Tuesday 8th March 2016 ko 19.45
Western League Premier Division
MELKSHAM TOWN 3 (Hughes 3og Higdon 45 Stradling 71)
Even this far in to my groundhopping odyssey there are still grounds that leap out from my “Football Traveller” directories. It’s almost as if Ironmould Lane, was shouting out, “Why on earth haven’t you visited yet?”
That feeling was accentuated as as I travelled through southern Bristol and passed the huge new stand at Ashton Gate, before heading south-east to the very edge of the city. I love a ground where the floodlights beckon you in, but it is very straightforward to miss the turn left into Ironmould Lane!
The big surprise here is just how well appointed the ground is; how many grounds can boast cover on all 4 sides, and the hopper will love all the nooks and crannies too. Its a place to get there early, spend your fiver and spend some time simply exploring. I cannot imagine the club would have to do much if anything to get the ground up to Southern League standard, in fact I’ve seen plenty of Southern League grounds that are nowhere near as good as this.
Another reason to visit was Melksham Town. With my GroundhopUK hat on they provided an excellent finale to the inaugural Western League Hop, and if all subsequent host clubs are as imaginative as them, Chris Berezai and I are going to have an easy job over the next few years. In fact the only issue we may have is featuring them in their new ground on a hop, because there’s a possibilty they won’t be a Western League club next season
This game showed why. It wasn’t that Brislington were vastly inferior, it was that every single error they made was punished, and every opportunity Melksham got was taken full advantage of. 3-0 was fair, if ruthless.
But it was one of those evenings where i could happily head for home knowing that I could bring a coachload of hoppers to either club knowing that those hoppers would be visiting an exceptional club. And for a neutral it doesn’t get much better then that.
Dedicated to Western League General Secretary Mark Edmonds. Get well soon my friend.