Bury Town

30th March 2013

Ryman Premier League
Bury Town 2  
Enfield Town 1
Gate: £10
Atten: 320

Ground: 9/10
A visit to Ram Meadow had long been on my 'must do' list and my only regret is that i did not visit much earlier. The town, the club and the ground are superb and make for a very pleasant visit in every way. When you first approach the ground you arrive in a large council car park and the immediate impressions are somewhat misleading. For when you enter the ground to discover this well kept secret behind the unattractive fencing, your feeling changes immediately to one of contentment and satisfaction.

It is always a delight  to find a ground at this level of the Non League Pyramid that provides covered accommodation on all four sides. The most immediate feature of Ram Meadow is the unusual main stand, with its rather deep wooden steps-cum-seats, and sharply angled roof supported by numerous pieces of timber. From research i had imagined the main stand much bigger than how i found it.But its charm is its own, and it presents wonderful views all over Ram Meadow and beyond. Namely the vast sugar processing plant looming behind one goal and over the other, the more attractive cathedral tower and the towns roof tops.

The welcome was friendly and helpful. It also has an impressive club shop as well as an impressive lounge/bar area. A most enjoyable, well maintained venue, it will be a shame when they move.

Match Enjoyment: 8/10
I really enjoyed the match. Both teams were fully committed and produced a decent game with a sting in the tail.It would be fair to say that the Visitors from London had the better of the first half and looked dangerous and energetic with most attacks. The Rams were too narrow and they paid the price when they went one down on the half hour and clever worked goal from Enfield , they now had Hope.
But after the break Bury got on top and deservedly equalised from goal machine Sands (10) after sustained Town attacks. They then sat back as Enfield came back at them, and as time ticked on a draw was on the cards ..... until deep into injury time after a Bury corner the ball somehow trickled over the line after a bit of pinball in the box. The linesman signaled a goal as Enfield tried to play on, and he was spot on with the important decision. The Londoners looked dejected to lose right at the death, and rightly so because they gave as good as they got in this entertaining match.
Bury Town players celebrate their late, late stoppage time winner !
The Rams still have hopes of reaching the play offs, albeit faint ones. But you never know if they keep winning they may just sneek in, if other teams falter under pressure. If they do make the play offs i for one will be cheering them on !  ...... For i have had a superb day at Ram Meadow deep in the beautiful county of Suffolk .

Melksham Town

29th March 2013

Western League Premier
Melksham Town 2 
Radstock Town 1
Gate: £6
Atten: 103

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Ground: 9/10
Tucked away adjacent to Melksham House behind the market square, The Conigre, home to Wiltshire club Melksham Town Football Club since 1926 may not be the easiest ground to find unless you know where to look, but it is certainly worth the trouble.To hear the constant quacks in the nearby river only adds to the sights and sounds of this hidden gem. To be honest until about a month ago i had never heard of the club, but ever since i did a visit was never far away, despite the mileage. If you also add that it still has a manually operated scoreboard still in use makes a trip here a must thing for any self proclaimed ground hopper or non league football lover.

The Conigre, along all its painted corrugated metal. Equally however, it is distinctly worn around the edges and one can understand how the club might welcome a brand new ground, with updated facilities. Today the locals are in an even split about the move.

Match Enjoyment: 7/10
This was a highly enjoyable, game of two halves between two fully committed neighbours both battling it out for local bragging rights. I was pleased to see the manually operated scoreboard in action when Radstock scored a well deserved and well worked goal at the mid point of the first half , only because a good ground hopper friend drove all the miles to see a goaless match, hence no movement in the scoreboard.
In the second half the hosts picked up and got back in the game and not long later got a deserved winner.
The final whistle sounded and the locals left happy in the knowing a victory had been secured at 'their' manor, albeit ramshackle, worn around the edges and very homely. But for how long, if the proposed move to the other side of town goes ahead.

Welton Rovers

29th March 2013

Western League Division One
Welton Rovers  0 
Shepton Mallet 1
Atten: 106

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If i was looking to buy a new house and move to a new village the last place i would go is Midsommer Norton. Call me a bit paranoid but having seen all those people on TV be murdered there , it's a bit off putting to say the least.

So today i found myself in the village where every week from the Chap who runs the Post Office , the photographers, at the Vicarage are all 'rubbed out'. As i enter Midsommer Norton my eye catches the eye of a local women , she runs the local pet shop , but to me she looks very suspicious !

I arrive safely at West Clewes, home of Welton Rovers, who today are involved in a tasty local derby v Shepton Mallet. When i asked the gate man how fierce this rivalry was, he looked at me as if i had just landed from another planet,and pouted his lips and puffed his cheeks out, if anything to emphasise the 'size' of this rivalry. How foolish of me to lack such a knowledge !.

