Bewdley Town FC
Ground Number: 698
Saturday 27th May 2017
Bewdley Town 1-1 Coton Green (4-1 Pens)
Smedley Crooke Memorial Cup Final
BEWDLEY TOWN - A BRIEF HISTORY
The club was formed in 1978 and spent their early years in the Kidderminster and District League where they were highly successful. 1999 saw them join the West Midlands Regional League at Division 1 South level. They coped with the step up pretty well and by 2003 they were Division 1 champions. However, they had to wait another two years for promotion when they finished as runners-up to Great Wyreley. This was good enough to see them promoted to the WMRL Premier which sits at step 6 of the non-league pyramid. Their best finish is 3rd which they achieved three times in a row between 2006-09. This season's 6th placed finished had matched their best effort since those promotion chasing days.
There have been a couple of notable FA Cup campaigns too with Bewdley reaching the 1st Qualifying Round in 2001 and 2012 only to lose to Stourbridge and Leek Town respectively. The FA Vase 2nd Round was reached in 2010 before defeat to Sleaford Town. Local cup wins include the Worcestershire Junior Cup (twice) and the Worcestershire Infirmary Cup in 2013. Bewdley is a popular tourist destination and famous residents past and present include former Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin, TV chef Rusty Lee, footballer Alun Evans and Led Zepplin's Robert Plant. It is twinned with three other towns including Clarksville, made famous by The Monkees 1966 hit 'Last Train To Clarksville'
I'd decided to go to this game a few weeks ago. I'd been on the West Midlands Regional League website looking for potential games to see out the season, though I'd not expected to see one this late on. I'd wanted to visit Bewdley for a while, so decided it would be a good way to end the season. My favoured mode of transport was the train when I thought I'd be going on my own as I'd fully expected to be alone. Fellow hopper Anwar would be sure to be watching his beloved Arsenal on TV in the FA Cup Final and my other regular hopping partner, Chris, rarely does Saturday games as he has other commitments. However, the latter came up trumps when I texted him on the off chance, and so arrangements were made to pick him up in Leighton Buzzard on the day of the game.
On the day of the game, I woke around 7 am after a reasonable nights sleep. I finished off my research for today's game, played football manager and got ready before leaving just before 10:30. I had to stop at Morrisons for petrol before though, hence me leaving earlier. There were long queues, thanks to them having outdated pumps where you actually had to go into the shop to pay. I soon met Chris and his two big bags of records at our planned meeting point and we were soon on our way. The journey was reasonable, the worst delay being in Bromsgrove where the typically British thing of a section of road closed off, without anyone actually doing anything was present. We got to our pre-match venue of the Black Star in Stourport at 1.40, parking in the local Tesco. It was a lovely place, set on the banks of the River Severn. There I even found a new cider, Robinsons Flagon which was reasonably driver-friendly at 4.5%. For dinner, we both had Cumberland Sausages and chips which took a while to come but was a cut above the usual Wetherspoons offerings that we normally have. We finished up and headed for the ground, which was a few miles away.
We got to the ground at 2.30, parking up and then paying £5 entry which included a basic but well-presented programme. Visitors Coton Green were by far the better side in the first half and after going close on a number of occasions, they eventually took the lead on 32 minutes. Michael Hicks put a left-sided corner in and Andy Milan was there to head in in at the far post from a few yards out. This prompted wild celebrations and the visitors continued to be the better side up until half time. The second half was a different story with Bewdley really stepping things up and having the better of proceedings. They got their equaliser around ten minutes from time when Matt Kerby had his shot initially parried by Coton Green keeper Mark Bowen parried his initial effort but was unable to keep the rebound, finished from around 10 yards, being put in. Coton Green could have had a late penalty - former Bolehall Swifts player Dave Yonwin's excellent ball played in Richard Hopkins, he was tripped by home keeper Mark Wright, but referee Ravel Cheosiaua turned down the appeals. The game went to penalties, Mark Wright was the hero as he produced a number of decent saves as Bewdley Town won 4-1 in the shootout. The hosts were successful with all four of their spot-kicks - Liam Williams, Chris Seekings, Luke Willams and Cory-Jay Rudd all scoring. Although Adam Goodby netted for Coton Green, Sam Jones and Richard Hicks both had their penalties saved by Wright. Some video highlights are below, courtesy of user 'Swifts Fan'
And so that was it for the 2016/17 season. It's been a long, enjoyable and expensive one, comprising of 178 games, some good and some bad. We left around 5.10 and made our way to a farm shop called Colliers in nearby Clows Top. There I got 8 new ciders that I'd never had before plus some fancy crisps and cake. From there we headed home whilst listening to the FA Cup Final but not before stopping for a Chinese in Droitwich where I had Char Sui curry and boiled rice. By the time we left, it was 7 pm. From there it was around an hour and a half back to Milton Keynes. I helped Chris with his substantial luggage which included a load of records and two boxes of various stouts that he had purchased at the farm shop earlier. From there I had a good journey home, getting back at 9.20. I relaxed for a bit, watching TV and Youtube videos before going to bed at 11.
RIBBESFORD MEADOWS is in the middle of nowhere but is in a really pretty setting. On the banks of the River Severn and surrounded by plenty of trees, there are not many nicer places to watch football on a warm afternoon. The ground is mainly open with one stand with a 200 seated capacity. This offers good views, being raised above pitch level. There is a basic bar outside the ground as well as a tea bar inside although I didn't see any hot food or club merchandise available.