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Tuesday 8th November 2016 ko 19.45

Wessex League Division One

RINGWOOD TOWN 2 (Vint 42 Samways 83og)

SHAFTESBURY 5 (Colohan 4 10 Finnegan 36 63 Ford 70)

Att 40

Entry & Programme £5

You’re only just in Hampshire here, just the River Avon separates the historic market town from Dorset, and being on the edge of the New Forest the feel of the town couldn’t be any more English if it tried. I’m not sure the fact that the external scenes for “The Brittas Empire” were filmed at Ringwood Leisure Centre quite fits the narrative though!

As much as I’ve enjoyed visiting each of the clubs of the Wessex League, with just Downton to go, the process is edged with regret. Eighteen months ago we tried to get a Wessex League Hop up and running, it didn’t happen, and the project quickly became the Western League Hop. We got our southern hop and I’ve loved every moment of the Western Hop, but every time I visit a Wessex ground, there’s just that hint of “What if?”

And Ringwood’s Long Lane Ground is certainly well worth a visit, even if it is something of an enigma. I looked up the place on a map and like everyone else, saw it’s in an out-of-town location. The tendency then is to assume it’s a new build, but there’s nothing to suggest that’s the case. The club have worked hard to build both on and off the pitch to graduate from the Bournemouth to become a well-established Wessex League club.

We’ve reached the fretful part of the season, where the weather dictates making sure the the game is on before setting out, and even then there’s no guarantee that it’ll still be on when you arrive! On a horrible night just about everyone present was pleased the stand wasn’t from the Meccano catalogue, and so everyone who wanted to stay dry could!

For you really didn’t want anything to distract you from what was a wonderful game to watch. Shaftesbury of course returned to the Wessex League from the Dorset Premier League and won this, at least in part from exploiting Ringwood’s weakness on crosses.

I note that Downton are at home in a couple of weeks, perhaps it’s time to finish off what is one of my favourite leagues, maybe then the regret will evaporate.