Where's The Tea Hut reflects upon local football South West style with a few trips further afield. Keep the faith & stay safe.

Thursday, 1 September 2016

St Blazey 0 Bodmin Town 4

Wednesday 31st August 2016
South West Peninsula League Premier Division
Attendance: 123
Admission: £5
Programme: After the Camelford & Tavistock rip-offs, NO
Raffle Ticket: Crime of crimes... I didn't want one?
Parking: Tightly congested club car park
Weather: Calm evening, slight chill later on

No pictures from this one, no glowing tributes either (and I don't mean the beer). I shall explain further into this report.

Firstly the proceedings on the pitch.

Bodmin more or less sauntered through this game in cruise control. Even after testing games in recent days against the likes of Bideford and fellow top four rivals Tavistock they still had enough nous and superior gameplay to totally dominate a poor looking St Blazey outfit. Much of the 90 minutes resembled a games lesson exercise of attack and defence, only the defence side of the equation wasn't that good and Blazey had good luck to thank for the avoidance of a cricket score.

The home side had odd trips up field but they all ended in nothing, the sitter that 'The Tornado' fluffed in the first half set the general tone for the proceedings. Perhaps the best contribution from St Blazey was that the keeper saved a first half penalty. When the club ran out of match balls half way through the second period thoughts turned to home, the end result was never in doubt.

Now onto something which I call the hard sell. Something which slightly soured my visit to Blaise Park this evening, which is sad to report following a really enjoyable trip to the ground in July for the friendly against Argyle.

Sadly, even in homely little non league football you can unfortunately witness clubs crossing the boundary of what is appropriate respectful behaviour. It doesn't happen very often but the tactics some clubs willingly operate to generate a bit of extra income tarnish not only their own football clubs reputation but that of the league they play in.

Over the years I have bought tons of stuff at non league grounds, programmes, tea hut grub, pints, club badges and lots and lots of raffle tickets.

I stupidly arrived at St Blazey realising I only had 5 pounds in my wallet. Thankfully it was just enough to get in with. Didn't even have enough for a programme (but after the rip-off publications I'd suffered at Camelford and Tavistock that didn't bother me too much). Anyway... once through the turnstile there was a group of spectators all stood around talking to friends or queuing at the Tea Hut when a loud lady about 5 yards away singled me out and shouted "Hey you! Are you going to buy a raffle ticket off me"? I politely smiled and told her no thank you not tonight. She then seemed to get agitated by my response and raised her voice even more "What, you don't want to buy a ticket, what's a matter with you"? At this the people nearby started to turn around looking at the commotion. Again I politely smiled and shook my head as I moved towards the stand. In the background I heard her mumbling (in clear shot of everyone else, still quite loud) "Honestly, I ask you... Tight B******"!

If I had more money I may have bought that raffle ticket, then again I may not have, that is MY choice. I fully understand most non league clubs are strapped for cash but that doesn't mean its a god given right that every spectator through the gate MUST buy a raffle ticket.

To be dealt with in this rude and negative way by what is (I suppose) a representative of St Blazey Football Club is out of order and disrespectful. I made the 50 minute journey to watch a football match not boost somebodies raffle ticket sales.

Unfortunately, despite some decent football from Bodmin Town, this was not really an enjoyable visit.

