Thursday 20th August 2015 ko 18.30
FORDINGBRIDGE TURKS 2 (Tong 83 86)
As a general policy I’ll be attempting this season to visit more of the clubs that follow me on Twitter. Now I’m well aware that will set me up for a few monster drives, with perhaps the Cornishmen of Carharrack being the furthest, but the policy does have one advantage, and this game was the perfect example of it.
I was stood sheltering at Royal Wootton Bassett Town the previous evening with no idea what to do the next evening or even whether to bother. But then a tweet popped up, and I had some research to do, as I knew precious little about who I was about to visit. But after all that’s said and done, no drive to, and in the New Forest can ever be a chore can it? The town is the birthplace of Charles Chubb of padlock fame.
The club was formed in 1868, making it the oldest club in Hampshire and one of the oldest in the UK. The name “Turks” comes from an admiration of bravery of the Turkish troops fighting the Russians in the Crimean War, and it was hoped that their fighting spirit would rub off on the team. They merged with Fordingbridge Town last year.
The club have played as high as the old Hampshire League, but currently ply their trade in the 4th tier of the Bournemouth Saturday League (Division 3) with their opponents in Division 4. As far as I know the league feeds into the Hampshire Premier League meaning the Turks will be playing 12 promotions from the Football League this season. Some might wince at the standard, but I have to say seldom have I enjoyed an evening out as much as this.
The club play at the Fordingbridge Reacreation Ground, on the Salisbury Road. It’s a little awkward to find, being on the northbound slip road on the A338. A good tip is once you spot the rugby posts on the left, slow down you’re there! Whilst the rugby dominates the changing block and social club, the football pitch is far closer to the cover afforded by the changing block. It’s a real shame there are moves afoot to have it demolished and replaced.
An added bonus is the view of the seven arch stone bridge over the River Avon that gives the town its name. Local folklore attests that the original bridge built in 1252 had only 5 arches, which may be why it collapsed!
The game gave further credence to my theory that amateur players have only two ways of playing- 100% or not at all. This was a full-blooded affair, with neither side finding their shooting boots until Adam Tong’s well-taken late goals. Burley played well, but the Turks deserved their win.
I do think football people spend far too much energy worrying about the level of the game they’re watching. The fact is you can see a good game anywhere, however low the level. The converse, of course is also the case. You just have to be brave!