A COMPETITIVE football league match has been played at Middleham for the first time in 12 years.

With Leyburn Town Football Club seeking a new venue to play their matches and nearby Middleham wanting to re-establish football in the town, both saw it as the opportunity to reach their respective "goals".

The owners of an appropriate venue, Middleham Sports and Community Wellbeing Association ( MSCWA ) already had an established community garden, cricket pitch and space to expand further. Seeking to extend their goodwill they created and hired a football pitch to Leyburn FC on a partnership basis whereby in return for help on the grounds and pitch, costs would be low.

Over the past month a team from MSCWA have set-to and produced an excellent playing surface enabling Leyburn to continue in the Wensleydale Creamery League.

Initially, Leyburn were helped out by Carperby Football Club with training facilities but from late August they were training at Middleham. The footballers helped out refurbishing the dugouts and re-painting some second-hand goal posts.

Appropriately, in front of small "crowd" of 50 the first game played at Middleham was against Carperby. Some of the players who took part in the last game at Middleham in 2008 were present.

A keenly-contested match, Carperby were in front for most of the game, but final result was honours even for a 3-3 draw.

Much of the preparatory work of grass cutting and roping-of the new car parking area was completed by Richard Fletcher and Nigel Hopper with Kathy Wheeler dealing with the football club.

Spokesman for the MSCWA Richard Fletcher said: “New ‘go slow’ signs on the lane and direction signs will also let visitors know where they can exercise.

“The main expense has been footed by Middleham Sports and Community Wellbeing Association as we can see the investment for future hire of the pitch and use by a Middleham team.”