Sunday, 28 August 2016

Camelford 2 Plymouth Parkway 2

Saturday 27th August 2016
South West Peninsula League Premier Division
Attendance: 61 (head count)
Admission: £5
Programme: £1
Parking: Club car park inside the ground
Weather: Very warm pitchside, plenty of sunshine
The Camelford matchday programme has no less than 117 advertisements in it, surely that must be a record breaker? Unfortunately there's not much else inside. To their credit they stuffed 3 sheets of loose A4 paper in the middle with a bit of SWPL cut and paste stuff, the ground regulations and a list of Camelford vice presidents. Not exactly the best read on the non league circuit.
I'd arrived a tad early after a big dinner at The Molesworth Arms in Wadebridge, this was a precaution in respect of the thousands of tourists flooding in and out of Cornwall, better safe than sorry. The ground isn't the easiest to find but its one of those that if you've found it once you won't forget it the next time. There was nobody on the gate at 2.20pm and a friendly bloke and younger assistant were going car to car taking in the gate money. It was these two that flogged me the programme.
Despite Met Office warnings of a pretty crap Saturday it was a hot, sunny and rather humid day at Trefrew Park, plenty of sunshine for the sun lovers but it was uncomfortable and stifling if you were out in it for too long. The sun really brought out the best in what appeared an excellent looking pitch, it looked a picture amidst the tidy looking surroundings of the ground. It seemed to play nicely once the game started as well, ball bobble balance was insignificant.
Structure wise the clubhouse straddles the halfway line with a couple of small flat pack economy stands at either end, one has blue and white seats the other is just covered steps, it looks similar to the Tavistock set up but on a slightly smaller scale.
The Tea Hut facility is a refreshment bar with an opening pitchside as well as being accessible from inside the clubhouse. Due to my big pub dinner I had no room for burgers and sausages. Maybe next time? The place seemed to get a steady trade bearing in mind I counted only 61 spectators in attendance today (and quite a good few of those were from Plymouth).
The rest of Trefrew Park is the usual hard standing apart from behind the goals at the far end which is out of bounds due to it just being grassed, a couple of signs are up but most folk seemed to ignore them, perhaps its a league ground grading rule that there is no access to areas without the hard standing? Not sure, bit daft risk assessment wise, no foreseeable hazards in my book.
Camelford have not had the best of starts to this new season, I'd already seen them get stuffed 4-0 in a friendly over at lower league Liskeard Athletic. They seem to be blooding quite a few younger players, rumour has it this is more down to injuries and player unavailability than youth policy objectives, they'd face a really stiff task against one of the acknowledged big sides in the Premier Division, Plymouth Parkway. The visitors were fresh from what should be recognised as a truly outstanding 0-6 FA Cup win away from home at higher league Bridgwater, no wonder some longer term scholars of South West football have Parkway underlined for this years league title?
Before kick off the general feeling was simply how many would Parkway win by today. For large parts of the first half the Plymouth machine gobbled up wide expanses of possession but seemed to be having engine problems with the turbo factor up front.
Approach play and support strategy was swift and in numbers but far too often it failed to home in on the target. Camelfords defence were applying themselves admirably to the task superbly assisted by a fine goalkeeping performance.
When Camelford went upfield it was a novelty that lacked threat, Parkway were mopping up any advances at source. It was therefore quite a surprise when Camelford went 1-0 up. Half time grumblings from the yellow and blue clad away clan were placated by the odd burger and other clubhouse goodies but never were the 3 points in doubt, it was simply a matter of time before the fort was breached.
It wasn't long into the second half when Parkway got a fully deserved penalty, some have said it was unjust, take it from me I was probably the closest to it on the ground and it was the correct decision. 1-1 and the Parkway supporters appeared in a much more positive frame of mind.
Everyone now expected Plymouth to steam roller Camelford into oblivion, it didn't happen, in fact Camelford started to look the better side as they got wide, strung passes together and had much more threat up front, Parkway optimism turned to groans and grumbles. When Camelford went 2-1 up it was nothing that they didn't deserve. Could they somehow hold on to provide the biggest upset of the league season to date? Unfortunately for Camelford they just failed to hang on for the line with Parkway manfully digging out a scrappy equaliser for a valuable point. I feel it is fair to say Parkway supporters will probably admit they did not play that well today but still had just about enough in the tool box to dig out a point.
As for Camelford surely this will instil some much needed confidence for the winter campaign ahead, if only they could have hung on for what would have been a major scalp down at homely Trefrew Park?

