Ground Number: 869
Saturday 27th July 2019
Sarratt 2-2 Enfield Borough
SARRATT FC - A BRIEF HISTORY
The club was established in 1919, though I can't find much about their early years. Thanks to the FCHD website, I can track their progress from 1977. That year, they joined the Herts County League in their Division 3. They were runners-up in their debut season, winning promotion to Division 2 in the process. They won this Divison in 1980, progressing to Division 1. A third-place finish in 1988 was good enough for promotion to the Premier Division, though after two disappointing finishes, they were relegated back in 1990. There were some seasons of struggle in Division 1 too - the side finishing bottom in 1992, 1997 and for three successive seasons between 2002 and 2004. Despite this, however, they recovered to win promotion back to the Premier Divison with a 5th place finish in 2010. Sarratt enjoyed their best-ever finish in 2012 and 2014 as they finished 7th in the step 7 Premier Division. They were relegated again in 2017 after finishing bottom and finished 6th in Division 1 in 2018. Last season, they moved to the Spartan South Midlands League Divison 2, effectively earning a promotion. Last season saw a 12th place finish out of 14 teams, though they finished some 20 points clear of a potential relegation spot.
The village of Sarratt has a population of around 1850 according to the 2011 census. It's church ' The Church Of The Holy Cross' is its famous landmark and this was used as a location for the movie 'Four Weddings and a Funeral. Murder Most Foul, The Demon Headmaster, Just William and The Woman in Black were also filmed in the village.
I'd originally intended to visit Sarratt in early July, but for whatever reason, their game against Amersham was cancelled.. It was a basic ground, just a railed pitch and a clubhouse overhang, but that would do for me pre-season where I was trying to keep costs down due to the games being dull. I'd learnt of this venue through fellow hopper Chris - AKA Motty's Mic who had visited last season and I'd had it pencilled in ever since. Friday was spent watching a dull 0-0 draw between Maidenhead and Wycombe though I only visited for the beer festival (which was excellent) and was lucky enough to get a lift home from a Newark-based hopper. This saved me a wait in Bourne End and a walk home from town and I was back by 10:15, as opposed to around 1 am. I got to bed at a reasonable hour and so typically woke up at my normal work time of 4 am. I got back to sleep for a few hours, waking at 7. I watched last night's Coronation Street before getting some breakfast and then spent the morning watching YouTube videos while doing research for today's game. With a fair few games being called off due to rain, I was glad to see that my choice was confirmed as going ahead at 11, thanks to the Sarratt FC Twitter. Stevenage was fairly local and that fell victim to the weather, but as I left at 2.10, the game was still on.
It was 12 miles from home, the last 3 were down single-track roads, which I'm not a fan of. I got to the ground around 20 minutes before kick-off and got some pictures of the ground. The game was temporarily halted early on due to the ball being flat, but only a couple of minutes in, the visitors were ahead. Enfield Borough who had finished a respectable 9th in the Spartan South Midlands D1 last season took the lead. No information on the teams again but it was run down the right and a low finish from just inside the area which resulted in the early goal. It was the visitors making all the running and they came close on 14 minutes, their number 9 narrowly dragging a shot wide on 14 minutes. There was a clear difference at this point, Enfield Borough were technically more proficient and Sarratt lacking quality from set-pieces and crosses. The hosts first real chance came on 17 minutes, the number 9 had looked tricky, he got a good cross in which was headed over. Enfield Borough came close to doubling their lead on 36 minutes, chasing down a loose ball but the shot went narrowly wide of the left-hand post. The Sarratt keeper made a good save a few minutes before half time, getting down really well and holding onto the ball. Both sides made a few changes at half time and this affected the game. Sarratt were level on 47 minutes, Shaun Powell chasing down a backpass and slotting into the empty net. The hosts took the lead on the hour mark. Chris White had created plenty down the left but he was the beneficiary on this occasion as he tapped home a right-wing cross at the back post. The lead only lasted a few minutes, it was 2-2 on 63 minutes, a square ball found Enfield's number 10 who finished from 6 yards. Twelve minutes from time, the Sarratt keeper made a great save after the ball was pulled back for Enfield's number 12, the ball being tipped over the bar from 10 yards. The hosts came close to winning it with the last kick of the game, but the shot on the turn was narrowly over. There were around 30 at the game and they had seen a very good game, especially for a friendly. It was a short drive home with me getting back at 5.15 and I spent the evening relaxing with a couple of bottles of cider whilst typing this blog. This will most likely be my last friendly of the season, the proper football getting started next Saturday as Wycombe face Bolton in the battle of the Wanderers.
The King George V Playing Fields is a nice venue for step 7. There are no seats, but there is a generous amount of cover thanks to the clubhouse overhang. One side is hard standing and two sides are railed. At the ground is a basic clubhouse, this offers snacks and soft drinks as well as booze in the form of Kopparberg 'cider' and Fosters lager. There's not a massive amount nearby but the Cricketers Pub is a short walk away and offers real ale and cider as well as meals, albeit fairly pricey ones.