Saturday 3rd August 2013 ko 15.00
Combined Counties League Premier Division
WESTFIELD 1 (Williams 15)
CHESSINGTON & HOOK UNITED 0 Gilbert sent off 83 (2nd booking)
To the beginner groundhopper the name Westfield or Westfields is a recipe for confusion. There’s Westfields, based in Hereford, and Sussex-Leaguers Westfield too. See the problem?
To avoid any doubt, this Westfield calls Woking home, but my confusion was complete when the sat-nav brought me to the Kingfield, Woking FC’s ground! I wasn’t too far wrong, Woking Park is only 150 yards away!
The place is futuristic, a feature of a 2011 building project, that turned Woking Park into something of a hub. Apart from the football, there’s boxing, and various Scout and Guide troops. I shouldn’t have been surprised at the looks of the place, Woking after all does have a War Of The Worlds inspired tripod Martian, designed by Michael Condron as a sculpture in the town centre. The book, it transpires, was written here.
Its clear the club are justifiably proud of their clubhouse, but are also proud of the fact that the club have never been relegated on the pitch in their 59 year history, just one demotion on ground-grading issues in 2006, still a sore point to the club. The only issue they have is that to stay at the this level they will have to provide yet more seats. There’s no lack of space, all facilities are on the near side, but even modular stands are not cheap to a club run by volunteers.
Class of course costs nothing, and that the club has in abundance. Regular readers and subscribers know how much football I watch, but the levels of friendliness and help I received here were well beyond the call of duty. I arrived late, the programmes had run out, one was rustled up. I wanted the line-ups, the teamsheets were found. I went up to the balcony at half time to take a few pictures, and a cup of tea was both offered and gratefully accepted. It cost them little or nothing to do all of that, but that’s created a satisfied customer, and one that will pass on the highest possible recommendation to pay them a visit.
The game was better than the scoreline would suggest too. On a billiard table of a pitch both sides passed and moved well, just the finishing let them down. The goal was a good one though, Max Blackmore’s cross from the right finding debutant Jack Williams who expertly fired home from just inside the 18-yard box.
In fact there was only one blot on the game, the dismissal of Chessington’s Natherne Gilbert who collected a booking for a heavy challenge in the 73rd minute, and a second for a two-footed challenge 8 minutes later. Both were correct decisions, but seemed out of step with what was a convivial afternoon out at a friendly club at an excellent ground.