Monday 12th December 2011 ko 7.45pm
Wessex League Premier Division
BEMERTON HEATH HARLEQUINS 1 (Sanger 65)
GE HAMBLE 0
Att 29 (h/c)
Bemerton Heath is a housing estate in the north-western suburbs of Salisbury. I’d like to tell you something interesting about the place, but I can’t because I can’t find anything remotely interesting about it! That’s no criticism, as the club are a wonderful group of people, at an interesting ground.
I drove down to the Westwood Recreation Ground straight from work, and by the time I’d passed the Laverstock turn the weather was positively apocalyptic with a howling gale and the rain lashing down. I parked up and dashed into the large clubhouse. The GE Hamble committee seemed to be waiting, not for me, but for a decision. It became clear that although the pitch was perfectly playable the Bemerton management and both managers didn’t want to play. The final decision was left as late as possible to the extent that the turnstiles did not open until one minute to kick off!
Eventually referee Colin Hopkins’ opinion was the one that held sway, and I went through the turnstile to have a look at the ground and….. those trees. The ground is boxed in on 3 sides by Leylandii and in places they must be 30 feet tall. Sooner or later they’ll be taller than the floodlights! On this occasion they certainly helped to shelter the game from the worst excesses of the wind. Even without the trees there’s still plenty to like. The large main stand, with the disabled-friendly stand to its right is all good, but its the clubhouse that takes the plaudits. 2 storeys with a built-in officials’ stand at its apex, it’s both roomy and practical. I was more than happy to drink my mug of tea by the burger bar and shelter! Moreover the whole place has a feeling of solidity about it, no bad thing on a night like this!
So two sides who didn’t want to be there and a foul night, you’d expect the game to be lousy wouldn’t you? Well it really wasn’t, watched by two small bands of fans, each as one-eyed and vociferous as the other; the two sides went at it as hard as the rain that was falling. Both sets of fans thought the ref was an idiot, which probably means he wasn’t and in all honesty a point apiece would have been fair, but Sanger’s neat finish broke the stalemate. And despite the Hamble fans’ best shouts that proved the clincher.
A final word should go to the gentleman who helped me out by copying the teamsheets. He also invited me for a drink on the house afterwards, which given the time and the horrible journey home I had to regrettably decline. Sir, many thanks, and I hope this article will mean a few people more will watch your club. The footballing world would be a far better place with more people like you in it.