Saturday 29 February 2020

Team Dudley - Priory Road

Team Dudley FC
Priory Road 3G Complex
Priory Road
West Midlands

Ground Number: 905
Saturday 29th February 2020
Team Dudley 5-2 Wellington Amateurs


The club was established in 2010, made up from students and staff from Dudley College. They started out in the West Midlands Regional League at Division 2 level (step 8 of the non-league pyramid). After a few seasons of mid-table finishes, Team Dudley won promotion in 2014, finishing as runners-up behind AFC Ludlow on goal difference. The 5th place finish last season was the best in the club's history. Local cup honours include the WMRL Division 1 League Cup in 2015. Team Dudley have played at Priory Road since 2017, previously they played at The Dell Stadium in nearby Brierley Hill. The town of Dudley has a population of just under 80,000 and is the birthplace to football's Duncan Edwards, Phil Parkes, Sam Allardyce and David Burrows. Team Dudley share the town with higher placed teams Dudley Town and Dudley Sports, though Town play in Willenhall. Dudley is the largest town in England never to have had a Football League club.


A week or so ago, I was planning my football for this day. I really fancied a trip to Birmingham as there's a couple of pubs I like to frequent when I'm up there. I didn't think that there would be any cheap tickets left, but to my surprise, I was able to pick up a return to Birmingham for £13.30 providing I took specific trains. The weather didn't look too bad when I booked but in the week leading up to the game, it was rain, rain and more rain, putting several games in doubt. Indeed, when I checked on Thursday, two of my ten options had already been moved to alternate values. I planned out potential journeys for the other eight, leaving most as late as possible to allow for late changes in the situation. I also put together a Twitter list as a quick way to view any potential problems. Happily, the one local option with a 3G pitch, Team Dudley was very communicative on Twitter and so I was assured that I'd be seeing a game, even if the ground was a fairly bland new build. Friday bought yet more rain and together with a busy day at work, that ruined any chances of walking to town and back for shopping and a couple of pints. My morning walk to the station was also ruined, with three hours of rain at the precise time when I was supposed to be walking down town. If it turned out to be true, that would be extra added to the footy costs and also a lost opportunity to get some exercise. I woke up as ever at my normal work time on the day of the game, an irritating symptom of having to get up at 4am for work every day. The weather was predictably vile and with the bus being expensive and irregular for my journey, I decided to drive and park in a road 15 minutes from the station. I left at 8 and was at the station with ten minutes to spare where I saw some Wycombe fans waiting for their coach to Doncaster.


I got the usual 8.34 train to Birmingham and by the time I got to Birmingham, four of my options had fallen victim to the weather including my first choice at Redditch Borough. I was in Brum by 10, having a look around some shops to kill time. Not wanting to appear a desperate drunk, I waited until at least 11.02 to enter the Post Office Vaults and was the second customer in. It was marvellous as ever and I had a pint of CJ's Wobbly Legs cider which was great. By now, it was only Team Dudley and Wednesfield standing, so I settled on the former knowing that it was a 3G pitch. My second pint was Meare's Farmhouse which was another good one before I left just after 12. By this time, Wednesfield had also bitten the dust, though their Twitter hadn't been updated. I was in two minds whether to eat in Birmingham or head straight to Dudley but with a bus leaving soon, I chose the latter. Having just jumped on any old bus that said Dudley on the front, it took longer than planned. I was in Dudley by 1.40 though and found a local place that did Chicken, Donner and chips for £2. That was wolfed down and it left my body as quickly as it entered as I was glad of a khazi at the Court House. This pub was more disappointing than my last visit, but I did have a pint of the much sampled Black Dragon for £3.50 which was OK. From there it was the walk to the ground. Not the simplest to find with just a postcode, but eventually I was there. A fiver got me entry, a programme, a hot drink and some biscuits. A few hoppers were in attendance, including Craig Dabbs who organises the Bedfordshire League hop in a total attendance of 49.

