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………and he shall be tormented with fire

and brimstone in the presence of the holy

angels and in the presence of the lamb.

Revelations 14 : 10




Tuesday 18th March 2014 Uhlsports Hellenic League k.o.:- 7.45pm
Premier Division

Brimscombe & Thrupp                                            3
Bradley Martin 3, 21,

Ashley Brown 44,
Wantage Town                                                        4
Jimmy Deabill 39, 72,
Ben McGready 41,
Sean Webb 49,
Referee:- David Nicholson Attendance:- 60


Brimscombe & Thrupp. The very name conjures up Second World War German munitions manufacturers (Krupps) and the day of reckoning at the end of the world (fire and brimstone). Eschatology is the study of the last things, in other words, what is going to happen when the world ends. It is mainly about the sinners, like me, being consigned to  the brimstone of eternal fire and the hideous torments that will be endured! It has Calvinistic undertones, although Christ, in the Synoptic Gospels, does offer hope and warnings against the fateful advent!

This evening, guided by sat-nav, Graeme and I drove down to Stroud with minimal contact with motorways and arrived in Brimscombe to find a chippy open, with seats and tables for those who didn’t want to pollute the car atmosphere with vinegar and salt! We had already passed the ground before we espied the fish and chip shop, but we were still surprised by the stadium when we returned. First of all, there was no sign of fire and brimstone and, certainly, no munitions on display! Secondly, we were very pleasantly impressed with the well kept, neat, tidy and well spruced stadium.


The Meadow sits in a vast hollow, with what looks like a river running parallel at the far side of the pitch. perched above the hollow along side the pitch is a covered standing area and a seated stand for about 100 spectators. Both are ‘off the shelf’ type stadium furniture, set upon the foundations of an earlier structure. In the corner is the club house, tea room and bar. Behind the far goal, is a sharply inclined embankment.


We were there in plenty of time and were given the team information by one of the officials. It was a cool evening and to add to our earlier bag of chips, we each enjoyed a cheese roll with a cup of tea!


Although they were founded in 1886, Brimscombe and Thrupp are relative newcomers to this level of football. They were founder members of The Gloucestershire County League in 1968/69 along with Forest Green Rovers. Ten years later, after a difficult time in the club’s history, they amalgamated with Thrupp, just along the road. Well into the new century, the amalgamated club was struggling until 2008/09 when they once again gained promotion to The Gloucestershire County League. Thereafter, they have enjoyed a short, but very successful spell, winning the County League in 2010/11 and with it promotion to The Hellenic League and then, two years later, they were champions of The Hellenic League Division 1 West and gained promotion to the Premier Division. This season has not been quite so easy and they lie in 14th place (out of 20), with next season’s top flight place all but guaranteed.


Wantage Town, on the other hand, are vying for the Hellenic League Title. They lie three points behind Ardley United who are perennial championship challengers, but they do have two games in hand. Tonight’s match is one of those two  games.

It was an excellent match. The Lilywhites showed scant respect for the title challengers and were two goals to the good after twenty-one minutes. Back came The Alfredians with two goals in two minutes around five minutes before half-time. It was The hosts who held the interval lead, however, with the last goal of the half from Ashley Brown in the 44th minute!

The second half was not quite so one-sided as the scoreline suggests. It was an evenly contested half in which Wantage regained the lead, the match and the points, but that was a little harsh on The Lilywhites who looked worthy of a share of the spoils. Nonetheless, Wantage gained the three points which drew them level with Ardley United at the top of the table.


Wednesday 19th March 2014 Calor Southern League k.o.:- 7.45pm
Premier Division

Corby Town                                                              0
Poole Town                                                              3
Michael Charles 9,
Martin Brooks 33,
Steve Devlin 45+2 (pen),
Referee:- Ian Rathbone (Northampton)                 Attendance:- 208


Corby Town are at crisis point. They are at loggerheads with the local council and with the fans’ forum and the players have not been fully paid, despite promises from the chairman, which meant that three of them refused to play this evening and two others have found alternative clubs to play for. After a reasonably successful spell, this was the third defeat in a row for The Steelmen.


The back of the old stand at Rockingham Δ, which now houses the changing rooms 

The Steelmen made a disastrous start to this match, going behind as early as the ninth minute. From then on, they were chasing shadows and at no point really threatened the visitors goal. A second Poole Town goal duly arrived just after the half hour and deep into first half added time, The Dolphins added a third from the penalty spot to kill the game off.


In the second half, Corby Town rallied. The held off the visitors, but rarely threatened themselves. This was a disappointing and worrying defeat and there are already question marks about Corby Town’s status for next season. The lowest attendance of the season did little to dispel the air of gloom at Steel Park.



The third goal, scored by Steve Devlin from the penalty spot.

Thursday 20th March 2014 Baker Joiner Midland Alliance k.o.:- 7.45pm

Coventry Sphinx                                                   3
Ashley Jackson 6
Luke Downes 28,
Ashley Wilks 73,
Westfields                                                             1
Craig Jones 84 (pen),
Referee:- Simon Lane Attendance:- 62


It is always enjoyable to visit Coventry Sphinx. This evening, what with collecting my grandson from nursery and driving the school minibus to collect pupils from a netball tournament, I was later getting there than I would have liked ….. but still before the arrival of the match programmes. I was directed to the club house bar to talk to the club secretary, Jackie McGowan, to find out the team details and she was very helpful in ensuring that I was able to record both teams accurately, despite a possible change through injury to one of the home team players. Even better, she cordially invited me to join the club officials for their half-time refreshments and I was more than happy to oblige!


