Thursday, 15 July 2021

Pitstone & Ivinghoe - Pavilion Ground

Pitstone & Ivinghoe FC
Pavilion Ground
Pitstone Pavilion
Marsworth Road

Ground Number: 972
Thursday 15th July 2021
Pitstone & Ivinghoe 0-3 Leighton Town


The club was established in 1957 after the demise of the similarly named Ivinghoe & Pitstone FC. The new club set up home at Pitstone Recreation Ground. Their formative years were spent in local leagues such as the West Herts (where they were champions in 1969), Aylesbury & District and the Dunstable Alliance (where they were champions on three occasions. In 1977, the club had built up enough facilities to be accepted into the South Midlands League. They spent 11 seasons in Division 1, winning the title in 1988. Two years later, they were Premier Division Champions. At the time the non-league pyramid was not as defined as it is now, but this would probably be equal to step 5 nowadays. in 1993, the club was forced to make the step down to the Senior Division as they did not have floodlights. This started a decline and following two bottom-placed finishes, Pitstone & Ivinghoe were relegated to Division 1 in 1995. Results didn't really pick up over the next couple of seasons but in 1997, the league joined forces with the Spartan League to become the Spartan South Midlands League. This saw a positive impact on the club, with the team finishing 3rd in the maiden season. They were Division 1 champions in 2001 & 2003 but again the lack of floodlights hindered them. In 2004, it was another forced demotion due to lack of facilities and the club remains in the Spartan South Midlands League Division 2 to this day. Their best finish of 4th came in 2016 although they were in second place when the season was abandoned in March 2020 due to Covid.

Due to lack of facilities, the club has never played in any of the national FA competitions. They have, however, seen plenty of success locally. Honours in recent years include the Berks & Bucks Intermediate Cup in 2001 & 2013 and the South Midlands League Trophy in 1997. The village of Pitstone has a population of just under 3,000 and is situated halfway between Aylesbury & Leighton Buzzard. The conjoined village of Ivinghoe has a population of just under 1,000. The nearby windmill features on the club badge and is the oldest in the UK, dating back to 1627. Ivinghoe Beacon, near the village, is an ancient beacon, or signal point, which was used in times of crisis to send messages across the country and is now popular with walkers who just want to get exercise and see the view.  This was used for filming scenes in films and TV programmes such as Harry Potter & The Goblet of Fire, The Avengers, The Dirty Dozen & Star Wars. 


With this being the start of five days off work for my birthday, I was keen to get a game in, especially with me keen to continue a run that had started with games on Tuesday and Wednesday. Thursday is not the most prolific day for games but luckily, there was a decent selection on this day. I needed a local one though, with a dentist appointment, so Pitstone & Ivinghoe was perfect. It was also another ground in the Spartan South Midlands League Division 2, one of the few step 7 leagues I'd like to complete. It would be another basic venue, but the club was an ambitious one, hoping to install floodlights soon so that they can play at a higher level. I felt OK on the day of the game, despite getting only five hours sleep. Work was OK too, but I was glad to be having five days off.I came home and finished my blog for last nights visit to Askern before going up the dentist for a checkup, which all worked fine. I came back and uploaded my blog. The latest Covid figures were published and it was quite alarming to see how high they are getting. Mainly down to the complacency of the government which is passed down to the public and people being stupid. There have never been any regulations in schools, workplaces too and I'd imagine that it is spreading in homes where people shouldn't need to take any caution.  Certainly, I'm still holding off buying a Wycombe season ticket as I can't see there not being some form of lockdown in the autumn and winter. Last season there was protection and a pro-rata refund for those matches missed, but this season, there is no protection. Add that to the fact that I may want to go other games and will be missing a couple through work and it makes it a less attractive proposition. I can decide right up until the start of the season in any case, as prices won't change.

I had my dinner and got my things together before leaving at 6.25. It was a good journey over but when I got there 20 minutes before the advertised kick-off, the car park was already full. I parked in a side road before going back to the ground and paying £2 to get in. It wasn't much but hopefully, the club did well tonight with around 70 in attendance. The game didn't kick off until 7.30 in the end. Both kits were smart - Pitstone's a red one with black pin hoops and Leighton's a pale blu with a bit of white. The higher league visitors were well on top and Pitstone had to rely on chances on the break. The #9 had the ball in the net for the hosts on 20 minutes, but it was ruled out for offside. He got an injury later on but luckily he was able to carry on as he looked a really decent player. He had a second goal disallowed for offside on 43 minutes and then a minute later Leighton Town also had the ball in the net but it was still 0-0 at the break. The visitors took the lead on 52 minutes, a ball was put in and the Pitstone keeper saved well but he was unable to prevent the rebound from being slotted home from around six yards. On 55 minutes, the lead was doubled when a square ball was put in from the right and the ball was put home from around ten yards. Leighton Town had a goal disallowed on 65 minutes, again for offside, the 4th chalked off of the night. A minute later, they did get their 3rd, a decent shot from a tight angle on the right. By now, Pitstone & Ivinghoe had made a number of changes and were fading out of the game. Ten minutes from time though, they did hit the post with a header. They probably deserved a goal overall but on 84 minutes #5 was played through, only to shoot over the bar. I left the ground at 9.15 and was home half an hour later. I typed up my blog whilst listening to Andy Crane on Greatest Hits Radio but didn't want to stay up too late with a long drive down to Cornwall tomorrow.


PITSTONE PAVILION is a smart setup and has the beginnings of a really decent setup. The frontage is really smart and professional-looking, although some overgrown foilage covers up the club sign. Inside is a basic bar and tea bar, but there is a reasonable range. The front of this has a bit of cover under the overhang, plus there's a small seated area for around six people in the corner. Apart from that, there is not even a rail around the pitch, though you can clearly see the potential to get a step 5 ground in place.

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