The Medburn Ground
Ground Number: 373
Saturday 17th May 2014
Belstone 5-2 Chipperfield Corinthians
Herts Senior County League
BELSTONE FC - A BRIEF HISTORY
Belstone FC was formed in 1982. The name Belstone comes from the players coming from Belmont Circle and Wealdstone areas of North West London. They originally played at the GEC sports ground in Wembley until the owners decided to sell up in 1989. It is currently an open play area and home to youth side AFC Wembley. A couple of temporary venues in Harrow were rented until they moved to their current home, the Medburn Ground in 1992. It was originally a rugby ground but owner Lord Aldenham gave the club permission to use the land. They had to tidy it up and move some travellers on but at least they had a place to call home.
The club were a Sunday League side at first, playing in the Harrow Sunday Challenge Football League in their early days. They won three titles before leaving to join the Marathon Sunday Football League in 1988. They won the Division 1 title at the first attempt and went on to lift the Premier Division eight times. The league was disbanded in 2003 and Belstone would return to the Harrow Sunday Challenge Football League for six years.
In 2009, they made the switch to Saturday football and the Herts Senior County League. Starting in Division 1, they finished as runners-up to Whitwell in 2012. This earned them promotion to the Premier Division where they finished as runners-up to Bedmond in 2014. This was a highly successful time for the club as they won the title the following year. The club applied for promotion to step 6 but were turned down due to their lack of floodlights. Another runners-up spot followed in 2016 as they finished behind Standon & Puckeridge. Last season saw Belstone win the title for the second time. Cup honours include the Herts Senior Centenary Trophy in 2014, the Herts Senior County League Aubrey Cup in 2016 & 2018 and the Herts Senior County League Charity Cup in 2016 & 2017. They've also won a host of competitions as a Sunday League side.
The club is based in Radlett, Hertfordshire which has a population of just over 10,000. Located between St Albans and Elstree (where Eastenders is filmed), It is one of the wealthiest places in Britain and the second most expensive town to buy a house outside London. It has a theatre of sorts, the Radlett Centre with a 300-seat auditorium for various performances. In 1823 the town was the site of the Radlett murder, a notorious crime which became the subject of numerous books and stage plays. The victim, William Weare, was killed on Gills Hill Lane (subsequently popularly known as Murder Lane), with the site gaining such notoriety that it became a tourist attraction for some time. It is home to War Of The Worlds musical author Jeff Wayne and actresses Pam St Clement and Lacey Turner.
MY FIRST VISIT
The football season was quickly running out and options were thin on the ground. With all step 6 and above options a hundred miles or more away, I decided to look at step 7. I asked on the Tony Kempster Non-League Forum whether there were any grounds with stands at step 7 and was quoted 2 - Bovingdon FC and Belstone FC. My initial thought was to go to Bovingdon as I could visit the Market there. I had not been for a few years and so a visit was well overdue. But I found out that they were not doing a programme. The other option, Belstone, said they might, and if not I could pick up a back issue. On the day of the game, I woke up quite early, just after 6 and watched TV in bed. Just before 9, I went out for a two-mile jog before coming back and having a bath. I needed a couple of things and also wanted a look at some clothes so I went down Wycombe. My hunt was unsuccessful clothes wise so I went online and ordered a pair of trainers. I then had lunch before leaving around 1.30. The drive there was not bad and so I arrived at 2.15 and went into the clubhouse for a bottle of Bulmers which was slightly expensive at £4. They didn't have any programmes for today's game but they did give me a couple of back issues which is better than nothing and gave me something to look at pre-match. I watched some of the build-up to the Scottish Cup Final before going outside and getting some pictures. I did a head count and reckoned on there being 16 people in attendance including myself. The game was pretty even early on but with Belstone having the better of the chances. One name I did recognise from one of the old programmes they gave me was Lawrence Yaku who played in the Conference South with Maidenhead a few years back, though I had no idea if he was playing this afternoon. Also former Windsor & Eton captain Dave Tilbury.