Thursday, 25 August 2016

Bodmin Town 1 Bideford 2

Wednesday 24th August 2016
FA Cup Preliminary Round Replay
Attendance: 240
Admission: £6
Programme: £1
Tea Hut Stuff: Not tonight, had a big tea
Parking: Adjoining car park, football punters don't need to pay
Weather: A mild, dry and calm evening
These two had drawn 1-1 at Bidefords place last Saturday. The Southern League Division 1 South & West side had struggled to break down a gallant Bodmin outfit who played 77 minutes with 10 men. Now back at Priory Park in South East Cornwall, the odds of a Bodmin victory seemed much more favourable, irrespective of lower league standing.
There's something magic about a hot take-out from the pitch-side Tea Hut as the floodlights dance amidst the sizzling fat and the cups of budget brand tea. Trouble was I'd caved in an hour earlier and had a gut buster tea back at home. I had no spare tankage for the voluptuous volumes of match night grease but its fair to say plenty of other susceptible punters did, the refreshments shack (I call it Tea Hut) was doing a roaring trade. The picture has been doctored to protect people who should have been at weight watchers.
Priory Park is easy to spot on the main road into the town from the big A38 & A30 junctions, look left going down the hill after passing Morrisons on your right and there it lies like a genuine refined jewel in a fake gold crown. The jewel is the tall singular grandstand which resides majestically across the halfway line, its charismatic presence denying the inevitable choice of so many other non league grounds in this day and age. No flat-pack steel plate economy stands at Bodmin Town, they have a proper one that must be the envy of the South West Peninsula League for miles and miles and miles.
The game appeared to be on Match of The Day but I couldn't pick out Gary Lineker and Shearer, probably having an Indian in the Viraj... then somebody murmured that it wasn't the BBC MoTD Crew, it was the Cornwall Channel?
Bideford were kicking to the Morrisons End early doors and their colourful boisterous band of X-Factor pub singers made a gallant attempt to resemble a Liverpool away following at Old Trafford. No, it didn't quite come off but you had to respect their efforts to inject a bit of atmosphere and passion into the proceedings, most of the ditties appeared fairly polite but I hadn't heard reference to Bodmin people being 'Dingles' before. They later followed this up with that old Scout Show favourite "You're F*cking Sh*t" which always goes down well with the Mums and Dads.
The match itself was very good in my book. Both sides played attractive attacking football with the odd lunge, push and grapple chucked in for good measure. Something the busy referee didn't seem to favour too keenly as no less than 3 players got the red card. Bodmin took a 1-0 lead with a well directed header from Jake Ash just before the break despite the earlier sending off of Nick Milton meaning they played a lot of the first half a man down. The second half didn't quite reach the heights of its predecessor. Bodmins Dan Sullivan had picked up an injury which was negating his movement, up until then he had produced a stormer of a performance, his creativity being the perfect foil for Steve Bowker up front. When Sully had to come off Bideford got the freedom to up the gears and pushed a tiring Bodmin defence back towards goal. James Richards got the equaliser on 77 minutes and there was no hiding the fact that Bodmin were hanging on for extra time. The eventual winner, when it came, was the result of an unfortunate misplaced back pass, Bideford fully capitalised on it and on 85 minutes Billy Tucker put the  pub singers in FA Cup dreamland.
Flat caps and half eaten sausage sandwiches bit the dust as the Bodmin faithful knew the game was up, the Wembley dream was over.
Love that Main Stand though.

Sunday, 21 August 2016

Elburton Villa 3 Dobwalls 3

Saturday 20th August 2016
South West Peninsula League Division 1 West
Attendance: 20 (head count)
Admission: £3
Programme: Didn't produce one
Tea Hut Stuff: Tea £1
Weather: Blustery wind, odd sunny spell, a few rain showers
Parking: Club Car Park adjacent to Haye Road
Elburton is just a few miles east bound down the A379 from Plymouth City Centre. It seems a decent well presented suburb with a nice looking pub and a football club who seem to operate a good few teams under the Elburton Villa banner, there was actually a youth team game taking place involving Elburton on one of the adjoining pitches when the Match Shed got one of the last spaces on the top end car park. Good turn out of spectators too, it would turn out to be more than double the attendance of the SWPL first team game v Dobwalls.

The Match Shed had struggled to spot the flagged up roundabout turn-off for the ground as described in the splendid SWPL Club Handbook due to the fact that the Highways Agency had only just removed it? Or at least I think that's the case? The laborious temporary traffic lights and all the cones are still up but I missed the Haye Road turn off completely, which was supposed to be off the now missing roundabout, I had to double back into the traffic grid lock for another go at finding the ground. Good job I had a 30 minute delay factor built into the journey.

I'd stopped off en route to Elburton from Cornwall at the Plymouth Barbican for a quick snack and a drink at The Cog Wetherspoons establishment next to the Gin Distillery. Bought a bottle of the lovely Plymouth Gin from next door before returning to the Match Shed. It wasn't for the game just in case you're wondering. I love it down the Barbican, always a good vibe and such a great choice of restaurants and pubs.

