Archdales Sports & Social Club
Ground Number: 1197
Saturday 1st July 2023
New Dales Vale 1-5 Worcester City
Saturday 1st July 2023
New Dales Vale 1-5 Worcester City
NEW DALES VALE FC - A BRIEF HISTORY
The club is a fairly new one and can trace its origins back to 2015 when it started out as the reserve side of Malvern Vale, later becoming the academy, all whilst playing in the Cheltenham League. Their original pitch was at the King George V hub, less than a mile from their current home. After a couple of unremarkable seasons, they were runners-up in Division 4, narrowly missing out on the title to Prestbury Rovers Reserves. They finished a fair way ahead of third-place Welland Reserves but had to hold their nerve in a penalty shootout to gain promotion to Division 3 in the playoff game. They were Division 3 champions in 2019, scoring 148 goals in 35 games, this time jumping a division into Division 1. The pandemic interrupted proceedings and in the interim the club moved to their current base, changing their name to New Dales Vale in the process. Their success in the two abandoned seasons saw them lift the Cheltenham Junior Cup, defeating Whaddon United 6-0 in the final. Since joining the Hellenic League Division 2 West in 2021, New Dales Vale have finished runners-up twice - firstly to Sporting Club Inkberrow and last season to Feckenham.
The Archdales Sports & Social Club was originally home to Archdale FC, later known as Archdales 73 who played in the Midland Combination between 1989 and when they folded in 2013. They now play local football. They were Division 2 champions in 2005 and finished 4th in Division 1 in their final season - this was at step 7 of non-league - the equivalent of today's Midland D2. Other teams in Worcester include Worcester City and Worcester Raiders, finally together in the Hellenic Premier this season. Worcester is a cathedral city and the county town of Worcestershire. It has a population of 104,000. It's most famous former resident is the former cricketer and Pakistan Prime Minister, Imran Khan.
The football season was officially back today. Thanks to the dictators at the FA, clubs had not been allowed to arrange friendlies in June and as a result, there had been very few games. That started with the calendar moving over to July, but there still wasn't a huge amount that fitted my criteria. That was to be a good value day out and also to have lots of pubs. Also, it be a ground worth visiting which was easier said than done with many clubs resting their pitches and using 3G cages. I had a look at a few before stumbling on a real gem - New Dales Vale v Worcester City. The ground was decent if not amazing but the train fare was great value at £26 return with split tickets. The Trainline app did all the work for you, though it was a rare case of a good price without advance tickets. As I discovered on Thursday when I did my research, there were plenty of good pubs. I'd briefly nipped out of the station to a very good Wetherspoons on the way back from Hereford in December, although sadly this was now closed. Even so, there was another Spoons and a couple more I had my eye on.
The day of the game came, and I had a typically rubbish night's sleep, waking at 5.30 after four hours sleep. I gave up on going back to sleep and instead watched TV. After breakfast, a shower and getting dressed, I left home at 8.35. Despite a touch of drizzle in the air, it was a pleasant walk to the station with me getting there at 9.45. It was six minutes to wait for my train and despite everywhere being very busy, I managed to get a seat. It wasn't the most pleasant of trains, but that's generally what you get with Chiltern Railways. Breaking down the cost of my split ticket, the High Wycombe to Oxford ticket, covering a 60-mile round journey cost £11, working out at over 18p a mile, even with a Railcard discount. The non-discounted trip on GWR from Oxford to Worcester, a full 140-mile round trip worked out at under 11p a mile. I was disappointed on two counts, firstly that there is not a national railcard for solo travellers if you are outside of their age discrimination. But mainly that my local train operator was greedy.
Back to my journey, the train emptied at Bicester for the shopping village. I couldn't think of anything worse than spending a Saturday in retail hell when you can get stuff delivered, but each to their own. Either way, I was glad of the space and the train was slightly more pleasant. A change at Oxford took slightly longer than expected due to a Cross Country service hanging about. It was only six minutes in any case and the GWR train was far nicer. It had a table which was useful, even if it wasn't as pleasant as the plush first-class seats. Probably not worth the extra though, especially when I got a double seat to myself amongst the peasants. We arrived in Worcester 15 minutes late, no biggie with plenty of time to kill but just late enough to claim delay repay. It was not far to the Imperial Tavern where a pint of Joe's Farmhouse Dry was enjoyed for £4.50. It was then to the Crown Wetherspoons, a hotel with three ciders. I had a pint of Katy Perry and a bowl of curry sauce and chips. It filled a gap before I walked to the ground. I stopped at Lidl to get some bakery bits and drinks before walking to the ground.
Entry was £5 and included a basic programme. It was Worcester City who were comparative giants and they started on top. A cross from the right and a header at the far post through Robbie Thompson-Brown gave the visitors the lead on 15 minutes. There was not a huge amount of energy though and it looked as if they were coasting. On 40 minutes, it was all square, a chance on the break and a finish from the edge of the area to make it 1-1. Two minutes later, Worcester retook the lead through Connor Gater, another cross from the right, another header, this time at the near post. The direction of the game continued in the second half, Worcester smacked the bar before the ball bounced clear. Worcester took a 3-1 lead on 63 minutes, following up from a twice-cleared free kick. On 71 minutes, Worcester led 4-1, a right-sided corner headed home. A lob over the keeper made it 5-1 on 80 minutes. It was a hat-trick from Dylan Hart in the second half that gave Worcester the win.
It had been a pleasant day out and New Dales Vale had done themselves proud as hosts. They must have enjoyed the attendance of around 200 though it was a shame that I saw no merch. Twitter had been iffy all afternoon, so I'd have to wait if details of scorers had been posted. From the ground, it was a mega walk to my final pub, the Bull Baiters Inn. But what an amazing place, despite being situated on the wrong side of town for the station. A great choice of cider and more dogs than Krufts. I had a pint of Barker's Perry but being proper cider, it was not the sort you could sling down your neck at a great pace. From there I made an unhappy trip to the train station, getting my on-time train at 19.15. I had to change in Oxford and was annoyed that my 20.45 Chiltern to High Wycombe was cancelled. In reality, it was only a 20-minute delay but it felt like ages. Another can was enjoyed on the train with me back just after 10. I stopped for a pint of Black Dragon at Wetherspoons and after all that booze was well smashed. I got a taxi home and was back just after 11, going straight to bed and having to do my blog the next day. The official attendance for the game was 340, even better than I'd thought.
ARCHDALES SPORTS AND SOCIAL CLUB is a decent setup for the level. The pitch is hemmed in quite tight but all four sides are accessible. The one small area of cover is situated between the two dugouts and holds around 20. The pitch is partially railed towards the clubhouse end. The clubhouse itself and offers a reasonable range of drinks. There is a small car park. Further afield is a Lidl, a KFC. Mcdonald's and various other shops.