With Omicron rocketing across the UK & 1 in 15 of the population infected, Where's The Tea Hut won't be visiting Grounds until Coco The Clown & his deluded Government stop pretending. Stay safe friends, let's hope common sense can be retrieved from the skip sooner rather than later.
Sunday, 15 August 2021
Saturday 14th August
St Pirans League
POLPERRO 7 MILLBROOK RESERVES 1
Attendance: 38 (head count)
Parking: The ground is on a large field so you can pull up wherever you like
Weather: Warm dry afternoon after an indifferent morning, light cloud
My first encounter with the Cornwall St Pirans League and most enjoyable too.
Polperro attained entry to this level the previous season after performing remarkably well in the ECPL (East Cornwall Premier League).
They're now in the mix with other aspiring local non league clubs alongside various Reserve sides from higher levels of the FA Pyramid, mainly from the South West Peninsula League. Millbrook Reserves have links to a higher league still, their first team play in the well known Toolstation Western League Premier Division. Big test for Polperro then?
The Where's The Tea Hut site already has a comprehensive ground guide for Polperro FC still available in the archive section to be found on the right hand column on the webpage. You'll find it under the 2017-18 heading. This particular report for the Millbrook match also reflects on what you'll find at this friendly little club but more in relation to recent developments.
I'd arrived early in the area, it is absolutely stunning coastal countryside around Polperro. I took a nearby saunter to the South West Coast Path literally 5 minutes from the ground. Go to the end of the approach lane to the ground from the Main Road, turn left at the junction, in about a hundred yards you'll see a public footpath sign, take the stone and gravel track and step over the stile at the far end of the field. The footpath soon feeds into Coastal Path section for Polperro to Looe. It's usually pretty quite on the path but with the massive amount of tourists in the area, mainly due to our pandemic related staycation monster the quaint little footpath resembles a footfall motorway, never seen it as busy in Cornwall as this summer.
Anyway, back to the Polperro Ground. The main features are a recently developed Clubhouse which is open but still reaching final completion and it really looks the business. There is a well stocked bar and amazingly luxurious toilet facilities for a non league set up, the place has that unmistakable feel of quality about it.
Punters were eagerly partaking in pints of ale and cups of tea during the afternoon, excellent to see at this level. The other addition since I last took a look at the place back in 2018 is the Matt Pengelly Stand on the halfway line. With the usual Cornish wintertime weather I can see this being the go-to location for those wonderfully wet, misty encounters from November to March.
As regards the match, Polperro were mighty impressive, there was an obvious culture of commitment, endeavour and unity about them which resulted in plentiful portions of attacking football. Their visitors associated with the big Western League fancy wrapper didn't fair too well, they looked decidedly uncooked, slightly wayward and more than a little fragmented, perhaps they had a few absentees for various reasons, the Covid bug can still ravage a sides preparations and of course there was that big pop festival taking place in the Newquay area (Boardmasters), an event that tends to attract the less loyal players on the books, a factor which has often been used by many a club as an attractive excuse for an unfortunate tonking, got to sympathise with coaches and managers in these situations, I got the impression, my apology if I'm wrong, that the visitors may have had a couple of players missing or playing in unfamiliar positions, the Millbrook coach was doing his very utmost to guide and sensibly encourage his players during the afternoon but all to no avail.
The game ended in a resounding 7-1 victory for Polperro, being perfectly honest, no disrespect to Millbrook, the home side should have doubled that scoreline, never seen so many gilt edged chances squandered. There was a cohesion and class about their play evident from kick-off, perhaps they know the tricky contours of the pitch so well, perhaps they wanted to apply a clear marker for this league campaign from the start, who knows but it certainly seemed to work. You could tell they cared so much by all the evident frustration they expressed at the solitary Millbrook goal.
Think Polperro might be well worth keeping an eye on during this seasons St Pirans League.
Thursday, 12 August 2021
Wednesday 11th August 2021
South West Peninsula League East
OKEHAMPTON ARGYLE 2 TORRINGTON 2
Attendance: 146 (head count)
Programme: Free at the entrance table
Weather: Varying levels of drizzle throughout the whole game
Parking: Tennis Club Car Park
Heading up from Cornwall gave me the opportunity to call in at Launceston for a tea time Jumbo Cod from one of the best fish and chip shops around, Francines. Never fails to impress, wonderful stuff.
Back on the A30 Northbound I was soon in Devon and winding down the approach road to the rather nice town of Okehampton. After a couple of wrong turns and ending up in the wrong car park I eventually rolled up at a Tennis Club (I think) which a passer by informed me the football club spectators use, I got the last legally available space to dump the Match Shed (version 2 now, last one suffered a terminal gear box failure).
