Bruce Smith Shield
Whitstable Town 1 v Herne Bay 1
Whitstable win on Pens
Gate: £8 (ouch!)
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Located on the north coast of Kent , Whitstable is famous for its oysters, which have been collected in the area since at least Roman times. The town itself dates back to before the writing of the Domesday Book. Whitstable's distinctive character is popular with tourists, and its maritime heritage is celebrated with the annual oyster fesitival.
The Belmont Ground boasts a seated stand along one side as well as covered terracing behind each goal. Within the last ten years the dressing rooms and clubhouse have been completely refurbished, a new snack bar built and floodlights erected. Whitstable Town are the best supported Kent team in the Isthmian League South. Their major local rival is Herne Bay. When the two teams were most recently in the same league, their matches regularly attracted 400 or more fans. More recent matches against Margate in the FA Cup and Dover in the Isthmian League have attracted more that 1,000 supporters.
The ground is shoe horned behind the cricket club and if driving can be a little misleading for the first time visitor as the main car park is on the other side of the ground and not in Belmont Road itself.
Upon entry you immediately notice how well kept the ground is maintained. Obviously a lot of work has been put in behind the scenes of this well run set up.
The welcome by the Staff was as warm as the weather and could not be faulted. When asked any question the Oystermen Staff did not 'Clam' (if you will pardon the pun !) and were most helpful.
A very good programme was on offer which included all previous battles with Herne Bay as far back as 1948-49 season an impressive effort. My only gripe was the entry of £8 for a pre season friendly which i think a fiver is more than fair. It must be a Kent thing because i remember near neighbours Faversham pricing similar for a pre season bash against similar level opponents. But i understand the reasons behind it are to improve funding for the club for further progression and stability which is perfectly acceptable. They deserve it anyway for all the efforts made from the whole gang of volunteers. The Oyster people deserve a word of thanks in their 'shell' like.
The ground has a good feel about the place and was a very pleasant venue to spend an afternoon.
Match Enjoyment: 5/10
For a pre season friendly this was more spicy than usual at times, presumably due to the geographical locations of the participants. Which was good to see.
Herne , i feel had the better of the first half and the Oystermen had the best of the second half and a draw was the fair result.Whitstable won the penalty shoot with some well taken spot kicks.
|Oyster men celebrate with the Shield|
My day was a frustrating one due to the heavy summer traffic and i had forgot my memory card for the camera so was handicapped from the off as i was not in my usual rhythm from the start. But never the less a ground i am pleased to have visited finally.
|Whitstable Harbour - worth a visit|