Monday 27th December 2021 ko 14:00
Somerset County League-Premier Division
MENDIP BROADWALK 9 (Hickery 8 37 Whittle 23 39 Caton 55p 80 Haggett 70 Biggins 82 Lutwama 85)
After Chilcompton Sports there was absolutely no question as to where Robyn and I were heading. For one thing just about every other game in and around the Mendips had fallen foul of waterlogged pitches, and for another I had for the first time ever in my time groundhopping a family interest in who I’d be watching.
Robyn’s nephew Jack has recently signed for Clutton, so we’d penciled in this game for a while, only for Jack to break his foot on debut, and so was only fit enough to run the line here. There’ll be other games, and it did give me the chance to consider where I was without family loyalties getting in the way!
You are in North Somerset coal mining territory here, and Warwick Fields is named after the Earl Warwick, who owned the village in the 17th century and the presence of a “Bell Pit” in Clutton, albeit one closed by 1836 might explain the good drainage. Maybe that’s how this game was on when so many others locally were off waterlogged.
The ground is one of the better appointed in the league, and typically the rain that had given me a soaking earlier at Chilcompton had gone when there was a stand similar in type to that at Tunley. Come to think of it, when I’d gone there I’d had the option to divert to Clutton- I’m glad I didn’t!
There was only one worry, with my family hat on at least, and that was the opposition. Jack and his friend Clem had signed for Clutton in part due to an injury crisis and they still were able to name just one substitute. And this season you really don’t want to be down on numbers when you’re playing Mendip Broadwalk.
My regular reader will remember I first visited their Filwood Fields home soon after Robyn and I first started dating 6 years ago. They’ve come a long way since those days in the Bristol Premier Combination, and have rather overtaken their rivals, the adjacent Broad Plain House FC. They now ply their trade in the Senior (2nd tier) division of the lowly Bristol & Suburban League which seems a far cry from when I watched the Filwood Derby 4 years ago.
Broadwalk are now top of the County League and are approaching their “Rubicon” moment. Do they accept the limitations of Filwood Fields, and stay in county football or do they follow the likes of Bristol Telephones and Portishead Town and try for Western League football, either by improving what they have, or by seeking a groundshare? That isn’t as straightforward a decision as some might have you believe.
On the evidence of this game, they probably ought to apply, if only to test the water. Because as hard as Clutton worked, they ran out of steam early, didn’t have the numbers to replace tired players, and the visitors steam-rollered them. The exhausted look on young Clem’s face at the end spoke volumes.
But please don’t get the impression that Clutton are a bad side, far from it- they’re comfortably mid-table. Jack and his teammates will I’m sure play worse and win games comfortably; from their perspective I just picked the wrong game. I now need to find a game when Jack is back playing, and check the opposition first!
Dedicated to Jack Mattock.