|A nice cup of tea at Stockbridge FC.|
Looking at the league tables, it seemed to me that of all the clubs in Hampshire, Stockbridge were the most likely to be relegated to the county leagues this season - hence, I made sure I came here sooner rather than later, just in case. It just so happens that they are in real danger of being relegated, but not for the usual reason of being not very good...
Stockbridge FC (1) 1 v 1 (0) Petersfield Town FC
Saturday 12th March 2011
Sydenham's Wessex League First Division
Entrance price: £4
Club shop: No
National Grid reference: SU3535
Subbuteo colours: 41 v 179
|The new stand at Stockbridge. Handy when it rains.|
Well, yes and no. It would stop Stockbridge from ever becoming a Football League team, for sure, but you might imagine that since they are already in the Wessex League, their facilities would be good enough for that league. You would be wrong, for despite having already spent thousands of pounds on upgrading their recreation ground facilities, they are in grave danger of being thrown out of the Wessex League at the end of this season because their changing rooms don't meet the required standards set by the FA for a club playing at Step 6 of the pyramid. They have built a small new stand in which up to 50 spectators can huddle together when it rains; they have installed floodlights of an adequate standard; they have railings around the ground for the weary spectator to lean on, they have laid hard standing around three-quarters of the ground, so that our shoes don't get muddy.
The problem is with the changing rooms - they need another £10,000 to extend them. They were built in the 1970s, when teams had only one substitute, but in these days of multiple subs, they are now too small. Standing outside, they do look as though they would have to be just like Dr Who's Tardis inside to fit everyone in, but still, it does seem a little unfair to ask them to spend so much money when they must only make around £100 at the turnstiles on a matchday - before expenses. But I suppose rules is rules, and they have to abide by them.
|A close shave as the Robins narrowly fail to score.|
They have had many famous visitors through the years: Jackie Charlton, Dickie Davies, various Saints players; they've had a helicopter landing on their pitch...all of which is chronicled on the website. I've enjoyed leafing through its electronic pages over the last week or so.
|Stockbridge Recreation Ground is overlooked by leafy Stockbridge Down.|
The two goals were identical, as if the match really was a cartoon and the animators were trying to save money by reusing the same scene. Stockbridge's goal came at 3.09; Petersfield's at 4.09. Both were scored at the same end, both slotted low past the keeper from the edge of the area into the same corner, both by players running into the inside-right channel. The only difference was that the animators had changed the colour of the scorer's shirt for the second goal.
|No ball games in the goalmouth. By Order!|
|The aerating roller at the back resembles Sonic the Hedgehog!|
Next time: more Wessex League action!