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Cornish Riviera

Who Kicked Cock Robin?

Not I said the owl

Gazing down sleepy eyed

I’m not that kind of fowl

And we’re on the same side


Not I said the bee

Buzzing back to his hive

Cock Robin kicked me

And then took a dive


Not I said the grub

My excuse is complete

I was only a sub

And – I aint got no feet.

by Allan Ahlberg






Wednesday 11th December 2013 West Midlands (Regional) League k.o.:- 7.45pm

Premier Division

Bilston Town                                                                      3
Jamal Pinnock68,
Mark Swann 72,
Darrell Francis 79,
Ellesmere Rangers                                                         2
Mike O’reilly 81,
Josh Parker 87,
referee:- M. Malone                                                   attendance:- 97


The outside of the main stand!

It was a pretty easy run down The A42, M42 and M6 to the West Midlands, after I collected Chris, on a cold evening. We arrived in Bilston with plenty of time to spare and were impressed with the arena! ‘Bilston Town FC’ was emblazoned on the exterior of the stand and considering that this was a West Midlands (Regional) League match, the ground looked to be too good for that league! In the bar and club house was the evidence. Bilston had graced  The Southern League from 1984/85 to 2001/02. The club had then gone almost out of existence for a few years, when they survived by playing parks football. Now, they have regained their stadium and made their way through the West Midlands (Regional) divisions with sound financial management and truly amateur status.


Another team called “The Steelmen”? Iron ore was mined in these parts!

At some stage, a dual carriageway bypass had been built adjoining the stadium and a covered stand had been demolished on the far side of the ground to make way for it. However, as part of the road traffic improvement scheme, the contractors had erected a spider’s web of steel all the way behind both goals and along the far side of the ground overlooking the bypass. It looked intricate and delicate, but when you got up close, it was tough steel wiring and was an effective method of keeping (most) balls off the dual carriageway!


Who should be in the bar, but Alan from Fleckney! I keep bumping into him at these matches, but tonight, he had been on his way to Waltham Forest, when fog at Kettering on The A14 and the greater threat of more fog the further south he travelled encouraged him to return along the M6 to Bilston. In the event, the match at Waltham Forest went ahead – Laurence was there and kept us appraised of the scoreline (a 4-0 away win for Needham Market)!


Chris had himself pictured with the eccentrically accoutred, long-time, dyed-in-the-wool home fan, Frank, who always wears the club colours for supporting his team. “Support” is the word, too, he never uses improper language and his words are always of encouragement. He never denigrates his side.







DSCN2701At half time we despaired of ever seeing a goal scored. Ellesmere Rangers, from Shropshire and recently relegated from The Midland Football Alliance, had been more than a match for the home side, without ever, really threatening a goal. After half time, Chris worked his 0-0 avoidance magic and lo and behold three goals arrived in the space of ten minutes and all for he home team. It all looked over bar the shouting. That was to ignore the determination of Rangers who came back with two goals of their own to send the game into a very nervy final five minutes or so, for the home team. They triumphed in the end, but a draw might have been a fairer result!

That was it, really, except to remark on the friendliness of all the club officials and supporters. We made our way back up to Derbyshire, where I decanted Chris and came on home to Northamptonshire just before midnight!

You can just see (above) the giant steel webbing built to keep the footballs in the stadium! 

Saturday 14th December 2013 Calor Southern League  k.o.:- 3.00pm

Premier Division

Truro City                                                                            0

Corby Town                                                                        0

referee:- Adam Nunn                                         attendance:- 386


Bleary-eyed and wearily, I arose at 4.30am this morning and, an hour later, collected my son Jim and his friend, Paul, for the long journey down to Cornwall. The first part of the trip involved a car ride to Bristol Temple Meads railway station where we breakfasted before boarding the 09.17 for a three and a half hour journey to Truro. There was some spectacular coastal views and at times it appeared as if the train was riding along on the sea and spray! The bar didn’t open until 10.00am which severely inhibited Paul and Jim’s alcohol intake! We arrived in the dour city just before 1.00pm and Jim treated us all to lunch in “The Quills” down the road from the railway station and where, additionally, thirsts were satisfyingly quenched!


Jim and Paul, still  attempting to drink Truro dry!

I was disappointed by Treyew Road. I had been led to expect a pretty imposing edifice of a stadium, but it seemed that everything that was there, was temporary.  There was a small covered terraced area down the left hand side and a small seated stand. On the opposite side, steep banks of unprotected seating ran along the entire length and similar temporary seating had been erected behind the far goal, but at least this area was protected with a canvas roof. Behind the near goal were the nissan huts which housed the offices and the bar and club-house and when the rains came, the roof didn’t always provide  adequate protection from the elements. ‘Delenda est Carthago’, the magic words from Roman History drifted into my consciousness, “Carthage must be destroyed”. It seemed that all that had once stood there had been razed to the ground and temporary accommodation had been brought in to replace it!






By this time, Jim and Paul had dived into the cheap (£2 a pint) beer like it was an oasis in the desert. They made friends with all and sundry whilst Manchester City thrashed Arsenal 6-3 on the Al-Jazeerah version of Sky TV available in the bar. Team sheets were handed out and the outside tea bar was one of those inventive ones, where, besides the usual burgers and hot-dogs, there were sandwiches and cakes and chocolate-chip biscuits. The cakes were delicious, but I had to have two slices, just to confirm that opinion!


Behind the far goal, temporary seating, but at least there was cover!



Not too sure about the away teams choice of strip. Apparently it is something to do with the club sponsors!

Early on in the game, the rains came in great sweeping swathes which continued long after the match had finished. Added to that, the winds lashed across the field and kept up a constant drumming on the corrugated tin walls of the seated stand. In this kind of weather, the football was a lottery and both sides worked their socks off but to little effect. I doubt if there was more than one serious attempt on goal from each side and 0-0 was the inevitable result – particularly since Chris was not here to weave his magic. He was taking in the delights of Clarence Park, the stately home of St Albans City (they lost 1-2 at home to Cambridge United in The FA Trophy 2nd Round).


The hotch-potch of nissan huts behind the nearside goal.

After the match, in the still appalling weather, we walked down to the railway station to catch the 18.24 back to Bristol. By this time, Paul and Jim were truly well oiled and able to communicate their thoughts to nearly everyone on the train. Jim spilt wine all over the table and persisted in purveying politically incorrect jokes of dubious quality. We reached Temple Meads at ten o’clock, transferred to my car, decanted Jim at Chipping Norton at 11.20pm and raced back to Northamptonshire for 12.30am. It had been a day that will live long in the memory!



The weather was really foul, but these pictures fail to capture the raw essence of high wind and heavy rain



Matches this season – 109 New grounds – 81

Matches this year – 209  New grounds – 119

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