Tuesday 19 September 2023

Cranleigh - Snoxhall Fields

Cranleigh FC
Snoxhall Fields

Ground Number: 1223
Tuesday 19th September 2023
Cranleigh 3-3 Worcester Park
Surrey Premier County League - Premier Division


The club was established in 1893, although there is evidence that football had been played in the village prior to this date. For much of its existence, they played in local football. Cranleigh FC amalgamated with Cranleigh United FC who had won the Surrey County Intermediate League three times during the 1970s. This gave them the impetus to make the step up to semi-professional football. In 1980, they joined the Combined Counties League. It remained a singular tier for the entirety of their initial stay. Their best finish of 4th came in 1993. Soon after though, they started to struggle and in 2002, they were relegated to the Surrey County Senior League. A single season was spent here where they struggled once more but they rejoined the Combined Counties D1 in 2004. Two seasons were spent here but they finished bottom on both occasions. They dropped down to the Surrey County Intermediate League, winning Division 1 in 2011. They remained in the Premier Division, finishing as runners-up three times. After the latest of these last season, as they finished behind Keems Park Rangers, they moved to the Surrey County Premier Combination.

Cranleigh enjoyed their best-ever FA Vase run in 1992. They beat Bedfont, Faversham Town, Greenwich Borough and North Leigh before losing to Hailsham Town in the 3rd Round. That latter game gave them their biggest attendance, beating the previous record of 450 for a 1989 friendly against Crystal Palace. Cranleigh is a village about 8 miles southeast of Guildford in Surrey, England. It lies on a minor road east of the A281, which links Guildford with Horsham. Its population is over 11,000, making it one of the largest villages in England. Desmond Tutu, when serving as a curate in England in 1963, lived in the village for a month. He wrote in the parish magazine about how friendly the locals had been towards himself and his family. Richard O'Brien, creator of the Rocky Horror Picture Show lived in Cranleigh. He named his house Denton after the fictional setting of the Rocky Horror Picture Show.


With it being my week off work, I was hoping that there would be an FA Cup replay I could go to. However, nothing came up and I now only have a few grounds left to do in this year's competition. My next choice would have been a game I could take Anwar to, but there was absolutely nothing with the exception of Kirkley & Pakefield which was miles away in Lowestoft. I didn't fancy a long trip like that in midweek, even on my week off. I'd be doing a drive to Dorset to watch Sherborne on Wednesday, plus I had a lot of catching up to do. Therefore, I decided to stick with local games and went for my nearest unticked ground in Cranleigh. This was a decent venue that was in the Combined Counties League for a fair while and meant I could have dinner at home.

It had been a very unhealthy and boozy weekend for me, although it was enjoyable. I'd caught up on sleep that I'd missed out on the overnight coach on Monday morning. I was delighted to be woken by the news that my car had finally had its repair done. It was a weight off my mind as I'd missed it with me reluctant to put faith in my courtesy car for long trips. It's amazing how much you appreciate your own car when you don't have it. The day of the game came and I walked down to Wycombe and back. I got a few bits but no sign of the flight bag travel shaver that I wanted, Instead, I bit the bullet and got them on Amazon with next-day delivery for £4.99 extra as I needed them for Friday. There was a little bit of rain on the way back which was pretty much typical. After an afternoon at home researching the next couple of visits, I had a nice dinner and left just before 6. Colin was joining me again and I picked him up from my local bus stop. There were the usual delays, especially at Junction 10 of the M25 but nothing unexpected. We listened to the Wycombe Wanderers Ringing The Blues show on the way and got there at 7.30, making the short walk from the car park to the ground.
Cranleigh had a mixed start to the season, only playing twice. They'd opened the season with a 4-0 win over Horsley but had lost 7-1 at Battersea Ironsides in their other game. Worcester Park topped the league and had opened the season with a 1-0 win at CB Hounslow United whom they'd also beaten 4-0 at home. They'd also beaten Staines & Lammas 2-1 but lost 3-0 at Wimbledon Casuals. Unusually, Cranleigh were in luminous green whilst Worcester Park were in their usual blue and white. It was Cranleigh who were the better side and they took the lead on 19 minutes, a low cross from the right being finished from inside the six-yard box. A couple of minutes later, it was 2-0, a good run and a sidestep before placing the ball past the keeper. A free kick on 35 minutes was well taken to make it 3-1 and it was beginning to look like a walk in the park for Cranleigh. Worcester Park pulled one back just before halftime, bundling in a cross from the left. The visitors were vastly improved in the second half and had a number of good chances. They did pull a further goal back on 65 minutes, a swinging cross from the left converted at the back post. Two minutes later, it was all square, a superb free-kick finding the bottom left-hand corner from 30 yards. Cranleigh had offered little in the second half but forced a couple of corners in response to the equaliser. They had their task made harder by their #14 being sent off for a high tackle. Despite their man disadvantage, Cranleigh looked the more likely to score but it wasn't to be.
It had been a great night's entertainment and a real game of two halves. Worcester Park had not looked like league leaders in the first half but they flexed their muscles in the second. It had been a bit drizzly but the main annoyance was the dodgy mobile internet. This has been a long-running issue with ID Mobile and I can't wait until May when my contract expires. We left around 9.45 and though it was a bit annoying having to divert due to the road between the A3 & M25 being closed, it was a decent journey. I was running low on petrol so headed to Amersham Tesco, Despite having pay at pump, they chose to close the station leaving no facility for paying overnight, a ludicrous decision. Luckily, I had just under 20 miles in the tank and was able to drop Colin off and head to my local station and fill up for 7p more a litre, still the cheapest unless I fancied a 7-mile detour to save 2p. I was in around 11.30, in no rush to get to bed. This was the sixth ground I have been to in the Surrey County League, albeit a couple of those were at a higher level. I will be seeking to complete the league, though the ones remaining vary in quality. Horsley's Tom's Field looked like a decent railed pitch but Addlestone's home is less attractive. They are listed as playing at Lyne FC on Futbology, but all future fixtures are listed as the less attractive Jubilee High School.

SNOXHALL FIELD is a pretty decent venue for step 7. The pitch is fully railed and has hard standing all around. There is also a decent-sized area of cover for around 50 standing fans. Sadly, it appeared to be lacking a club sign, although the stand did have the club's name on it. There was also no food or drink but there was a Co-Op nearby. This was next to a large car park which stopped charging at 18:30 making an evening visit preferable to drivers. For public transport users, service 63 runs from Guildford two times an hour, or hourly later in the evening, making it viable for midweek games too. The village has quite a lot in it and the Three Horseshoes looked worth a visit when I looked online.

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