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Monday 2nd May 2016 ko 15.00

South West Peninsula League Division One West

PLYMOUTH ARGYLE RESERVES 4 (Ward 6 McCauley 17 Jephcott 44 Sangster 50)


Att 66 at Seale-Hayne

Entry & Programme £3

Another entry in the great unwritten book of groundhopping rules states thus, “Thou shalt not watch a game involving a reserve side.” In fact I remember watching Cadbury Athletic Reserves play at the iconic Bournville Ground as it’s not suitable for Midland League games and a very well-known hopper got extremely steamed up over it! My attitude to such mores is best described by the title of this blog, if it interests me, then I’ll go. And Seale-Hayne is certainly interesting!

First and foremost you’ll need to know how to get there, because believe me if all you do is pump the postcode into your sat-sav, you’ll reach Seale-Hayne College and be around a 2 mile drive from the ground. You drive along the A383 towards Newton Abbot, and you’ll see the ground on your left.

Seale-Hayne College was built as an agricultural college just before the First World War, and that conflict saw its use afterwards in part for the treatment of shell-shock. Eventually the college was swallowed up by Plymouth University who in 2005 moved out, and the buildings are now used by the Dame Hannah Rogers trust who specialise in the education, therapy, care and respite for children and young people with profound physical disabilities. You see reference to “Hannah’s” on most signage here.

But I’m sure you’ve seen me reference Newton Abbot and think, “Wait a second, that’s nowehere near Plymouth!” You’d be correct, Seale-Hayne is 30 miles from Plymouth Arygle’s stadium, Home Park, and yes you are a good deal closer to their rivals Torquay United, Plainmoor is less than 10 miles away.

Curiously Seale-Hayne used to be Torquay United’s training ground, then Argyle moved in with the two clubs sharing the facility, before Torquay moved out due to their financial problems. The issue Argyle have is that while the place is more than adequate as a training base, its not adequate for SWPL fixtures, with no cover, just one viewing area, and the entry fee being taken from a minibus!

So with promotion assured, save for the AGM, they’ll be moving to the Devon County FA Ground in Newton Abbot for next season, still closer to Plainmoor. More experienced hoppers will remember the Coach Road Ground as being the base for Newton Abbot FC who had a rich history in the Devon County, South Western, and SWPL Leagues before abruptly folding midway through the 2008-9 season. It will be good to see the ground back in regular use.

The game didn’t feel like a reserve fixture, not least because a better description for the Argyle team would be “Development” as the team were all young even if some did have a little first team experience. Of course hoppers who attended the recent Easter Hop will know all about Wendron, who have one of the best grounds in the league and who hosted a huge crowd with some panache.

However they had few answers to Arygle’s youngsters, whose passing and movement on an excellent playing surface was at times a joy to behold. The final score was realistic, and I departed, with a highly unusual tick, and pleased also to have remained dry!