Wednesday 4th January 2012 ko 7.45 pm
Combined Counties Premier Division
SOUTH PARK 0
MOLE VALLEY SCR 2 (Elgar 35 Holden 62)
South Park, are named after the district of Reigate in which they play, and I immediately pondered on the lack of another senior club in the Surrey Town. To all but a few, you could be almost anywhere! Within Reigate, there’s Reigate Hill FC who play in the Redhill and District League, and Reigate Priory who play a notch higher up in the Surrey Elite Intermediate League. Not exactly high level fare for a bustling market town, possibly best known for being the setting for the Sherlock Holmes short story,” The Adventure of the Reigate Squire.”
The club, it becomes clear to the visitor, represent nothing more than South Park. And that, counter-intuitively is their great strength. The 10 acre site was purchased at great effort, and eventually was vested in the Playing Fields Association, guaranteeing its future sporting use. A measure of the efforts made can be seen by the Memorial Garden as you enter the ground.
The club needed to make great efforts to improve the St George’s Park upon election to the Combined Counties League in 2006. A new changing room block was built and floodlights installed. A modular stand was erected just to the side of one goal. It’s an odd position, but with the dugouts and the changing room block to the sides of the pitch, its difficult to see where else it could have been placed! Whilst St George’s Park will win no awards for beauty, it does its job, and is a fine testament to the club’s supporters who’ve made massive improvements in a short period of time.
I picked a foul night to visit. It was a difficult task simply keeping my little courtesy car on the M25, and the 20 or so hoppers that augmented the crowd were mighty glad of the overhang of the changing block, and that “Arena” stand. It poured with rain on a cold windy night. Yes, I did question my wisdom in attending several times!
The visitors have had an interesting history. Starting life as Sutton Common Rovers, based in Carshalton, the Rovers became Road, and in recent years Mole Valley was added with the previous name abbreviated and becoming a suffix. The first XI now groundshare at Cobham FC’s Leg O’ Mutton field. They are rock bottom of the division with, at kick off, only 4 league wins all season.
So was it the appalling weather that gave them their victory? Or perhaps it was the thought of South Park’s upcoming FA Vase game at favourites Whitley Bay? Maybe there was a element of both, but for me it was a classic case of one side who took their chances and another who didn’t. Mole Valley didn’t look like a side rock bottom of the table, and if South Park play like this in the North-East they’ll be on the wrong end of a hiding.