Est. 1979


Bilsthorpe Miners Welfare Sports Ground, Eakring Road, Bilsthorpe Tel: 07866 590693

Ground Capacity


Home Strip

 Away Strip


Record Attendance

Who are ya? The Bees
What Division are you in? Nottinghamshire Senior League  - Division One
Websites www.matrixgradefc.co.uk


You must have come in a taxi

 From Nottingham - Take the A60 northbound for 4.9 miles. At roundabout, take the second exit for the A614 (Doncaster). At next roundabout after 7 miles (White Post Farm) , turn right onto the A617 Kirklington Road. After 1 mile turn left onto Farnsfield Road. Continue for 2 mils, and the Bilsthorpe Miners Welfare Sports Ground is on the left, just before the railway bridge.

From Mansfield - Take the A617 (Newark) for 7 miles. At junction with the A614, continue for 1.1 miles before turning left into Kirklington Road. After 1 mile turn left onto Farnsfield Road. Continue for 2 mils, and the Bilsthorpe Miners Welfare Sports Ground is on the left, just before the railway bridge.

From the North - Leave the A1 at junction with A614 & continue on A614 for 11 miles. Turn left onto Eakring Road, then first right. The ground is 0.5 miles on your RHS, after the railway bridge.


      Stagecoach East Midlands No.27 (Mansfield  - Eakring); Veolia No. 227 (Newark - Edwinstowe); Veolia No.29b (Newark - Bilsthorpe)

   Mansfield - 9 miles. Catch one of the above buses from Mansfield Bus Station next to the train station.

For a map of the location, Click here.


My garden shed is bigger than this

As anyone with a passing knowledge of the history of the British game will recognise, works football sides are an endemic part of the national game. After all, Manchester United, started life as a team for Newton Heath railway workers, Arsenal was once a squad of munitions workers and one of the English game's greatest managers, Brian Clough, began his career at the ICI works team, Billingham Synthonia.

It is perhaps no surprise then to learnt that Matrixgrade, a demolitions firm, were formed by a group of textile manufacturers at the company Wright & Dobson in 1979. Based on Carlton Road, just to the east of the City of Nottingham, Wright & Dobson had been carrying out dyeing and fabric printing for more than 100 years, so it perhaps appeared a little overdue when Stephen Farmery founded Wright & Dobson Football Club.

In the early days, the team trained every day across the road from the Wrights and Dobson factory, on King Edwards Park. They only played friendly matches with other Sunday teams for the first six months, before beginning to take things a little more seriously. In 1980, they joined a Sunday morning league, playing the likes of the Royal Oak, Plough and Harrow and Hucknall Colliery Welfare (now the Conference North outfit, Hucknall Town.

They remained in this league until the mid 80's, when they took the decision to switch to Saturday football in the Spartan League. In the late 80's, the Club severed its links with Wright & Dobson, assuming the name of its new sponsor Old Rose Football Club, a pub in the Radford area of the City. Here, the club would  go on to win the double once and the Spartan League Senior Cup twice. In total they won this cup six times, more than any over team since 1925.

As the team grew, greater sponsorship was required, and in 1989 they assumed the name of their new sponsor, Matrixgrade. Wright & Dobson has since been demolished, having gone into receivership. Somewhat ironic, given the business of the present club sponsor.

In the early 90's, The Bees, so called form their yellow and black club shirts, left the Spartan league for the Notts Combination, finishing runners up. The following season, they joined the Notts Amateur League, winning the league twice. In 1997, they moved to the Notts Alliance, winning Divison Two in their first season. However, the wheels then came off, with The Bees forced to leave, as their ground facilities at Annesley Welfare did not meet the required standard. They went back to the Notts Amateur League, where they stayed for a couple of years before moving to the NSL in 2007.

The Farmery family are still heavily involved with the running of The Bees, with Stephen as Manager. Indeed, their home ground was renamed 'The John Farmery Ground' in 2006, in honour of their departed Treasurer of 20-odd years, though it was still affectionately known as 'the Hive'.

Matrixgrade spent a significant time and money in restructuring the Hive, so it was quite a shock when halfway through the 2007/08 season they decided to uproot ten miles east to the former colliery village of Bilsthorpe. However, given the facilities on offer at the Bilsthorpe Miners Welfare Sports Ground, it becomes clear why this was such an attractive option for The Bees.

The setting is predominantly rural, with rolling fields to the north and east of the complex. Other than the tranquil location, what stands out at the lair is the vastness & the tidiness of the facilities on offer. You will find no stands or floodlights here, but it has plenty to offer.

The entrance to the Ground is guarded by two regal wrought iron gates - known as the George Lancaster Memorial Gates. Upon entry, you will be greeted by a smart little wooden turnstile shed, attached to which is a placard displaying the Club's name. It is here, on the Eakring Road side of the Ground, where all of The Bees facilities are housed. The Clubhouse itself is a large brick built building with a triangular roof and distinctive chimney breast perched above. Additionally on the south side, to the left of the entrance, is another is a modern brick building, alongside which lies one of the largest pitch rollers you'll find anywhere within the county of Nottinghamshire. 

The main pitch, upon which The Bees ply their trade, is situated close to the Clubhouse. It is cordoned off by a permanent, white painted, metal pitchside railing on the southern half of the Ground. The northern half is only roped off on match days, as a permanent structure would infringe onto the neighboring cricket pitch. On the south side of the pitch are two fair sized, white painted, dug outs. Each has a tarpaulin roof attached, held aloft by two metal poles. 

To the west of the pitch is the village of Bilsthorpe, until recent times split into 'old' and 'new' by a railway bridge. Old Bilsthorpe, dominated by St.Margaret's Church which dates back to 1663, is not so visible. However, the housing estate, built for the migrating colliery workers, is on the Ground's doorstep. 

To the south of the Ground is the old Bilsthorpe Colliery, where sadly, three colliery workers lost their lives as recently as 1993 in a tragic accident. 

The whole complex is secured by an eight foot high metal fence to keep intruders at bay.

Future Plans

Under previous tenants, Santos, the Dragons Liar, as it was then known, failed to meet CML Step 7 Supreme Division standards. Perhaps at some stage the Bees may consider improvements, and a name change to "The New Hive", thought nothing is planned.



Additional Photography



      Click on a thumbnail to view a full size picture.

Christopher Rooney  - permission required for photo & text usage