South West Peninsula League Division 1 West (what a mouthful)
BERE ALSTON UNITED 1 LISKEARD ATHLETIC 4
Attendance: 70 (dodgy headcount)
Admission: £2 which included their first ever programme
Tea Hut Stuff: Saw some blokes with mugs of tea near the changing hut
Weather: Overcast, reasonably mild but still had to put the trusty coat on
Parking: Car Park full, parked down the lane, some parked on the Rec area
Welcome Bere Alston to the SWPL. This was their first game in the much respected competition and what better start than to have the entertaining Liskeard club as opposition. They even did a programme for the occasion which I am led to believe was a first ever edition.
Bere Alston is a small tidy village about 6 miles from Tavistock off the road from Callington. It's a relaxing nice drive without the antics of tourists taking on tractors. I arrived pleasantly calm without the need for extra blood pressure tablets. It is a fine achievement for such a sedate humble village to have a football club in the SWPL and it was obvious that a small group of people had worked extremely hard to attain such a status. The Chairman, Westy Westlake also steps up as a Player and takes on the Joint Manager role with Mark Wheeler, in similar fashion Mark is also Club Treasurer. Westy didn't get on the pitch today but you could see him doing his stuff in the dug out. There are doubtless other colleagues doing their bit like the chap taking on the task of getting people to pay in at the playing fields gate, it's possibly been free entry up until now. At only 2 quid it's gotta be the best value around. Poor chap seemed to be getting some negative remarks from nearby houses on the lane, don't think the Bere Alston population was prepared for the baying hordes of 70 odd punters rolling up for a football match, for goodness sake one of the mob had a flask and a sandwich box, nobody wants to witness anti-social behaviour like that going on. I also think the Club Secretary Derek Murphy puts in a regular shift running the line as the designated linesman?
The ground has little in the way of stands or structures, the only building houses the changing rooms and a nice selection of endangered spiders in the mens bogs. The pitch looked very good indeed and somebody needs a pat on the back for its presentation, the playing area is complimented by a wooden fence and nearby trees, it pans out to a large recreational playing field space giving the ground a wide open feel which may entice a biting breeze come winter time.
Todays visitors Liskeard Athletic just missed out on promotion last season and look a firm bet to be challenging hard again this season. Under the crafty coaching of Richard Woods and Martin Hodge the line up is studded with quality players all the way through the side with Josh Gilbert in goal, Sam Gilbert on the left, Jack Podmore and Jarryd Woods dictating the middle with James Lorenz and Ben Collins continually marauding forwards.
Looking at the 1-4 final score most will reckon Liskeard pretty much strolled this game but that was certainly not the case. For a long period both sides were evenly matched at 1-1 with Bere Alston proving a tough nut to crack indeed. It was the lethal James Lorenz who broke the deadlock with a well taken strike, only then did Liskeard get the extra space to exploit the game with Lorenz going on to get a hat trick, fair to say his last couple of goals were assisted by some rather lapse defending but he was in the right place at just the right time to take full advantage.
A few armchair experts have said Bere Alston may struggle this introductory season but I saw enough here to warrant some confidence about holding their own. They are well led both off and on the pitch, get stuck in and have some nice positive options to put the opposition on the back foot, good luck to them.
As for Liskeard, they did impress me, good football side who could go all the way if they can keep their key players on the pitch. It will be a very good side who can finish above them this season.
*All the snaps should properly enlarge if you click on them.