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Wednesday 13th August 2014 ko 18.30

West Dean Charity League Intermediate Section



Att 15

Entry FREE

Programme NO

So dear reader, once more to the A48 and the Forest of Dean, this time just south of Lydney. During my trips to this part of the world I’ve got used to the idea that there’s precious little between the main road and the Severn. As ever I was wrong, there’s a good mile or so of land to work with in the pretty village of Aylburton. Its the type of village built as ribbon development, the land shelves steeply upwards rapidly as soon as you leave the road as I found out as soon as I tried to park!

That’s right, Bream don’t play in Bream, being the victims of a property developer who built a parade of new homes, and completely blocked all access to the ground in the process! They’ve moved 4.5 miles to Aylburton Village Hall, but hope to have a new ground back in Bream in a year’s time.

They’re used to a fight in Bream. Timber, Coal and Iron Ore had long been extracted in the area, but the Industrial Revolution brought a commercial slant to the process. The Crown and the miners fought for supremacy and it all culminated in 1808 with Dean Forest (Timber) Act in response to a severe shortage of naval timber. The act included the provision to enclose 11,000 acres, forcing many miners into abject poverty.

Warren James, the ‘Committee of Free Miners’ leader issued a notice, dated 3 June 1831 that instructed Free Miners to meet on the following Wednesday “for the purpose of opening the Forest”. They were met by deputy surveyor, Edward Machen, and a riot ensued. Rioting continued for two days, before troops quelled the disturbances, and James was arrested, and was sentenced to death, the penalty eventually being commuted to transportation for life.

The scene along High Street couldn’t have been in more contrast to those violent times as I walked left into Wesley Close with the ground at its end. The players were putting up the nets, interrupted occasionally by Scrumpy the Springer Spaniel who required someone to throw him his tennis ball to chase.

The game looked a good match-up. Ruardean looked young, very young with just one powerful midfielder offering guidance. They proved to be the equal of a Bream side, themselves shorn of a number of first-team players. It took an early error to settle it, James Ward’s skidding, daisy-cutting free-kick from 20 yards out, horribly wrong-footing the Ruardean keeper, squirting home under his body.

From then on the football was committed but the chances few as neither keeper saw much action. A bag of fish and chips was sourced, as the womenfolk discussed a chap who may or may not have been performing in front of them. Ruardean saw a final chance hit the crossbar, the ball spinning up, then down back off of the crossbar once again then out to a forward who made no mistake, blasting a goal’s height over the bar.

All too soon it was over, but as the sun set, Scrumpy’s owner moved her chair to the other side of the pitch to catch the last of the warmth. It was good news for Scrumpy, the pitch could now be his playground.