David Crumbie would regard this trip therefore as one of their less important matches given they had fixtures to follow against Jarrow, Easington Colliery and Newcastle University, three of their direct rivals for those playoff slots.

What he had forgotten as he set off on the 9.2 mile journey for this Tyneside derby was that his side began the day on an incredible 98 league goals and there was an outside chance of celebrating a century.

It looked unlikely when Stan took a 28th minute lead courtesy of Liam McBryde.

However just before half time, Daniel Hopper was first to react to his own shot being blocked and he hammered the rebound into the top of the net for Boldon goal number 99.

The bat was raised to the pavilion on 72 when club and league top scorer Levi Collins took advantage of come confusion between Dan Regan and Michael Hall  to tap in and bring up the club century (see video below).

You might think that would have inspired celebrations on the touchline but that was far from the case as Crumbie explained:

“If I am honest I didn’t realise we had hit the 100 goals or could achieve this against Heaton. It wasn’t until after one of the committee men told me. It’s a fantastic achievement given this is our first season at this level.”

Boldon finally beat the league leaders with a shock 3-2 win after Collins scored an 88th minute winner.

Levi Cooper scores Boldon’s 100th goal at Heaton/Video: Heaton Stannington FC

When asked to assess why the newly promoted club has become such a goalscoring outfit, Crumbie though was also keen to point out they do not neglect the defensive side of the game or the defenders who go forward seeking goals:

“We try and play always looking to be on the front foot and getting as many men forward as we can. We never go into any game looking to draw or be negative, we will always look to get forward and cause problems for the opposition. Myself and the couches give freedom to the team in the final third, but demand they work hard defensively.

“To be fair we are all as one, so the way we play and attack, defenders are just as important at our front players.

“Our leading scorer Levi Collins has 39 goals and Oscar Taylor who left the club in November had 20 goals, but we have goals from all over the team. We have a really good group of lads who all work as a unit so it’s nice to see.”

Manager David Crumbie had no idea his side were close to a century before the Heaton game
Photo: Mrs Crumbie

Scoring five fours and four sixes on their way to 100, the newly promoted side have shocked some of the mainstays of the Northern League Division 2.  Esh Winning, Brandon United,  Birtley Town and Blyth Town were hit for four.

Bedlington Terriers, Esh Winning, Durham City shipped six. Poor Willington were  hit for a four and a six on successive weekends, and there’s a less crickety five, seven and a ten to be thrown in there too.

James Nichols, manager of promotion rivals Carlisle City, is sponsored by Prost International.

He was full of praise not just for Boldon’s forwards but the entirety of what they have brought to the division:

“Boldon are one of if not the best footballing side we’ve faced. They ceate a lot of chances and will continue to be in the mix until the end of the season.”

They only knocked three in the following game when Brandon United visited with old man Collins turning in his 39th of the season.

On March 12th, they make the three mile trip north to mid-table Jarrow and he’s hoping to ‘turn 40’.

Boldon were 15 points clear at the top of the Wearside League in 2020/21 when COVID curtailed the season. It took an appeal to ensure their elevation to the Northern Counties where Tyneside meets Wearside (meets Carlisle).

Boldon beat Brandon United 3-1 in their last outing/ Video: Boldon CA You Tube


Crumbie is still hopeful of a play-off place but admits that after their promotion from the Wearside League, his thoughts were less ambitious:

“Our target at the start of the season was to just survive in the league.

“We knew we had some good players who have played this level and higher, but with it being our first season and the unknown of some of the teams it always has that surprise element.

“Once we settled into the league and had played most of the sides, we started to grow in confidence, and with that we have put ourself in with a shot of reaching the play offs this season.”

The club’s greatest claim to fame is better known for his exploits in London.

The Sam Bartram Terrace

Boldon Villa produced Charlton Atheltic’s legendary Charlton Athletic goalkeeper Sam Bartram as their most significant contribution to upper league football folklore.

The ground now has a small terrace named after Bartram which is sponsored by the Charlton Athletic museum.

In 1947, Boldon Villa became Boldon Colliery Welfare, the same year the National Coal Board bought the pit from the Harton Coal Company.

As to why it was ever called Boldon Villa, there is no concrete and agreed reason but it may have just been a shortening of Boldon Village.

The club has oddly retained the nickname Villa but if there is a building that is foremost in the minds of their fans and central to the club’s identity, it is the colliery.

The pit opened in 1869 and closed on June 24, 1982 as part of Margaret Thatcher’s planned pit closure program and assualt on the eeconmic power of the miners’ union, the NUM. 970 jobs were lost. 805 of them below the ground.

At its peak in the 1930s, the pit employed over 2000 men below ground.

However the club has stayed true to its roots – quite literally:

“We have always tried to stay true to our heritage and we have committee members who worked in the pits. The pitch we play on is on the old pit site so we always have that connection as well, Crumbie told Prost International.”

The Boldon Colliery Band appeared in episode 13 of the iconic Novocastrian tv sitcom When the Boat Comes In, with James Bolam and Rodney Bewes.

Now the Quadrus Centre at Boldon Business Park houses entrepreneurial businesses and acts as a gateway to South Tyneside on the main A19 trunk road.

Boldon Colliery closed in 1982

Looking forward to the remaining games, Boldon fan Jack Greenwell, told us:

“From a fan’s perspective, we have no fears for the rest of the season. The hope is we continue our approach to games with the same fearlessness and togetherness that has seen us score 104 Goals and counting.

We have no expectations, just buckling up and enjoying the ride.”

The manager himself was just as keen and stressed too the enjoyment factor in watching his team:

“We are just hoping to finish the season strong and continue to work hard and build on the great work we have done both on and off the field this season.

We have had some downs this season i.e. the stand blowing down and theft at the ground. But the ups have been excellent, and competing in the Northern League for the first time in the club’s history is such a proud and exciting time to be involved with Boldon.”

With eight games to go, the majority against teams in the bottom half of the table, there are plenty grounds to belief the ride will be enjoyable.

Also by this author:

Best non-league name? Meet Billingham Synthonia from the town that inspired Huxley’s “Brave New World”

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