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Saturday 19th October 2013 ko 15.00

Western League Division One

WINCANTON TOWN 5 (O’Hare 2 35 Gale 12 90 Davis 89)


Att 51

Entry £5

Programme £1

To the groundhopper the A303 is something of a mixed blessing. The arterial road has no end of interesting sites to visit, and a multiplicity of quirky football grounds to be discovered. If you haven’t been to these two, Amesbury http://wp.me/p1PehW-pz and Gillingham http://wp.me/p1PehW-fh are highly recommended. The downside of the road is the congested traffic particularly around Stonehenge, it’s always a good idea to factor in an extra 30 minutes for your journey.

Wincanton is a small market town which is just about in Somerset. In fact to give you an idea of how close to the border with Dorset you are, the football club played for much of its history in the Somerset Senior League before transferring to the Dorset Senior League then being promoted to the Dorset Premier League. Last season they finished runners-up and gained promotion to the Western League for the first time in their history.

Of course in sporting terms the town is far more famous for horse racing and Wincanton Racecourse is a major draw in the equestrianism calendar. I noted that the television in the bar was tuned to the horse racing, not the football!

The town does have one real quirk though, and that is that’s its twinned with somewhere fictitious! Wincanton is twinned with Ankh-Morpork, a city in Terry Pratchett’s Discworld fantasy novels. The twinning occurred in 2002 as result of campaigning by a Pratchett themed bookshop The Cunning Artificer based in Wincanton High Street.

The football club play just out of town at the lottery-funded Wincanton Sports Ground. It’s new, opened in 2001 and it boasts 5 football pitches, as well as facilities for rugby, tennis, netball, rounders and curiously 15 allotments. Sadly during my visit there seemed to be no other sporting activity taking place.

The ground understandably is very much a work in progress. The floodlights were first used the previous Tuesday with Yeovil Town’s first eleven winning 8-0 in a friendly, but the hard standing hasn’t yet been installed behind the goals so they, for the moment, are still out of bounds with temporary fencing barring access.

For Wincanton this season will be one of consolidation, learning how to play at Step 6. Devizes have struggled in this division for a few years now and so would be a useful yardstick as to minimum standards. The game proved beyond a doubt that the hosts are more than capable of holding their own.

In fact Devizes best opportunity came with only a minute on the clock! A corner was turned into his own net by Gary Chapman, but the goal was disallowed for a push on the full back. Wincanton promptly went down the other end and scored, a weak punch by Devizes keeper Matt Tilley was turned in by Dave O’Hare, fresh from a scoring trial at Yeovil Town.

After that Wincanton soon discovered Devizes’ Achilles heel- the through ball. A flat back four and a high line were ruthlessly exploited as the hosts ran in 2 more goals to kill off the tie before half time. Devizes’ two substitutions at the break tightened up their defence no end, and it was only right at the end, when they were seeking a consolation goal that their frailty on the break was exposed twice again and Wincanton profited twice more.

The defeat leaves Devizes still in lower mid-table, so perhaps this was just a poor day for them, but recent history points to more struggle. For Wincanton, the future looks bright, especially if they can tempt more people along Moor Lane.