I followed some others walking on foot down a path where halfway along a bloke at a small pub type table was taking money off people. He gave me a free programme and mumbled "keep following the path", the ground opens up before you, it's not fenced off at the moment which is why a bit further along some people at a second table said "it's 4 pounds Sir" I politely informed them I'd already given money to the man up the path to which they said "oh him, alright then, you can come in", it all seemed a little weird but hey ho, this is non league remember.
I'm led to believe part of the criteria for taking promotion to the South West Peninsula League from the Devon League South & West Division is to apply a perimeter fence and put floodlights up within a 2 year period. I'm sure things will be a lot more straightforward once this is achieved.
Okehampton have a scenic spot for a ground here, there is a tall, steep gloriously wooded hillside behind the Stand on the halfway line which circles gently in decreasing levels beyond the other sides of the pitch.
At the end where the people at the second table were busy confusing people there is a clubhouse with toilets, a bar area, refreshment window and player changing rooms. The pitch looked a little sun burned and seemed to sprawl outwards to significant proportions.
The weather wasn't the best, the South West had witnessed light rain for a good part of the day and it decided to camp out at Okehampton for the rest of the evening. It was the fine drizzle stuff the locals down Cornwall title 'mizzle', it still wets you through though which is why I had the brolly, strangely there were only two others in the ground who had the same, there were some rather damp punters come the final whistle.
Talking of the crowd, I counted almost 150 which wasn't bad for a 6.30pm kick off (due to the lack of lights etc.) A good few had come across from Torrington which was nice to see.
The match itself was keenly contested and like the game I'd seen the previous evening at St Cleer, tonight's Referee, who had a very good game by the way, was keen to let the game flow and ignore the rather feeble attempts to use dramatic licence to gain free kicks, I think the Ref's name was Lee Dudman (can't be sure, my apology if I'm wrong).
Chances came and went at both ends, we went through pleasant passages of inter changing passes but also saw fragmented spells of football where the game resembled something akin to a pinball machine.
Allow me to cut to the chase, there were two significant factors that directly dominated the proceedings: 1) A low half hearted hit and hope corner from Okehampton forward Luke Alden somehow squeezed & bobbled past the Torrington keeper at his near post, one can only assume the ball nudged the post before the goalie got his hands to the ball because it did look an easy save to make. The home players welcomed the goal in jovial disbelief. This gave Okehampton a vital belief that they genuinely had something to hold onto for a lengthy spell of the game.
As for factor 2) his name is Billy Tucker and he played a blinder for Torrington in this game, what a player, a superb all round performance, the way he took the away sides equalising goal near the end was absolute class. I'm sure I've seen Billy playing for Helston not too long ago. Torrington have one hell of a player on the books here.
All in all neither side could really feel hard done by with the shared spoils. It was an enjoyable game and a worthwhile visit to a nice little ground I'd not been to before.
I pointed the Match Shed for Cornwall and took the Tavistock road for a change of scenery from the A30, the rain stuck with me all the way, including a rather interesting fogbound section as I skirted Dartmoor.
Wednesday, 11 August 2021
Tuesday 10th August
East Cornwall Premier League
Attendance: 57 (usual ropey head count)
Admission: Free (my favourite)
Weather: Nice sunny evening
Parking: Car Park full shocker!
I'm not venturing into paragraphs about Covid, there's enough been said already, all I will say is that it's absolutely fantastic to be able to watch live football again.
What better leg stretcher than a friendly incursion into the wonderful East Cornwall Premier League. A pleasant summer evening complimented the quaint village of St Cleer which is a few miles up the road from Liskeard. Bit of a shock to find the Car Park rammed full upon arrival, there was some kind of Junior Football evening taking place on the adjacent pitch which resulted in cars haphazardly slung about the country lane passing the ground. I took the safer option and parked back in the village behind the church.
St Cleer FC is a great place to watch a game, its scenic, friendly, relaxing and usually they put on a decent exhibition of football. If you get there early there are some terrific countryside walks nearby, Siblyback Lake, Golitha Falls and The Cheesewring are just a few of many well documented locations. Pre match refreshment can be taken at the Market Tavern across from the church, I think they do grub Wednesday to Weekend, a couple of miles further on resides the St Cleer shirt sponsors 'The Cheesewring Pub' in Minions hamlet, a place often applauded for plentiful portions of good home cooked food.
This was the home sides opening game of the season, Gunnislake had already got an impressive away win under their belts last Saturday 0-1 at Torpoint Athletic Thirds.
What struck me immediately was the intensity and passion being afforded by both sides, crunching (mainly) fair tackles, pace, energy and the obligatory non league yelling and cursing soon introduced themselves to the serene evenings surroundings.
Must say I am a big fan of the new FA directive to let the game flow more openly, what is so good about non league is that the players just get up after a hard tackle (if they are able), this is in stark contrast to the delicate flowers of the higher echelons of the professional game who spend most of the match rolling over and screaming for their Mum.