Back at the ground the main hub of activity is the cosy small clubhouse, adjoining changing rooms, toilet block and small tea hut hatch. This resides alongside a larger secondary car park where the youth game was taking place. Just a short stride further down the car park is the main ground for the SWPL Elburton Villa side. I got a tea from the hut which came in a proper mug and took the opportunity to take in a bit of the youth game action.
The Tea Hut had a tasty looking line up of pasties in the pie warmer, they looked pretty good too, think they might be called Pilgrims Pasties as there was a sign up around the corner from the hut advertising them. I didn't get one (this time) as I'd had some dinner back at the Barbican.
It was only 3 quid admission to the ground and the first thing that strikes you is the superb playing surface for this level of football, the pitch looked a treat. There is a small white block covered enclosure adjacent to the entrance behind the goals, there is a nominal row of plastic seats afforded.
Down the left touchline is a lonely looking flat pack stand with some more seating facilities, at least it offers some protection from the elements.
That's about it structure wise, there are some trees at the far end of the ground with a further football pitch beyond, down the right hand touchline is a large wire mesh fence which stops the ball hurtling off into the trees and undergrowth. As seems to be the case with the SWPL grounds in general, it was all well kept for the most part, clean and tidy.
The match was a topsy turvy affair with initial Elburton supremacy before the much improved Dobwalls side took the lead against the run of play. The home side got level before the early period of the second half witnessed Dobwalls taking a firm grip of the proceedings, this turn around in possession saw the visitors take a 1-3 lead.
The game was unfortunately affected by a number of hefty looking injuries which seemed to disjoint the proceedings some what. A factor not helped by the referee taking such a long time in progressing general infringements during the game as a whole. 
I can always tell when a game is going to drag on when the official starts the game 5 minutes late for no good reason and then lags this on to the start of the second half increasing the lost time accumulation in the process. This is in addition and separate to the genuine down time which must rightly be afforded to treat player injuries. It just seemed that all the insignificant stoppages suffered from a lack of time management, grumble over. Anyway, Elburton ended up back in the mix and produced a 3-3 final result which was just about fair in respect of what went down on the pitch.
It was time to try and beat the Plymouth Argyle match traffic on the way back to the Tamar Bridge.

