Monday, 19 July 2021

Falmouth Town - Bickland Park

Falmouth Town FC
Bickland Park
Bickland Hill
TR11 4PB

Ground Number: 974
Saturday 17th July 2021
Falmouth Town 0-5 Truro City
Auberry Wilkes Trophy


The club was established in 1949, joining the Cornwall Combination the following year. Their stay was a short one, for they were founder members of the South WesternLeague in 1951. They were hugely successful here, winning the title on 14 occasions. Their most successful period was at the start of the 70s when they won the title four seasons in a row. They followed that up by moving to the Western League and winning that four times - an incredible 8 titles in a row. This included a 58-match unbeaten run, mainly during the 1975-76 season. Due to increased travelling costs, the club dropped down to the Cornwall Combination in 1983 and would win the title once more. A return to the South Western League followed and the club would remain here until the league merged with the Devon County League in 2007 and became the South West Peninsula League. Since then, Falmouth Town has remained in its top tier and have finished 3rd on three occasions.

The club made its debut in the FA Cup in 1960 and straight away, reached the 1st Round. They beat Barnstaple Town, St Blazey, Bideford & Bath City before a narrow defeat to Oxford United. This game attracted a record attendance of 8,000. They would go on to reach the 1st Round twice more, losing to Peterborough United on both occasions. They also reached the 2nd Round of the FA Trophy in 1977. In the FA Vase, Falmouth Town for to the Quarter Final in their debut season of 1986/87, losing out to St Helens Town after a replay. Local cup honours include the Pratten Cup in 1974, the Cornwall Senior Cup on twelve occasions, the Cornwall Charity Cup twice, the St Austell Brewery Cup six times and the Auberry Wilkes Trophy on six occasions. There have also been a load of League Cup wins in various competitions. The club's record transfer income is £12,000 when they sold Tony Kellow to Exeter City in 1976. The record appearance holder for the club is Keith Manley with 580 outings, whilst Joe Scott tops with scoring charts with 205 strikes.

The town of Falmouth has a population of just under 22,000 but has a remarkable choice of top-notch pubs for a place of that size. The place takes its name as it is at the mouth of the River Fal. The town's main industry was once maritime activity as a port town but now it attracts a lot of business from tourism, with it being a popular holiday destination. Local attractions include the harbour, the maritime museum and Pendennis Castle. The town is well served by rail, having three stations. It also has a university, with comedian Dawn French as the chancellor. As well as football, rugby and cricket is also played in the town. Famous people from Falmouth include footballer Matthew Etherington and athlete Seb Coe.


I'd wanted to visit Falmouth Town's Bickland Park for some time, having made a bucket list of grounds to do during lockdown to coincide with this blog's tenth anniversary. I must admit, that the initial reason was for the vast range of pubs that have real cider (cider made from 100% apples as opposed to concentrate) with two recommended on the 'Cider Mike' website and many more in the town. It was also an attractive town and a nice part of the world and the ground is very nice too. Unlike last week, however, I'd plan my drinking a lot carefully, having forgotten a lot of my day. It's something that only happens every couple of years but is something I want to cut out completely as well as not remembering much, I also nearly lost my mobile phone. Luckily, a kind person handed it in and I was only without it for a few minutes. I know exactly where I went wrong - trying to cram in too much pre-match, the extra pint that I had at one pub proving the difference as the cider I drink is strong stuff. This weekend would be better planned though, with me camping overnight, there would be no rush to get home and I'd be sure to be more sensible from now on anyway.

The day of the game came and I was camping over in Wadebridge. It had not been the best nights sleep, around 6 hours but it was not bad given the noise of the nearby road. I'd had a few drinks to send me to sleep and this helped. I woke at 6.30 and caught up on things before going for a shower. After having a bit of a rest and packing up, I left at 9. First stop was B&M Bargains as I'd forgotten to bring a toothbrush. It was better than I'd expected with me getting a fancy chocolate bar, some Thatchers Green Goblin cider and the table I'd been searching for. From there it was an hour to Penryn Athletic FC where I met the local ignoramus. I'd just parked in the car park which was unmarked. I'd gone out to get a picture of the club sign when the twat came roaring up towards me in his car, beeping his horn like a moron and claiming that I was in his space. I really should have chinned him but instead, I just moved about ten yards away. A nice lady in a car told me that I'd just met the local 'Mr Angry' and that he'd got a bit of a reputation. After getting my pictures, I went to my campsite and with no answer on the phone, pitched up. A nice lady rang back just as I was leaving and we made tentative arrangements for me to pay my pitch fee.


