Okay, I said I’d try to get these done for a bit of Sunday evening reading however sometimes it simply will not be possible and unfortunately this was one of those. I do have a valid excuse though… I was at a game! (shock!)
It has been a very busy first week for me and has been a great start to the challenge. Including Poole Town which I mentioned last week I have visited 6 grounds in the opening 8 days! I managed to visit Brislington FC on Tuesday, Warminster Town on Wednesday, Bishop Sutton on Friday to make it a hat-trick of Western League grounds. Then Maidenhead United and Cray Wanderers (Bromley) on Saturday and Sunday respectively. I’ve had another successful week in terms of donations as well with my total now reaching an amazing £736.50 just 2 weeks after opening up my JustGiving page! Still over 340 days to go!! It has also led me to increasing my target of £5,000 which hopefully I can smash.
There are so many hidden gems of grounds in the UK and I have certainly tapped into
those over the past 7 days. First up was Brislington which is one I have played at before but hadn’t had the pleasure of visiting to watch as of yet. It is a cracker though, virtually all under cover which is rare for Step 9 grounds. The game was also great with 4 goals, 2 penalties and a red card thrown into the mix and made the £5 entry well worth it.
My second mid-week game of the week would take place at a bit of a further distance than I am use to on a Wednesday within the Non-League pyramid and that would be at Weymouth Street, the home of Warminster Town for their Western League First Division game against title-chasing Wellington AFC. Another cracking game, again with 4 goals but this time it would be in the favour of Wellington who came out on top by 3 goals to 1, however, it was another
cracking ground with some stunning views across Warminster due to where the ground is located. Fast forward to a rare Friday night game in the Western League taking place at Bishop Sutton. I love these Friday night games as they start the weekend in the perfect way and provide clubs with a good opportunity to get some more faces through the turnstiles. Bishop Sutton aren’t blessed with the greatest of grounds unfortunately but it was still an enjoyable evening for their fierce game against Oldland in which the referee had a bit of a shocker denying one clear penalty, denying a screamer of a goal due to a foul which was a 50/50 shoulder barge and had periods of the game where there was a lack of control. It did make for quite an entertaining game which was probably understated by the 1-1 scoreline.
Onto the weekend and I would be heading to London to take in two grounds; one of which, my Saturday game was thrown up into the air fairly late on as Ellis Platten couldn’t make it. Due to a previous visit to Aldershot I wasn’t too concerned about missing out on their game with Torquay. Instead I would make a last minute decision to head to Maidenhead United, a ground I had been keen to visit for months and months and I was excited to finally make the trip in the boiling hot sun with temperatures surpassing 25 degrees! The game was OK, not the best but it was a great atmosphere amongst the 1,100 fans in attendance. Their 2-1 win against East Thurrock has given them a real chance of getting that promotion to the National League!
Finally, the end was near for the opening week. I would finish off with a relaxed finish at Bromley FC to watch Cray Wanderers host Hastings United in the Ryman League Division One South. It was a simply cracking ground in the glorious sunshine but I decided that I was going to keep the camera away for this game so I could just enjoy the photo but I couldn’t resist taking my normal photos for Instagram! One a side note however, I did also squeeze in a 12 mile cycle on Sunday morning to visit Upton Park before it is completely knocked down… it was a horrible thing to see. Even as a Chelsea fan!
Time for a bit of a break before a huge weekend next week over the Easter Bank Holiday with 8 games in 5 days. Enjoy the week ahead guys!