Shrewsbury Town Community Hub
Montgomery Waters Meadow
Ground Number: 1260
Saturday 27th January 2024
Shawbury United 3-1 Sutton United
SHAWBURY UNITED FC - A BRIEF HISTORY
Shawbury United are one of the newer clubs in Shropshire, having been formed in 1992. They started out playing in the Shrewsbury and Shropshire Alliance Division Two. They swiftly progressed up the divisions, winning several local cups along the way. In 1999 the club were rewarded with admission to the West Midlands (Regional) League. Division 1 North was won in their first season here, earning promotion to the Premier Division. A fair few seasons were spent here with the club coming close to promotion in 2008 when they finished as runners-up to Bridgnorth Town. In 2006 & 2010 Shawbury finished rock bottom of the league but avoided relegation due to other clubs resigning. They made the best of their good fortune and by 2016 they were Premier Division champions, earning promotion to the Midland League Premier Division, In 2017, they avoided relegation and recorded their highest-ever placing of 19th at step 5. However, they went down the following year and after spending three seasons in the WMRL Premier, they moved to the Midland D1 in 2021. Results have not been great and their last season their 10th place finish was their best since returning to step 6.
The club has twice reached the FA Cup Preliminary Round but saved their best cup run for the FA Vase. During the 2007/08 season, they beat Westfields, Bridgnorth Town, Stratford Town and Cogenhoe United before losing at Concord Rangers in the 4th Round. This was when they were managed by Kidderminster Harriers' FA Cup hero Delwyn Humphries, famous for his backflip celebrations during Kiddy's cup heyday in the mid-90s. The club has been nomadic since 1995, having moved away from their Poynton Road base due to a lack of facilities. From then until 2017, they shared at Butler Sports Ground, around 7 miles from the village. They faced a considerably longer journey when they played at Ludlow, around 40 miles from home between 2017 & 2023. This season they moved into the Shrewsbury Town Community 3G Hub, ten miles from their original base. Local cup wins include the Powell Charity Cup in 2011 and the Shropshire Senior Cup in 2018. Other cups won include the Shropshire County Challenge Cup, Shropshire Junior Cup, Commander Ethelston Cup, John Davies Cup and Tim Stokes Cup.
Shawbury is a village and civil parish in Shropshire. The village is 8 miles northeast of Shrewsbury and 12 miles northwest of Telford. The village straddles the A53 between Shrewsbury and Market Drayton. The nearest railway station is at Yorton on the Welsh Marches Line for Shrewsbury/Crewe. The 2011 census recorded a population of 2,872 for the entire civil parish of Shawbury. The village has an entry in the Domesday Book of 1085. In the great book, Shawbury is recorded by the name Sawesberie. The main landholder was Gerard from Earl Roger of Shrewsbury. The survey also mentions that there is a church and a mill. The River Roden flows through the village. The village of Moreton Corbet, with its castle, is just to the north. The main weather station for Shropshire is located in the village at the RAF base. In December 1981, a temperature of -25.2 °C was recorded, one of the coldest on record for England.
Though it was not the greatest ground, I had wanted to go to Shawbury United for a while. It was the one ground I needed to complete the Midland D1 and it would be a nice day out in Shrewsbury. Every club deserves support and Shawbury United had things tougher than most, having not played in the village since 1995. I'd originally considered going there on Saturday 9th December when they thumped Coventry Copsewood 6-1. It would be ironic to turn up outside Shrewsbury Town's ground when they were playing down at my team Wycombe Wanderers. However, I decided to stick with Wycombe and give them another chance. It was something I regretted as Wycombe were once more poor and lost 1-0 to the Shrews. The train tickets were what put me off initially, being £46.10 or £48.90 but that was with split tickets which limited options. The Wycombe to Shrewsbury standard ticket was a scandalous £87.30, but visiting the Rail UK forums found me a better option. Crazily, London to Shrewsbury via High Wycombe was £42.90. Thanks to the poster who tipped me off, it highlights the discrimination that rail firms practice, even if they have more competitors from the capital.
Returning to Wycombe, they say doing the same thing multiple times and expecting different results is madness. So why I'd gone to see the Chairboys v Port Vale and Lincoln City and had a pretty miserable time, I don't know. We had now won one game in sixteen, sod's law that it was the Bristol Rovers home game that I missed to go to Warrington Rylands. I had no regrets; I'd not seen Wycombe win in my last seven visits to Adams Park since we beat Carlisle in September. It wasn't even the results that were the reason for my apathy. Had we been losing 3-2 and drawing 2-2 I'd have been happy. But the football was painfully dull to watch. It was now one win in seventeen games for us and the Wigan game summed things up. We defended for a 0-0 only to be undone by a goal in the 20th minute of injury time following a referee injury. It was the 9th goal we had conceded in added time this season. To add to the disappointment, we pulled out of the Berks & Bucks Cup on Wednesday. It's not the finest competition, but remembering your roots and supporting your local non-league clubs is important. We have become an ever-more selfish and insular club over the years the best we can manage for friendlies is to send a team of unnamed trialists to a Chesham and that's if we are lucky.
I did think Wycombe would win against Fleetwood who had been dire all season and was close to giving them an eighth chance to change their ways. But like a domestic abuser, they probably wouldn't despite all the promises that they would learn from their mistakes. I'd been enjoying my 'new' Pixel Watch 2, purchased from CEX for under £150. It was only a few months old and was £350 new. I was looking forward to using it for maps on the walk to the ground so I could keep my phone in my pocket. Thursday and Friday were far easier at work and by the time I had taken into account cashback, my transport was costing me under £40. The Friday evening was spent doing the final research for the blog in terms of club history and the day out. I had a pretty solid plan, even going as far as planning some backups in the Shropshire League should my match have an issue.
