Tuesday 18 July 2023

Torpoint Athletic - The Mill

Torpoint AFC
The Mill
Mill Lane
PL11 2RE

01752 812889

Ground Number: 1204
Monday 17th July
Torpoint Athletic 6-0 Camelford


The club was formed in 1887 as a merger of Torpoint Triumph and Torpoint Defiance. For the early part of their history, they played in local football, the highlight being winning the Plymouth & District League in 1906. In 1962, they joined the South Western League and would stay here for the next sixty years. They were champions in 1965 and 1967, runners-up in 1996 and also had a couple of third-place finishes. The league was renamed the South West Peninsula League in 2007 after a merger with the Devon League and a second tier was added. Torpoint were always in the top tier and when in 2019, the league was switched to two regional divisions, they were placed in the East Division. They won the title in 2022, amassing 100 points in a 38-game season. This earned them promotion to the Western Premier where last season they finished a very respectable 12th.

Torpoint have twice reached the FA Cup 1st Qualifying Round, in 2010 when they lost to Clevedon Town and then last season when they lost to Helston Athletic. The 2010/11 season saw a good run in the FA Vase. They beat Wadebridge Town, Radstock Town, Bristol Manor Farm, Verwood Town, Blocwich United and Billingham Synthonia prior to losing in the Quarter Final at Poole Town. Local cup wins include the Walter C Parson SWPL League Cup in 2022, the Cornwall Senior Cup ten times and the Cornwall Charity Cup eight times. Due to their location, they have attracted some big teams down to play them. The Liverpool result I could not find but on 11th July 1998, Manchester City sent their first team down to The Mill. A double from Lee Bradbury and a goal from Alan Bailey gave Manchester City a 3-1 victory with James Garside getting the goal for Torpoint. 

The town of Torpoint is on the Rame Peninsula. It is situated opposite the city of Plymouth across the Hamoaze which is the tidal estuary of the River Tamar. The population is around 8,500. Torpoint is linked to Plymouth (and Devonport) by the Torpoint Ferry. The three vessels that operate the service are chain ferries – that is, they are propelled across the river by pulling themselves on fixed chains which lie across the bed of the river. The journey takes about seven minutes. It is said that Torpoint's name is derived from Tar Point, a name given because of the initial industry on the west bank of the Hamoaze. However, this is actually a nickname given by workers, Torpoint meaning "rocky headland". Famous people from Torpoint include Southampton FC defender Jack Stephens.


When I was planning my trip away for my weekend off work, I was originally intending on going to the South West. However, there were a few things that put me off. Firstly, I'd be lumbered with driving and there was no guarantee that I'd be able to get more than Colin as a passenger, thus rendering it an expensive trip. Secondly, the campsites that we'd intended to use to cut costs had ramped their prices right up,, making things even pricier. Thirdly, there was no new ground on Sunday, only a revisit to the admittedly excellent Falmouth Town. In the end, I opted for a couple of days in Wales with a visit to Barry Town and something else on Saturday. In the end, it worked out really well with me able to get a double in thanks to help from Dan & Richard. They also helped me out with a lift home to save a lot of time. The Sunday was a local revisit to Bedford with Anwar for a women's game and it was nice to be able to sleep in my own bed for a couple of nights.
I'd still get my Monday trip and it was a case of a choice between a trip to Houghton Main or something in the South West. I am always aware that Friendly fixtures are susceptible to change and so I opted for the game at Torpoint, with a bit of work I could get down to St Blazey or Mousehole, though time would be tight. It turned out to be a good decision as Houghton Main v Worsborough Bridge Athletic was pulled from the schedule. In any case, I'd booked a flexible coach ticket, though even with my discount from my work union, it still cost £46. More than I've paid before, but decent value compared to the train or driving. In the end, Colin managed to arrange a similar trip on the coach with fellow hopper Adam for a pretty good price. By a strange quirk of fate, I would be getting on his coach which departed Penzance at around 9.20 and got into Plymouth at half midnight.

I had been busy and so left the planning to the day before. A few pubs before and a couple after. I was disappointed to see that The Cider House had been taken over and changed since my last visit and equally, the Bombay Burger Bar that I'd been planning to go to was closed on Mondays. Even so, I put a pretty decent plan together. I was travelling light and so taking my Amazon Fire rather than my laptop. The night before I loaded Championship Manager 97/98 onto it to keep me occupied, though it would have to be the original rather than the modded new version as I was unable to get that to work and the recent game I'd been playing had become corrupted.