The home side took the lead on 23 minutes after number 25 for them won a penalty and got injured in the process. The Chipperfield manager wasn't too pleased but in any case, it was put away very well into the top left-hand corner to make it 1-0. Right at the end of the first half, the lead was doubled as the Chipperfield keeper made a mistake and allowed a weak shot to squirm past him. There was still time though for the visitors to have their best chance so far and they forced a good save out of the Belstone keeper who pushed it wide for a corner. At half-time I went back to my car and listened to the radio for a bit while waiting for the second half to start. The second half continued to have plenty of chances for both sides and the woodwork prevented Belstone from further extending their lead. The home side was on top but it was the visitors pulled one back with the best goal of the game on 75 minutes when a long-range shot was drilled in. That awoke the visitors a bit and they started to push forward and create more. This was however at the cost of leaving gaps at the back and on the break, Belstone regained their two goal advantage with a simple finish from a good free kick. Almost immediately it was 4-1 with another effort from not far out and it looked to be game over. It was 5-1 on 85 minutes with a really well-worked goal as the Belstone number 9 was given a chance on a plate and he obliged with an easy finish. A couple of minutes later it was the same again, only up the other end as the visitors pulled it back to 5-2. It had been a decent game and well worth a visit to a decent club. As for the game, I'd say the scoreline was a fair reflection of the game. Belstone were well on top but Chipperfield with their number 4 who looked about 50 years old played their part in an entertaining contest. After the game, I drove home and listened to the FA Cup final where Hull City roared into a two-goal lead against Arsenal. On the road, an idiot sat at the green light for about 10 seconds and then proceeded to drive at 30 in a 60 limit. When I overtook him I saw why - he was on his mobile phone. There were a few more slow drivers before I got home at 5.30 where I watched the rest of the cup final and had dinner.
MY SECOND VISIT
Belstone 3-1 Cuffley - HSCL Premier - 23/05/23
I'd been enjoying watching a few games in the Hertfordshire League lately. This Tuesday was no exception and my original plan was Hemel Hempstead Rovers. It was one of my nearest unvisited grounds and although basic, I was keen to complete the league. That plan soon bit the dust as they won through to a cup final and their league game was moved. I was then presented with two options - Bengeo Trinity and Allenburys Sports. However, the former disappeared from the fixture list and the latter was moved to Ware Sports. I could have done AFC Cressex as an ultra-local one but it didn't appeal. As it was within easy distance of my work, I decided to save it for a more appropriate time.
I'd enjoyed my first visit to Belstone and so decided to visit again. I went more depth into their history than I had done back in 2014. My attitude to groundhopping had changed in the past nine years. A stand nor programme was no longer seen as essential items and I was seeing a whole lot more places because of it. Belstone still had an outside chance of the title, though this would require a slip-up by Bush Hil Rangers and Belstone winning all three of their final games. Belstone had done themselves no harm, winning six, drawing one and losing one of their last eight. The highlight was a 9-0 win at Oracle Components, whereas they'd drawn 1-1 against leaders Chipperfield Corinthians and lost 2-1 at 5th place Royston Town U23. Cuffley were in 7th place and likely to finish the season there. They'd won 1-0 against Cockfosters Reserves but this was their first win in six games. They'd suffered a 5-1, defeat to 2nd-place Bush Hill Rangers but three of those previous five games were draws.
It was the standard Tuesday routine for me with me leaving at 5.15. I was with Colin 15 minutes later although I had to wait another 15 as he was asleep and then took a while to get ready. It was a reasonable journey over with the usual traffic at that time of night. We arrived at 6.20, ten minutes before kickoff. The club was nice and friendly and had teamsheets and old programmes for free as well as free admission. There was also a lovely boxer dog in attendance too. Hoppers had come from far and wide and I saw some familiar faces. Alan had come down from Leicestershire and Andy from Norfolk and the club was grateful for their presence.
No scorer details were available at the time of updating this blog. But Belstone were the better side in the first half, Cuffley doing well to nullify their attack. On 14 minutes, it was 1-0 to the hosts, an attack down the left and a finish from a tight angle. Cuffley equalised just before halftime. It was a bit of an error from the keeper and my initial thought was that it had been disallowed in the build-up due to the reaction but the goal stood. The start of the second half saw Cuffley raise their game, although they had enjoyed quite a long half-time break compared to Belstone. They had a couple of chances but on 52 minutes Belstone were awarded a penalty. However, the spot kick was saved. On 65 minutes, the home keeper made up for his earlier error by pulling off a great save to stop Cuffley from taking the lead. The game was sealed in the last few minutes. Firstly a header from a left-sided corner on 87 minutes and then a minute later, a penalty was awarded for a trip. This was converted to make it 3-1.
THE MEDBURN GROUND is pretty decent for step 7 and with the addition of better floodlights would be as good as or better than some of the step 6 grounds I have been to. There is just one stand and that has 12 seats although there is cover for a lot more people standing. The clubhouse is pretty smart and does a basic range of drinks and snacks like chocolate bars. It's quite pricey, but considering it was free entry with a couple of old programmes free too due to them not issuing today, I didn't mind paying £4 for a bottle of Bulmers. If you want more choice you can turn right out of the ground and go to a pub a few minutes walk away but I have no idea what it's like as I didn't go.