Friday, 16 July 2021

AFC St Austell - Poltair Park

AFC St Austell
Poltair Park
73 Trevartian Road
St Austell 
PL25 4BT

07772211311 (secretary)

Ground Number: 973
Friday 16th July 2021
AFC St Austell 0-3 Sticker


The club was established in 1890 and were originally known as St Austell FC. They spent the first part of their history playing in local league before becoming one of the founding members of the South Western League in 1951. They stayed here for 55 years, winning the title in 1969. In 2007, the league merged with the Devon County League to become the South West Peninsula League. The team were placed in the Division 1 West (step 7) but changed their name to AFC St Austell a couple of years later.  It bought immediate success, with the team finishing as runners-up behind Perranporth and winning promotion to the SWP Premier. They were champions in 2015 but were denied promotion due to ground grading. Since then, they have been in and around the top of the table but with the facilities now in place, they haven't quite done enough to win promotion yet. 

In the FA Cup, the club's showing in their debut season of 1947 was their best yet. They beat Glastonbury and Dartmouth United before going out to Street in the 3rd Qualifying Round. In the FA Vase, AFC St Austell had a brilliant run during the 2014-15 season. They beat Portleven, Saltash United, Ilfracombe Town, Folland Sports, Verwood Town, Greenwich Borough and Stanway Rovers before losing in a two-legged semi-final to Glossop North End. Local honours include the Cornwall Senior Cup on 14 occasions, the Cornwall Charity Cup three times and the South West Peninsula League Cup in 2016.


As part of my trip down to Cornwall, I needed a Friday night game. Whereas my Saturday game at Falmouth was set in stone due to it being on my bucket list, Friday was more open. In the end, it came down to which ground was nearest to a campsite and Wadebridge won out. Though it was dictated by convenience, I was happy that it had worked out this way. The club was really welcoming on Twitter and the town looked a pleasant one. I'd not really heard of St Mawgan FC before, but it turned out that they played a step lower in the St Piran League East. The day of the game came and I awoke at my usual work time of 7 am. With time to kill before I left after the rush hour, I tried to find out what was behind Wadebridge Town's ground name of Bodieve Park but all I could find was a local holiday park and a small nearby village. I left at 9.20 and had a number of stops - mainly football grounds - along the way, to break up the journey.

First stop was Wincanton Town, after plenty of delays, mainly on the A303. I was there at 12.15 and it was a decent setup. From there, I went to Lidl to get some lunch and some cans for later. I avoided getting petrol as the price was £1.34.9 - 10 p more than I paid last week. I paid a penny less at Tesco in Honiton and although I'd like to have got it cheaper, I had no choice. The next stop was Honiton Town which didn't really feel like a football ground with everything in situ for cricket. It was at this point that I learned St Mawgan had pulled out of the game due to Covid issues. I was not best pleased, but it wasn't the home club's fault. In any case, I had backups in place and so decided to go to AFC St Austell Reserves v Sticker. From there I went to Joshua's Farm  Shop where I picked up some local ciders. It was then a short drive to the brilliant home of Ottery St Mary - Washbrook Meadows. It was very ramshackle and the pitch didn't look in great health, but it's just the sort of place that is a groundhoppers heaven. I did have another farm shop and Okehampton Argyle planned too, dut I decided to go straight to my campsite as time was running out. The Royal Cornwall events centre was a nice enough place, everything was self-service but in truth, I could have got away without paying. Arriving at 4.40, I got my tent up and confirmed my alternative game was on. I really could have done with a few drinks after a 7.5-hour drive but knowing I had to drive a little over an hour later, I held off. I did manage to get my thoughts for the day down, typing my blog but there was no time to do any research on the club or places to eat. I tried to look on the bright side. If there was one game I'd have chosen to go tits up, it would have been tonight. Falmouth on Saturday was a bucket list ground and Sidmouth on Sunday was the only option. I was just disappointed to be missing out on Wadebridge who had been friendly and helpful.

I left my temporary home at 5.50. It was a slow old journey over, but I was glad to get to the ground at 6.20 to find a bust car park. Entry was free, so I got a 50/50 ticket for a quid from the friendly gateman. After getting some pictures of the ground, I went into the bar for a pint of Somersby, happy to have a drink to chill out and also help out the club. Sadly, there was no hot food, so I decided to wait until after. It was a local derby with just three miles between the sides. The game kicked off at 7.28, three minutes later than advertised. The pitch sloped from side to side, with the stand on the higher side. Around 70 were in attendance and they saw Sticker start well on top. They were awarded a penalty for a trip after a few minutes but the placed effort was well saved by the St Austell keeper. Sticker continued to dominate and they had a free-kick well saved on 25 minutes. Five minutes later, they had a header from a free-kick ruled out for offside. They also hit the post from a tight angle earlier on. The pressure finally told on 40 minutes, a good run and a great shot from 25 yards by Alfie Flack seeing the visitors go in front. It was 2-0 on 55 minutes, a cross was palmed away by the keeper and the rebound was put in from around five yards by James Oakley. The game continued to be one-way traffic, Sticker hitting the post on 72 minutes and then seeing a free-kick well saved two minutes later. The game was sealed on 76 minutes, it looked a decent strike by Daniel Hocking but my view was not the best as I was up the other end. There was still time for the visitors to hit the inside of the right-hand post and see the ball bounce away seven minutes from time but there were no more goals.

After the game, I left around 9.20. I'd spotted a club, Roche FC on my way, so I stopped ten minutes up the road to get some pictures. It was a decent setup for the East Cornwall League with a chained pitch, a  set of dugouts and a clubhouse. From there, it was 20 minutes back to Wadebridge, with me stopping at Tesco. I got most of what I wanted - some chicken and bits for later, but no ice cubes or fold up table.  I got back to my campsite at around 10.15 and was disappointed to still hear the roads in the background. I tried various configurations before settling on sitting on my fold-up stool, using my car boot as a 'desk' I cracked open a Jack Ratt Vintage Dry and got on with my blog. 


POLTAIR PARK is a nice ground for step 6. Pride of place goes to the main stand, which looks nice, is elevated and holds around 250 people. The reality is not so good though, with sightlines not great. The rest of the ground is open standing and offers a much better view. There is also a bar which is very smart and offers a reasonable range of drinks. The tea bar was offering snacks and drinks when I went, as it was being rebuilt. Parking is a bit limited, the small car park turns into a bit of a free for all at the end with people arriving to pick people up and others getting blocked in. Overall, well worth a visit though, a nice friendly club and great value.

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