Saturday 8 July 2023

Wimborne Town - New Cuthbury

Wimborne Town FC
New Cuthbury
16 Ainsley Road
BH21 2FU

01202 884821

Ground Number: 1199
Saturday 8th July 2023
Wimborne Town 2-3 Weymouth


Having covered the majority of Wimborne Town's history when writing about their old ground, only a brief recap is needed. The move came in the midst of the Covid-19 Pandemic and the two abandoned seasons. They'd just been promoted to the Southern Premier South in 2018 and had a respectable 4th-place finish in their debut season.  They were in similar placings when time was called on the two partial seasons but suffered a dramatic loss of form in the 2021/22 season, finishing rock-bottom. Last season they managed a 5th-place finish but lost out in the playoff semi-finals with a 2-1 defeat at Sholing. Wimborne Town were the second best-supported club in the division, with an average attendance of 563. This included a record high of 1,044 for the final game of the season against Bideford. Since moving to the new ground, they've had their record progress in the FA Trophy, reaching the 2nd Round. They overcame Thame United and Weston Super Mare before a 2-1 defeat to Larkhall Athletic.


Originally on this day, I fancied another trip on the train. Front-runner was Southampton-based side Millbrook, who had a rare game at their own ground, Mansel Park. Usually playing at Solent Uni's old ground Test Park, they were using this venue for their friendlies. Southampton would have been a great day out, but it was the weekend of an overtime ban on the trains, so would have been risky for cancellations. It was also not the cheapest without a convoluted journey. Another good day out would have been Reading. This would have been very cheap on the bus. However, the John Madjeski Academy was a poor venue, a 3G cage with no viewing area. It looked as if I'd had to drive as there was still not the greatest choice. Perhaps this was the best choice as I had a heavy weekend on the booze last week, even by my standards!
A double in Manchester was briefly considered, however, there was some doubt over the 12:00 game at Abbey Hey. In any case, I was in two minds about driving such a long way. Eventually, I settled on Wimborne Town v Weymouth, that if both of my hoppers could get to near me. Otherwise, it would have seen the mileage increase by a third. It was a poor night's sleep as ever before the game, but I'm used to it. After waking at 7, having a shower and getting dressed, I walked down town. Lidl was my only port of call where I picked up some bits to take with me for lunch and some other things for later. The excellent £2 bus fare cap ensured I got home with a bit of time to spare before I had to leave.


In reality, I only had just under 15 minutes until 11.25 came and it was time to get on my way. Colin was early at the bus stop and so was Anwar and his son Hicham at the train station so we were ahead of time. Aside from a delay at Bisham Roundabout, it was a decent journey, though it did drag a bit. Colin had his customary sleep, that was when he wasn't rabbiting nineteen to the dozen. We made future plans along the journey, getting to the ground at 2. The weather had been variable with heavy rain during the journey and true to form it started raining the minute we stopped. However, by the time we got through the turnstile, paying a reasonable £5 entry, we emerged to bright sunshine. The Cider on offer was Thatchers Haze and Somersby. Usually, I'd not have bothered but they had a plastic glass with the club crest on, so I was sold. I later went back and got one for Braintree fan, Dan. I also eat the chicken I'd brought. I was still peckish so had an excellent local mint choc chip ice cream for £1.50. It was then time to relax and enjoy the decent pre-match music selection. No modern rubbish here.
The game kicked off with no lineups announced, though Weymouth had published theirs with many changes. Rested, amongst others, was Brandon Goodship, who in a season with Southend netted against Wycombe, one of his four goals in 52 games. He was far more prolific at Weymouth, having scored 75 times in 83 games in his first spell. He had just come back to the club via Salisbury. On the pitch, it was a bit of a muted game but with Weymouth the better side. It was 0-0 at the break but on 47 minutes, Weymouth took the lead through a Bearwish penalty the heavens opened after that and I was glad to be behind the goal under cover. On 68 minutes, it was 2-0, Stagg seizing upon a defensive slip to blast into the top left corner. Elliott Rossiter made the game safe on 84 minutes, a shot from wide on the right, a tight angle off the left-hand post. A minute later, Wimborne pulled a goal back. No scorer given but an excellent cross from the right was headed home by #19. On 87 minutes, it was 2-3, a similar move, this time #15 on the end of it.
It had not been the best game in the first half, though it vastly improved in the second half. The attendance of 387 was a decent crowd given the weather. In the end, it was good viewing. Luckily, the rain stopped before it was time to leave. After a brief toilet stop, we were on the way. There was also a quick stop at Shell to fill up with petrol as I'd have only had about ten miles to spare on my journey home, It was a decent journey and on the way home, we listened to England beat Spain 1-0 in the U21 Euro Championships. Two players who I've seen in the flesh played a big part. Cole Palmer who I'd seen score against Wycombe and Stoke U18 provided the free kick and James Trafford, who I have seen for Bolton & Accrington saved a last-minute penalty. The last time England had won the competition was 1984. Back in the squad then was, amongst others, Danny Wallace, the Southampton & Manchester United starlet. He played one game for Wycombe in 1995 but by then, what was later to be diagnosed as Multiple Sclerosis. I dropped Anwar & Hicham off at 6.45, Colin off at 7.10 and got home myself at 7.25. It was to be a few cans for the evening before a hard day at work tomorrow.

NEW CUTHBURY is a smart and tidy venue. The best parts are the standing areas behind the goals which are fully covered and have a few steps of terracing. There are two seated stands, capacity around 300 in total. It is a shame these are not elevated, but that is modern grounds for you. There's a smart bar with branded glasses and a small tea bar with a decent range. There is also merchandise. The ground is a bit out of the way, but there is plenty of parking. Overall, it's a decent place to watch a game and I enjoyed my day.

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