8th place Team Dudley were in mixed form, having won two and drawn two of their last four games, a notable result being the 6-0 hammering of Willenhall Town. 3rd place Wellington Amateurs were in slightly better form having won two, drawn one and lost one of their last four. In the reverse fixture, the two sides drew 2-2 back on 11th January  The first half was dominated by Team Dudley. They took the lead on 18 minutes when Daniel Hadley headed home a flick on at the back post. It was 2-0 soon after when Saul Broadfield followed up Jake Bailey’s parried shot. After 36 minutes, it was 3-0, really poor defending from the visitors allowed Jack Bailey in to seemingly put the game beyond doubt. Wellington Amateurs arrived for the second half very late, but they were a much-improved side. On 50 minutes Jake Challoner got in ahead of the defence to finish. Just after the hour, a good through ball found the same player and he finished well to make the game interesting. Wellington Amateurs looked a good bet for an equaliser at that point, but Dudley would finish the game in clinical fashion. On 68 minutes Alex Pinches finished well in the bottom right-hand corner. Fifteen minutes from time, the hosts made sure of their win through Bailey, a great shot from outside the area.

From there, I said my goodbyes and went back to the bus station. The buses were all over the place, no sign of the quicker bus back to Birmingham so it was the slower 87 for me. There was the familiar smell of weed on the bus, something that appears to be very Birmingham centric, especially on elongated bus journeys. I was back in Birmingham just after 6 and ready for one final half. I set the Post Office Vaults into Google Maps but on the way passed cider specialist 'The Stable'. With long queues and nothing special that I could see, I gave it the swerve and headed to my original destination. There I had a half of Perry's Dabinett and although a retry, it was marvellous. It was down the hatch in under ten minutes and so I arrived back at Moor Street for my train twenty minutes ahead of departure. I sat on the train and started my blog, also listening to the phone in on Radio 5. The phone in made the journey go quickly and by 8.15 I was back in High Wycombe. I was peckish by now, so I called in at the local Chinese, the Peking House, for some salt and pepper chips which were great for £2. I ate them as I walked back to my car and was home by 9. The rest of the evening finalising my blog, sorting out photos and watching Match Of The Day.


PRIORY ROAD is a fairly basic setup. Just the one side is available to spectators, this comprises of open hard standing and a small 25 seater stand. Hot drinks and basic snacks are available and the ground is ten minutes from Dudley town centre with a large range of takeaways and pubs, the pick of which is The Court House. The programme is very good with lots of useful info and is well worth the £1 asking price.

Wednesday 5 February 2020

Tuffley Rovers - Glevum Park

Tuffley Rovers FC
Glevum Park
(Opposite GPO Logistics)
Lower Tuffley Lane

07545 492261 (Chairman, correct as of Jan 2020)
Official Website

Ground Number: 904
Tuesday 4th February 2020
Tuffley Rovers 3-0 Shortwood United

Banbury Litho Hellenic Floodlit Cup


The club was established in 1929 and spent the next 60 years in local leagues such as the Stroud & District, North Gloucestershire and Gloucestershire Northern Senior League. In 1988 they joined the Gloucestershire County League and after two mid-table finishes, they were champions in 1991. This granted them promotion to the Hellenic League Division 1 where they gained a very credible 3rd place in their debut season. The following season saw them win the league and gain promotion to the Hellenic Premier. They spent the next 12 seasons here, two 4th place finishes in 1996 and 2000 being their best finishes in the club's history. The 2005/06 season saw financial issues force them to resign from the league and take the place of their reserve side in the  Gloucestershire Northern Senior League. Back to back promotions saw them regain their place in the Gloucestershire League for the 2007/08 season. By 2012/13 season, a runners-up spot behind local rivals Longlevens was good enough for promotion to the Hellenic D1 West. In 2015, a runners-up spot, again behind Longlevens saw Tuffley promoted to the Hellenic Premier. Mid-table finishes have been the order of the day since their return, with two 10th place finishes being the highlight. The side currently sit in 15th place prior to tonight's game.

The best run in the FA Cup came in 1999 as they beat Eastleigh before losing 5-0 to Lymington & New Milton in a 2nd Qualifying Round Replay. The 2nd Round of the FA Vase was reached in 1994 with wins over Cirencester Town and Wotton Rovers prior to a 4-1 defeat at Westbury United in the 2nd Round. They matched that again in 2016, losing to Bodmin Town. Local cup wins include the Hellenic League Floodlit Cup (1999 & 2003), the Hellenic D1 Cup (1993), the Stroud Amateur Cup (1998 & 2007), the Stroud Intermediate Cup (1957) and the Harry Greening Memorial Cup (2013). Tuffley is one of 15 suburbs of the suburb Gloucester and has a population of just under 6,000. The area has two pubs, two libraries, a community centre, a sports centre and a shopping centre.


