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Monday 20th April 2015 ko 18.30

Hampshire Premier League- Senior Division

HAMBLE CLUB 4 (Shrimpton 11 Thomson 32 Cox 53 Bull 76)

WINCHESTER CASTLE 0

Att 36

Entry FREE

No Programme

I have a feeling that many will look at my photos of the Shell Mex ground in Hamble-le-Rice and suggest that the new champions’ home isn’t up to much. Yes, the players change in Portakabins, and the tea bar is housed in another. There’s no cover, no hard standing, and the nets behind the goals are a feat of Heath Robinson-style engineering. All of this is true, but pay attention to these pictures carefully, because when you visit, the place will look nothing like this.

Many Step 7 leagues are suffering with their clubs unable to comply with FA Ground Grading requirements, but the HPFL seems to be bucking that trend. The ground improvements at AFC Stoneham should seem them elevated to the Wessex League for next season, and Baffins Milton Rovers are carrying out massive building works with a future Wessex tilt in mind.

Meanwhile Hamble are not being outdone. The Pontakabins are not long for the world, and will be shortly replaced by a brand new clubhouse and changing rooms. Floodlights have been purchased, having seen service at Southampton’s former training ground at Staplewood. Add the planned stand too, and the transformation will be massive!

It will be a fitting ground for a team that has won the league by some distance. Featuring players who have seen service at Wessex clubs such as Winchester, Sholing, Brockenhurt, Lymington Town, and Follands, the teams’s brand of fast, strong football played down the channels has proved devastating at this level. In fact the only question facing the team is whether in such a competitive league they can repeat the feat? Such a good ground in waiting deserves a level of football above this.