Saturday 28 July 2012

Holyport - Summerleaze Village

Holyport FC
Summerleaze Village
Summerleaze Lane

01628 627066

Ground Number: 207
Thursday 26th July 2012
Holyport 2-2 Windsor
Pre Season Friendly


Holyport FC was formed in 1934 but they disbanded from 1939 until 1956 due to the second world war. Playing in the Maidenhead and District and the Hayes & Giles League, they took the step up to the Hellenic League in 2002. They struggled in Division 1 East at first, but soon improved and by 2011 they were champions and were promoted to the Hellenic Premier. Four seasons were spent here, the best the club could manage was 13th in their debut season. 2015 saw them finish 16th out of 20, but a rather harsh relegation saw them drop down to Division 1 East, they were only a couple of points short of survival. They've resided in Division 1 East ever since they came closest to a return last season with a 4th place finish.

The FA Cup has proved a frustrating competition for Holyport with them going out at the first hurdle on all seven occasions, the highlight being when they took Abingdon United to a replay in 2014, only to lose 4-0. They've fared a little better in the FA Vase, in 2010 they beat Abingdon Town (1-0) and Baldock Town (1-0) only to lose 8-0 at Tunbridge Wells in the 2nd Round. Local cup wins include the Ascot & Fielding Cup and the Norfolkian Senior Cup double in 2000 and the Hellenic Floodlit Cup and Challenge Cup double in 2011. The record win of 13-0 came against Prestwood in a 2009 Hellenic League game whilst the record attendance was in a 2006 game against Eton Wick. The village of Holyport is very small, but it was used for the filming of the 1995 TV episode of 'Tee Off, Mr Bean'


I had first planned to go to Holyport on Tuesday, 13 July for their game against Slough Town, but all those plans changed when I decided to pick up a new laptop in Huddersfield. So on that day, I decided to go to Alfreton Town v Barnsley instead, owing to me being able to kill 2 birds with one stone and save petrol money for another trip up there at the same time. I've been meaning to go to Holyport for ages actually when I looked at the map of the grounds are needed to visit it always been so close to home, but I've never really found a convenient time, even just to take pictures. So I kept an eye on the pre-season friendlies and selected one v Windsor to go to. On the day, it was absolutely scorching, one of the hottest days of the year, and so I was glad to be getting out of the house. I had my dinner and left just before 7, getting to the ground at 7.30. After parking up, I made my way into the ground. Compared to the other friendlies I have been to, and other prices I have seen, £5 entry was a bit steep and was the same as their league price. Still, it's not a lot of money, and I did get a free teamsheet.


After wandering around and taking some pictures, I settled on standing on the side opposite the main stand, so the sun wouldn't be shining in my eyes. By now, a boiling day had settled into a pleasantly warm evening, perfect conditions for watching football. Holyport took the lead early on, Jamie Handscomb with a deflected shot from inside the area after five minutes. A couple of minutes later, Ben Harris rounded the Holyport keeper before finishing into an empty net. Windsor had the better of the chances before half time and they took the lead on 35 minutes with a smart finish from Ryan O'Toole. They had chances to extend their lead and were punished on 77 minutes with an equaliser, Daniel Sharp with the shot from the edge of the area to square it up for Holyport.


I'd briefly considered revisiting Summerleze Park around a month ago when tenants Langley were at home in a league game but decided against it. I enjoy the FA Vase and when I spotted this Sunday game, it looked to be a decent opportunity for a revisit. Usually, I'm not a fan of Sundays, but at least this game gave me something to look forward to after work. I'd had a heavy Saturday, booze wise and had worked from 5am to 12pm so I briefly considered giving this game a miss, but in the end decided to go. I left at 2.15 and had a good journey over to the ground, arriving at 2.50. I'd forgotten how far it was from the main road, not a great one to do by public transport. Entry was great value at £5 and it was good to see a few hoppers in attendance, one of whom I had a good chat to. Holyport had only played a couple of league games so far, securing a 2-1 win at home to AFC Aldermaston and drawing 3-3 at Chalvey Sports. Unite MK only had one FA Vase game under their belts, that was last season when they suffered a 10-0 drubbing at Leverstock Green. They'd also endured a 6-0 defeat to local side Old Bradwell United in their only league game so far, so the hosts started as overwhelming favourites.

The visitors matched Holyport first half, though the early talking point was the referee accidentally getting the ball smashed in his face. Unite MK took the lead on 32 minutes, and it was a fantastic strike from Jamie Parker that flew in the net from 30 yards out. Four minutes later, it was 2-0, Holyport keeper Jake Quelch was caught out of his goal and poor marking allowed Cole Rawson to chip the ball home from the right-hand side of the area. Holyport were frustrated by Unite MK playing the offside trap well and couldn't really muster much of an effort on goal until the last minute of the first period, a good low shot just wide from just outside the area. The hosts came out in the second half a reinvigorated side. Josh Lowther looked especially dangerous for them and they were starting to create chances, forcing the MK keeper to make a great save with his feet. The arrears were reduced on 68 minutes, a good through ball from Steve Deverall found Andy Frisky who finished from around 8 yards out, the ball clipping the right-hand post on the way in. It was all square on 72 minutes, Wes Sutherland with a delicate dink over the goalkeeper. Unite MK were given a chance to go back ahead when they were awarded a free kick in a good position, but the ball was blasted straight into the wall. The winner for Holyport came around 10 minutes from time. Andy Frisky beat the MK keeper to a long ball with the glovesman taking a knock in the process leaving the Holyport man to finish from a tight angle. The hosts generally looked the better side after this and saw out the game to win. They probably deserved it overall, but Unite MK gave it a good go and looked a lot better side than their previous results suggest. It was a simple drive home with me getting in at 5.30, having enjoyed my day.


SUMMERLEAZE VILLAGE has seen some redevelopment in recent years and is a pretty nice place to watch a game. The main stand is one of those Arena type ones, holding around 100 people and offering a decent and comfortable view. The only other stand in the ground is behind the goal, another metal one, this time a terrace holding around 200. The rest of the ground is just flat, with some hard standing behind the goals. The food bar looked to have a good range of stuff. Pub wise I am not sure as I didn't have anything, but there may be a bar at the local cricket club. It's quite a long way from anywhere, I didn't see much nearby, so that may be the only option.

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