Sunday 1 December 2019

Hamworthy United - The County Ground

Hamworthy United FC
Specsavers County Ground
Blandford Close
BH15 4BF

01202 674974

Ground Number: 892
Saturday 30th November 2019
Hamworthy United 1-4 Plymouth Parkway
FA Vase 3rd Round


The club was established in 1970 thanks to a merger of two clubs - Hamworthy (formed in 1926) and Trinidad Old Boys (established in 1965). They started out in the Dorset League and remained here until 2004, becoming champions in 1977, 2003 and 2004. After the last of those title wins, Hamworthy United joined the Wessex League. Starting out in the top tier where they remain to this day, their best finish has been 5th, achieved in 2018 with the previous two seasons seeing their lowest finish of 16th. After last weekends games, Hamworthy sat in a mid-table position of 12th.

In the FA Cup, the club has twice reached the FA Cup 2nd Qualifying Round. The last of these came in 2013 when they beat Melksham Town, Wimborne Town and Hallen prior to a 4-2 defeat in a local derby against Poole Town. In the FA Vase, last season saw a record-breaking run for the club. Amesbury Town, Fawley, Shaftesbury, Falmouth Town and Hamble Club before a defeat in the 4th Round to Willand Rovers. Local cup honours include the Wessex League Cup in 2005, the Dorset League Cup in 1990, the Dorset League Charity Shield in 2004 and the Dorset Senior Cup in 2006. Despite being based in Poole geographically, the team represents the suburb of Hamworthy which has a population of 13,141 and has its own train station.


With the draw for the second round of the FA Cup being made a few weeks ago, I knew that I'd be free on this Saturday. Wycombe or Tranmere were drawn at home to Chichester City but the game was moved to the Sunday with an early kick-off. As it turned out, Wycombe went out in the replay despite being the better team, but in any case, I'd already made my decision. The day before, I'd booked a National Express coach from London to Poole for £15, making the whole journey cost including getting to the station and getting into London £26 as opposed to around £70 on the train from High Wycombe or £40 costs when driving. My game of choice was Hamworthy United v Plymouth Parkway in the FA Vase 3rd Round, not only was it a decent looking game, but it was on a 3G pitch, essential in the current weather conditions, especially when booking in advance. I'd decided to have a sober and quiet Friday night and was asleep by 10 after watching Maldon and Tiptree unluckily lose to Newport County in the FA Cup on TV. I didn't really get the good night's sleep I'd desired, waking up a few times before my alarm went off at 6.15 am. I was a bit slow getting ready and so only had time for toast before leaving. It was frozen and foggy out, so I took a few minutes to clear my windscreen before driving to a side road near Amersham Station.


I got the earlier train of my possible two and after changes at Marylebone and Oxford Circus, I was at Victoria shortly after 8. With time to kill, I had a festive panini from Starbucks and got a Daily Mirror from the shop. I was half an hour early for my coach but soon received news that it would be delayed. Passengers were kept in the dark for a bit but in the end, the delay was around an hour and a half as the driver also needed a break and was in no rush after that, standing around gossiping for ages.. Eventually, we left just before 10.30. The journey dragged more than it should have done and worse was to come when the company decided to terminate the coach at Bournemouth, making us wait another ten minutes. The poor rep took a bit of stick for managerial decisions but did at least mention a possible refund. I eventually arrived at Poole at 1.30 - 100 minutes after my scheduled arrival. My first stop was twenty minutes away. The Stable was a great place for cider, but I didn't have a huge amount of time. I had a pint of Badgers Spit and a bottle of Max Lux, feeling a bit better after that. I stopped at Sainsbury's for a cash machine before heading to the game. I wasn't sure what the food was going to be like at the ground so I stopped at a takeaway called New Capital. This was OK and I had a Capital Burger - comprising of a beef burger, chicken burger, doner meat and also a portion of chips. It was fairly pricey at just over £7 but the portions were big. The ground was only five minutes away from here and I got there at 2.50, paying £6 to get in and £1 for one of the better programmes I've seen this season. I got some pictures of the ground before taking a spot on the halfway line.


Looking at the form book, Hamworthy United had enjoyed a reasonable November. Wins over Abingdon United (6-1) and  Cowes Sports (5-2), a draw against AFC Stoneham (2-2) and a defeat to Baffins Milton Rovers (1-2). Plymouth Parkway had won all their games this month beating Brockenhurst 3-0, Chipping Sodbury 5-2, Bitton 4-3 and Wellington 2-0. In fact, they were unbeaten since September 7th when they lost narrowly to Southern League side Merthyr Town in the FA Cup. Visitors Plymouth Parkway dominated proceedings and they took the lead on six minutes through Jordan Copp when he finished with a low shot from just inside the area. They could have had more but on 37 minutes Hamworthy got the equaliser, Ollie Davies' shot smacking the post on the way in. It was all square at the break and I went into the clubhouse to see the halftime scores, though interest was limited from my perspective with no Wycombe game. I got outside just in time for the second half, making a fuss of a friendly dog before the game restarted. The visitors retook the lead on 55 minutes, Copp getting his second with a low shot into the centre of the goal. A close-range finish by the same player ten minutes later netted him his hat trick and sealed the game and he even got his and his teams fourth when he finished after the Hamworthy keeper could only parry the initial shot.

After the game, I had a slow walk back into town, getting some photos on the way. I called back in at the Stable. I had a half of Hallets PX and a two-thirds measure (schooner) of Pilton Murmuration while I caught up online. Soon it was time to leave and make my way back to the coach station. I arrived with 15 minutes to spare, my coach waiting there for me and leaving just before 7. I was pretty sleepy by now and so slept the entire journey up to London. I was back at Victoria by 10 and on the train shortly after. It took a bit longer than I'd hoped due to having to wait for a connection to Amersham. Once we were overground, I watched the first couple of games on Match Of The Day and had hoped to watch the rest when I got in. I was back at 11.30 and drove the few miles home. I thought it would be a simple case of switching on the TV and putting on BBC1 +1. However, this was tricky as the channel didn't exist despite numerous other channels offering this service. I still wasn't tired, so caught up on my YouTube subscriptions, going to sleep at 1 am, not ideal when I was up for work a few hours later.


The County Ground is a decent setup for the level. There are two covered areas - a stand along the side holding around 200 on benches and covered standing for around 100 behind the goal. The rest of the ground is open and well kept. I didn't try the bar or tea bar but both looked pretty decent. There's a takeaway five minutes away or the pleasant town and harbour of Poole is twenty minutes away.

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