Bristol, England, Football, Gloucestershire County League, groundhopping, Hardwicke, Non League, Stoke Gifford, Stoke Gifford Stadium, Stoke Gifford United
Tuesday 28th February 2023 ko 19:45
Gloucestershire County League
STOKE GIFFORD UNITED 7 (McInevery 34 43 72 Weaver 38 72 90 Barry 45)
It does pay to keep an eye on the Gloucestershire County League. I tend to see it as a quasi-Step 6 league, the mandatory programme rule, and the reasonably stringent ground gradings to make for an experience unlike most at the level. It was though, an odd evening to be in Bristol.￼
On one hand Bristol City were at home to Manchester City that night in the FA Cup, but that only meant that the southern half of the city would be having cup fever. Stoke Gifford is in the northern suburbs, and well and truly in Bristol Rovers territory, so I expected and got studied indifference to the goings on at Ashton Gate.
Of course there was an irony, Bristol City’s women played at Stoke Gifford Stadium prior to their move to the High Performance Centre for last season. I covered the fact that Bristol City Women used to be Bristol Rovers women in that article, and were Bristol Academy in between, and even had a men’s team too. They played at Stoke Gifford too, so I must admit when I saw Stoke Gifford had been promoted into the County League and were using South Gloucestershire & Stroud College too, I assumed they were using the same place. Well they aren’t… sort of!
The old Stoke Gifford Stadium is now 3G and laid out for American Football only, and as you work your way through the complex you’ll see the odd bit of signage for Bristol City, then the remains of turnstiles that were installed for Bristol City’s stint in the Women’s Super League. Stoke Gifford are using the pitch the other side of the changing room block and have improved their new home accordingly. If you’re the kind of person that sees this as part of the same then the complex then you’ll see my attendance as a revisit, if not, then you won’t!
Whatever your view Stoke Gifford are certainly friendly and the tea was much appreciated on a cold, dank evening. They’re also talented; there was nothing wrong with Hardwicke save for them having some key players missing, but they were taken to pieces by their hosts. I’ve not seen a beating this complete for a while.
I don’t think this will be Stoke Gifford’s season to make the jump into the Hellenic League. They’re third, and the ground will need some sort of surrounding fence for Step 6, but I may have got slightly ahead of myself here. The fact is Stoke Gifford have a fine team, and a ground to match.