Ground Number: 739
Tuesday 31st October 2017
Studley 1-0 Cadbury Athletic
Midland League D1
STUDLEY FC - A BRIEF HISTORY
The club was formed in 1971 and was initially known as BKL Studley, the works team of a local electrical fittings company. They were known under this moniker up until 2002 when they changed their name to Studley when the firm went bust. They started out in Sunday football, playing in the Redditch League, before switching to local Saturday football. In 1987, the club joined the Midland Combination, starting out in Division 2. They would go on to earn promotion in 1989, after a third-place finish. Champions of Divison 1 in 1992, Studley were promoted to the Midland Combination Premier Division. They remain at that level to this day, albeit with a few geographical switches and league mergers taking place. Finishes have ranged from a couple of 4th placed finishes in the mid-1990s to a low of 20th in 2007. This season, Studley are enjoying the best season in their history, sitting clear at the top of the league. On paper, tonight's game looks like a routine victory, with Cadbury Athletic struggling in 19th place.
Studley played in the FA Cup every season from 2002/03 until 2013/14. Their best progress is the 1st Qualifying Round which they reached in 2003 (a 1-0 home defeat to Bromsgrove Rovers) and 2008 (a 2-1 defeat at Coalville Town) They've also played in the FA Vase from every season from 1998/99 to the present day. The best run came in the 2003/04 season - after beating Wednesfield, Bromyard Town, Mickleover Sports, Blaby & Whetstone Athletic and Leamington, they found themselves with a 5th Round home tie against the then Wessex League side Gosport Borough. They could only manage a 1-1 draw, before losing the replay 2-1 in Hampshire. Local cup honours include the Midland League Challenge Vase in 1988, the Tony Allden Memorial Cup in 2002 and the Smedley Crooke Memorial Cup and Worcestershire Senior Urn on 4 occasions apiece.
I'd discussed the possibility of a game on this Tuesday with fellow groundhopper Anwar. He didn't seem that keen, what with having an Arsenal game on Thursday, so I started making plans for a solo trip. Sadly, there wasn't much choice, with the nearest new ground being at Andover New Street. Thankfully, on Monday, Anwar said that he would do a game after I presented him with three possibilities. Boston United v Salford City was my first choice - despite being a revisit, it was a great ground and the best game. There were two nearer ones though - Peterborough Northern Star v Sleaford Town and Studley v Cadbury Athletic. We decided on the latter in the end and it was a ground I'd visited previously, though only for photos. It looked as if I had lost some of them over the years, as there were only a few poor ones from my visit, on the way to Wycombe's 2-1 defeat at Accrington Stanley on the Saturday 19th February 2011. Quite why I stopped there, or what has happened to the photos, I don't know, but I was glad to have some company for my midweek groundhopping.
I'd had a lot of sleep the previous day and gone to bed early the previous night so I was feeling pretty refreshed, even though I woke up at 6 am on Tuesday. I watched some TV and caught up online, as well as planning future football games and reading the Non-League Paper. After having a bath and getting dressed, I walked down town. I got a couple of deep dish pizzas plus some Irn Bru before getting a lift home with my Dad. After lunch, I went and picked up my car, which had just had its MOT done. It was not good news financially, with all the bits that needed doing costing over a grand. THough it compared favourably with my Dad's Mercedes, which cost more for much less mileage, my Renault is comfortably the most expensive car to run that I have owned. The parts, along with the extremely brittle bodywork have made it a pricey car to own, with the manufacturer making deliberately sure that they make as much money out of their car users, even long after they've bought and paid for the car. Listening to the Two Mikes on TalkRADIO cheered me up a bit, and although it will be a pricey credit card bill at the end of the month, I've got the money put by. It's certainly strengthened my resolve to do more games by public transport. It's something I've achieved easily on a Saturday, with Salisbury being the furthest I've driven, but it's virtually impossible to do games by train in midweek, due to trains stopping too early.
I stayed at home until 4.30, placing a bet on tonight's football before getting my things together and leaving. I met Anwar at 5 as arranged, and as per usual, it was a crawl out of Aylesbury. It's a poor road at the best of times, but the rush hour just made it worse. In the end, we ended up taking a back route to avoid the traffic and had a good journey up. We got to Studley at 6.30, going to a local takeaway that I’d found by chance on Google Maps. Called ‘Saf’s’ it had a wide range at great prices and I got a Tandoori Chicken burger with fries and drink for £2.99. It was very nice and portions were generous given the price. From there I drove to the ground, just under a mile away. We got to the ground at 7, parking up and going in after getting some pictures of the outside. Entry was a well priced £5 and I got a good programme for £1 too. With a while to go until kick-off, we went and sat in the clubhouse where I typed my blog and caught up online. Anwar and I discussed our next game, possibly Tuffley Rovers on Friday or meeting in London on Saturday.
We went outside around ten minutes before kick off, getting some pictures of the ground, now that the lights were on. Standing on the near side, we saw Cadbury Athletic start well, shading the opening 20 minutes and belying their lowly league position. The game continued to flow well thanks to a sensible ref. A few minutes before halftime, Studley were awarded a penalty following a foul in the area. Cadbury's big keeper was equal to it though, comfortably tipping it around the post to keep the score goalless at the break. The hosts did have a bright spell at the start of the second half, no doubt the result of a rollicking, but they soon faded and the game descended into a scrappy affair. Both sides had good forays forward, but generally, the final ball was lacking and it was destined to be scoreless for the second time in a row as far as Anwar and I's groundhops were concerned. But as so often happens in football, the luck goes with the team at the top. The last kick of the game saw a Studley's Andy Nicol fire a shot into the bottom right-hand corner to win the game, the effort coming from the edge of the area, a really good effort on the turn.
It was 9.40 by the time we left. We'd already heard that Wycombe had lost 1-0 at Swindon to exit the Checkatade Trophy. With both of us boycotting the competition, following the inclusion of Premier League academy sides, neither of us cared and were glad to ease up on the fixture congestion. We still listened to the local radio station to see what manager Gareth Ainsworth had to say. At 10 we switched to Radio 5 to listen to half an hour of a football phone in, before listening to some music. I dropped Anwar off at 11, getting home myself 25 minutes later. After winding down and catching up online for half an hour, I went to bed just before midnight. Even though I was up at 4 am, I didn't need my usual nap the afternoon, choosing instead to have an early night in the evening.
THE BEEHIVE is a pretty standard step 6 ground, with just the one stand. This, unusually has all rows at the same level, so if you are short and sitting at the back, you might not get a great view. The rest of the ground is open and overall very well kept, with a grass bank behind the left-hand goal so that you can get an elevated view. The tea bar and clubhouse are pretty standard, whilst the town is just under a mile away and offers a great range of pubs and takeaways.
SCORES ON THE DOORS
1: Ground facilities & condition (for the level)
Fairly average for step 6 (6)
2: Area around the ground (parking, food/drink, public transport)
Lots of parking, under a mile from town (7)
3: Welcome / Club Friendliness
A nice welcome at the turnstile (7)
4: Value for money
£5 is a sensible price for step 6 (7)
5: Social Media & Website
Reasonably regular updates (6)
A very good issue for £1, glossy and a bit to read (8)
7: Game entertainment
First half good, second half lost its pace (5)
8: Tea Bar
Only burgers and hot dogs on my visit, usually more (6)
9: Bar / Clubhouse
Smart, limited range of drinks (6)
10: Club Shop
TOTAL SCORE OUT OF 90: 58
AVERAGE SCORE 6.44