Ground: 5/10
The ground at West Clewes is probably the oldest within what was once a thriving coal mining area, and today boasts a number of senior Non League clubs in close proximity to one another. Welton Rovers FC purchased the ground soon after its formation in 1887, six years after near neighbours Paulton Rovers.
Immediately adjacent to the clubhouse, is the predominantly wooden stand which extends to approximately the half-way line. This is set back some way from the perimeter fence and its stepped roof, painted in club colour is evidence that the structure has been extended since it was originally constructed in the late 1930s, just before WW2. This doubled its capacity from 150 to 300 with the seating provided by wooden benches. 
The ground is surrounded by peaceful vistas with the coal mining slag heap on the distant horizon to give reminders of the past. The club house is excellent and you are always assured of a warm welcome similar to the one i received.

Match Enjoyment: 5/10
As it turned out Mallet hammered Welton and got the decisive goal midway through the first half. In Midsommer Muder terms they took a 'strangle hold' on the game. I needed all my 'detective skills' to 'solve this mystery' (if you'll pardon the pun). The game was feisty at times and a lot of enjoyment came from the crowd getting involved expressing their feelings in their Somerset accent.

Today, West Clewes fights hard to remain a pleasant ground to visit. Although the main stand is looking a little weary and pale around the gills. Never the less it's a place that i am pleased i took the trouble to visit.

FA Vase Semi Final

1st Leg
Tunbridge Wells 2 Shildon 0

Gate: £6
Atten: 1754
(Record Crowd)

View Video of Tunbridge Wells' 2nd Goal (penalty)

This was not my original choice this morning having visited only six weeks previous in the 4th Round. But after all this is the FA Vase , my favourite competition of them all. Much of the morning was spent faffing about trying to find a game on.I made a quick call and was assured it was on, only to find upon arrival a couple of hours later that the game was in doubt. In fact it was onlt declared officially on at 14.06pm, much to the relief of the Shildon supporters after a 300 mile journey.
This was the biggest game in the history of Tunbridge Wells FC and they were rewarded with a bumper and record crowd of 1754. The game was tense and the conditions were poor, very muddy which definately had an effect on the game. It was tough going for both sides and fair play they both put in a decent performance.

But in the second half Tunbridge were the better team and defended superbly. They limited the powerful Shildon attack to few chances. But Wells grabbed the important first goal, and a flare was thrown on to the pitch, it was like being Milan or a Galatasary v Fenebache Turkish derby ! and minutes later a penalty to make it 2-0. 

In every way this was Tunbridge Wells' biggest day in their history so far and with this attitude,determination and sheer guts, like they showed today, an even bigger one possibly awaits them in North West London very soon !.

I did not take many photos today, the weather was so poor etc just didnt feel like it ! (sorry). 
Below are a few photos as the day unfolded. 

The game was only Officially declared on at 14.06pm !

Recent additions to Tunbridge Wells' trophy cabinet
They are also in the Kent Senior Cup Final

Shildon's fans following their team

All for one and one for all !

Over Land and Sea

Exciting goal mouth action

Spot the grass !

Shildon mount another attack !

Is this Milan or Turkey ....... no it's leafy Kent !

Players salute the Crowd at final whistle


16th March 2013

Northern Premier League South Division
Stamford 1 
Chasetown 2
Gate: £8
Atten: 172

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View Official Stamford Website

Ground: 8/10
There is evidence to support the existence of a football club in Stamford as far back as 1870 and various clubs came and went in the next 20 years until 1894 when the town’s two most prominent clubs, Stamford Town and Rutland Ironworks, agreed to amalgamate. Initially the club adopted the name of the Rutland Ironworks, who were viewed as the stronger of the two, but the current club’s existence is generally accepted to date back to 1896 when the Stamford Town name was adopted to give the club a higher profile.Today the Club sits proudly near the top of the Northern Premier League South Division, whilst chasing promotion to a more lofty perch.
Renamed the Vic Couzens Stadium in July 2005 this little gem of a ground sit quietly among the back lanes of this beautiful town. Surrounded by a stunning backdrop of this most picturesque medieval market town, and steeped in history. The main stand was superb and its wonky roofing only added to its charm.The impressive selection of Chasetown flags and banners only added to the enjoyment. A most delightful environment to spend an afternoon , simply charming. 

