Saturday 23rd December 2017 ko 14.00
Somerset County League Division One East
MENDIP BROADWALK 0
BROAD PLAIN HOUSE 1 (Scadding 58)
Dear Knowle West, that surburb of South Bristol, within sight of Ashton Gate down Novers Hill. It is of course the home of my girlfriend Robyn, and Filwood Fields just stone’s throw from where she was brought up. Other than Bristol City either of these clubs could lay claim to be her local club. Both of Robyn’s parents worked at the Broad Plain House Social Club too. And therein lies the quirk of this particular game….
Both Mendip Broadwalk and Broad Plain House play at Filwood Fields, Broad Plan House’s pitch is the one nearest the car park, the pitches no more than 50 yards apart and at right-angles to each other. And just to make the tie every more interesting despite Broadwalk existing for 17 years, the sides have never met in a competitive fixture.
Much of the reason is that in this part of Bristol clubs can opt to be part of either the Gloucestershire or Somerset side of the pyramid. Nearby Bristol Telephones are an example of a club getting promoted to the Western League via the Gloucestershire route, and that was Mendip’s preferred route after gaining promotion from the Bristol Premier Combination last season. The problem with that idea is that they’re affiliated to the Somerset FA, which puts another tier between them and the Western League.
Both grounds are equally well-appointed, both railed-off with brick-built dugouts, and therein lies the long-term intrigue. I can’t imagine there’d be any great issue getting floodlights here, so let’s imagine one of these clubs found themselves on the verge of Western League qualification. Would the clubs join forces to build one Step 6 compliant ground for them both to use?
It does though give them the most local of local derbies, certainly one for the South Bristolian localist, which I suppose makes me an adopted son! It is unusual for two competing clubs’ grounds to be this close together, even closer than in Dundee!
It was, as you’d expect, a hard-fought encounter played in a cold cross-wind, refereed with wit, charisma and no little skill by Chris Ham. You don’t expect a local derby to produce no cards, but his judgement managed just that. Either side could have won it, the draw would have been fairest. It was settled by Jordan Scadding’s dipping half-volley from just outside the box, and despite a frantic last few minutes, the vistors prevailed.
I grabbed a restorative coffee, at least in part to thaw out frozen fingers before heading back to early Christmas celebrations nearby. Since my first visit to Mendip Broadwalk 18 months ago I’ve kept an eye on their progress. Now I’ve got two clubs to follow.