Tuesday 4th August 2020 ko 19.15
SILCHESTER FC 0
BADSHOT LEA (4 3 31 50 77)
Att c20 @ Queen Mary’s College, Basingstoke
With a friendly lined up at an unusual venue in Basingstoke, and plenty of time to get there, I took the chance to stop and spend a few minutes at the Camrose. Until 2019 the ground, gifted to the people of Basingstoke by Lord Camrose in 1945 was home to Basingstoke Town.
They moved, initially to Winchester City and currently at the Winklebury Football Complex on the outskirts town. They’re exiled because the site owner and former club chairman Rafi Razzak is trying to sell the land for a housing development. He’s been foiled so far by a covenant on the land, and a positively heroic campaign by the local media.
Could the club move back here? The evidence would suggest that they could, the damage done to the pitch just after the club left, seemly to force through planning permission seems to have been corrected. But that is a long way from a return; we can but hope…
So on to matters present. Silchester have been transfered into the Hampshire Premier League from the Basingstoke League but with their normal ground not ready they opted to hire the 3G pitch at Queen Mary’s College. I must admit I did wonder whether I’d be welcome, the FA announcement that all games involving Steps 1-7 should be behind closed doors came during this game. I’d checked beforehand with Silchester, they were happy enough for me to be there; I opted to keep a low, socially distanced, profile. Truthfully whatever the Covid regulations, this wasn’t game organised with spectators in mind.
It was though, an excellent game to watch. I enjoyed Silchester’s company and while it was clear they’re at the start of putting together a side, there was enough there to suggest they’ll have more than enough to do well in their new league.
Badshot Lea passed beautifully and made good use of the artificial surface; I’m sure they’ll carry on the momentum they made in the Combined Counties League Premier last season playing in their new home on to this season. They’ll definitely be a side to go and watch this season- whenever the FA allows us!!
I’m sure this piece won’t send the hopperati zooming down to to Queen Mary College, but sometimes a tick is a tick, whatever the venue. But one thing that would make football fans make a beeline for Basingstoke would be for Mr Razzak to be convinced to do the right thing. As I said earlier, we can only live in hope!