Sunday 28th July 2019
South West Peninsula League Charity Vase
LISKEARD ATHLETIC 4 STOKE GABRIEL 1
Attendance: 82 (head count)
Admission: £5 & £3 concessions (2 games, the Vase & the Charity Bowl later)
Programme: Free! Good one too
Tea Hut Stuff: Steak Pasty £2.20, loved it
Weather: Cloudy but pleasantly warm, got the odd sunny spell
Parking: Club car park, got packed out as the afternoon progressed
The SWPL Charity Day is a smashing day out. They put 2 games on, The Vase and The Bowl. I was only doing the Vase today which was between last seasons Division 1 champions from the East and West divisions, Stoke Gabriel & Liskeard Athletic respectively.
Money raised from the admission charge and raffles is passed to the League Benevolent Fund. The Fund helps persons from the League or Member Clubs who need assistance following injury, illness or unfortunate circumstances.
This was the last Charity Vase fixture we'll see, FA league restructuring means the SWPL will now operate 2 Premier Leagues (East & West Regions for Devon and Cornwall), there will no longer be the Division One leagues.
Elburton Villa kindly provided a welcoming neutral venue for todays action. They are a SWPL Premier League East club based a couple of miles up the road from Plymouth City Centre. There's a bar, tea hut and what looks to be ongoing development taking place. They were excellent hosts for the proceedings.
The ground has an attractive old school covered enclosure at the clubhouse end of the stadium which also houses the admission unit. There are a few seats under cover which give a great view of the action.
The Main Stand lies about a quarter way down the touchline. I get the impression this will be a popular spot during winter, especially when the rain comes in off the Atlantic.
That's it structure wise. There is plenty of grass banking to watch from at the clubhouse end and beside the Main Stand, the stand roof and the dug outs can get in the way a bit but there's plenty of room to pick the right spot.
The rest of the ground is railed with hard standing everywhere apart from the side opposite the Main Stand. I don't think one is meant to view from this area as its just grass underfoot with a narrow gap between the pitch and the mesh fence which prevents the ball getting lost. To be fair there is a rail in place at each corner flag which is probably meant to stop people viewing here but today saw a few spectators wandering through. Watch out for the nettles if you've got shorts on, my leg is still stinging now. Think it could also get a bit boggy on a wet day.
The Tea Hut is adjacent to the Bar outside the ground so you are best loading up before entering the stadium. There was a pass-out scheme in operation today which the club will probably apply for their league games.
There are burgers, confectionery and hot & cold drinks on offer. I was tempted by a reasonably priced Steak Pasty (£2.20) which was absolutely delicious, the lady in the hut informed me it was from Pilgrim Pasties. The same Company have a large stall in Plymouth Indoor Market back in the centre. I'll be stocking up next time I'm down there.
I couldn't stay all afternoon so I picked this game rather than The Charity Bowl match between Saltash United & Tavistock later on. Sadly it was a rather tame affair. Apparently, although Stoke Gabriel were on fire last season it turns out almost the entire squad and management have left. I'm not sure of the reasons but it has evidently had a knock on effect as regards them getting a side together for the upcoming season. 15 minutes before kick off todays squad only had 8 players warming up? By kick off they'd got the 11 they needed but didn't have any subs. I also got the impression that certain players on show were not the recognised choices for first team selection. I think the officials sensibly cut them some slack so we actually got a game taking place. Not what you want to witness for what should be a prestigious event. The Stoke Gabriel manager did a tremendous job coaching some of the side through the game in what were extremely unenviable circumstances.
Needless to say Liskeard bossed the encounter as Stoke Gabriel more or less parked the bus. I don't think Liskeard used the top gears as they coasted to a 2-0 half time lead. Second half saw more of the same although Stoke Gabriel did invade the opposition half a few times, on one of these raids they actually got on the score sheet.
Liskeard won 4-1 and did nothing wrong, apart from fluffing plenty of chances, they strolled it to be honest. A nice bit of silverware for this improving side, they always play decent football under the management team of Richard Woods and Martin Hodge.
As for the neutral, unfortunately it was pretty much pants, especially as it was supposed to be a match-up between league champions.
There was a nice little presentation after the final whistle made by the SWPL.
To increase my disappointment I learned later that the other game being played was an absolute cracker with Saltash just pipping Tavistock 6-5, yep, that's 11 goals in 90 minutes and by all accounts an unmissable end to end classic. I'll get me coat.....