Saturday 25th October 2014 ko 14.00
South Devon League “Herald” Cup 2nd Round
BEESANDS ROVERS 4 (Burt 23 Bailey 28 J Tucker 48 D Tucker 81)
KINGSKERSWELL & CHELSTON 0
Let’s answer a question I get asked a lot, how do I pick my games? The answer is that it varies. Sometimes they pick me- I get invited, sometimes I’m there because I’ve organised it, or sometimes there’s a touch of whimsy in my choice. In this case, I decided to dip into my list of quirky “off-piste” grounds I wanted to visit.
These are the grounds that are a little off the beaten track, aren’t part of the footballing pyramid and haven’t seen a surfeit of groundhoppers. If you fancy visiting some of these, research is needed and a good starting point would be Peter Miles’ frankly jaw-dropping article “20 Glorious Non-League Grounds”
From there, quite honestly you can blame my local pub, and travelling companion Simeon. We’d sat enjoying a pint (or two) and planned our day out. I pick the grounds to visit so I asked,
“So on a scale of one to ten, how daft do you want to make this?”
Sim replied with an eight (a 10 would have seen us visit Carharack in Cornwall) so I looked to see who was at home and found Beesands!
I’d been aware of the club for some time, as the ground is as close to the sea as any, with the possible exception of Arbroath and Maltese outfit Pembroke Athleta, and you simply can’t get closer to the ocean than the latter!
So after small matter of four-and-a-half hours in the car we parked up in the pretty Devonian fishing village. It’s famous for crab-fishing, and the Britannia fishery runs a wonderful restaurant and takeaway on the sea-front. Move along the promenade and you’ll get to the Cricket Inn. Yes, the beer is good and they too have a seafood restaurant, but they have a quite a footnote in rock and roll history.
In the 1950’s and 60’s Keith Richards’ family took regular holidays here, and in 1961 a bored (not enough girls apparently) Mick Jagger joined them. One evening Keith brought his guitar to the pub, and Mick joined in for couple of Everly Brothers’ songs, The rest as they say is history.
The ground is just north of the pub and restaurant, but here’s a tip, don’t drive there, park up and walk along. Last winter’s floods washed away part of the sea defences so there’s a temporary track to Beesands Cellars- my car bottomed out twice!!
Its well worth the effort though in finding the place. On the face of it its a pitch with a wooden changing room block at one end, but the magic is when you look for the details. It’s the sign on the gate that simply says “Hello,” or the other one warning of snakes. Have a closer look at the wooden clubhouse, what was it used for before it moved here, and was propped up to be level despite the terrain?
But the view, that’s what we spent a tank of diesel for. The bay curves round to the left a towards the Start Point Lighthouse, and as the game progressed the fishermen and metal detectors downed tools to watch the action.
The game saw a giant-killing of sorts. This cup, for all clubs in the South Devon League saw Beesands, top and unbeaten in Division One, take on opponents mid-table in the Premier Division. It was one of those games where confidence, more than anything else, won the day. Beesands are used to winning, and once Jon Burt fired them into the lead, more goals always looked likely to follow, and that’s exactly how it transpired.
But when you’re travelled for more than just the game, there was so much more to enjoy. I bumped my way back to the village and ordered a fish supper…