Tuesday 10th February 2015 ko 19.30
Western League Division One
HENGROVE ATHLETIC 1 (E Saunders 42)
WARMINSTER TOWN 2 (Lapham 25 54)
I have spent far too much of my life sitting in traffic in that dead zone of Bristol that sits between the end of the M32 and Bristol Temple Meads station. The latter, Brunel’s great monument to the Industrial Revolution in general and the Great Western Railway specifically, marks the point where the Central Business District starts to give way to housing then off towards suburbia. Once suburbia ends, that’s where you’ll find Hengrove Athletic.
It really is at the point where suburban Bristol finishes, a turn right from Whitchurch along Norton Lane, past the Garden Centre, and there’s The Grove on your left.
It’s one of those grounds that shows where its been adapted to suit ground-grading requirements over the years. There’s the two modular stands either stand of the original cover, and if you check the ground on Google Earth, you’ll see the floodlights are a relatively new addition. Unquestionably the most impressive feature is the clubhouse, with its skittle alley, but more than anything else it was the people’s company I enjoyed the most.
From the gateman, with his lilting Irish voice, in contrast to the burred west-country accents, to the lady serving a tasty pasty, a bargain at £1.50, everyone seemed to be enjoying being Hengrove Athletic. Now that shouldn’t be difficult normally, I’d like to think all club officials love their club at Step 6, but Hengrove seemed to be having a bad day at the office.
Yes I know programme issuing is mandatory in this league, but the programme editor was ill, he was propped up at the bar, fit enough only to do the line-ups. Normally its the kind of thing that is no kind of an issue, but on this evening the attendance was augmented by a fair percentage of the Western League committee, and a few more officials from the Somerset FA. Talk about bad timing….
The bad day at the office extended to activities on the pitch. The game looked like a routine draw, two well-matched sides, but two Alex Lapham thunderbolts rather overtook Eliot Saunders’ reply, and once Warminster regained the lead, Hengrove soon ran out of ideas.
Of course my regular reader is well-used to my ability to jinx a friendly club, so perhaps it was best that I bade farewell to the committee, and quietly slipped back into the Bristolian night.