Tuesday 25th August 2020 ko 19.45
SOUTHAM UNITED 1 (Coombes 25)
ATHERSTONE TOWN 4 (Naughton 45 61 80p Quinn 67)
Att c80 at Bobby Hancocks’ Park
It was a year late, and delayed by over a week more by Coronavirus restrictions, but finally Southam United’s new home has seen a game in front of an audience. I fully imagined visiting this time last year, and ended up seeing a game on Southam Juniors’ ground as the new ground wasn’t quite ready. Do have a read of that article before carrying on with this one; the background to the return of Southam United, and the building and delay to the new ground is there.
The issue was the top floor of the clubhouse/stand needed fitting out and a decision had been made to install a 3G pitch- a logical move given Bobby Hancocks’ Park status as a community facility. The delays saw the club play away from BHP all of the truncated 2019/20 season, and the 3G pitch hasn’t happened as yet. Finally the grand opening a week previous to this game had been forced to have been played behind closed doors due to Covid restrictions.
That is a crying shame, after all that Southam United have been through the grand opening should have been with as much fanfare as possible, but through no fault of anyone the first game at their new ground in front of a crowd, was this, with hand sanitizer and track and trace very much in evidence.
But what a ground it is, and one that will stand the Saints in very good stead at whatever level they play at in the ranks of the Hellenic League, and with a minimum of adaptation, the Southern League above. In fact the the biggest issue they’ll have with Bobby Hancocks’ Park is that teams visiting here will see the place as their Wembley. Mind you they’ll need a set of dugouts at some point…..
Atherstone have that Southern League pedigree although they were relegated from there in 2011. These days they play in the second tier Division One of the Midland League, nominally one notch above Southam in Division 2 North of the Hellenic.
They made that extra status count as the back-end of a storm made playing conditions difficult. Southam made them work for it, but noone will remember the result, but after all that’s happened, Southam United are back and at home.