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Tuesday 16th October 2012 ko 19.30

Western League Division One


HENGROVE ATHLETIC 2 (Fear 18 Bament 81p)

Att 94

Entry & Programme £5

It seems that this season I’m destined so spend my weeknights blasting through the byways of Gloucestershire before reaching the M5 and Bristol. From there it was a short drive further south to Cribbs Causeway and its huge shopping centre, then on to the Friends Life Sports Ground, in nearby Henbury.

The insurance company used to be called Axa, and the club bearing that company’s name gained promotion from the Gloucestershire County League for this season. That was a convenient time for a name change, reflecting the take-over of Axa by Friends Life. On a personal level, I have history with Axa’s Bristol operation, they turned me down for a job many years ago, for reasons I still cannot fathom!

Promotion meant floodlights were necessary which were not an issue for a profitable business at an out-of-town location, so I found myself at a first game under lights for the second time in a month! The hundred or so there, included many other hoppers showing,if nothing else, that floodlit grounds reachable on a midweek are at a premium!

The  ground, has one major quirk, and that’s its access. From Cribbs Causeway the ground is accessed by having to U-turn at 2 roundabouts to access a turn inaccessible travelling in the opposite direction! Once there, its typical fare for a sports ground, the clubhouse plush but the pitchside exposed and the only cover provided by a “Meccano” stand. That was commandeered by a crowd of young boys fooling around in the corner. I found it hard to imagine myself at their age following a works team. Still, they shouted loudly for their team which is a good thing, and I just moved away so as to regain my senses!

The game was a decent advert for the division without ever hitting the heights that at times the team’s promising league positions theatened to do. Mark Fear headed Hengrove into the lead, his job made easier by Ben’s Bament’s fine cross. The moment of controversy led to Cribbs’ equaliser. Luke Crewe’s heavy tackle saw him both booked and injured, and he left the field for treatment. As play continued, he called to come back on, but was refused permission by referee Mark Dadds. His manager commented, ” He won’t be allowed back on until they score……” just as Simon Bone curled in an exquisite shot from 35 yards! Sometimes you need to be careful what you wish for!

In the end it didn’t matter, Bament’s speedy run into the box was crudely curtailed by Elliott Saunders, and Bament took the penalty himself, finding the bottom left hand corner. Probably a fair result, and I forgot completely about that job interview!