Teams come together for annual Les Alderson Memorial Cup

An Ashington XI beat Bedlington Terriers’ 1999 squad in an annual charity match for a good cause.

It was another successful afternoon as former players from Ashington and Bedlington, and a good turn out from the public, came together to honour the late Les Alderson at Woodhorn Lane on Sunday.

Ashington XI manager Steve Harmison said: “This is the one day of the year that we always enjoy. From my personal point of view, it’s a bit more special because I only see some of the lads once a year, some of whom I played football with before I had my professional career as a cricketer.

“The Bedlington lads are fantastic and the 1999 squad were a special group.

“I watched them as a kid and trained with them a lot, even when I was playing cricket and obviously when my brother James was playing for them.

“They were a special team, probably one of the best non league teams in the late 1990s and early years after 2000, so it was great to see some of them again.”

“It’s a community club here at Ashington and it was great to see kids of 13 and 14 years of age on the pitch before the game.

“However there is a bigger picture here and that is about a fantastic man in Les Alderson who held this club together and helped them out – out of his own pocket – over the years.

“Some of the players playing for the club now should think themselves lucky that Les was around at the time because there were some dark days at Portland Park and he was instrumental in keeping the club afloat.

“Not many of the Bedlington lads would probably know Les but they know what club people are like and for every club there is a Les Alderson.”

As for the game, which saw Harmison’s side win 2-1, he added: “Today it was about raising money for a great cause – Motor Neurone Disease Association – and the turn out was great again.

“Both sides were fantastic although the result was irrelevant.

“The legs may have gone on some of the players but you can still see the touch and passing is still there.”

Mel Harmison, manager of the Bedlington squad, said: “We have played three matches and are 2-1 down, but our plan will be to come back with a vengeance next year when we will have a full squad.

“I thought we played some good football today and were a bit unlucky.

“We have thoroughly enjoyed the game and it’s been a good day.”

Wayne Rigg and Ian Herron netted with goals in quick succession during the first half for Ashington, who had Premier League referee Michael Oliver making a guest appearance as a striker.

Lee Anderson, who switched sides and wore the red shirt of Bedlington as a second half substitute, reduced the arrears for the Terriers quarter of an hour into the second period.