Match Enjoyment: 7/10
The match started most bizarrely with the first three seconds as The Daniels kicked off and punted the ball up field a Chasetown defender returned the ball with his hands like an experienced beach volleyball player. The home players gave the ref abuse, and this sadly set the tone for the entire game.
Stamford who were second in the table, were average at best and the first attempt on goal came in the 35th minute after a ten minute period of feisty, juicy and spicy tackles from both teams. 
Chasetown Players celebrate winning goal
Chasetown were awarded a penalty just after half time, 1-0 and minutes later it should have been 2-0 for a beautiful curling 25 yarder hit the post and bobbled on the line. The behaviour and attitude of the Stamford manager was appalling. Non stop bile directed at the Officials, which only proceeded to spread amongst his players.What an example he set !.
In the 96th minute, another free kick for the Scholars and another sending off for Stamford. From which the excellent Chasetown Captain (No 6), rose high to head home the deserved winner.
In the end it turned out that The Scholars from Chasetown gave Stamford a lesson (if you pardon the pun !). The Staffordshire boys deserved the win as Stamford's discipline was a shambles. Two players, the Team Manager and Physio were all set off for foul and abusive language. The Daniels were trying to throw their weight around, just like the heavy man they are nicknamed after.The locals were blaming the Ref, but in truth they should of looked closer to home.The Scholars became the teachers and Stamford should learn a big lesson from this, and enrol the Staff and players into 'The School Of Charm' or maybe they should be put in detention or at the very least  be given lines .... 'i must not swear at officals'. At the start of play Stamford stood in second place in the table, so they must be doing something right. They just need to find it again, especially when the pressure is on, and when things are not going their way. Just a shame the behaviour shown against Chasetown could not match the beautiful surroundings. !


Stamford boasts seven church spires. The churchyard of St. Martin’s contains the remains of Daniel Lambert, the heaviest British man ever, who gives Stamford their nickname: “The Daniels”. Lambert weighed a mighty 52st 11lb and was a huge 9ft 4ins around his waist.He died at 36 of a heart attack in a Stamford hotel whilst on a trip to the races.
In death his weight proved more of a problem than it had in life - a wall had to be demolished to get him out of the room. His coffin was made from 112 square feet of elm and measured 4ft 4ins wide. An enormous ramp was laid into his grave plot, and it took more than 20 men to lower him in. “Fat Dan”, as he was called, was born in Leicester in 1770. He was so huge he couldn't sink - and he used to float along the River Soar with children on his stomach. 

The town is best known for its medieval core of 17th–18th century stone buildings, older timber framed buildings and five medieval parish churches.

The skies were dark and the rain was heavy as i set of northwards bound. My original choice was in the New Forest, Bashley v St Neots but the weather forecast was not encouraging. In the end my choice was proved correct as the Bashley game was called off , waterlogged pitch.
Moses Beacon
Pre Match meal was in town, recommended by a local ,The Golden Fleece Pub. The Full English was superb, best of the season by far. Fresh local provenance was evident and the Lincolnshire Sausages were outstanding. Tasty, meaty, simply delicious. Very fairly priced, including tea and toast for a fiver. I was certainly not fleeced at the Golden Fleece. .. if you pardon the pun,as Moses Beacon would say ! 10/10

As 'Linda' and I departed this beautiful market town , the rain returned. In no way had it dampened what was another lovely day out.

Ipswich Wanderers

09th March 2013
Eastern Counties League Division One
Ipswich Wanderers 3 
Saffron Walden Town 0

Gate: £5 (superb value)
Atten: 57

Ground: What a cracking ground, one of the best i have visited for a long time. Beautifully ramshackle, quirky, nothing was straight, well maintained, very friendly welcome, all set in a lovely rural part of Suffolk just a few miles from Ipswich centre. A very pleasant and modern lounge bar only added to the homely feel this little jewel of a ground presented to the visitor.The standard of football was very good and entertaining and the pitch was in superb condition, especially as they had just endured 24 hours of rain. I would very highly recommend a Wander down Humber Doucy Lane to see the Wanderers, as it is simply outstanding. 10/10

Match Enjoyment: From start to finish i really enjoyed this match. There was no diving etc , no arguing, no swearing etc it was played in a great spirit. Both teams were very respectful to the match officials. Wanderers opening goal was a bit bizarre. Basically it was just a hopeful cross from the right wing which went over everyone into the far corner. Like everyone else in the ground i was shocked to see that a goal had been scored until my brain had worked it out ! The rest of the game was competitive and Ipswich ran out very worthy winners. 8/10


A certain section of the home support thought one of the away players looked like Prince Harry, this lead to a non stop second half banter aimed at the Saffron Walden player , all taken in good spirits. I personally could not see the resemblance.
Ipswich Wanderers in fact started life as Loadwell Ipswich FC and in 1988 changed the name and there for Ipswich Wanderers was born. In the same year they became founder members of Division One of the   Eastern Counties Football league.

The day started due to the non stop rain in an uncertain way. many of the games nearby had been called off. But i persevered with hoping this game would go ahead, and i am so glad i did, because its a cracking ground, very friendly people in  a beautiful location, and they play decent, entertaining football. All this enjoyment for a fiver ! - what more could i want ?

