Saturday 6th February 2015 ko 14.00
Southern Combination Division Two
ALFOLD 1 (Hallett 90)
AFC ROFFEY CLUB 0
It did seem a little strange driving down the A3 to take in a game in what used to be called the Sussex County League, passing through Guildford then making for Horsham. You’ll always be in Surrey, and genteel wooded Surrey at that. You really should stop on the way in Bramley, the Kingfish Chip Shop provides an excellent lunch, and once you’ve worked out how to navigate the nearby road junction, you’ll arrive at Alfold’s Recreation Ground.
And if you’re anything like me, you’ll come to a startling conclusion. There are only two Step 5 Leagues operating a Step 7 division, this league and the Spartan South Midlands League and the latter only to provide a feeder in Buckinghamshire. But judging by the vibrancy of the clubs you find in the SCFL’s lowest tier, it’s they who’ve got the blueprint right. The implied plan is to provide an intermediate level route into the County League, and as far as I’m concerned it works!
Now if you’re looking for Archibald Leitch-inspired stands I suspect Alfold won’t exactly excite you. If, though you like tea in a mug, a warm clubhouse, and an equally warm welcome you’ll love it here. The club accepted a invitation to make the jump from the West Sussex League for this season, as indeed did their visitors today, changing their name from Forest FC in the process
It didn’t half feel cold for a village built on charcoal from the Weald, used to produce gundpowder, but on an afternoon where hundreds of games were called off the two sides managed to produce a reasonable game. Yes, the wind was howling and the one thing both sets of players agreed on was that the conditions were lousy.
The officials saw it as a one-out-of-ten game, I saw it as a four, and that figure gives great credit to the sides for making the most of what they had to work with. The goal in the 2nd minute of stoppage time was extremely harsh on the visitors, a point apiece would have been fair.
But as I left, I had the advantage of being the outsider in all of this. I could enjoy the company of two friendly clubs right in the centre of their communities for what they are without the result of the game getting in the way.