Sunday, 10 February 2019

Wormley Rovers - Wormley Playing Fields

Wormley Rovers FC
Wormley Playing Fields
Church Lane
EN10 6LB

Ground Number: 828
Saturday 9th February 2019
Wormley Rovers 0-1 Harwich & Parkeston
Eastern Senior League - D1 South


The club was established in 1921 and moved to their present home in 1954. They played in local leagues up until 1976 when they joined the Herts Senior County League. They won Division 3 at the first attempt and then in 1981 a runners-up spot was good enough to see them earn promotion to Division 2. By 1987, they had won Division 1 and earned promotion to the top tier. Wormley Rovers remained here for a couple of seasons before being relegated back to Division 1, earning promotion back up in 1991 after a runners-up spot. They'd remain here until the end of last season, finishes ranging from 2nd in 2000 and 2010 to 15th in 2016. Despite finishing 5th last season, their application to join the newly-formed Eastern Senior League D1 South was successful. They currently sit in a safe mid-table position of 12th and are enjoying a solid first season at step 6. They are yet to play in the FA Cup but made their FA Vase debut this season with a narrow 2-1 defeat to Biggleswade United. Former Premiership player David Bentley began his career at the club as a youth player. The village of Wormley has a population of less than 5,000 and is located near Broxbourne in Hertfordshire.


It was always going to be a trip to London for me on this day, I was looking forward to letting the train take the strain. For a long time, my target was Peckham Town, but then I heard that the Menace Arena would be hosting Cascadia v Chagos Islands on 25th May. A replacement was quickly found and I put a lot of work into researching the Terrence McMillan Stadium for Lopes Tavares v Brightlingsea Regent. The day of the game came and it was all a bit of a rush, I’d had a late night the night before and woke just before 10. I had a freshen up and slung some clothes on before getting my things together and leaving shortly after. Parked up near the station I got the 10.36 train out of Amersham. By then, I knew that my original choice of game was off, thanks to my mate Pete. The league and club were useless, the Eastern Counties website was down and their Twitter had not been updated since April. The lazy Lopes Tavares had not tweeted for even longer and after they turned up 20 minutes late to the game I saw at White Ensign, I hope they go back to where they come from. It grates that Mickey Mouse clubs like this were admitted to step 6, whilst decent, honest clubs were relegated due to ground grading. So I had to source an alternative, but first for a pint. After a 15 minute delay at Marylebone station due to a defective train, I got to Charing Cross at 11.50. From there, it was a short walk to The Harp. A decision was made there to travel to Wormley Rovers, who had declared game on.

I’d originally been planning to do this one by car, as it was out of the London Travelcard area. It wasn’t perfect, but a couple of pints Turning Japanese Perry and Naughty Horsey Cider took the edge off of things. I’d have happily stayed in the pub forever, but there was football to be watched. I headed back to the station at 12:45, getting the Northern Line to Euston. After trains to Tottenham Hale and Waltham Cross, it was a £5.20 return to Wormley on the bus. Getting there at 2.20, I got some Irn Bru from a local shop as well as a burger and chips from Wormley Fish Bar. From there, it was only a 5-minute walk to the ground. I unintentionally got In free, so went back to the gate to pay the £5 entry. After getting some pictures, I settled on halfway for the game. Wormley Rovers started brightly, shooting narrowly wide within the opening minute. Harwich soon replied in a lively start but it remained goalless. The opening goal came on 18 minutes, a long ball forward found Callum Griffith who controlled and finished well. Both sides had chances but Wormley were toothless up front, Harwich good value for their lead at half time. The second half started slowly, but in the last 15 minutes, Wormley had a real go at equalising, coming close on a number of occasions. It wasn’t to be though, and Harwich, who almost confirmed the win at the end, shooting narrowly wide, held on. I walked back to the bus stop, waiting a few minutes before stopping in Cheshunt, as there was a Wetherspoons. Number 183 in the chain, The King Harry was good enough, average, but better than the Wycombe one. I had a half of Old Rosie whilst catching up with things. Despite the smells of various tempting takeaways permeating the air as I walked to the station, I wasn’t really hungry until I got to the platform. I got to the station at 6.05 and had to wait 10 minutes for my train to London. I put on the phone-in on Radio 5 for as long as I could get a signal. That soon went as I got on the underground, so I had a podcast about 90s footy on. That kept me entertained until I got back to Amersham at 8. I called in at the Co-Op on the way home and got some bits for dinner. I was back home just after 8:30 and spent the evening relaxing, catching up on TV and updating my blog. Of course, Match Of The Day ended my weekend as ever, it had been enjoyable if uncertain one at times.


