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Saturday 24th October 2020 ko 15.00

Somerset County League Premier Division



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Back in the day the test of the committed hopper was the completion of the Lenton Lane treble. The rather unprepossessing road in Nottingham is less than half a mile long but nevertheless used to sport the grounds used by Bilborough PelicanDunkirk and Greenwood Meadows. Unless you were on the 2004 Central Midlands League Hop that featured all three, doing the Lenton Lane Treble did take a certain amount of commitment!

Sadly these days, only the Ron Steel Ground, home to Dunkirk is regularly used for Saturday football but these days there’s another groundhopping treble to attack- but this one’s in Bristol.

No doubt many will have been to Stockwood Lane in the southern suburbs and visited Western League outfit Bristol Telephones. Behind Telephones’ BTRA Ground is Somerset County League outfit Cutters Friday, but with an entrance also in Stockwood Lane. But for a while I’ve been intrigued by Stockwood Wanderers. 

Their ground, Stockwood Lane is adjacent to Bristol Telephones. In fact it really couldn’t have been any closer, to the extent I had a few issues getting the place added to the Futbology App! And with so much family in south Bristol it really was high time I paid the place a visit. And you could argue a contributing factor to my visit was Boris Johnson!

The reason is the rule of six, and whenever we visit my wife Robyn’s sister and mother the total number in the house is usually eight. That’s not possible at the moment so to keep the numbers legal I watched Stockwood accompanied by my nephew Che. Or putting it another way we both opted to get wet, and Che found out the hard way that shorts in late October are not a good choice!

The clubhouse was a sanctuary from the deluge, and available there was another version of the Stockwood treble and something synonymous with Bristol. The triumvirate of Thatchers Gold, Haze and Rose ciders were on sale, although I’m bound to say while the weather was probably good for growing apples, it didn’t seem very good for consuming them! A restorative tea looked the better plan, even if I may have been in the minority. 

But sat there sheltering in the clubhouse you couldn’t help but consider where you were. If you look at old pictures of Bristol Telephones ground it looks a lot like Stockwood Wanderers does now. Telephones’ development has been little short of meteoric, helped in no small part by the salvaged stands and floodlights from Melksham Town’s old ground The Conigre . The effect is to show the massive difference in ground grading required to play at the the Step 7 Somerset County League Premier and the Step 6 Western League Division One.

Now, 99 times out of 100 I’m happy enough with no cover, but as I’m sure you can see from the photos, some cover would have been handy! But you shouldn’t expect niceties at this level and this was a notably friendly club, but for long periods it looked my usual habit of jinxing a lovely club would continue. 

Nothing much of note happened in a turgid first half, the rain didn’t help as the players squelched in stalemate in the middle third. As the weather briefly relented Blake Longden set up Conrad Britton for a well-taken opening goal. That advantage didn’t last long as Luke Banfield fired home for Keynsham soon afterwards. 

Perhaps given my connections to both clubs a draw was the best outcome, it certain was on the passage of play. It wasn’t the best game Che or I will watch this season, that is assuming I haven’t either put him off for life, or caused him to contract pneumonia. As for me despite the weather I greatly enjoyed my visit here, and there’s the added bonus of Cutters Friday to aim at!