Sunday, 7 August 2016

Tavistock 8 Ivybridge Town 0

Saturday 6th August 2016
South West Peninsula League Premier Division
Attendance: 130
Admission: £5
Programme: £1 (oh dear)
Tea Hut Stuff: Coffee £1
Parking: Left car in the town centre and walked it
Weather: Dry mild afternoon with sunny intervals
The wife hates football. I've given her a nickname... Match Cow. She likes visiting the different locations when there's the chance of some decent shopping but that's as far as it gets. Last time I persuaded her to attend a game, she read a magazine, consumed a family bar of chocolate then fell asleep. So today Match Cow came along with me to the lovely market town of Tavistock just over the Devon border from Cornwall and I parked the Match Shed up in a reasonably priced 2 quid town centre car park. Match Cow shot off to the market with her shopping bags and I ambled down the pleasant River Tavy riverside walk towards Langsford Park.
The Lambs finished 3rd last season behind St Austell and champions Bodmin Town. Rumour had it that Tavistock could very well improve on that 3rd spot this time around. I was looking forward to checking them out in what was an attractive looking fixture against Ivybridge Town who ended the last campaign in 9th position.
Langsford Park is a modern looking set up with a big clubhouse set back in the club car park, the Red and Black Club. I had no time for foaming pints of local ale so I handed over my 5 pounds admission money and an extra pound for a colourful looking programme. I'm saving my OAP concession-buster disguise for night matches so I'm paying the full whack at the moment. That programme I've just praised turned out to be 2 sheets of A3 glossy paper with a couple of staples for good luck, inside was a match report from a recent friendly, the two squads for todays match, 3 full page adverts including cut price furniture and digger hire and a few generic match photo's without reference of who, what or where. Ok I only paid a quid for it but this really was a mickey take and took me back to a time when I simply stopped buying non league programmes because they were nothing more than a rip off. I'm hoping the rest of the SWPL clubs offer up publications a lot more enticing than this Tavistock effort.
The ground itself is dominated by the large changing room block alongside the halfway line, two identical small flat-pack stands rest alongside each other either side of the players entrance (tunnel), these offer decent seated views of the pitch which I took advantage of for the first half of the game. Across the pitch is another low level covered structure almost shipping container fashion in appearance, a few freestanding plastic chairs have been provided. The two dug outs are positioned either side.
About a third of the perimeter of the ground is out of bounds. The end nearest the clubhouse has a very shallow grass bank and just beside the corner flag resides the Tea Hut and a VIP bunker for cheese spread sandwiches, Mr Kipling french fancies and other half time niceties that club officials seem to like.
To be honest there is not a lot of character at the ground but what was I expecting... Roker Park or Maine Road, its not going to happen at the blunt end of the cash strapped football pyramid. I'll shut up about charismatic waffle and get on with it. The one thing I will state about Langsford Park is that it is absolutely spotless, prim and proper and immaculate in general presentation, this includes a very nice looking pitch and all of the perimeter. Some people are obviously putting in a great deal of effort here for such a spick and span appearance.
I loved the fact that the teams came out to the soundtrack of a Clint Eastwood spaghetti western, brilliant. Might be better saving the psychology for the likes of Bodmin Town, no disrespect to Ivybridge. Anyway, it obviously did the trick as the Clint Eastwood boys produced a Fistful of Dollars performance to totally blitz a workmanlike but bemused Ivybridge side. To utter statements like it could (and should) have been a cricket score can be taken as gross sensationalism but its the honest truth. I'm talking well more than 10 or 12 goals here, the chances Tavistock created and were either fluffed or miraculously saved were of a massive total, 8-0 is a very big score but Ivybridge got away lightly and certainly owe a round of applause for their keeper who tried his hardest to stop the tidal wave coming in.
It was a faultless performance, any intrusions from the visitors were immediately mopped up, the passing was fast and accurate, the speed of the approach play deadly impressive and the skilful turn of foot sublime, it was a rampaging bull of attacking entertaining football and a credit to non league football at this level.
To round everything off at the final whistle the tannoy blasted out the tune of Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines, very apt indeed.
I had 15 minutes to get back to the Match Shed in the town centre before encountering the wrath of Match Cow. I just about made it following a performance that would have probably seen me qualify for the Rio Olympics Speed Walking Team. Saying that I was still overtaken by a warp-drive mobility scooter with an elderly chap wrapped in a big red and black Tavistock scarf. "8 nil will do won't it" I politely chirped up to him. "It will indeed" he replied, then he added " Bodmin will be quaking in their boots"! Hmm, not sure about the quaking expression but I trust it will be noted back in Cornwall... and what a match that will be when the two sides eventually face up to each other?
Well done Tavistock, really liked what I saw, you certainly deserve more than 130 spectators through the gate with sparkling football like that on offer.    

Monday, 1 August 2016

SWPL Charity Bowl Bodmin Town v St Austell

Sunday 31st July 2016
South West Peninsula League Charity Bowl
At Bodieve Park, Wadebridge Town FC
BODMIN TOWN 0 ST AUSTELL 0 (St Austell won 4-3 on penalties)
Attendance: 301 head count
Admission: £4
Tea Hut Stuff: Didn't get anything from the Burger Van, full already
Programme: £1
Weather: Lovely sunny afternoon with a gentle breeze
Parking: Directed to the on site parking field above the ground
I am planning to do a separate visit report for the Wadebridge ground as and when I get around to visiting it later in the season. These are just a few brief notes about the game. An encounter that matched two of the best sides in the South West Peninsula League who finished first and second in the Premier Division. Bodmin Town, the champions were aiming to add to the silverware fest they gathered up in last seasons famous treble.

Any illusions that this was just a polite charity day leg stretcher went out the window immediately after kick off. The rivals tore into each other as though the game was a title decider. Within 5 minutes St Austell had Liam Eddy sent off for a blatant off the ball revenge offence and hopes for a quality well balanced game more or less went down the tunnel with him.

St Austell quickly searched out Plan D and Bodmin huffed and puffed trying to break them down. It was a first half of multiple off side decisions as both sides failed to find rhythm or cohesion. Never have I seen so many niggles and feigned injuries in a non league match, the referee was faced with a La Liga type scenario with numerous players falling over like nine pins. The screams and shrieks resembled break time back at the school playground. I wasn't comfortable with the relentless attempts to get fellow players booked or dare I say it, sent off. Not something one normally sees on such a consistent basis at this level of what I like to think is 'proper football'.

