Saturday, 28 August 2021

Gas Recreation - Colchester Sports & Social Club

Gas Recreation FC
Colchester Sports & Social Club
19 Bromley Road

Ground Number: 989
Saturday 28th August 2021
Gas Recreation 2-3 Brantham Athletic Reserves
Essex & Suffolk Border League Premier Division


As with most clubs at this level, information on clubs history is very limited. The club was established in 1937 as Colchester Light & Coke Company. In 1952 they were reformed as Eastern Gas FC and enjoyed a very successful period winning a number of local cups. They were Essex & Suffolk Border League champions in 1972, four times in a row between 1996 and 1999, another four times in a row between 2005 & 2008, 2010, 2013, 2014, 2018 & 2019 and were also leading the table last season when it was abandoned. Cup wins include the ESBL League Cup on a number of occasions. In 1996 they beat Alresford Colne Rangers 5-3, the following year they retained the cup with a 1-0 win over Mistley United. In 1999 they overcame Needham Market Reserves 3-1 and in 2006 they defeated Lawford Lads 3-2. They last won the cup in 2013 with a 2-1 win over Tollesbury. They are also four times winners of the Tommy Thompson Cup and won the A.V Lee Memorial cup on three occasions.

The club is situated in Colchester, a couple of miles out of the town centre. The most famous club in the town, Colchester United ply their trade in League 2. Non-league clubs in the town include Gas Recreation and West Bergholt who ply their trade in the top division of the Essex & Suffolk Border League. Colchester occupies the site of what was Camulodunum, the first major Roman city in, and sometime capital of, Roman Britain. Colchester lays claim to be Britain's oldest recorded town. The population is just over 138,000. It is the only town in Britain to have been explicitly mentioned in George Orwell's novel Nineteen Eighty-Four as being the target of a nuclear attack. The (fictional) Atomic Wars took place during the 1950s. Colchester is the only town that was specifically mentioned as being bombed, but the book does say that many cities were destroyed in North America, Europe, and Russia. It was also mentioned in the sitcom 'Only Fools & Horses' when at a school reunion, Roy Slater mentioned that he'd been working as an undertaker in the town. Prominent members of the band Blur met at a school in Colchester. Famous people to have lived in the town include referee Ken Aston and the less pleasant Margaret Thatcher and Mary Whitehouse.

Sources used: FCHD, Wikipedia, ESBL Handbook, Football Grounds In Focus


When it came to choosing a game for this Saturday, I wanted to do a game on public transport but options were limited and uninspiring. There was a basic ground at Hazlemere Rec which was walkable but with it being just a basic pitch, I wanted to save it for a cup game if possible. The next cheapest were Oakwood and Roffey at around £22 but these options had limited pubs and were useful options to save for when I was on my own on a Tuesday night by car. Another option was something in Bristol but the coach times didn't work out unless I wanted to get back home at midnight. There were options further afield in the likes of the Wessex League but for some reason, these worked out at nearly double what the same distance to a destination in Kent would. I decided to look at step 7 instead, but with many leagues not starting up yet, options were limited. Utterly uninspired by the choices, I made contact with a few of my hoppers to see if they fancied something in the car, but being the day before, they'd all made arrangements. Back to the drawing board then and eventually I plumped for Gas Recreation. Once I'd looked on the What Pub website I started to feel a lot better. There were a ton of good pubs for real cider there, the best of which, the Victoria Inn listed their range on the app Untappd. With it being a decent ground for the level, I was really looking forward to the day out now and with my railcard, it was a very reasonable £26.55 return.

I'd had a fairly late night before, having come back from Mile Oak and stayed up to do my blog. I'd had just over 5 hours of sleep when my alarm went off at 7.10 and although I felt groggy at first, I soon woke up. A pot of porridge was consumed for breakfast but I had to be on my toes with time fairly tight. I left home at 7.35 and walked to High Wycombe train station, getting there at 8.45. I had one final check on Twitter for any potential problems before buying my ticket, but Brantham Athletic said game on. In any case, I had a basic venue at West Bergholt as a backup. I then got the 8.57 train to Marylebone, being glad to be able to make use of the toilet facilities on board. I was at Marylebone about 40 minutes later. From there I did my usual walk to Baker Street and expected to get the Metropolitan Line to Liverpool Street. However, something was up, shortage of drivers I think and instead, I had to take an alternative route. It would have been easier to just go from Marylebone but what's done was done and I got my train as planned at 10.36. I was there with nearly half an hour to spare but got on the train as soon as it arrived at the platform some 20 minutes earlier. The Greater Anglia service was nice pleasant and quiet and I made use of the WiFi as I was running low on phone data. It was nice to use the journey time to research the history of the club which took almost the entire hour. 

