Tuesday 21st October 2014 ko 19.45
West Midlands (Regional) League Premier Division
WELLINGTON FC 0 Fisher missed penalty 41
MALVERN TOWN 1 (Hooper 82)
I suppose the league gives the game away that this is the Wellington that’s around 5 miles north of Hereford, not the version just a few miles from the M5 in Somerset. The Herefordshire team are Wellington FC, the Somerset club are Wellington AFC!
Or in my terms this club are the team close to the junction where I very nearly drove the wrong way up a dual carriageway! The turn-off for the village is at a point where the A49 goes from dual to single-carriageway, and I misread the white lines briefly, and was fortunate to spot an arrow pointing towards me a yard or two later. A quick volte-face saved face, so be warned!
The Wellington Playing Fields have been home to the football club since 1978. You walk to the right of the bowls club, play at the pay booth on your left, and if you’re anything like me, be rather taken by the two seated stands.
One sits on the near corner, just to the side of the clubhouse and changing rooms, the other in a rather isolated far corner, the positioning of both due to the ground formerly sharing with cricket.
Perhaps its when I go a little off the beaten track that I find a little gem. This was definitely one of those times. Yes, I got invited for a cup of team and cheese sandwich at half-time, and chaps Oxford isn’t that far from Hereford, but sat wrapped up against the cold during the second half I loved listening to the committee, wives, dads and friends chatting as the game meandered in front of me. Place your club right in the centre of your community and you’ll thrive.
The game wasn’t the greatest to watch in truth. Malvern have had their problems, having risen to the Southern League in their pomp, but suffering two quick relegations to return to the West Midlands League. They won this one with Lee Hooper’s late strike, but if Ben Fisher’s first half missed penalty had ben converted, the draw would have probably have been a fairer result.
Afterwards I diverted to Hereford in search of fuel, and passed Hereford United’s Edgar Street ground on the way. Its been some time since I sat in that narrow stand backing on to the street, and as I filled up I remembered a characterful ground, Ricky George and the bull walking round the pitch before important games. With the Bulls’ existence hanging by a thread, I wish them and their fans the very best. The footballing world would be less colourful without their presence.