Broadbridge Heath, Dan Smith, Dean Loader, Football, george bernard shaw, groundhopping, Jamal Sultan, James Wrigley, Leisure Centre, mahatma gandhi, Richard Watton, Saltdean United, Sussex County League
Tuesday 24th April 2012 ko 7.45pm
Sussex County League Division Three
BROADBRIDGE HEATH 2 (Wrigley 37 Samson 90)
SALTDEAN UNITED 3 (Dan Smith 16 Loader 59 Watton 65)
Entry & Programme £2
In so many ways my attendance at this one didn’t make any sense. Why travel 100 or so miles to watch an intermediate level game in the middle of an athletics stadium, near Horsham. Factor in also, that with the clocks long since gone forward there was no lack of non-floodlit alternatives closer to home. The answer is of course the clarion call of the bulldozer, as Broadbridge Heath Leisure Centre is set to close leaving the club with an uncertain future. Of course with me being me, on arrival I discovered that far from this being the club’s last home game here, if they do move it’ll be in around a year’s time. Still, its been done……
Broadbridge Heath is the birthplace of the great romantic poet Percy Shelley, a great influence on more modern poets and authors such as WB Yeats, Thomas Hardy and George Bernard Shaw. Mahatma Gandhi’s policy of passive resistance was apparently influenced and inspired by Shelley’s non-violence in protest and political action in the poet’s lifetime, cut short by his drowning aged 29.
I’m no fan of football pitches in the middle of athletics tracks, although regular trips to Sweden where they are far more prevalent means I’ve almost got used to them. This is a particularly bad example, as there’s quite a distance from the stand (the one legally viewable side) to the long jump pit and then on to the track, then finally the pitch. There is at least a decent pitched roofed stand with some elevation, but the saving grace is the people who run the club, a friendlier bunch you will not meet.
The programme was worth £2 on its own, and it being the Sussex County League the evening’s line-ups were posted on a whiteboard. I asked to stroll round the stadium before kick off and take some photos, to which the club readily acquieced. I did enjoy the notice that said that high heels should not be used on the track. Given that there was just the one elderly gent using the track before the game, I did wonder…..
The game went pretty much to the form book. When I was researching this game, I was surprised to see Saltdean in the County League’s bottom flight, and they look to be making a rapid exit up and out of it. This win puts them 2 points clear at the top with just one round of games to be played this Saturday. They started the stronger but once Dan Smith had given them the lead Heath came on strongly and their equaliser was fully deserved.
The interval came at completely the wrong time for the hosts as Saltdean notably upped the tempo after the break. Dean Loader pounced on a defensive error to restore the lead, and Richard Watton snaffled the winner following a free kick. Jamal Sultan’s goal for Heath was so late in stoppage time so as to create no impression of a comeback.
So, not the kind of ground that a hopper normally would make a beeline for but don’t let the threat of the bulldozer be the only reason to visit. It really is better than that.