With the football season over prematurely due to the Coronavirus Pandemic I’m in the unusual position of actually having this blog up to date! So to keep the content coming, and for something to do, I’ll do some old grounds and games where there’s a story to tell.
Thursday 26th April 2007 ko 19.30
Hellenic League Division One West
WOOTTON BASSETT TOWN 4 (Yeardley 15 43 Mills 52 King 82)
CLANFIELD 85 0
Truthfully this wasn’t my first attempt at the Gerard Buxton Sports Ground. I remember arriving a few months earlier and spotted the referee doing a pitch inspection- in wellies! I took the hint and ended up at Backwell United, and a half time checked that indeed the Bassett game was off!
You really can’t talk about Wootton Bassett without mentioning the repatriations of British troops killed in Afghanistan and Iraq through the town from 2007-11. The town’s tributes as the hearses drove slowly through town are why the town is now ROYAL Wootton Bassett, the town was awarded a Queen’s Patent to allow the prefix to be used.
The club played at Rylands Way from 1930 to 2013, and was named after Gerard Buxton who bequeathed the land by local dignitary Major Gerard Buxton for sporting activities within the town. My visit seemed to produce two feelings, firstly that as lovely as the ground was, it was going to need more work to keep pace with ground grading requirements. Secondly it was an an obviously residential area, and in an area with high house prices the temptation would be to move.
Here they dealt with a struggling Clanfield side with a minimum of fuss, the visitors were to finish second-to-bottom, and it took Bassett until 2010 to regain their Premier Division status, albeit briefly! Their current Premier Division status has lasted since 2013.
The club moved from Rylands Way in 2013 and after 2 seasons ground sharing at Cirencester Town’s Corinium Stadium moved to the New Gerard Buxton Sports Ground in 2015. The “Royal” was added to the club’s name when they moved back to the town.
Now in so many ways the new home is everything an ambitious Step 5 club would want. Multiple pitches and changing rooms, a generous clubhouse and so-on, but I bet there’s people involved who still miss Rylands Way. It’s the football way….