WORMLEY SPORTS CLUB is a pleasant venue, though its very basic. Not enclosed, the only stand is a small covered terrace on one side of the pitch. There's a tea bar and clubhouse on site, though I didn't try either. The programme is online only and is basically a small webpage. Don't let that put you off though, it's a nice place o visit, entry is good value and everyone is friendly. You can get a bus from Cheshunt or Waltham Cross train stations and in Wormly itself, there are pubs, a cafe, a chippy and if you are there for an evening game, a Chinese and Indian takeaway too.

Appleby Frodingham - Brumby Hall Sports Ground

Appleby Frodingham FC
Brumby Hall Sports Ground
Centenary Way
DN16 1AA

Ground Number: 827
Friday 8th February 2019
Appleby Frodingham 2-0 Thorne Colliery
CML North


The current incarnation of the club was established in 1990 though there was another club of the same name that existed until 1986, playing latterly in the Northern Counties East League. The new club started out in the Lincolnshire League and enjoyed a couple of mid-table finishes before a 3rd place finish in 1993. The following year, they were champions. After a few more mid-table finishes, they transferred to the Central Midlands League Premier Division in 2003. They enjoyed a 4th place finish in the first season which was good enough for promotion to the Supreme Division. They remained here until 2008, when they successfully applied to join the Northern Counties East D1. Their debut season saw a 12th place finish, but that was as good as it got. Performances and finishes gradually declined and in 2014, a bottom place finish saw them relegated. This meant a return to the now regionalised Central Midlands League. They've played in the North Division ever since finishes ranging from 4th in 2016 to 10th last season. Before today's game, they sit in 7th, with it being pretty cerian that they will remain in the league next season. Appleby Frodingham have yet to play in the FA Cup and the FA Vase has proved frustrating with exits at the first hurdle in each of their seven campaigns.


It had been a long while since I had done a Friday night game with Milton Keynes based Chris, thanks to a combination of lack of fixtures and poor weather. But this Friday provided an opportunity, albeit one that was a fair while away. Scunthorpe based Appleby Frodingham had a game against Thorne Colliery that had been moved to the Friday night in an attempt to attract a bigger crowd. When I checked with Chris, he was up for it, and the weather appeared as if it would play ball, proving their pitch was decent. The day of the game came and I filled up my car with fuel in the morning and also got a new tyre fitted after work, which thankfully was an easy day, as I had stuff to do. I came home and had lunch, spending the early afternoon researching the club history and trying to see whether the game was on or not. This was easier said than done, with an unreliable home Twitter, although their Facebook page seemed to offer positive news. I got my stuff together and left at 1.55, planning to meet Chris from work. The journey over there was a right pain, 25 minutes delay due to roadworks on the A413,  but I eventually arrived to meet him at 3:10. It was slow getting out of Milton Keynes and then there was a lengthy delay on the A1 due to a broken down van.  It could have been a different story if I'd just taken the directions offered by my Sat Nav that tried to direct me to Appleby in the Lake District rather than the team in Scunthorpe.

We eventually got to the ground at 6.20 and took a stroll into town. The ground was really near Scunthorpe itself and so it was a good opportunity to 'tick' the town's Wetherspoons, the Blue Bell Inn. After a swift pint, we went in search of food as there were no tables available. A Peri Peri Pizza was enjoyed before we made our way to the ground. Entry was £3, plus a basic programme was £1. The hosts took the lead on 4 minutes, Daniel Boulton got ahead of the Thorne defence and slotted home. Appleby Frodingham were well on top and they hit the post before doubling their lead on 28 minutes. This time, a pinpoint cross found Caine Mawer and he had an easy finish to make it 2-0.  The home side also had a goal ruled out for offside before half time. The second half passed without much incident, though Thorne Colliery had their number 16 (and possibly another player) sent off for unknown reasons. It capped a miserable night for the visitors who dropped to the bottom of the league after the weekend's results. We left at 9.40, with me stopping at a cash machine for Chris so he could get some money out. We made swift progress, perhaps too swift as going back via the M1 I might have been done for speeding through the roadworks. It was unclear to me with poorly signed speed limits, especially in the dark where the signs were just shoved behind a barrier on normal sized lanes with no cones. It remains to be seen whether anything will come of it, but with a clean licence for around 15 years, its something I want to avoid. I dropped Chris off at 12:20, getting home myself 50 minutes later. After catching up on Twitter, it was straight to bed, with me heading off to London on the train for a game the following day.


BRUMBY HALL SPORTS GROUND is a decent venue for step 7, having been used at step 6 in recent times. All the cover is on one side and includes a terrace for around 150, plus a metal stand with 100 seats. The rest of the ground is open hard standing. I didn't check out the clubhouse or tea bar, but the ground is 10 minutes from the edge of Scunthorpe town centre which has a good choice of places including a good Wetherspoons.