I was at Colchester Station at 11.40 and with a ten-minute walk to my first chosen pub of the Victoria Inn. I had ten minutes to hang around before it opened at 12. It really was a fantastic place for both Ale and Cider Drinkers. I'd have to learn to drink halves here but I was able to sample six new ciders, namely Dengie Dry, three from Simon's Cider of Cambridge, Cox!!!, Browns Medium Dry, and Sweet P , Snailsbank Perry Bomb and Adnams Wild Wave. I left at 1.30 and walked to the ground. I stopped at Taco Bell on the way for a Volcano Burrito meal which was great for £5.49. After a two mile walk, I was at the ground with 15 minutes until kick off. 

Gas Recreation had enjoyed a good start to the season as ever. They'd beaten Dunmow Town 3-1, Lawford Lads 6-1, Sudbury Sports 3-2 and White Notley 5-4. They'd drawn 3-3 against Hatfield Peverel and 1-1 against Earls Colne. They sat in third whilst visitors Brantham Athletic Reserves were 6th. They'd also had four wins beating Dedham Old Boys 5-2, Sudbury Sports 1-0, Little Oakley Reserves 3-0 and Felixstowe & Walton U23 3-1. They'd lost 2-0 to Stanway Pegasus and suffered an 8-1 thumping at Tiptree Heath which meant their goal difference was level. Gas Recreation started well and were ahead within a few minutes when Ryan Munson got on the end of a cross from the right to put his side ahead. They extended their lead on 18 minutes and it was a great shot on the turn from the edge of the area by 'Willo'. It was all one-way traffic at this point and it looked as if the hosts would win at a canter. Just before halftime, Brantham Athletic pulled a goal back just before halftime, it was a shot into the top corner from the edge of the area and a great goal by Charlie Iglesias. Five minutes into the second half it was 2-2. a shot on the turn by Aiden Carpenter. A couple of minutes later, the game was turned on its head, a corner from the right was put into just the right position and debutant Drew Cornick rose highest at the back post to head home. The #10 for Gas Recreation appeared to tread on a player following a scuffle but I may have been mistaken as there were no complaints and no action by the referee. He was later sent off for calling the linesman a 'useless c*nt'. The same linesman ruled out a 75th minutes equaliser for offside. It had been an excellent game with around 60 in attendance.

It had been an entertaining game, but a draw would probably have been a fairer result. I was disappointed to hear that Wycombe had lost 3-1 up at Sunderland but I was glad that I chose the game that I did. I headed back to Colchester Town Station as this was the nearest and I assumed that trains would stop at both this and the main station. I left just before 5 and looked out for somewhere to eat or drink en route. A few Chinese takeaways were passed before I settled on one that did salt and pepper chips right by the station. £3.20 got me a really nice portion but they weren't especially good value from Oriental House. I was disappointed to find a 40-minute wait for my train at 18:35. I decided to stick with it though and went to the shop around the corner for a couple of soft drinks. I then sat on the single platform and caught up whilst waiting for my train. My train duly arrived and it was a much older model than the morning one. I was happy that it still had free Wifi for my laptop though and so I caught up with my blog on the way home. The plan was to get back to London and Wycombe and stop at Lidl for drinks and snacks, hopefully getting home for Match Of The Day which I'd not watched in two years.


COLCHESTER SPORTS AND SOCIAL CLUB is an excellent venue for the level. The pitch is fully railed or fenced all around, with each side being different. There's a pavilion that houses the dressing rooms and sells a selection of drinks and snacks. The ground is surrounded by pleasant woodland and there is plenty of parking. It's also on the main bus route and nearby is a small Tesco and Chinese, Indian and Chippy takeaways. 

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