Pre Season Friendly
St Cleer 2 Launceston Reserves 1
Attendance: 26 (roughly)
Programme: Stop being silly
Tea Hut Stuff: Could smell the makings of a BBQ second half
Weather: Reasonably warm, slight breeze, sunny spells & dry
Parking: Club car park
St Cleer FC have been promoted to the East Cornwall Premier League and have a super little set up north of the village at the Parish Sports Field. This picture perfect community on the edge of Bodmin Moor is just a few miles up the road from Liskeard which has the benefits of the A38 & a main line rail network. The countryside around St Cleer is tremendous. It's a lovely area with the bonus of having a hard working grass roots football club that is well respected for nurturing young players and playing the game the right way.
For anyone contemplating a worthwhile visit to the village you may initially be a little lost in immediately spotting the usual grub-hunter outlets expected in the bigger football localities. There is a lively new Wetherspoons back in Liskeard but you may favour something slightly more local? Fear not, with a quick search on Google you'll easily locate some satisfying tucker. There are tasty hot local pasties at the Horizon Farm Shop just down the hill near Tremar.
There are also some substantial big plate dinners to be enjoyed at the Cheesewring Hotel/Pub about 2 and a quarter miles eastbound. Be careful, you may need to lie down afterwards. The Cheesewring Hotel also appear to be the shirt sponsors for St Cleer FC which makes the establishment even more deserving.
Cornwall had plenty of rain the day previous, the first for 4 weeks, it complimented what seemed to be a good playing surface as both sides had little difficulty knocking the ball about early doors. This is a well kept little ground.
Midway through the first half Launceston took the lead with an impressive strike from outside the box but it was St Cleer who looked the more dominant with valuable possession, unfortunately for the home supporters they just couldn't turn the ball retention into goal scoring opportunities.
The referee did what was within his control to deal with the usual claims for various dodgy misdemeanours. An objective that wasn't entirely complemented by a few dubious linesman decisions (each club provides 1 linesman each at this level). I'm sure the respective liners did their best under the circumstances? Personally I thought the Ref did pretty well all in all.
You always see things happening at non league level that would be completely unheard of at an EFL or Premier League game. I had to smile at the chap with the big drill mingling amongst the spectators in the stand doing a bit of DIY fixing up advertising signs, everyone just got on with watching the game oblivious to the commotion.
HT 0-1 to Launceston
The second half was soon joined by the unmistakable waft of an appetising BBQ, plumes of seasoned smoke drifted above the roof of the little stand tempting the less interested souls from the action. The St Cleer club had their reserve side playing after the main match against a St Minver Select so they were obviously going to be making a full day of it grub & ale wise.
In the 58th minute the home side got the equaliser, not long after they surged ahead 2-1, the rigid Launceston defence had finally parted and St Cleer took the opportunity to take a firmer grip on the proceedings. Nobody was giving an inch without a struggle and unusually for a friendly game we got a full on fisticuffs brawl. There were only 2 combatants, everybody else on the pitch simply tried to separate them. At least one couldn't argue that the two clubs weren't taking the proceedings seriously. Turned out a better knockdown than one of those extortionately overpriced fight-nights that Sky Sports keep pushing.
St Cleer got the win but Launceston didn't lose any credibility in commitment. A decent little pre season friendly on a pleasant July afternoon.
I do love that little stand St Cleer have. Excellent at this level of football.
Good luck to both clubs for the coming season.