Broadbridge Heath, Football, groundhopping, High Wood Hill Sports Ground, Leisure Centre, Non League, Peacehaven and Telscombe, Southern Combination, Sussex, Wickhurst Lane
Tuesday 8th November 2019 ko 19.45
Sussex Senior Cup 2nd Round
BROADBRIDGE HEATH 2 (Jones 27 Wanstall 61)
PEACEHAVEN & TELSCOMBE 3 (Wiltshire 38 Ford 50 Bant 90)
After all that had gone before, it seemed strange to be returning to pyramid football. Not in any perjorative sense, although the inevitable battle with the M25 evening rush hour was as unwelcome. As hellish as the traffic was, it was familiar I’d passed Broadbridge Heath’s new ground on the way to Horsham a couple of months earlier. I found myself wishing my journeys were a little more straightforward, but then that is skill that Broadbridge Heath are rather good at!
From 1979 to 1987 the club played at Wickhurst Lane on the site of an old army camp, The site was redeveloped into a Tesco and a leisure centre with the club moving into the leisure centre, playing inside the running track. I saw them there 2012 when plans were already in place for them to move to a purpose-built ground nearby. That turned out to be something of a long goodbye as they didn’t move until summer 2019! What I didn’t realise until I arrived at High Wood Hill Sports Ground though is just how little distance they’ve moved!
It can’t be more than 400 yards, when you consider the previous Wickhurst Lane ground I’d be surprised if the club has moved more than half a mile in those two relocations! The leisure centre ground is still in situ; you can see the floodlights behind the new clubhouse.
High Wood Hill Sports Ground is a vast improvement on what the club have left behind, and that’s not entirely due to the pitch being a good deal closer. It’s the clubhouse that impresses, the spec is high and once you head pitch-side the whole facility has clearly been built with the potential to expand here, and let’s face it, that was virtually impossible where they were.
There was an unexpected benefit to it too. It gave a friendly club the chance to show just how hospitable they are. From readily supplying the team line-ups to us OCD-infected groundhoppers a kindly word at the tea bar was much appreciated.
As befits a cup game it was the classic example of the groundhopper’s equation that states the the distance travelled to the game is inversely proportional to the likelihood of extra time. It was a game that in truth was worthy of an extra half-hour’s entertainment, and if friendly Broadbridge Heath had scored in the final minute I’d have not begrudged getting home after midnight.
As it was Peacehaven prevailed, meaning I got home at a sensible hour despite the close-to-inevitable roadworks on the way back to the M25. But as I strolled a back to the car I felt a sense of regret for Broadbridge Heath, they were a lovely club to spend a couple of hours with.
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