It was a lovely area but with lots of hills, the hour walk was a bit tiring in the sun. I had my lunch at the Packet Station Wetherspoons. I was disappointed there was no Black Dragon cider as there was when I'd checked last week. Either way, a hearty portion of fish and chips with a pint of Thatchers Gold was most welcome and at £9.65, reasonable value. I'd spotted an interesting looking bottle shop on the way called Lauter so I headed back there. It was as good as it looked and I had a big bottle of Caledonian High and dry cider. Pricey at £9.50 but a fair price for a very good drop. It was half an hour walk to the ground with me arriving at 2.30. After paying £5 to get in, I saw the ground and it was everything that I'd hoped for, a wonderful place. 

Truro were dominant in the early stages and they took the lead on 11 minutes with a low shot from inside the area by Dan Rooney. The Falmouth fans were fantastic, singing along to their piped music to such hits as Glad All Over and Sweet Caroline. My favourite one was the Slade hit 'Mama, We're all crazy now' with them altering the last two words to 'Falmouth Town'. Ryan Brett made it 2-0 to Truro on 24 minutes as he placed a shot under the keeper. It began a bit of an avalanche of goals for on 26 minutes Rio Garside finished off a well-worked move to make it 3-0. Brett got his second with a stunning strike a few minutes later and it was 4-0. Tyler Harvey got the 5th on 35 minutes, a defensive slip and a shot that looked savable to make it 5-0. The game evened out and died down after that and as much as I willed Falmouth to get a consolation, none was forthcoming. The home fans, perhaps in gallows humour sang 'Can we play you every week'. Truro even had a penalty saved on 65 minutes, but chances were few and far between. 

The Cornish Pastie that I had at the ground was brilliant with big lumps of steak and onions. Made by Pip's Pasties of Penryn, it tasted all the better for being locally made with care. On the news, it transpired that the health secretary had got Covid, which wasn't a great example to set. Certainly, a lot of people aren't bothering to mask up in shops anymore as was the case in Poundland when I popped in to get a couple of cans of Irn Bru. From there it was a short walk to get a drink with me opting for a pint of Pitchfork cider at the Front pub. It wasn't the best cider list, so I moved on. The Stable was next, I had a pint of Haywood Medium which was better, but again, I'd had most of the ciders on the list. In any case, I didn't want to get carried away. My last stop was Wetherspoons again for a steak dinner which was very nice. A pint of Aspall washed it down and I was away around 8. It was around an hour walk back to my campsite but Google Maps took me on a strange old route. I was back just after 9 and set up my table and chair to type my blog. The place was still a hive of activity with a lot of youngsters around but other than that, it was very peaceful. I cracked open a Thatchers Green Goblin to have whilst the sun went down and was in a good mood.


BICKLAND PARK is a great non-league venue that every groundhopper must visit. On the side where you come in is the only seated accommodation, this is for a few hundred. There's also open standing on the high bank although a lot of your view is obscured by the stand. To your right is a decent-sized terrace, The Packet End which has cover for a few hundred. This is where the main Falmouth singers congregate. Opposite is a smaller covered terrace, room for around 100 and this is matched on the left-hand goal. Overall, a very nice and characterful setup.

The bar is outside and this offers your usual range of drinks. The tea bar is inside, this has excellent Cornish Pasties from a place in Penryn as well as burgers, hot dogs and chips. It also has snacks and drinks. I didn't see a club shop, but several people had nice looking scarves. The ground is on a bus route or is around 30 minutes walk from town, There is a large car park and also some street parking. In town, the Wetherspoons - The Packet Station, as well as Lauter Bottle Shop, The Front and The Stable are well worth a visit.

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