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Monday 6th May 2013 ko 15.00

Barrow Wake, Gloucestershire, near Birdlip


Gloucestershire County League

LONGLEVENS 2 (Martin 54 70)

TUFFLEY ROVERS 4 (Mann 8 Colling 11 21 64)

Att 220

Entry & Programme £2

I dread to think how many times I’ve passed the viewpoint of Barrow Wake on the A417 between Gloucester and Cirencester without stopping for a look over the Vale of Gloucester. I’ve been in the nearby Hot Air Balloon pub more often.

The area derives its name from the discovery in 1879, of a late Iron Age burial (c. 50 AD) site. Three skeletons were discovered and associated with the central figure, that of a woman aged about thirty years, a rich array of grave goods including the world-famous Birdlip Mirror. The finds represent some of the finest surviving examples of British Celtic metal work, are displayed in Gloucester City Museum.

I suspect that if you know where to look, you can see Longlevens new ground in the Barnwood districts of Gloucester. Tucked away behind the Ibis hotel, the club moved here for this season after their former home at Longford Lane was deemed unsuitable for County League football. That ground is now used by Gloucestershire Northern Senior League outfit Minsterworth, but the new ground is exactly what the Longlevens needs. There’s plenty of parking, a good-sized changing room block and the pitch is fully railed. There are floodlights, currently only suitable for training, but upgrade these, and add a small stand and they’d have a ground suitable for a tilt at either the Hellenic or Western Leagues.

The latter is where Tuffley Rovers, also Gloucester-based see their future. They used to play in the Hellenic, but dropped down due to travelling costs. They feel the Western League, with a glut of journeys down the M5 is a realistic option, and with the club second in the table, and Glevum Park easily fulfilling ground grading necessities, elevation looks possible.

What made this fixture so attractive was that Longlevens were top. Add to that a glorious sunny day and a local derby, and the bumper crowd was only to be expected. A shed served as a highly efficient tea bar, and the club coped well with the influx of people.

Unfortunately the team didn’t fare anywhere near as well, as within 21 minutes they found themselves 3-0 down. The difference was Tuffley striker Dorian Colling, whose movement completely perplexed the home defence; he collected a brace and completed his hat trick just after the hour. The hosts didn’t compete at all until Brad Martin’s late brace gave their performance a veneer of respectability, but even with this set-back Longlevens still have the whip-hand.

Tuffley are 3 points clear with a game left, but Longlevens have 3 games left. You wouldn’t bet against both sides getting what they want, Longlevens the title, and Tuffley the promotion. Its definitely one to watch!