Tuesday 11th October 2011 ko 7.45pm
Spartan South Midlands League Premier Division
HATFIELD TOWN 0
ROYSTON TOWN 6 (Lockett 20 Young 39 Feumi 43p Robins 67 Standen 81 90)
Tea 50p (in a University of Chester paper cup!)
Until last season Hatfield groundshared at Welwyn Garden City FC. Sharing somewhere other than your home town is seldom ideal, but Hatfield now at least have a home to call their own. The problem is that its still in Welwyn Garden City! Moreover the Gosling Sports Park, doesn’t just contain a 6 lane running track but a velodrome too, making the football spectator extremely distant from the pitch. That said the velodrome is perhaps the ground’s saving grace, as the banking does provide elevation, ameliorating some of the distance. Its helped further by a balcony the height of which I’ve never enountered anywhere other than Wembley Stadium. The panorama shot is from there and it does give a Subbuteo feel to wtching a game.
With 3 distinct viewing areas, the terrace, seating and balcony, the ground is certainly different, and I’ve heard descriptions of Stalinist, and East German, neither of which I’d necessarily disagree with. For me it simply felt municipal, nothing wrong with that, but I wouldn’t want to watch football somewhere like this all the time. I should add that the club has had to work hard to get the ground usable for football. Gates have to be locked at specific times, and a huge players tunnel built, which if it were in Kent would have the anti-polytunnel brigade up in arm!
Hatfield have signed a 7-year lease, but I got the impression that their tenure may well be a lot shorter than that. The bottom line is that they want to be in Hatfield, and they think they’ve found a suitable location. What happens next is anyone’s guess, but I’d get to Gosling Sports Park soon to avoid disappointment.
On the pitch there were 2 sides with radically different agenda. Hatfield are building for the future, in both senses of the word, while Royston simply wish to return to the Isthmian League. After watching one of the biggest away drubbings I’ve ever seen I’m not sure which club will achieve their ambitions. Yes, Hatfield’s defence was appalling, but they looked a young side, and an older, better remunerated team, ran riot. Are Hatfield relegation fodder? On this outing yes, but they’re not in a relegation spot, and are there better teams than Royston in the league? You suspect quite possibly.
Definately one to keep an eye on.