Tuesday 27th December 2016 ko 14.00
Southern Combination Division Two
WORTHING TOWN LEISURE 0
LANCING UNITED 3 (Page 45 Meason 57 61)
I must admit when planning this day I saw Worthing Town Leisure’s fixture and assumed the club was another quasi-reserve team and looked elsewhere for my middle game. As is always the case a little more research reaped rewards.
The club, as the rather clunky suffix suggests are a merger of Brighton Leaguers Worthing Leisure and Worthing League outfit Worthing Town to get one team into the Southern Combination. The merged club seems more Town than Leisure, and since they’re wearing Town’s kit, and playing at Town’s ground, I suspect the Leisure suffix may soon disappear.
But it’s the club’s Palatine Park home that intrigues. At first glance the place is a leisure centre pitch, roped on one side, with the 3 edges of the facility acting as an enclosure. You’re a long way from the pavilion to the extent that one hopper ordered a toasted sandwich for half time and positively sprinted back to eat, and not miss the start of the second half!
But once again it pays to look a little deeper. Palatine Park was opened in 2012 as purpose-built football facility with 8 pitches. That pavilion cost £1.7M and has a variety of ecological features, but for those coming to watch a game the feature to look out for is the balcony.
The centre’s blurb says, “The viewing terrace offers parents and spectators a panoramic view over eight new drained and leveled pitches to suit various age group football,” but you’d have been hard pressed to watch this game from there, you’d have been looking to your right and for a game about 200 metres distant! I wonder as and when the club want or need to progress further, whether that balcony will come into its own.
If you watched a game at the likes of Horley Town, T.N.S. or Ludlow Town, you’ll know what I mean. It’s where a balcony is used to provide a viewing area that in turn acts as a roof for a viewing area below. Palatine Park, is exclusively a football centre, but it does lack a show pitch at the moment. I can imagine that Worthing Town pitch will be moved with that balcony giving a view at the half way line, creating a pyramid-compliant ground.
That of course is speculation on my part, this game saw Lancing prevail by simply being that little bit sharper where it mattered. The temperature dropped, the mud seemed to get thicker, and in truth I was glad to decant myself to a pub next door at the end of it all to warm up. I had time to kill in any case.