Sure enough Bodmin were down to 10 men themselves just before the break as the beleaguered official rounded up the numbers, a very dubious sending off decision saw Steve Bowker trudge towards the dressing room. I suppose it evened up the proceedings for the second half though.
The final 45 minutes was competitive, tight and still a bit bad tempered. Consistency, quality and finishing were the victims. Bodmin had the greater number of chances and came mighty close to scoring but St Austell hit the woodwork from a wonderfully struck free kick and often pushed dangerously forwards on the break.

It all ended 0-0 after the 90 minutes and it was straight to penalties. St Austell were faultless and took the Charity Bowl 4-3 when Bodmin missed the net for the second occasion.

Despite the niggles and the scrappy periods of play I can't wait to witness these two SWPL heavyweights go head to head again. With Plymouth Parkway in the wings and one or two other contenders making positive soundings it should be a great season of South West football.

Sorry about the snaps (bit basic), had to make do with the phone again, camera left at home.

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Dobwalls 4 St Stephens Borough 0

Wednesday 27th July 2016
Pre Season Friendly
Attendance: 36 head count
Admission: Free
Programme: None printed
Tea Hut Stuff: Not available (clubhouse being extended)
Parking: Club car park adjacent to the pitch
Weather: Dry with sunny intervals, reasonably mild
I did a Dobwalls visit report last Boxing Day v Liskeard so I ain't gonna duplicate all the stuff about the ground.

No tea hut option this evening I'm afraid as the club are finishing off a large extension to their clubhouse.

Dobwalls had a pretty disappointing season last term finishing 15th out of 17th in the SWP Division 1 West. St Stephens Borough from over at China Fleet way in Saltash ended up mid table in the East Cornwall Premier Division.
This was a spirited entertaining little friendly played on a nice looking green pitch with some decent evening weather. Thirty odd punters took advantage of the free admission and witnessed two sides willing to play decent football.

Dobwalls probably deserved the win but the 4-0 scoreline flattered them. If a very young St Stephens side had been better adapted to defending crosses this game could have been a hell of a lot closer.
Both sides knocked the ball about in a pleasing manner and there was a lot to admire in some of the individual performances, especially the young Borough second half captain nicknamed Twinkle whom I was informed by officials was Josh King, he had a tremendous game and also showed some great leadership skills with his young colleagues. Even though they got beaten by four goals I reckon the visitors have a lot to be encouraged about in their squad and the positive way they play the game, I was impressed. As regards Dobwalls I feel they will certainly have a more productive enhanced campaign this season, like St Stephens they play the game the right way and have half a dozen good quality players in the ranks.

Quite a good little game really.

Apologies for the quality of the snaps, only had my phone with me tonight.

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Perranporth 1 Newquay 5

Saturday 23rd July 2016
Pre Season Friendly (Brian Biggin Memorial Trophy)
Attendance: 90 head count
Admission: £2
Programme: None published
Tea Hut Stuff: Coffee £1
Weather: Dull and overcast, muggy
Parking: Squeezed in at the end of the overlooking road
The Match Shed hit holiday maker traffic on the A38 near Bodmin and got a second dose on the A30 approaching the Goonhavern turn. Cars crammed full of beach balls, brightly coloured towels and shopping bags bursting with jaunty swimming costumes. Wondered if they'd remembered to pack the umbrella's and the raincoats? This is 2016 Cornwall remember.

Despite the comments above, the sun was out and it had been a glorious morning weather wise. Everyone was cheerful, happy and filled with holiday anticipation. It wouldn't last though, a thick lead grey cover of dense cloud moved in and parked up for the rest of the day. At least it didn't rain (no, it was saving that for the entire duration of the following day, as I write this very report). I just love new age British Summertime.

Perranporth is the next main resort town south of Newquay. It has an absolutely fantastic beach which seems to stretch for miles. You can shake off most of the tourists early doors and get close to peaceful isolation right next to the waves, lovely.
The town centre itself is basically a main street housing dozens of trinket shops, cafe's, restaurants and a few holiday pubs, the usual stuff for a typical friendly holiday resort. Mind you I did find a nice little place selling Crantock Pasties which are some of my favourites at the moment (which was a bonus).

