Wednesday 19th November 2014 ko 19.30
Western League Division One
WARMINSTER TOWN 0
RADSTOCK TOWN 2 (Metcalf 45 Harvey 45)
Sausage & Chips £1.50
When the rains come you drive to football with the risk that when you reach your destination the game will be off. You can mitigate the risk by phoning ahead, and Twitter is a godsend to the groundhopper, but you never quite know until you turn the corner and see the floodlights shining through the trees.
With its tall trees at the entrance Weymouth Street does that welcome rather well, in fact there’s little to suggest that this is a garrison town, with future Archbishop of Canterbury Robert Runcie famously crashing a tank into a house here during his training during World War II.
The ground sits on high ground, the land shelves steeply after the far side, and in the distance the house lights twinkled attractively. I may have fretted over the weather, but I needn’t, the pitch certainly wasn’t smooth, but it was playable. It does help when gravity is on your side!
I genuinely do not understand why so few clubs use Wednesdays for midweek fixtures, it is the middle of the working week after all. Moreover, by bucking the trend on Tuesday evening games, you get the floating patron. In London some clubs have worked this out, the likes of Barkingside play on unusual days and there’s a group of enthusiasts who get to watch a game every day of the week. In this instance we saw around 10 hoppers, and I would imagine the extra £50 in gate money was a bonus.
The talk of the group was the Lowland League hop, scheduled for 20-22 March, details here, which made this organiser happy, an event north of the border has been a long time coming, and I for one am looking forward to chucking my bag in the back of one of the coaches and heading north.
Of course I’d seen Radstock a couple of weeks earlier, and apart from enjoying their company, they’d played extremely well to beat promotion-chasing Wincanton, and I was genuinely surprised to buy a programme, and see them 18th in the table, a place behind the hosts. Clearly, consistency is an issue for them.
The majority of the first half bore that thought out, the two side cancelled each other. It wasn’t a dull game, it just needed a goal, and just like the cliché about buses, you wait ages for one then two arrive at once! In this case two smartly taken goals in first-half stoppage time did the damage, and the second half reverted to what had been the pattern beforehand.
I enjoyed both the game, the clubs and my company, but as I headed for home I wondered where I’d see my fellow spectators next, in Scotland? No, that’s not for 4 months.. but then I allowed myself a grin and a shrug of the shoulders. I’ve long since bade farewell to fellow hoppers, “See you somewhere daft,” and it felt as appropriate as ever.