Tuesday 3rd August 2021 ko 19:45
Spartan South Midlands League Division One
STOTFOLD 4 (Lee-Spavins 36 84 90 Ryan 73)
LETCHWORTH GARDEN CITY EAGLES 1 (Summers 9)
Att 317 at New Roker Park, Arlesey Road
It’s part of human nature that groundhoppers will tend to make a beeline for a newly-opened ground. My wife Robyn doesn’t quite see the point, she correctly points out that grounds facing the bulldozer ought to be the priority. To some extent we do indulge in a spot of “Beat the demolition gang” but the new ground dash is an odd one!
The other side Robyn points out is that the new grounds are seldom as interesting as what they’ve replaced. She does have a point, new builds don’t have a sense of history, and all too often the quirks a casual visitor loves have all been ironed out. But dear reader Stotfold’s New Roker Park might just break the mould.
It is all due to negotiation, Stotfold’s old Roker Park Ground had long been coveted by the building firms. The football club had been there from 1965, but were clever enough to know its value. As a result, they were canny enough to negotiate not only a new ground, but when the move to the edge of town came at the start of 2020 they’d negotiated for themselves a ground fit for either the Southern or Isthmian League. I’m sure other the builders have constructed far less for other clubs. The key of course is that Stotfold owned Roker Park, and so always negotiated from a position of strength. But you’d like to see what the old Roker Park looked like wouldn’t you? Here’s what it looked like in October 2006. It’s fair to say I hadn’t got quite the equipment I do now. Or the right wife for the that matter!
And boy does it show; there are no horrible squat “Arena” stands with their poor sightlines here. The main stand here is from “Stadium Solutions” the sightlines are good, and there is no end of space to expand as the club progresses. The only fly in the ointment is the club’s relegation to the Step 6 Spartan South Midlands League Division One during the negotiations.
But that may well be a temporary aberration of this game is anything to go by. The visitors had a tactic they clearly liked, the quick counter, and scored early, catching Stotfold cold. But once the hosts learned how to cope with it, Codi Lee-Spavins did the rest, scoring an excellent hat trick.
In the end the right side won, there was a depth to Stotfold’s play not there in their visitors’ tactics, and I’ll expect to see them there or there abouts in the promotion chase at the end of the season. But unlike in previous years what Stotfold now have is the launch pad to take this club so much further. All the best to them.