Saturday 5th November 2016 ko 14.00
Hampshire Intermediate Cup First Round
VENTNOR 3 (Urry 10 33 40)
BURGHCLERE 1 (Smith 90p)
If ever there was a game I felt I ought to be at this was it. Burghclere are a club I have a lot of time for, not least as they were wonderful hosts on this year’s North Berkshire League Hop and as a proud committeeman I felt I should be there to support one of our own. You see, other than being the only NBFL club in Hampshire, and so the only club in our league in the competition there was another quirk of the draw.
If Burghclere are the most northerly club in Hampshire, then sat on the southern coast of the Isle of Wight, Ventnor must be the most southerly, although Niton might have a case too!
The only issue was how to get there. Until Dr Beeching got in the way the favourite would have been to take the Island Line from Ryde Pierhead to Ventnor. I used the method to get to Brading Town; and that would have involved a journey through the 1,200m St Boniface Down tunnel. The Shanklin to Ventnor section closed in 1966 and somehow changing to a bus didn’t grab my attention, even if the hovercraft from Portsmouth to Ryde is great fun!
Then there was the prospect of using the Red Jet speedboat service from Southampton to Cowes. That was handy for the Wessex League triumvirate of Newport (IW), Cowes Sports and East Cowes Victoria, and I could have easily caught a bus via Newport, but I decided to join all the minibuses carrying no lack of mainland clubs over to the East Cowes on the car ferry.
From there my only regret is that I didn’t actually see Ventnor! The Watcombe Bottom Sports Centre is on the western edge of town and yes you approach it from the west! But what a well-appointed place it is! I certainly didn’t expect an Isle of Wight League club feature a stand, or be able to climb to the youth pitch on the ledge above and capture a horizon that just about included Cherbourg! Intriguingly there was also capped electrical points suggesting that once upon a time there used to be floodlights here, although there was no evidence looking at the photos in the clubhouse.
But what I’ll take from my day out was that these were and are two friendly, yet competitive teams, a credit to their respective leagues. The action was committed, and although Burghclere had few answers to Emerson Tattersall and hat trick hero Charlie Urry this was a good competitive fixture. I’ll certainly look out for Ventnor’s progress in this competition.
I headed back to East Cowes, and made use of the floating bridge, which now costs £1 for pedestrians, to visit my favourite sit-down chippy, Corries Cabin in Cowes before heading back to the ferry for the journey back to the mainland. I think next time I’ll have to give the fastcat a whirl!