The ground is on the northern outskirts of the town as you head out for Goonhavern, look out for the rugby posts after passing the garage on your right, the football ground is directly adjacent tucked in beside the roadside above.
I am using a selection of pre season friendlies to try and visit lower clubs in attractive games against higher SWP Premier League opposition. That continued with todays Premier opposition from nearby Newquay, a side that only just escaped relegation on the last day of the 2015/16 season at Callington. Perranporth themselves ply their trade in the Jollys Cornwall Combination League. Last season they finished 13th out of 20 with 48 points. I would agree that both clubs have scope for improvement.

As the Match Shed pulled into the car park next to the Ponsmere Valley ground I immediately groaned at the site of parking meters. The council and private parking companies appear to have the whole of Perranporth locked down into a rigid pay and display culture. This car park was quite a hike to the beach but they still wanted Joe Public to fork out 4 quid minimum to park a vehicle. No way Jose, I did a Match Shed 9 point turn and tried my luck on the nearby street. I was extremely lucky to find a vacant space in a long line of bumper to bumper roadside parking just up from the club and beyond the line of strict no parking cones, result.
The Ponsmere Valley ground doesn't have an abundance of football stadium culture, Cornwall is beautiful but its a tad short on that kind of stuff. Without wishing to appear in any way disrespectful to a hard working non league club, its basically a bumpy pitch (when dry) next to a small clubhouse and some changing rooms. I can appreciate that it is really difficult on a limited budget to keep a football pitch in pristine order with the radically changing weather that the South West gets. It does have the bonus of floodlights though which potentially affords some wintertime mid week games and certain training sessions? Must add that the ground is really well kept and everything is extremely neat and tidy here. It gently nestles besides the slopes of a nearby golf club and the Perran Sands holiday camp beside the main road into the town, across the plane rests the town with its homely seaside trappings and the ever expanding housing estates as the developers dig deep into the nearby countryside. Seems a popular place looking at the amount of mechanical excavation equipment and infinity building foundations.

The pitch looked dry and hard. We had some rare hot weather down here last week but there has also been an awful lot of rain, I was surprised how dried out it appeared, must be hard work indeed for the groundsman. Nice to see a polite spread of local Perranporth supporters and some who'd made the short journey over from Newquay. I even spotted a few tourist look a likes with various League club shirts on, all good stuff for the good of the game (England forgotten etc.)
As for the match, well, how can I politely put this... it wasn't the best, in fact it was pretty much pants. Never have I seen such a collection of open-net sitters fluffed when it would have been far easier to score. Unreal. The ball was like a jumping jack firework on a massive bouncy castle, lets say it wasn't a level playing field in every technical sense of the phrase. With ball control at a minimum the first half went into non league 'Apocalypse Now' mode. Weird but not very wonderful. The hoof, clog and charge strategy was having a distinct effect on the proceedings. A free kick come cross slipped by everyone on the edge of the area, including the keeper and Newquay (in red and white stripes) took a 1-0 lead. Perranporth charged back up the pitch shouting cherry picked football squad slogans at each other, sadly, it had little reward. I sat down on the grass bank behind one of the goals to question what the hell was I doing here?
In an attempt to return to the living I stumbled into the clubhouse at half time for a coffee. Slowly I could feel my arms again and heard peoples voices around me, I hadn't been sent to football hell after all, surely things could only get better?

In accordance with the other 3 friendlies I have seen in Cornwall this season the SWP Premier League side took a second half grip of the proceedings and pretty much bossed the game. Newquay ended up with 5 goals but it could easily have been well into double figures. The Perranporth keeper was my man of the match, single handed he tried to stop the merciless tide coming in. Miraculous save after save hounded the Newquay attack, despite the rare glitch he had a stormer, well done Sir, you are a credit to your club and by the look of things, they really need to keep hold of you.
As full time and the sanctuary of the Match Shed beckoned the last rights were played out amongst half cut tourists from the beach and the pub strolling back to the Caravan Park along the road above the ground, a few of them yelled out clever dick comments more in line with a Rugby international, some of the worse for wear ones actually thought a rugby match was taking place? Was it the nearby posts from the adjoining rugby pitch... or maybe the kick and clap long high balls zooming up and down the playing field? Who knows, I think the Man United highlights are on Sky Sports later tonight for them anyway, sleep tight peeps.
Goodbye for now Perranporth, good luck to both sides for the season.