I was in bed by 10 and asleep soon after. I had a poor night's sleep though, waking up just before 3. I lay in bed for a few hours before getting up at 5.40. It only took me 20 minutes to get ready and be out. It was chilly out but barely anyone was up unsurprisingly. I got the 7.28 Chiltern train to Birmingham and this was peaceful and pleasant. I even got a table and a plug socket, far nicer than last week in the opposite direction. I did some work on my laptop and started reading a book about Maidstone United's exile I'd purchased last night from Kindle on my tablet. We were at Moor Street by 9.06, then it was a walk to the Soloman Cutler Wetherspoons. A Lloyds Number 1 bar, it was named after the founder of the Glassworks that once stood on the site. It was smart, modern and peaceful. Amongst the breakfast eaters, I had a pint of Black Dragon for £4.28. There was no time to visit the 6th Wetherspoons in Brum, that would have to wait for another day. I left at 9.50 and was comfortably on time for my train, fifteen minutes early due to Google Maps being pessimistic for once. I noted that the train's eventual destination was Aberystwyth, a real bucket list ground for me. The train was a few minutes late and the USB sockets were not working, but at least I was on my way. My battery bank was called into action to top my phone up and although busy, I still got a double seat to myself with a table. It was disappointing that no Long Mynd cider was available in Shrewsbury, they tended to stock nasty artificial fruit cider according to the producer. Church Stretton Town FC was now added to the bucket list. With one pub crossed off my list, my pre match plans were slightly altered but I was still in good spirits. I carried on with my book for the time being as I awaited our arrival.
I was in Shrewsbury around 11.30. I spotted a few small places that could possibly be good but for now, I was sticking with my pre-match plan. First up, walking alongside the River Severn was my first Wetherspoons in Shrewsbury, The imaginatively named Shrewsbury Hotel. Nothing special, it did the job and I had a pint of Strongbow for £2.69. It was nice and relaxing, more than could be said for the second Spoons, The Montgomery's Tower. Far more families here, though mostly well-behaved. Only a few exceptions but the noise level was far higher. A Black Dragon took away the sting a bit and I awaited my Caledonian Burger whilst watching Ipswich v Maidstone. Service was slower here too but I was in no rush. The Internet was also slow which was a pain, something as simple as sending a tweet took an age. The burger was good though and decent value for the meal at £11. I carried on watching the footy, the Tractor Boys well in control but not taking their chances. A pleasant walk through Shrewsbury and I spotted at one of the pubs that Maidstone had taken a 1-0 lead. The Prince of Wales was closed until 2 much to my disappointment. It contained seating from the old Gay Meadow ground but I just carried on towards my game, hoping to find something along the way. I happened upon a pub called Saddlers. It was nothing special, a bit like the Jockey in Shameless, a flat-roofed pub. But the locals were friendly and a pint of Aspalls was £4.40, not especially a great deal but I wanted to watch the footy. Maidstone were now 2-1 up and it was fingers crossed for a cup upset. That happened and I arrived at the ground, via a convoluted route in time for kickoff. Fences were not my friend as they blocked off my route a fair few times.
Shawbury United were 11th whilst Sutton United were in 10th, a real mid-table clash. The hosts were in good form, having won five and only lost one of their last eight. On Wednesday, they won 1-0 at Brignorth. Sutton United were unbeaten in eight, their last result a dull 0-0 draw at Cradley Town a fortnight ago. When I saw the teams meet in the reverse fixture in November, Shawbury United recorded a 4-2 away win. The opening period saw much work but little quality. On 34 minutes, Shawbury took the lead, a deflected shot from Cody Rimmer. It was deserved as they'd been on top. On 41 minutes, it was 2-0, Eric Mensah beating the offside trap and slipping it home for 2-0. It was utterly inept defending from Sutton United that saw Shawbury make it 3-0 just before the break, Brendon Price the beneficiary. Sutton were much the better side in the second half and they scrambled a headed goal home with 25 minutes left. That was it for goals and Shawbury probably deserved the win, even if Sutton did mount a decent attempt at a comeback.
It was after 5 by the time I left. There was a decent attendance at the ground and though not massive, it was good to see the club getting a bit to tide them over. Back down in Wycombe, the Chairboys had drawn 2-2 against Fleetwood Town at home. This was an improvement from halftime when we were 2-0 down. Fleetwood were reduced to ten men at the break and Wycombe mounted a second-half comeback, even missing a penalty. Richard Kone, signed a month ago from Athletic Newham netted our equaliser. I listened to the post-match on Wycombe Sound and the vibe was not great. I was just glad that I was not there to see it. It was a nice walk back to the train station and by the time I got there at 6, I'd walked 14.5 miles for the day. The day had been OK, but a real letdown on the cider front. Shrewsbury was still very nice though and I was glad to have ticked the ground but won't be going back. I got some train cans from a shop and was on the platform 20 minutes early. I was glad when the train turned up early as it gave a nice warm place to sit and type this blog. Once more though, the USB sockets were out of action. I'd spotted an interesting-looking shop outside New Street on the way in and so I'd be saving the final Wetherspoons in Birmingham for another day. The plan was to get the 20:13 to High Wycombe rather than chance it for the final train of the day.
THE SHREWSBURY TOWN COMMUNITY HUB is a pretty decent 3G cage. However, it's not a great step 6 ground as there is no stand or cover. Facilities are very limited too, just a toilet and a club room which I didn't go in. Shawbury United are nice and friendly though. The ground is around 45 minutes walk from the charming town of Shrewsbury which has decent transport links. Buses are a bit patchy but plenty of car parking is available.