Saturday 30th September 2017 ko 15.00
Somerset County League Premier Division
NAILSEA UNITED 3 (Penberthy 7 Iles 72 Olsen 78)
I have to confess I hadn’t intended to visit the Grove Sports Centre. But then the M4 intervened and I ended up stopping in the middle of Bath, and interrogating that essential tool for the groundhopper, The Football Traveller. Yes, I know you can get all the fixtures via the web, but sometimes there’s no substitute for having all the fixtures sorted by date, then league, and this was definitely one of them!
And that’s why I completely failed to spot that I was foursquare in Wurzels country! The famous Scrumpy and Western band were formed here in 1966 by Alan “Adge” Cutler and to this day Bristol City wins are celebrated with an Adge Cutler penned Wurzels song “Drink Up Thy Cider.”
Sadly Cutler died in a car crash in 1974 but a statue of him is to be found outside of the Royal Oak pub in Nailsea. I do think I missed out! Still there are other clubs to watch in Nailsea, watch this space!
I arrived at the Grove Sports Centre and found a roped-off pitch with players warming up. Assuming that to be my game I strolled over and had I not spotted a club official walking over to the main ground I’d have happily watched United’s 3rd XI in the Weston-super-Mare League. I have though no regrets about moving back to the main ground!
Pride of place goes to the new changing room block at Nailsea’s oldest football club. It’s a fine facility named after the late John Hobbs who gave over 50 years service to Nailsea United. For the spectator there’s now toilets within the ground and a cafe giving the club a source of income too.
A visit here is one of those times when you feel that you’re seeing a club on the up. Gradually the ground is being improved to a point when Western League football becomes possible. It was difficult to see whether the team are heading in that direction too. Staplegrove were and are bottom of the league, and while it took time for Nailsea to make their obvious advantages count, make it count they did as their opponents eventually tired.
But there was so much more to Nailsea than just the game. This was a club who were an absolute pleasure to spend a couple of hours with. From having a chat with the bloke manning the tea bar to enjoying that lovely little stand, or the view heading out to the estuary this was the antidote to the stresses and strains of life battling Britain’s motorways.
All the very best to Nailsea United. You gave me a lovely afternoon.