Tuesday 6th August 2019 ko 19.45
Combined Counties League Premier Division
BADSHOT LEA 5 (Medcraft 19 55 89 Cardini 63 Cadette 77)
FRIMLEY GREEN 0
God knows football needs a good news story and a ground for Badshot Lea is certainly one! It seems an age ago (well 2003) I saw the side freshly promoted in to the Hellenic League from the Surrey Premier League at their original Recreation Ground home. Now home may well be where the heart is but the ground was little or more than a roped off pitch in a park and with ground gradings beginning to bite it was obvious that a club so obviously on the up would have to move.
So it came to pass- Badshot Lea’s first XI moved into a groundshare at Farnborough FC’s Cherrywood Road in 2007, with a year later the club being “swapped” with now defunct Reading Town with Lea moving to the more convenient Combined Counties League. But with the playing side doing well and playing Step 5 football, the club had nowhere suitable to call home. The reserves continued to (and still do) play at the Recreation Ground, but the firsts led a peripatetic existence playing a steady succession of local grounds.
If you were the type of groundhopper who targets how many different grounds a club has played a home game at you could have seen Badshot Lea at Godalming Town, Ash United and Camberley Town as well Farnborough. The club’s difficulty was obvious, in London commuter belt how can a small football afford a patch of land to call its own then get permission to erect floodlights?
In the end they acquired the former ground of Wrecclesham Rugby Club. Now in one sense it wasn’t ideal, Wrecclesham is around 4 miles from Badshot Lea but when you’ve been exiled for 12 years the club clearly took the sensible view of it all.
And they’ve done a superb job in building a memorable ground. You may recognise the stand, it saw service previously at Dorking Wanderers’ old ground at Westhumble. Elsewhere the clubhouse has been built from scratch and the covered standing set back some distance from the pitch at the clubhouse end but clearly destined for the far end, judging by the footings already there.
With the ground so new it was no surprise to see so many groundhoppers, it seems I read a set of fixtures in the same way as many others, and it’s to Badshot Lea’s great credit that they dealt with the unexpected glut of people easily. The supply of teamsheets was as appreciated as it was kind.
Now I’m not the type to study the form before travelling, far too often I end up at a completely different game from the one I planned. But I suspect noone expected Badshot Lea to dish out as complete a mauling as this, as deserved as it was on the balance of play.
Perhaps it was part and parcel of finally having a home, and having learned to cope when circumstances weren’t idea. On that basis you can see Badshot Lea thriving now things are moving in their favour. All the best to them.