The morning of the game came and I'd had a reasonable night's sleep, waking up a few minutes before my alarm. It was a bit of a rush but I was out just after 8, driving to Colin's, around 20 minutes walk from the station. I'd have taken the bus but the service was too irregular to take the risk. It was a good service into London and I was at Victoria Coach Station half an hour before departure. A chicken samosa and a double seat to myself were great and as a bonus, the driver had a delightful west country accent and a larger-than-life personality. It was a close call at Heathrow with a massive influx of foul creatures. It was a close call, but I retained my double seat. There was a 15-minute delay whilst they had to dispose of some smelly fish that an inconsiderate person had bought with them.  I was going to play a CM9798 game with Berwick Rangers but it kept crashing. Instead, I looked ahead to my September time off work, and after much searching, a trip to Helsinki, Tallinn and Riga appeared to fit the bill. I threw caution to the wind and booked the flights, ferry and Flixbus but left the hotel part until I was at a desktop PC for clarity. After a half-hour stop at Sedgemoor services, we were on our way, changing drivers at Taunton Dene.
Traffic meant getting to Plymouth ten minutes late.
By 5 pm though, I was in the Fortescue Hotel. The Cider selection was mainly Lilleys, sadly. I settled for a pint of Old Rosie for £4.50 which was reasonably priced and well kept. It was then to the Mannamead Wetherspoons where a chicken wing basket with Aspalls was had for £9.36. They had two bag-in-box ciders which were not listed on the app. Service for drinks was very swift and food was decent. I left just before 6, skipping the last pub and heading for the ground. It was just under an hour's walk to the ferry, buses not really cutting travel time. It was relaxing and chilled but at an ambling pace. It was free for foot passengers though and a real novelty. It was then a walk to the ground, with me getting there just before kick-off. Entry was well priced at £3 so I got a pint of Thatchers for £4 and a scarf for £7 to help out and also because I was in a good mood.
The game started at a good pace but with limited chances. It was a lovely half volley by Callum Thompson on 26 minutes that gave Torpoint the lead, a beauty into the top left corner. On 28 minutes, it was 2-0, less artistic this time, in off the keeper via a tricky deflection, credited to Rowe. . The third goal on 36 minutes was a well-worked move, guided past the onrushing keeper by Thompson for his second. The game was more muted in the second half but Torpoint retained the lion's share of the play. On 68 minutes, it was 4-0, bundled home by Murray. On 73 minutes, it was 5-0, an aerial move and a header by Ryan Richards. The same player helped made it 6-0 from a similar move, passing to Rooney ten minutes from time.
I looked partway through the game and Camelford had travelled well over an hour to tonight's game. Last season, they finished 9th in the South West Peninsula West, a level below Torpoint. The scoreline was probably a fair reflection. It was a 15-minute walk and then a half-hour wait for a ferry due to them winding down the service for the evening. It was still every half hour though. Two of the three ferries had packed up by now. I was back on the Plymouth side by 10:15. I was peckish by now, but with it being a residential area, everything was shut. By the time I'd walked to the centre, it was very lively but my appetite had gone. I settled for some snacks from a convenience store, before heading to the Gog and Magog Wetherspoons. This was my final one to tick in Plymouth and was still doing a roaring trade even at this late hour. A good selection of cider was available and I had pints of Slack Ma Girdle from Sandford Orchards and my usual Black Dragon. I had a 15-minute walk to the coach station,, getting there around ten minutes before it turned up. Colin got off to greet me, bringing some cider which knocked me out until 5.30 am. The first thing I knew was people waking me to ask had to we had gone past Heathrow. We had indeed as Colin had been awake for once.  The coach got us into Victoria around 6. It was then a walk with fellow hopper Adam to the station with us parting at Oxford Circus. The traditional Samosa breakfast after an overnight trip and we got the 07:03 to Amersham.

THE MILL is a decent ground, set in amongst a housing estate. There are three stands, one tall seated one on the far side, capacity of around 200. On the same side is a standing one, capacity of around 150. There is a further seated stand, holding around 100 on the other side. The rest of the ground is open. There's a basic tea bar and a smart bar. There is plenty of parking but I'm not sure about public transport.

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