Saturday 2nd July 2016 ko 14.30
PLYMOUTH MARJON 1 (Donovan 42)
PLYMOUTH PARKWAY RESERVES 1 (45)
When you’re based in Devon for the weekend and there’s only one game available, it was entirely logical to head to the University College of Plymouth St Mark & St John, which if nothing else proved to be a good deal more interesting than the tie looked at first glance!
The club won last season’s Plymouth & West Devon League, and have become the South West Peninsula League’s newest club. But two questions needed to be asked, and the first was to explain the club’s unusual suffix! It is of course a portmanteau of “Mark” and “John” the patron saints of the college where the club are based.
The second is where are the club going to play their SWPL games? This game was played on a grass pitch around 100 yards away from the caged 3G pitch the club used last season, but the intention is to play league games on the 3G. That will take a little adapting to fulfill ground grading requirements and the longer term is to build their own 3G pitch here with 300 seats and lights which would allow progression further. It could even be that you are looking at Marjon’s new ground before even planning permission was gained!
It’s been an interesting close season for the other SWPL club in Plymouth, Parkway. They merged with another Plymouth & West Devon League club, the wonderfully named Bar Sol Ona although a closer look suggests the merger is more of a reverse takeover. Whilst the new club will still play as Plymouth Parkway at Bolitho Park, they’ll play in Bar Sol Ona’s Red and Yellow and the club chairman is Bar Sol Ona’s Mark Russell. Parkway’s reserves will take Bar Sol Ona’s place in the Plymouth & West Devon League.
So this fixture was, in effect a meeting of two giants of the Plymouth & West Devon League scene, and with Parkway playing in Bar Sol Ona kit you could have been forgiven for watching this game in completely the wrong context.
Now it has to be said that all too often pre-season friendlies with the inevitable multiple substitutions are often extremely poor entertainment. This really wasn’t, and the small crowd could not have failed to enjoy watching two well matched sides play for a highly entertaining draw.
For a groundhopper, its virtually impossible to visit a new club in the SWPL and not think of Phil Hiscox’s groundhops. This though was one of those odd occasions when you could visit knowing when the crowds arrive here in 2018, the place will be entirely different.