Wednesday, 6 February 2019

Sevenoaks Town - Greatness Park

Sevenoaks Town FC
Greatness Park
Mill Lane
TN14 5BX

Ground Number: 826
Tuesday 5th February 2019
Sevenoaks Town 1-1 Whitstable Town
Isthmian D1 South East


The club was established in 1883 and was known as Sevenoaks up until 1906 when they switched to their current name. They were founder members of the original Kent League but would only stay for a single season, switching to the more local Sevenoaks League and Kent Amateur League. In 2003, they finally made the step up to Kent League and although finishes were not always positive (they finished bottom in 2005/06), they'd remain here until the end of last season when they were crowned champions of what now was known as the Southern Counties East League - Premier Division. They are enjoying a respectable first season in the Isthmian D1 South East and sit in a respectable 11th place at the start of the game. 

Sevenoaks Town have been entering the FA Cup since 2005. Their best season so far has been the 2015/16 season when they beat Sporting Club Thamesmead, Horsham & Lewes (after a replay before going out to Chesham United, again in a replay after gaining a 2-2 draw at home). The FA Vase 3rd Round was reached in 2017 as they lost out 3-1 to eventual finalists Thatcham Town. Local honours include the Sevenoaks Charity Cup on three occasions, plus the SCEFL League Cup in 2017. The town of Sevenoaks has a population of just under 20,500 according to the 2011 census. The town was especially badly hit during the 1987 'Great Storm' with just one of the seven oak trees at the Cricket Ground that gave the town its name, left standing. Famous people to come from Sevenoaks include Strictly Come Dancing's Anton Du Beke.


I was on my own once more this Tuesday, with fellow hopper Anwar not fancying anything. My first choice was May & Baker on the train, but predictably, that fell fould of the weather. I had a few revisits in mind, but with the yet to be visited, at least not for a game. I'd not done a new ground for a while, s a new one was a real bonus. The day of the game came and it was my usual day off. I walked the 8 miles down town and back, buying a few random bits whilst down there. I arrived back around lunchtime, learning then that my first choice was off. I'd have loved to go by train to Sevenoaks, but it wasn't very inconvenient, plus the pubs were nothing to write home about. I spent the afternoon researching Sevenoaks Town's history and also planning in some upcoming games, including a game at Appleby Frodingham with fellow hopper Chris on Friday. It meant that I'd have to fill up my car with fuel for the first time in ages to do both trips. In recent times, I'd just been topping it up, as I was planning on getting a new vehicle. Sadly, my searches for something decent had drawn a blank, at least for the price I was looking to pay. There were plenty of cars further afield, but just like our pubs, our car garages were woefully inept at providing me with what I desired. After a dinner of pasta, I eventually got away at 5.10, stopping at our local garage for petrol although only sticking £20 in as it was 5p more expensive per litre than at work. It was then a trek around the M25 with the inevitable delay which added 40 minutes to the journey. I got to the ground at 7.05, going up on the hill behind the ground to get a good picture.

From there I went in, admission was a reasonable £8 which included a programme. I also got a portion of chips for £1. A few Whitstable fans had opted to stand on the hill as it offered a good view. They were in decent voice and their side started brightly, the ball was in the net in the opening couple of minutes but it was ruled out for a foul. Generally, though, there was little quality in the final third and although the hosts got back into the game, it was goalless at the break. Finally, on 59 minutes, Whitstable had a deserved lead. A ball forward found Steve Smith and he lifted the ball over the onrushing keeper. The hosts then had their best spell of the game, but never really looked like scoring. Sevenoaks had wasted yet another chance with a free kick in a good position, but finally, they had a decent shot on goal just as full time was approaching. It was a real rocket from outside the area by Ainsley Everett. Overall it had been a dull game (seemingly in keeping with other games I'd seen in Kent) at a dull ground. On the upside, they'd been a friendly club and everything was well priced. I got back to the car, leaving at 9.40. I listened t0 the radio on the way back, the surprise result being Newport County's 2-0 win over Middlesbrough in the FA Cup. I was back at 10.50 and in bed 20 minutes later, watching TV for a while before going to sleep.


GREATNESS PARK is typical of modern grounds and is made up of various metal stands. The majority are on the far side with two seated and one standing. There's also another seated stand behind the goal, plus a small covered stand on the near side. Overall, I'd estimate around 250 seated and 150 standing under cover. The tea bar at the ground is good, with a decent choice at fair prices. Although the spacious clubhouse was open, there was no alcohol being served with a single pair of pumps covered by a tea towel and a few forlorn-looking bottles on a shelf. The town is a 1.5-mile walk away and has a Wetherspoons amongst its establishments. This would probably be your best bet if you have time and fancy a pint. There is a reasonable range of merchandise available in the bar, a list of which is on the website.