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Tuesday 31st July 2018 ko 19.45

Pre-Season Friendly

POTTERS BAR TOWN 2 (36, 65)

HEYBRIDGE SWIFTS 3 (2og, 44, 82)

Att 26

at Pitch 2, Middlesex FA Ground, Ruislip Road, Northolt

Entry FREE

I do like a ground that doesn’t usually host a club’s games, and a county FA ground is always an interesting place to visit. Here the ground was brand spanking new, the Middlesex FA only moved in on 23rd July, but there is a groundhopper’s dilemma when you get there. 

On one level this is a single-storey office and changing rooms building adjacent to two caged 3G pitches. Given the area in West London, security is obvious down even to a guard placed at the entrance to the car park; word was that there’d been thefts from the cars during the opening game at Rectory Park a few days earlier.

It does have that municipal feel, there was vending machines for drinks but no tea hut or burger bar. It is a place for participants rather than spectators even though one of the two pitches does feature a small “Arena” stand. And therein lay the groundhopper’s dilemma.

To your left is Harrow Borough vs Egham Town, and to the right is Potters Bar Town vs Heybridge Swifts. Both are pre-season friendlies due to kick-off at 7.45, and the only difference between the two games is that the Harrow Borough game was in the pitch with the stand.

So which game would you choose? A lot depends on whether you see Rectory Park has two grounds or one. If you see it as one then the logic would be to pick the game with the better facilities and so you’d have watched the Harrow game. If you see it as two then you had a tougher decision, which pitch do you do first?

A rumour that Tony Incenzo will be organising a Middlesex League “Groundhopper” game on pitch 1 sent most of the “Professional Hoppers” heading for pitch 2 and since I like to support Tony’s efforts where I can I joined them.

What we saw was a thoroughly entertaining game shaded by Heybridge Swifts but a draw would probably have been a fairer reflection on play. But what would I have seen if I’d picked pitch 1? That finished Harrrow Borough 2 Egham Town 1, but will I return for pitch 1? Who knows!

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