Monday 9 October 2017

Welton Rovers - West Clewes

Welton Rovers
West Clewes
North Road
Midsomer Norton

01761 412097

Ground Number: 728
Saturday 7th October 2017
Welton Rovers 3-1 Keynsham Town
Western League D1


The club was formed in 1887. After playing in local leagues, they joined the Western League in 1903. Save for a few breaks for World Wars and a brief return to local football, they've been there ever since. They've spent plenty of time in both tiers and have been champions on five occasions, the last of which came in 1974. In recent times they have mainly played in Division 1 - their last season in the Premier came in 2015/16 when they finished bottom after promotion the previous season.

In the FA Cup, Welton Rovers have reached the 1st Round twice - losing to Weymouth in 1964 and Bournemouth in 1966. There's little hope of them repeating the trick in the present day - they've lost their last 8 games in the competition.When they competed in the FA Trophy, they got as far as the 1st Round in 1973, losing out in a replay to Merthyr Tydfil. In the FA Vase they reached the 4th Round in 1992 - beating Almondsbury Picksons, Minehead, Dawlish Town and Malden Vale before losing to Edgware Town. In 1929 Welton Rovers reached the Quarter Final of the FA Amateur Cup, losing 5-1 to Clapton. Local cup wins include various Somerset County Cups and Western League Cups.


The night before, I didn't have the best night's sleep thanks to thin curtains and the idiotic placement of a street light right outside my window. I caught what sleep I could, finally getting up at 7. I had a look through and organised last night's photos before taking a shower, getting dressed and leaving at 8. With the meeting point being nearly a mile away, time was tight for breakfast so I was disappointed to see that the so-called 'convenience store' didn't live up to its name and was closed. I got to the hotel with 10 minutes to spare and sat in reception with the other hoppers. It took a while to get everyone together and it wasn't until just before 9 that we left. Despite the forecast indicating otherwise, there was rain and I was hoping it wouldn't last. The journey over there took around an hour, with us getting to the ground at 10.

The morning game is normally the one I enjoy most on the hops, with it having a nice fresh feeling. I got some pictures of the outside of the ground before going in. Annoyingly, my main camera ran out of batteries without warning, meaning I'd have to make do with my phone until we got back to the minibus. Luckily, I managed to get some decent shots before going in the bar. It was too early for a drink at this point, but I did manage to pick up a book called 'Tyke Travels' about Yorkshire non-league football for a quid. I was hungry by now, so I got some chips and went and stood with the rest of the 247 crowd in the metal stand. They are unpopular amongst hoppers due to their dull nature, but it was useful on a wet day like this. I had a half-time Thatchers Haze too, which was nice and refreshing.

As for the game, Keynsham settled in better and they took the on 4 minutes, a low shot from 20 yards by Nathan Curnock. The hosts soon got their act together and had a really good spell. They levelled on 27 minutes when a curling corner was headed in at the back post by Tom Smith. The hosts continued to pressurise and got their reward a few minutes from the break when Chris Pile's diagonal low shot found the net. The second half started as the first had ended with chances for both eventually lost a bit of its pace but Keynsham missed the chance to equalise when they hit the bar. As the clock drifted past 90 minutes, it looked as if Welton had the game in the bag. They made sure in injury time with Pile's second to make it 3-1 as he ended a good run with a low shot from just inside the area.


WEST CLEWES is a pretty smart ground, that has seen some modernisation. Sadly, the original stand has been replaced by two Arena units, these hold just over a hundred seating and standing each. The rest of the ground is open standing and this includes a few steps of terracing on the main side. The food and drink offerings are pretty standard, though I enjoyed my freshly cooked chips. There was a range of merchandise on sale at the gate and this included scarves, hats and badges at reasonable prices

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