Wednesday 16th March 2016 ko 19.30
Western League Division One
WELLINGTON AFC 1 (Woodgate 25)
CHEDDAR 2 (Ham 10p Jones 65)
In case the league doesn’t give the game away completely, this is the Wellington in Somerset, or to put it another way, the Wellington that is neither in Telford, nor in Herefordshire! It is, however the Wellington that gave the Duke of Wellington his title; Arthur Wellesley also having the honour of the Wellington Monument erected in his name nearby. The town is also famous for being the home of Fox, Fowler and Company- the last commercial bank to issue its own banknotes, the last one circulated in 1844.
The football club play at The Playing Field, in the centre of town, and for once finding the place is as easy as just aiming for the North Street Car Park, there’s a gate through to the ground at the back.
From then on you marvel at how the club have managed to adapt to the constraints placed on them by the ground and by ground grading rules. The playing field is shared with cricket, and that means the club has to play the first few games of each season away from home, and some of those floodlights on the far side are removed for the cricket season. It’s a compromise, but not an easy one. The seating requirement is met by an “Arena” stand at the bottom end; there’s removable mesh panels to avoid vandalism, but on this occasion only the one panel was removed. More didn’t seem necessary.
But this isn’t the type of place to concern yourself with what’s where. It’s a place to enjoy the people and their club, and once again when you delve into small towns and small clubs you find friendly people. You want the lineups? Just ask, and who wouldn’t enjoy being asked whether you want sugar with your half time tea? Little things yes, but those little things make for a good first impression, and it’s that you take away with you at the final whistle.
As ever, I succeeded in jinxing the club I was visiting. Cheddar’s Ham (!) scoring from the penalty spot early on, and that proved to be the vital goal, thunderbolts from both teams serving only to cancel each other out. But as my party and I departed afterwards, even in the night gloom the smiles we all wore bore testament to a friendly, welcoming club.