Clapton FC

05th March 2013
Essex Senior Football League
Clapton 0 
London Bari  3
Atten: 33
Gate: £6

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View Clapton Clapperboard

Ground: Clapton's The Old Spotted Dog Ground is the oldest senior football ground in London and can be found 'shoe horned' into the East End back streets ,within a '5-iron' of their more illustrious neighbours West Ham United. They proudly hold the longest unbroken membership of the Isthmian League of a hundred years. According to Club history 'The Tons' have been playing at the wonderfully named ground since 1888 and on last night's evidence is still waiting its inaugural refurbishment programme !
The association between Clapton and The Hammers dates back to the year 1900 , just at the time the Thames Ironworks had re-formed as West Ham United. For more of this fascinating history look here !

Panoramic View of The Old Spotted Dog

Today, The Old Spotted Dog still has that whiff of bygone history.Beautifully ramshackle, everything is broken, yet everything works. Clearly evident upon arrival as you realise that you have arrived at some where quite special. For the first time visitor i recommend a day time visit, especially if you bring a camera. Just for the fact the you can include the East End backdrops in your pictures.9/10

Match Enjoyment: Forget about the 'other' big match in England tonight , Namely Man Utd v Real Madrid, there was only one game is was going to be at the "Forest Gate Derby" very deep in the East End of London. Or, in other words Clapton ,(The Landlords) v London Bari, (The Tenants).

The constitution for the Essex Senior League 2012/13 has been announced with Great Wakering Rovers joining after relegation from the Ryman Division One (North) along with a brand new side named "London Bari FC".
Bari FC won the Essex Sunday Corinthian League Premier Division last season and the club were formed in 1995. They ground share at Clapton's Old Spotted Dog ground and have been highly successful in the local Sunday football scene since formation in 1995. As well as the ESCL the club have also fielded teams in the Asian Premier Football League. 

Tonight's bill of fare was a nice and spicy one as both teams wanted to prove that they were Lord's of this particular manor.In truth Bari were the better side and pressure paid off for the first goal a well attacked header on the near post from a perfect corner. Soon after it was 2-0, the Bari just went through unchallenged and smacked it in the net from twenty yards. But by then things were getting awkward, and the Bari number 11 went in 'late' .... very 'late' with some studs showing. Naturally this only provoked reactions from the Clapton Camp and from the bench came the unwise words of " ... just smash 'im". The problem was this led to about 5 or 6 Bari fans attacking the Clapton bench. One of them, a very large individual,with a face only a mother can love, wearing his West Ham trench coat, wanted to attack everyone... including me ! from the ten words he muffled at me , five of them began with the letter 'F' and 3 began with a "C". I spent the next few minutes trying to decipher whether his vernacular was Oxford or Cambridge !!

The second half continued as the first had ended. Bari on top with plenty of niggles and handbags. The biggest positive for Clapton was the emergence of a little gem of  youngster, G Whitelock (11), in the first half he played a delicious diagonal, cross field ball with the outside of the foot, inch perfect. If Ronaldo had played that, it would be all over the TV for weeks.The other positive for Clapton as the night unfolded was in fact, the final whistle. The locals are clearly passionate about 'their' Club and 'their' team, but more importantly about 'their' history and traditions and about a patch of land they will always call their own. 6/10

Walsall Wood

02 March 2013

FA Vase Quarter Final
Walsall Wood 0 v Guernsey 0 (aet)
Gate: £5 (bargain)
Atten: 676 (Ten times the normal gate)

View all Photos from Walsall Wood (51)
View Official Walsall Wood Website

Ground: Last season saw a massive change at the Club with the new arrival of a new board of Directors team arrive. Already their hard work and enthusiasm is paying off both on an off the pitch. Their enthusiasm is evident for all to see, and the welcome everyone received was first class from everyone at the club. Building work is still in progress and thankfully so, as improvements are needed.
The Main Stand is wonderful and according to the Clubs history is one of only two in the British Isles.
The exact date of the forming of the Club is unknown but they were known by possibly the most wonderful name ever, Walsall Wood Ebenezer Primitive Methodists ! Try singing that in a song or chant from the terraces !  The place was packed yesterday and had a great atmospehere about the place, mainly due to the impressive following from Guernsey. They added both colour and a sense of fun, all in the spirit that a fine sporting occasion should witness. For both Clubs this was their biggest match in their history, all the more important with the possibility of a trip to Wembley.

The Club's motto is "Pro Bono Silvae"  which is Latin for ... "For the good of the Wood"  and after the experience of this exciting occasion, the efforts made by everyone at the club they achieved what they stand for. 8/10

Match Enjoyment: This was a tense, exciting in parts, end to end, some fantastic saves, some fantastic misses ! which neither team really deserved to win or lose. A draw was the correct result, if truth be told.
The atmosphere was excellent. The man of the match could be the Ref, as i thought he was excellent.
Its just a shame that the only missing ingredient from this wonderful day was goals ... but at least it had everything else ! 7/10

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