Saturday 17th August 2019 ko 15.00
Cornwall Combination League
LIZARD ARGYLE 1 (Vaughan-Spruce 10)
ROSUDGEON 0 Fletcher missed penalty 90
Entry by donation
“So there he was then, Penzance to play….
..And you, you would-be vagabond
No one invited you, you know
Matchstick man, up in the dawn
You’ve got five hundred miles to go.”
excerpt of Matchstick Man by Mark Knopfler 2018
Remember my comment that all too often I don’t pick my games, they pick me? Well this was a classic case of that happening. Robyn and I were in Bristol wedding planning and I knew that I’d be picking up an easel in Clifton but I’d be finished around 10.30am so could go anywhere within reason before heading back to Oxford afterwards. My initial idea was something in the Peninsula League but then something popped up on Facebook!
Maybe it was because I was undecided but when I discovered that well-known groundhopper Avril Lancaster was doing a programme for Lizard Argyle it jogged a memory. Programmes aren’t the be-all and end-all for me that they are for some but 10 years previously I’d been in holiday in Portscatho and taken a little advice from the Sunday Times.
That was that Rick Stein thought Ann’s of Beacon Terrace in Lizard make the best (and quite possibly the biggest) pasties in Cornwall. So one afternoon I made a beeline for the most southerly point of England and confirmed that yes they are superb. But anyone visiting Ann’s couldn’t help but notice the sports field over the road with the intriguing little gateman’s hut in the corner.
That weekend I made a tactical error, instead of watching Lizard I went to watch Falmouth Town, only for them to turn up a couple of years later on a Peninsula League Hop. Soon after I found myself in the maelstrom of a career change and a separation and somehow the most southerly ground in mainland Britain slipped my mind so thanks to Avril to reminding me!
That said, I spent most of the journey down cursing my decision! I left Bristol with the SatNav telling me I had roughly an hour to play with if I was going to make kick-off. Then the M5 intervened and by the time I reached Bodmin my ETA was 3.00pm and the Football Traveller was sat on the passenger seat ready for me to divert to a closer game if needed. I could almost hear that Mark Knopfler song in my head; it wasn’t quite 500 miles to go, around 350 back to Oxford at that point, but it certainly felt that way!
As it was the A30 was surprisingly clear and I flopped into the car park at 2.45; even Ann’s pasties with their Cornish flag was still open. In fact the regret of the day was that Robyn stayed in Bristol, she’d have loved both the food and the football.
With the sea and the Lizard Lighthouse in the background it was obvious why back then I’d fancied seeing a game here so much. The lighthouse by the way is one of very few left in the UK to have a functioning foghorn. These days fog warnings are sent out electronically but the horns are still used to mark special occasions.
As well-appointed as the clubhouse is I suspect this is the kind of ground the casual spectators goes to at the start or end of the season. Save for the hut at the entrance there is no cover and I can imagine the wind and rain fairly howling from the sound during the winter! Even in summer the drive down from Truro to Helston, then through Lizard village itself to the ground with the roads gradually narrowing as you go gives the sense of heading out on a limb and when you look at a map that sense is heightened!
These days the Cornwall Combination slots in below the new St Piran League- West Division which in turn feeds the Step 6 South West Peninsula League Premier West. So a nominal Step 8 game then and the tie was a a typical local football match with plenty of endeavour and at times no little skill. It was settled by a curling free kick and a last minute missed penalty, the kind of thing that happens to an away side bottom of the league.
What it was, was fun as it should be, and I know that Avril was pleased that Lizard are looking to continue to do a programme, her efforts were appreciated and it gave people a reason to put some money in the collecting box.
As it was I made for home, and worked my way through Cornwall and stopped for a meal near Okehampton. I was exhausted, and as I was eating I made the mistake of checking how far I was from home. Just the 3-and-a-half hours to go….