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Monday 7th May 2007 ko 11.30

Combined Counties League Division One


WORCESTER PARK 3 (Kennedy 7p 88p Farley 45)

Att c40

Entry FREE

Programme £1

If “Silly Season” in 2007 was about anything, it was about the lower division of the Combined Counties. If you didn’t know the term is used to describe that time at the end of the season when unlit evening games are possible, usually with a 18.30 kick off time. Back then the majority of the Combined Counties Division One clubs had no floodlights, and after multiple postponements during a wet winter the league extended their season, and scheduled a series of evening, and early kick-offs.

It meant that May there was a slew of 6.30 pm kick-offs for the groundhopper to feast off and for those interested programme production was mandatory too! The result was that during May 2007 I saw the same faces twice a week, on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. Looking back I think I completed all but one of the division that month.

But CB Hounslow is what started that little run off, taking full advantage of the Combined Counties’ habit of scheduling morning kick-offs for Bank Holiday Mondays. The CB stands for Cater Bank, a club sponsor and a business owned by the father of the club’s chairman. Back then they played out of the Osterley Sports & Social Club on Tentelow Lane, and what follows is close to being cultural.

Some will look at these photos and see the place as quirky, a ground built entirely on what was available and without any other ground that looks similar. Others will see it as a poorly maintained dump and wonder what on earth I saw in the place that made me want to write about it 14 years later! Certainly the smells from the loos were something I remember even now; noone could ever call Tentelow Lane sterile, in any sense of the word!

Of course what Tentelow Lane lacked was floodlights, and even back then the club would have known the ground was a ticking timebomb under their Combined Counties membership. Its quite an eye-opener looking at the Football Club History Database’s archive of the teams that finished Division One that season with those that finished in 2019. I make it 11 out of the 21 teams have dropped into intermediate football, in most cases because they couldn’t secure a floodlit ground for themselves- and I visited the vast majority of those during that mad May. 

I won’t comment whether all those more stringent ground gradings were, or are necessary only to comment that many, me included thought back then that we’d see many more ground shares as leafy Surrey suburbia and foodlit football ground often do not mix. The ultimate victims of this were opponents Worcester Park who won the 2017-18 Combined Counties League Division but still found themselves relegated to the Surrey Elite Intermediate League because their ground couldn’t be floodlit. 

The tale of CB Hounslow though does have a happy ending, they left Tentelow Lane in 2013 and after a spell ground sharing at Bedfont & Feltham moved into their purpose-built ground at Green Lane, Hounslow in August 2017.

You’d have a hard task finding a club with a bigger contrast between former and current grounds. The ground is set up to allow CB Hounslow to progress- which they have, being promoted to the Combined Counties Premier in 2016, and you can sense further progress in the pipeline. 

But what happened to Tentelow Lane? Perhaps surprisingly it is still there, but is used now more for cricket than football. Nevertheless a steady succession of Middlesex County League sides have used the venue, some on the outside pitches, some using the show pitch that CB Hounslow used to use. I can’t say I miss the place, and I bet Hounslow feel they’ve well and truly moved on. The thing is, so has pyramid football.