Glevum Park was originally meant to be my 900th ground when they were due to play Westfields on Tuesday 7th January. However, despite minimal rain in the days leading up to the game, it was called off due to an area of the pitch being unplayable. Credit to the club, they made a decision early and so an easy diversion to Leicester Nirvana was made on that occasion. There'd be no such problems on this occasion with the game being confirmed as going ahead on the morning of the game. This fixture had stood out when looking at games for the week on Sunday due to me having already started my blog and knowing a good place for dinner. The day of the game came and I woke around 6.30 am, having got an extra two hours sleep compared to a workday. After getting ready and having some breakfast as well as killing time, I started my walk down town just before 11.30. After getting some lunch and other stuff I came home and had an hour to catch up before leaving at 3.20. After getting petrol, I met Anwar at 4 and we were on our way. The journey was pretty standard, half an hour delay, twenty minutes of that caused by the traffic lights at Eynsham that have no doubt blighted many a journey. We were at Muchachos, our chosen pre-match dinner place by 6.10. I opted for the lamb chutney burger meal that came in at £5.79. It took 25 minutes to come but when it did, it was freshly cooked and delicious. So good it was, I didn't even add it to my football costs. It was a ten-minute drive to the ground with us getting there at 7.10. Entry was a great value £5 programme. After getting some pictures of the ground, I sat in the bar for a while, buying a Tuffley Rovers pen for £1.50 to add to my vast collection. I also got some chips at half time for £1 and these were pretty good.


Tuffley Rovers were in mixed form since the new year with them winning one (3-0 at Home to Easington Sports) and losing one (4-2 away to Fairford Town) in the league and winning 1-0 at Hardwicke before losing 2-1 at Bitton in the Gloucestershire FA Trophy. Shortwood United, playing a division lower in the Hellenic D1 West had started the year well with wins over Moreton Rangers (3-1) and at Cirencester Town Development (4-0). However, they'd been winless since having drawn 0-0 at Stonehouse Town and 3-3 at home to Wellington. They'd suffered defeats at Bourton Rovers (4-2 in the league) and at home to Roman Glass St George (6-0 in the Gloucestershire FA Trophy). At the time of the game, they were a mid-table 8th in the league. Earlier in the season, Shortwood had caused a surprise result back in August as they beat Tufflet Rovers 5-0 in the FA Vase in the previous meeting between the two sides. The hosts were dominant early on and it took a good save from Adam Clark in the Shortwood goal after a few minutes to deny Dominik Kent. Kent nearly opened the scoring again on 10 minutes, rounding Clark but Joe Tryner was there to hook the ball of the line. Tuffley continued to dominate, a shot being deflected over for a corner. After 20 minutes, Shortwood United suffered a blow when Tryner was stretchered off. The game was held up for five minutes as the unfortunate player went off with a suspected fractured arm. Shortwood started to get chances on the break, both Josh Beadle and Guy Halliday firing just wide from distance. The game was goalless at the break but five minutes into the second half, Tuffley took the lead as Callum Ebanks headed powerfully home from a left-wing cross. The lead was doubled on 52 minutes, a penalty was awarded for a foul just inside the area and Warren Mann converted the penalty. firing low to the right. The hosts confirmed the victory on 61 minutes as Jake Rhodes headed in from a corner from the right. Shortwood had a few chances on the break, forcing a couple of good saves from Tuffley keeper Luke Merchant but they couldn't get a goal back. Most of the 103 crowd went home happy, but Shortwood had bought a few. We left at 9.45 and listened to the nights FA Cup results coming in on Radio 5. After that, it was the BBC Three Counties Non-League show with me dropping Anwar off at 11.20 and getting home myself at 11.45. I didn't stay up for long and was in bed by midnight but with work at 4 am in the morning, I still needed a nap the following afternoon when I came home.


Glevum Park is a surprisingly decent venue for the level and would probably be good enough for step 3 football. Behind the near goal where you come in are two areas of cover. An area of flat covered standing holding around 60 and a seated stand for the same amount. Along both sides are smaller seated stands probably holding about 40 each. The rest of the ground is open. The tea bar, clubhouse and club shop offer a reasonable range for the level at great value prices. All in all, a nice ground and friendly club to visit, one of the better at step 5.

The car park is small, but there's plenty of parking in the industrial estate outside. The city of Gloucester is 3 miles drive away or 45 minutes walk whilst the village of Tuffley is a lot nearer and has a few facilities. Muchachos takeaway is well worth a visit in the city centre where there are plenty of pubs.