Tuesday 28 March 2023

Hamble Club - The Abbey

Hamble Club FC
The Abbey
SO31 4BU

Ground Number: 1167
Tuesday 28th March 2023
Hamble Club 1-0 Moneyfields
Wessex Premier


The club was established in 1969, originally as a youth team. They later became members of the Southampton Saturday League, where they played until joining Division Three of the Hampshire League in 1993. The club were Division Three champions in 1997, earning promotion to Division Two. In 2004 the Hampshire League merged into the Wessex League, with Hamble becoming members of the new Division Three. In 2006 the division was renamed Division Two, but the following year, the division was disbanded and the club became founder members of the Hampshire Premier League. Hamble generally struggled here and would resign from the league midway through the 2012/13 season. The following season saw them drop down a league but win promotion back following a runners-up spot behind Bush Hill. The next season they were champions of the top tier but would have to wait a season to be admitted to the Wessex League due to lack of facilities. They took to the higher level with aplomb, winning the Wessex D1 at the first attempt. Since then, they have been in the Wessex Premier, their best finish of 7th coming in 2019 when they finished 7th.

Hamble Club have entered the FA Cup on five occasions, reaching the Preliminary Round in two of those campaigns. The club made their FA Vase debut in 2017 and to date, this is by far their best run. They beat Bemerton Heath Harlequins, Petersfield Town, Romsey Town, Brockenhurst, Horndean and Westfields prior to a 2-0 defeat at Windsor in the 5th Round. The club is based in the village of Hamble-Le-Rice. Situated seven miles from Southampton, it has a population of around 4,700. The village takes its name from the River Hamble; Rice is the Old English word meaning 'brushwood' or perhaps by extension 'scrubland'. It is best known for being an aircraft training centre during the Second World War and is a popular yachting location. The village and the River Hamble also featured in the 1980s BBC television series Howards' Way. They share the village with Wessex League rivals Folland Sports who have connections to the local aircraft industry. A number of well-known people have lived in the village, including Reggie & Ronnie Kray who owned a cottage there.


This choice of game was only decided on the day before. With both of my regular hoppers - Anwar & Colin declaring themselves unavailable, I wanted to go somewhere as close to home as possible. With my options at steps 1-6 very limited, I turned to step 7. However, the 'silly season' where clubs with no floodlights play early evening had not kicked in fully yet. Therefore, I used Furbology to find my nearest 'unticked' ground which happened to be Hamble Club v Moneyfields. It later transpired that Coln & Martin's intended game at Biggleswade United was off and so they decided to come with me.
Following my return to the UK from a weekend away, I decided to get home the cheap way from Luton Airport, Buses to Dunstable and Aylesbury, plus a lift from there meant that I got home for £4. A few pints at a couple of new Wetherspoons were ticked, although that will be the end of my drinking until Saturday as it's been an unhealthy time off work. The day of the game came and it was another rainy one, thwarting my walk down town. Lots of games were cancelled due to the deluge, but Hamble were confident their game would be on. I left home at 4.50 and the tyre pressure warning light came on. When I got to Colin's, I tried pumping my tyre up but it was taking ages. Luckily, Martin was able to drive and so we decided not to risk my car on the journey. We left at 5.15 with a good journey predicted. However, as well as a small slowdown on the M25 which is not unusual, there was also a big delay on the M3. It was around 25 minutes even after we avoided the worst of it by coming off and going through Winchester. It was frustrating that I'd left my bag in my boot, although I was able to get by with my phone. We were tight for time but still needed to stop off for food and cash. I got an excellent chicken curry and chips for £6.10 from a place called Ming Wah right by Folland Sports FC.

Hamble Club were in 7th whilst Moneyfields were in 4th. The hosts' form had been mixed in recent times. They had thumped Andover New Street 7-1 in their last game and had also won 5-0 at Hythe & Dibden. However, they'd drawn 1-1 against Alresford Town and lost 3-2 to Laverstock & Ford, 4-2 at AFC Porchester and 2-0 at tonight's opponents in the reverse fixture.  The visitors had also beaten Bemerton Heath Harlequins 2-1, won 3-2 at AFC Portchester and beaten Brockenhurst 6-2. Only the flip side, they'd drawn 1-1 with Shaftesbury and lost 3-1 against AFC Stoneham. We were at the ground at 7.43 to find the game kicking off early. Luckily, we could see through the fence as Hamble took a very early lead, Mac Gange with a low shot from just inside the area. Hamble continued to have the upper hand but couldn't add to their lead. Moneyfields had some chances second half but couldn't get the ball in the net. It was quite a physical game and the whistle-happy referee sent Clayd Roach off for a second booking. The late tackle probably deserved a red, to be honest, but the game was broken up by the referee's meddling.
The game finished and we were away by 9.40. It had been a decent night out and not too pricey as there were three of us in the car. I was grateful for Martin for driving as I'd have likely not risked it with my tyre. We were back around 11.20 and I was home 15 minutes later. Funnily enough, the tyre light had now gone out on my car. I've had to top up that tyre every few weeks or so anyway, so it's just something I'll keep an eye on. It was a return for work to me in the morning, not something that I was hugely excited about. However, for health and discipline reasons, it was good for me as it had been an indulgent 12 days off. Next up for me will be a revisit to Holmer Green on Thursday, then maybe a new ground at Ledbury Town or elsewhere on Friday.

THE ABBEY is a nice stadium for the level. It had plenty of character and colour. There is one main area of cover, a low but long stand with bench seating which could hold around 200. There's a small area of additional cover in the corner by the turnstile called Coxy's Corner in memory of a fan. The tea bar looked very decent, the bar pleasant but restricted to cans and bottles. Parking is fairly plentiful if you include the overflow on the training pitch. Hamble train station is nearby. There's a parade of shops nearby with takeaways and a cash machine. This is around half a mile away, near Folland Sports FC.

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