The first half witnessed some quality passages of passing football which is a credit to this level of the game. Chances came and went at both ends and perhaps the only difference between the sides was a sublime audacious back heel from the visitors Kevin McCallion to put Gunnislake in dream land.
Half Time 0-1
Second half the encounter got a little scrappy and disjointed, the telling factor was Gunnislake taking a firmer grip of the proceedings, St Cleer were struggling to make cohesive in-roads as regards an equaliser and it was no surprise when Gunnislake captain Jamie Rowlands smashed in a second goal off the underside of a quivering crossbar.
A few tempers made a fleeting entrance but it was soon put to rest, wouldn't call this a dirty game.
Credit to St Cleer they certainly didn't give up and began making a few tactical switches and throwing people forward, they deservedly got one back but the ticking clock was too far ahead for a dramatic conclusion. Gunnislake probably deserved the victory and their impressive start to the season continues.
Good job we kicked off at 7pm prompt, the evening gloom was certainly encroaching come the final whistle. Sign of things to come I'm afraid, where has the summer gone? Enjoy it while you can.
Wednesday, 24 February 2021
Wednesday, 17 February 2021
Hello again, been quite a while since the Tea Hut put anything out.
Well we're still here but like almost everyone else we've been living the lockdown.
It's important we all stay sensible and safe, hopefully the vaccine programmes will pave the way for a return to attending football matches again next season.
Once we do get the green light to get to a game Where's The Tea Hut will be there with the usual Visit Reports and Photographs.
There have been a couple of additions to the Tea Hut Team personnel wise since the last match postings so we'll see various articles and possibly the odd new sport getting a look in.
Further updates will appear on the Tea Hut site as the big return gains momentum.
In the meantime here is a tasty reminder of the culinary treats we'll be savouring once we get through the turnstiles (or more likely the shack at the gate). Some wonderful matchday pasties from the South West courtesy of Elburton Villa, Saltash United, Torpoint Athletic and Plymouth Parkway.
Sunday, 6 September 2020
Saturday 5th September 2020
South West Peninsula League East
BOVEY TRACEY 1 CREDITON UNITED 2
Attendance: 80 (dodgy head count)
Admission: Bargain £4 or £2 concessions
Programme: Bit slim but only 50p
Weather: Plenty of sunshine, occasional scattered cloud
Parking: Club car park, beware, its small & you get blocked in
Left Cornwall early afternoon and bribed the guards at the Tamar Border Control (the bloke in the booth selfishly took 2 quid off me). I was soon jaunting up the A38 dodging erratic homeward bound holiday makers still razzled from their last night binge in the caravan.
Bovey Tracey is a lovely little place on the eastern edge of Dartmoor. I'd visited this area when I lived Up North. I had a contract to do Safety Inspections at a premises on the nearby Heathfield Industrial Estate. Usually took me 2 hours and I got expenses to stay in a big flashy hotel in Torquay, those were the days.
Great to see the home club respecting Covid 19 precautions, they had a signing in book for track & trace and automatic sanitiser units both at the entrance and the clubhouse. Also got the luxury of hot water, plenty of liquid soap and plentiful paper towels in the toilets, bit like that fancy hotel I mentioned back in Torquay. Benches and a few tables had been appropriately well spaced outside the clubhouse and it was nice to see people casually having a drink or a snack before kick off. The social distancing pitch side was pretty much ok, you'll always get a nob-head who ignores it but I only had to move the once so the matchday experience wasn't too anxious. Full marks to Bovey Tracey.
Mill Marsh Park is a picturesque place to watch football with scenic views through the trees to the Dartmoor foothills. There aren't the old school trappings that groundhoppers crave but the place is neat and tidy, has a great looking pitch and there is a small stand with seating and a similar covered unit on the far side for those wishing to stand up (probably a popular spot when the winter kicks in).
The match itself was a keenly contested affair with little to choose between the sides. There was the obvious early season rustiness but plenty of free flowing play which often resulted in near misses or the dreaded fluffed sitter. Crediton went into a two nil half time lead with a couple of well taken goals and their solid defence obviously posed a problem for home side objectives to turn things around.
The second half followed a similar pattern to the first but gradually Bovey Tracey expanded the pressure and took more of a grip. What probably had a deciding affect on the proceedings was the strange occurrence of Sean Finch, one of the home teams strikers, being sin binned for dissent not once but twice! The second occasion quickly followed the first and witnessed a gobsmacked Sean trudging off the pitch after he'd just knocked a 25 yard free kick into the Crediton net. Apparently the Referee adjudged there was a Bovey Tracey player illegally affecting the Crediton wall.
Rumour has it a voice was heard telling the Referee to F-Off, the Referee thought it was Sean although those around the incident were of the opinion that the abuse came from a spectator on the touchline. Having a cracking goal disallowed and going back to 10 men really put the home side up against it and despite grabbing one back with a scrambled goal in the last minute and then the drama of a last gasp free kick Crediton took the 3 points.