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Saturday 3rd January 2011 ko 14.15

Western League Division One

ROMAN GLASS ST GEORGE 1 (Mansfield 53)

CADBURY HEATH 1 (Colbourne 24) 

Att 70 at Bell Hill Playing Field, Whiteway Road, St George, Bristol

Entry £4

Programme £1

You may remember GroundhopUK visiting Oaklands Park– the Gloucestershire FA Ground on the final Western Hop. The ground is shared by Lebeq United and Roman Glass St George but since neither club is primary tenant and Lebeq wanted to, they hosted, but what of Roman Glass St George?

You’d think that the Roman Glass is a sponsoring company and you’d be correct, but only to a point. The club is a 1995 merger between Roman Glass FC and St George FC  with the former being a 1980 sponsored rebrand of Bristol & District League outfit Wyndham Wanderers.

But St George FC are the more interesting club. They date back to 1872 making them the oldest club in Bristol ( for the record Bristol Rovers 1883, Bristol City 1894) and they played at Whiteway Road in St George, to the east of the city. The club were founder members of the original Bristol & District League that in 1895 became the Western League, and in 1968 founder members of the Gloucestershire County League, but had dropped back into the Avon, now Bristol Premier Combination.

The merged club played at Whiteway Road, and regained their County League status in 1999. But that ground was going to become an issue for an ambitious club. The County League was won for the second time in 2007 and with it promotion back to the Western League.

The problem was a common and straightforward one. The ground was neither floodlit, nor had seats or hard standing and with little chance of bringing the ground up to Western League ground gradings. The club moved into Oaklands Park for the 2011/12 season, and so their last season at Whiteway Road saw the inevitable influx of groundhoppers visiting while they could. This game was handy, there was a an early kick-off at Longwell Green Sports, and if there’s one thing a groundhopper loves more than a ground to tick, its two!

Since my visit St George have spent the entirety of the intervening years in the Western League’s first division and at Oaklands Park, so if you fancy a trip to Whiteway Road, what are your chances?

Well not quite as bad as maybe you’d think. Roman Glass St George do still have a base at Whiteway Road, and are set to play occasional 3rd XI games there next season. I’m not saying its the most well-appointed ground you could visit, but the history does make it interesting.