The Zone Of Opportunity


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Wednesday 25th November 2015 ko 19.30

Western League Premier Division

WILLAND ROVERS 5 (Wilson 36 Shepherd 53 75 Tasker 68 Blake 81)


Att 54

Entry & Programme £6.50

Let’s face it, you really do have to love the road to be a serious groundhopper. The hold-ups, the roadworks and the faceless service stations all add up to a high price for visiting a football ground that the vast majority of your friends won’t have even heard of.

Then there’s the planning, especially for midweek games. Everyone has what I’ll call the “Zone of opportunity,” which translates to how far you can travel. For some it’s how far you can travel starting from what time you leave work, or how late you are prepared to arrive back home. For some it’s how long they’re prepared to be cooped up in a car or on public transport, and for some it’s on economic terms. But as you start clocking up the grounds, you start running out of floodlit grounds, and you start stretching that zone of opportunity. For me travelling from Oxford to Willand was doing precisely that. Continue reading

Eastbound Train


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Saturday 21st November 2015 ko 15.00

FA Vase 2nd Round


EDGWARE TOWN 2 (Butt 60 Ali 86)

Att 60

Entry £6

Programme £1

As a committeeman at the North Berkshire League, you’d have reason to think I dislike the Eastern Counties League, but I’ll let you dear reader into a little secret- I do like visiting their clubs, and this visit proved why. Like all the other clubs in the ECL I’ve visited, they were an absolute joy to meet and spend some time with. Continue reading



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Tuesday 10th November 2015 ko 19.45

Isthmian League North Division

HEYBRIDGE SWIFTS 1 (Morrison 76)

BRIGHTLINGSEA REGENT 5 (Malton 4 Kelly 9 15 Gould 55 Read 90)

Att 134

Entry £10

Programme £2

Badge £3

Looks can be deceiving sometimes. You pull into the car park at Scraley Road and the ground immediately impresses. There’s a large main stand, with its little brother opposite, and there’s the friendly club shop too. I enjoyed having a chin-wag at the burger bar, and the clubhouse is spacious and well-appointed. It is the kind of place where I could sit back before the game, and watch the club being unconsciously competent. The problem was that one of my footballing bad habits was to bite me somewhat. Continue reading

Where It All Started


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Saturday 7th November 2015 ko 13.30

Oxfordshire FA “John Fathers” Junior Shield 2nd Round

MASONS ARMS 1 (Long 22) 

BENSON LIONS 2 (Swales 14 Willis 55)

Att 16 at Margaret Road Recreation Ground, Headington Quarry, Oxford

Entry FREE

No Programme

In so many ways if any game had my name on it, it was this one. I’m from this part of Oxford, my local is the Masons Arms, and I serve on the committee of the North Berkshire League, the league where Benson Lions ply their trade. But that’s only a superficial look at why this game was a must see for me. Continue reading

A Sense Of Place


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Wednesday 4th November 2015 ko 19.45

Kent Invicta League


SUTTON ATHLETIC 1 (Desagne 68) Heather sent off (foul and abusive language) 87

Att 27

Entry & Programme £4

For those who didn’t know already, the Kent Invicta League was created in 2011 as a Step 6 bridge from the Step 7 Kent County League to the Step 5 Kent League (now the Southern Counties East.)  As such one of the major issues it faced was getting enough stadia that fufilled the FA’s ground grading rules. The most expensive part of those gradings tends to be getting floodlights, so a side that already has access to them was always likely to get quickly elevated, and so it came to pass… Continue reading

The Don


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Tuesday 3rd November 2015 ko 19.45 (delayed to 20.05)

Essex Senior League Gordon Brasted Trophy 2nd Round

SOUTHEND MANOR 3 (Fatt 32secs 53 Nolan 51) Warner sent off 45 (foul & abusive language)

SPORTING BENGAL UNITED 3 (Adewunmi 43 56 Rivera 89)

No Extra Time Sporting Bengal won 4-3 on penalties

Official Attendance 90 (this has to be a typo- I counted 18!)

Entry £6

Programme £2

Southchurch Park is the kind of place that the casual visitor could call in at, watch a game and entirely fail to pick up its secrets. It doesn’t help if you visit for a night game, as the cricket pitch next door to the Arena Stadium isn’t visible. For that’s the start of the area’s appeal. Continue reading

The Return Of The Native


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Sunday 1st November 2015 ko 10.30

Blackmore Vale Sunday League

STURMINSTER ROVERS 9 (Chaffey 8 49 86 87, Sprake 14 28 37 Sweatman 15 Meadowcroft 47)

TEAM GRYPHON 4 (Farrant 45 61 89 Boon 82)

Att 9

Entry FREE

No Programme

If you’re visiting Dorset it is more or less impossible to avoid Thomas Hardy’s influence. Take Sturminster Newton for example; you you stroll into the War Memorial Recreation Park, and in one corner is a house lived in by Hardy from 1876-78. He wrote “The Return of the Native” whilst there, and Sturminster Newton is immortalised in “Tess of the d’Urbervilles, ” as Stourcastle. The River Stour gurgles its way along at one end of the park. Continue reading

Wayne’s World


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Saturday 31st October 2015 ko 14.00

East Cornwall Premier League Cup 2nd Round

PADSTOW UNITED 1 (Riddle 53p)

BODMIN TOWN RESERVES 1 (Carhart 60) Thompson sent off 75 (violent conduct)

AET Bodmin won 4-2 on penalties

Att 15

Entry FREE

No Programme

For many the Cornish fishing village is best known for being the home of celebrity chef Rick Stein and there’s no lack of establishments bearing his name. Those with a interest in history may point out that Padstow is a corruption of the name of its saint, St. Petroc, and in the church bearing his name is buried a Dr Henry Frederick Marley. He was a close friend of Charles Dickens who borrowed his surname for the character in the novel “A Christmas Carol.” But truth be told, if you visit the local football club’s home, Jury Park, you don’t actually see the village itself, but you do get to visit Wayne’s World. Continue reading

New Town Blues


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Wednesday October 28th 2015 ko 19.45 (but actually kicked off at 20.15)

Essex Senior League

BASILDON UNITED 4 (Hunter 5 9 Nyanja 54 Clark 69) Sartain sent off 60 (2nd booking)


Official attendance 84

Entry £6

Programme SOLD OUT

Groundtastic editor Vince Taylor summed up Basildon neatly.

“Other New Towns such as Crawley and Stevenage have produced Football League teams, why not Basildon?”

He has a point, and you can add Milton Keynes to that list albeit by rather nefarious means, but why is a town of 100,000 residents only supporting a club at the 9th tier of English football? Continue reading

The Oxygen Of Life


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Tuesday 27th October 2015 ko 19.45

Isthmian League Premier Division


BILLERICAY TOWN 3 (Nesbitt 3 24 87p)

Att 255 

Entry £10

Programme £2

A small market town isn’t, at first glance, the most obvious place to find a real footballing success story. The small town lies plumb in the centre of Suffolk, and is best known for for Joseph Priestley if you’re a scientist (he discovered oxygen), and June Brown if you’re a fan of Eastenders (she played Dot Cotton), but there’s obviously something in the water at Bloomfields that allows football to grow.

Continue reading


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