Thurnby Rangers were established as a Sunday league team and played at Dakyn Road in Leicester. They won the Charnwood Sunday League Premier Division in 1988–89 and went on to win the title in each of the next three seasons. In 2008 Thurnby Rangers and Leicester Nirvana merged to form Thurnby Nirvana, retaining Rangers' place in the Premier Division of the Leicestershire Senior League, although Leicester Nirvana continued as a youth club. In 2009–10 they finished third in the Premier Division and were promoted to the East Midlands Counties League. The club won the League Cup in 2010–11 and the league title in 2013–14, earning promotion to the Premier Division of the United Counties League. They were runners-up in the Premier Division the following season. At the end of the season the club were renamed Leicester Nirvana. They were Premier Division runners-up again in 2015–16, missing out on the title on goal difference.
With the Leicester City v Tottenham Hotspur fixture rescheduled for a 19:45 kick off, this Pieman was presented with an opportunity to visit another ground within the city. I had seen Leicester Nirvana previously in an away fixture at Peterborough Northern Star a few years ago. It was good to get to see a home match at Hamilton Park.
To reach the ground by public transport it is very straightforward. Arriva buses operate routes 58 and 58a (five services per hour for each) from Humberstone Gate in the city centre. The two routes run in a loop and it is worth bearing in mind that the 58a service is quicker before the match and the 58 service is quicker after the match. The bus stops are just a couple of hundred yards from the ground.
Hamilton Park is a tidy venue. There is a small covered seated stand along one side of the pitch and next to this is a covered flat concrete based structure, both areas providing shelter from adverse weather which was certainly needed on this particular afternoon. The fine clubhouse building is on a raised level behind one of the goals. Apart from the changing rooms, this block also contains a refreshment area. There is also a slight overhang from this building providing a little more cover. With the exception of the dugouts, situated on the opposite side of the pitch, there are no other facilities.
This match saw 9th placed Leicester Nirvana host 4th place Oadby Town. The match was effectively a local derby with Oadby being located just outside Leicester. In tremendously blustery conditions, the home side were playing with a tailwind and really took the game to the visitors. Two early goals set the scene and by half time the score was 5-0.
Playing with the wind in their favour in the second period, Oadby pulled a couple of goals back and with a little more good fortune, could have made the match closer. However, when considering all factors, Leicester Nirvana displayed enough quality over the 90 minutes to deserve their victory. The half dozen Tottenham Hotspur supporters attending this match appreciated the warm welcome from the host club and the Spurs fan on the Oadby Town bench. Special mention to Robert Davies, one of the Spurs fans in the crowd, who probably touched the ball more than the home goalkeeper.
Click for a full set of Picures