Friday, 28 June 2013

One Photo From Each Club: Fareham Town to Horndean

Fareham Town's brick goalie.
Carrying on with the "one photo from each club in alphabetical order" series, we reach Fareham Town. Now, this was only my third match, and it has the distinction of being my worst-written match report with the weakest set of photos (it was dark and cold and I only took around ten - none of which were very good). I only started to realise the importance of half-decent photography when I noticed that most of my visitors were arriving via an image search. The best of a bad bunch was this photo of a brick goalie. Fareham Town is top of my list to revisit, partly because I want to make up for the initial crummy match report, and partly because they had the joint-best programme of all the non-league clubs that I visited (the other equally superb programme was issued at one of the other clubs below).

Dan Strugnell scores for the mighty Hawks at Farnborough!
The most miserable club I visited was Farnborough. There was no programme, the weather was manky drizzle, there were kids throwing stones into the ground from the car park, and the stewards were needlessly officious. On the plus side, Havant & Waterlooville played well and scored this goal from Dan Strugnell to come away with a 1-1 draw. I chose this photo to cheer myself up.

A successful day out in the Vase for Bemerton Heath Harlequins concludes with the long walk to Fawley's changing rooms.
A cup competition that I've not seen enough of is the FA Vase. The only match I've written about in the aforementioned competition so far was at Fawley last October. The home side played well enough, but after Bemerton Heath Harlequins had had a player sent off for throwing the ball at the ref's head, the Wiltshire side scored from two penalties to progress to the next round. An eventful game played at a two-and-a-half-sided ground that I rather liked. My favourite photo was of these Bemerton players making their way across another pitch towards the changing rooms. I was glad the wind was blowing the rancid-looking smoke from the oil refinery chimney away from the ground.

Gosport Borough's press box at half-time in their FA Cup match with Bideford.
The best non-league stand in the county is the one built in 1935 at Gosport Borough. I wish every ground had a stand like this, but they don't and they never will now. One of the last of a kind with its wooden seats and old-fashioned press box. This photo was taken at half-time during their FA Cup game against Bideford.

Small, tall, and an exciting-looking aeroplane at GE Hamble.
Another ground I liked a lot was Follands Park at GE Hamble. You don't see an aeroplane on a stick at the football very often! Not only that, but there was an old bus shelter to keep the fans dry behind one goal, and three rusty rollers! It's quite difficult to take a bad photo at Hamble, so this was one of my favourite sets overall. I chose one of the aeroplane pictures as it ticked the "what's different about this ground?" box...and the perspective seems right up the shoot in this particular one.

There's something about dogs and football in Fleet, part one, Fleet Town...
There were dogs everywhere at Fleet Town. I could have sent enough photos to have filled the whole of the Non-League Dogs blog several times over. It was a hot day, so I felt sympathy for this shaggy fellow trying to find some shade. The other thing I liked about Fleet Town was the half-time music - punk rock, new wave, ska...they'd been rooting around in my record collection!

...and part two, Fleet Spurs.
No ska at Fleet Spurs (or any half-time tunes at all), but there was another dog. This one actually did make an appearance on Non-League Dogs - I didn't send it to them, but they did acknowledge where it came from, which I appreciated. As the official crowd at Fleet Spurs was 2, it meant that I was part of both the smallest crowd in the Wessex League last season, and the largest (448 at Alton Town).

Victory for the underdogs as Hartley Wintney celebrate their FA Cup win over Bashley.
As I live in Southampton, the clubs in the north-east of the county have provided my longest trips (for example, Aldershot is just over an hour in the car - longer at rush hour). I went by train to Hartley Wintney, which meant changing at Basingstoke, then a long walk from Winchfield Station. It was worth it though to be part of the crowd of around 100 which witnessed one of the biggest shocks of the early rounds of the FA Cup the season before last, as the home side knocked out Southern Premier League Bashley. I like the mixture of joy and misery at the end of the match in the photo above. Oh, and Hartley Wintney's programme wins the HAH Best Programme Award for the 38 non-league clubs that I've visited, jointly with Fareham Town. Excellent reads, both of them.

The old welcome sign at Havant & Waterlooville's Westleigh Park, now hidden behind a new covered terrace.
To be fair, Havant & Waterlooville's programme is very good too, but I don't want to appear biased towards the club that I watched the most over this period by giving them the programme trophy (a trophy made out of my imagination and thin air, but worth winning, nevertheless!). My home-town club, I feel right at home at Westleigh Park. I've chosen this arty picture of an old welcome sign, half-hidden behind the new covered terrace, which was paid for by their famous cup tie against Liverpool a few years ago. It might look as though the Hawks' ground is run down and tatty from this picture, but it isn't at all - the yellow gate shown above leads to some steps which in turn lead to the club's TV tower.

Totton & Eling traipse out for the second half at Hayling United's College Ground.
Just down the road from Havant is Hayling United. Now, my trip to the island was one of the coldest (remember that "Spring" just gone? Jeez). I sat and waited for the teams to come out for the second-half underneath the only piece of standing cover at the College Ground, attempting to bite through a frozen Mars Bars without breaking any teeth. Just as the teams started walking past, this chap wearing many layers came and stood nearby. Luckily, he improved the photo and made it my favourite from the day.

Faded lawnmower glamour at Horndean.
And just up the road from Havant is Horndean! The county's slopiest ground by far, and another one I shall return to at some point in the future. I chose this photo of an abandoned old lawnmower as representative of all the old groundsmen's equipment that I saw on my travels, because...well, just because.

Coming up next - more photos, from Hythe & Dibden through to Romsey Town, in alphabetical order.

No comments:

Post a Comment