Tuesday 6th March 2018 ko 19.45
Western League Division One
DEVIZES TOWN 4 (R Mitchell 25 28 Russell 27 Enderby 80)
BRISTOL TELEPHONES 1 (Britton 75p)
Entry & Programme £5
Growing up I suspect I was older than my years. These days one thing I have in common with my younger self was a liking for country pubs, with log fires and wing-back chairs. There was one I used to frequent regularly, the Star (now the Talk House) at Stanton-St-John. I’d sit there, talk complete rubbish with friends and the whole experience was washed down with pint after pint of Devizes’ own Wadworth’s 6X. It seems to me the whole pub had been created in Devizes’ own image, a rural town, based around tradition, a stone castle, and the beer still delivered by horse-drawn dray. You can therefore imagine my surprise when I opened the door to the clubhouse at Nursteed Road, and saw a chap defending himself from being stabbed!
I had, of course, blundered into a defence class, the knife was plastic after all, but it was indicative of how vibrant a venue Devizes Town’s home is. There’s a boxing club whose front wall suggests the pugilists have been hitting it rather than the punchbags and the whole place’s footprint suggests cricket was once played here too. What there is here is space in abundance, allowing the club to expand should the need or will arise.
In the meantime any casual visitor will be drawn to the main stand with its wooden benches, a classic of the non-league game, and it felt to me a shout back to my younger-self’s liking for tradition, craft, and a pitched roof. Heck, there was even advertising for the sainted 6X! Elsewhere there’s quirks and atmosphere in abundance, how could you not love the isolated sentry box pay booth, and only a perfectionist would take the time I did to get the right shot of the steam coming out at right angles from the clubhouse.
The club were pleased after the cold snap to get a game played, the first since January, and still with snow clearly visible behind the far goal. It wasn’t a freezing night, just a cold, blustery one with two sides happy and relieved to get back to doing the simple things in life, namely playing a game of football.
If anyone got cold, well got caught cold it was the visitors, even if it did take 20-odd minutes for that cold to set in. They shipped 3 goals in a quite incredible 3 minutes as the visitor’s defence froze. It completely ended the game as a contest and the later dismissal of ‘phones goalkeeper Will Osborne for one of those last man “Wipe out” challenges that he had the good grace not to dispute.
There was an exchange of goals, the concession of the penalty and clean sheet due to a loss of defensive concentration at 3-0 that frustrates every single manager from the top of the game down. But in the final analysis, it didn’t really matter, the result had long been decided.
It was a very good win for a Devizes side that are enjoying a better season than has been the case in recent years, I’d got used to seeing them struggle at Step 6. For both teams though it was good to get a game played after the frustrations of recent weeks. As for me I left wondering if that pub still sells Wadworth’s 6X?