Tonight’s visitors, Westfields, had made the not inconsiderable journey from Hereford and the match started some ten minutes late because of the tardy arrival of the away team coach. There is always a selection of bread rolls behind the bar in the clubhouse and, an anachronism, but a very welcome one, they have M&B Mild on offer. M&B Mild was the drink of my student days, at Liverpool University, back in the sixties, when you could inebriate yourself for ten bob (50p)! The small tea hut inside the ground also has a tasty selection available and a programme had been saved for me when I eventually went into the stadium!


This was a regulation win for The Sphinx who lie in seventh place in the table, over opponents some seven places and sixteen points below them. Two goals in the first half and a third midway through the second were enough to see off the visitors who replied, late on, with a penalty. The ‘gate’ was only 62, which was surprising, as I would have thought that such a match on a Thursday evening would have attracted more ‘hoppers’.

Saturday 22nd March 2014   Ryman Isthmian League     k.o.:- 12.45pm

Division 1 South

Peacehaven & Telscombe                                          2

Tom Burton 47,

Callum Saunders 89 (pen)

Jon Marzetti s/o 86

Guernsey                                                                     0

Ross Allen – penalty saved, 72

Angus  McKay s/o 89

Referee:- Gary Parsons (Hampshire)             Attendance:- 252

DSCN3337Chris had discovered today’s double header and booked tickets through the club to ensure entrance and match day programmes. The club had expected a turnout of around five hundred, but in the event, little more than half that number turned up for The Ryman Division 1 South match. Even so, this figure probably represented an increase of 100 on their average ‘gate’. 


Chris and I had been worried about getting down to the south coast on a Saturday morning and had deliberately planned an early start. In the event, the journey down the A14, M11, M25 and M23 was relatively uneventful and we arrived at Piddinghoe Avenue with more than an hour to spare. On the way down, we had a good view of Brighton & Hove Albion’s new stadium at Falmer and before going into The Sports Park, we went to the second ground of the day at Newhaven and lucky it was that we did, because sat-nav was confusing and parking near the ground was not easy!


Once back in Peacehaven and inside the ground, I treated myself to a gargantuan breakfast – two sausages, two fried eggs, beans and chips, while Chris, more prosaically, made do with sausages and chips!

The club was formed in 1923 after the amalgamation of Peacehaven Rangers and Telscombe Tye. They achieved Sussex County League status at the end of the sixties and were champions of that league on eight occasions, the final one being last season and which earned them promotion to The Ryman Isthmian League Division 1 South. They are presently, well and truly out in front at the top of the league by some ten points. Today’s visitors, Guernsey, lie in third place in the table. They had brought their camera team with them and they filmed the match from the top of the terrace roof on the near side of the ground (see the photograph, below).


There is talk in the club programme of a 4g plastic pitch coming to the Sports Park. Certainly, their neat little ground would need some serious improvements to progress very much further up the football pyramid. However, they may very well rise from The Sussex County League to The Isthmian League Premier Division in just two seasons and that would not only be a major success, but also an indication of the club’s ambitions!


Today’s encounter was a tense affair in the first half, with neither side giving anything away. A goal at the beginning of the second half for the home team, seemed to settle them down, but as the half wore on, Guernsey became more dominant and an equaliser seemed a real possibility. Indeed, in the seventy second minute, only a penalty save by the home keeper maintained their advantage. Late on, each side had a man sent off as the away team sought desperately to save the game and the home team were equally determined to preserve their advantage. The second sending off led to a home penalty which was converted to put the result beyond the reach of the islanders. It had, however, been a titanic contest!

Saturday 22nd March 2014     Sussex County League      k.o.:- 3.00pm

Division 1

Newhaven                                                                2

Connor Sidwell 26,

Jon Lansdale 76 (pen),

Dorking Wanderers                                                 5

Jon Boswell 5, 60, 78,

Rob Hendry 44 (pen),

Karl Parker 85,

Referee:- Jamie Gilham                                    Attendance:- 81


We hurried off at the end of the previous match, where the referee, for some reason insisted on playing over five minutes of added time, and drove the two or three miles along the coast to The Fort Road Recreation Ground, home of Newhaven of The Sussex County League. The stadium was an impressive old ground faded into genteel poverty. There was a fine view from high up in the main stand and extensive seating behind each goal, although there was no cover at either end and behind the near goal, the temporary seated structure had replaced a much older, but covered terrace which was no longer in use.


It was five pounds to gain admission (£2.50 for old men like me!) and that included a programme. Insde the cramped and crowded club house, Chris managed to obtain hot chocolate and a Cornish pastie. Outside, the teams were written out for the small gang of hoppers to copy down into their jotters!


At our visit to the ground earlier in the day, there were pools of water on the pitch being cleared away by the groundsman. We even feared for the postponement of the fixture, but Chris kept in touch via Twitter and confirmed that the match would go ahead.


Dorking Wanderers, today’s visitors, lie in eighth place in The Sussex County League Division 1 (how nice to see no ‘Premier’ division!), some eleven points and eight places ahead of their hosts. They got off to an explosive start with a goal in five minutes. Newhaven started sluggishly, but drew level after 26 minutes, only to fall behind to a penalty in the last minute of the first half. In the second half, The Wanderers pulled further ahead with the second of  centre-half, Jon Boswell’s hat-trick, only for the hosts to pull a goal back with a penalty of their own. Another goal from Jon Boswell and a final strike, five minutes from time emphatically sealed an away victory.

DSCN3351Directly across from the ground (see above) is a giant scrap-yard, behind which is The Newhaven-Dieppe ferry service.

On the way back from the match, through Peacehaven and Rottingdean, we were held up at Falmer by the residue of the Championship encounter between Brighton & Hove Albion and Ipswich Town. Thereafter, we sped the opposite way round the M25 and up the M1  to Northampton and I was home by eight o’clock!

 Matches this season:-  172   New grounds:-  117

Matches this year:-  54          New Grounds:-  31

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