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

Sunday, 30 August 2020

Keep the faith... don't let it ruin your football

 Saturday 29th August 2020

Pre Season Friendly


Attendance: 30 (head count)

Admission: Free

Weather: Long sunny spells, cloud built up second half

Parking: Adjacent school car park

Callington is a quiet little town in Cornwall not far from the Devon border. Apart from a Tesco, Spar shop, B&M and a Chippy its main focal point is the big Ginsters Pasty Factory. Depending which way the breeze is blowing you can often smell the Ginsters delicacies drifting over the town. No wonder the football club are nicknamed The Pasty Men, saying that I didn't notice any bloaters in the Callington team for this fixture.

The football ground, Marshfield Parc is located at the back of the local community school just north of the tiny town centre on the A388. Look out for the roadside sign near the entrance. Follow the entrance road through the school until you reach the car park, from here follow the path through the green metal fence until you see the club entrance.

Last week I went to a match in Cornwall and was put off by the lack of Covid 19 precautions, after a few days wondering if I should carry on going along to games during these stressful, anxious times I decided to not let this horrible virus rob me of what I've enjoyed doing for the best part of my life, so sod it, Corona disease can bugger off, I'll do my own Risk Assessment and keep myself safe at the grounds I visit irrespective of whether they provide a full range of protective measures or otherwise. We need to keep the faith and support grass roots non league football. Rant over.

I'd initially seen Callington promote this attractive looking fixture with Newton Abbot Spurs on Twitter, it came with the strap line of "better get here early" on the basis of only 150 spectators would be allowed in. I rolled up ten minutes before kick off and was the 7th person in the ground. The groundsman had just started marking out the pitch. On the plus side it was a lovely day so I wasn't too miffed at the game kicking off a little later than it should have done.

On the subject of the ground staff I must mention that the playing surface looked an absolute treat.

The ground itself is one of those mixed bag locations. Parts of it are stunningly attractive (especially in the sunshine) like the large clubhouse with its patio overlooking the pitch at the top of the grass banking, then we have the rather more ordinary looking vista of the changing room buildings behind the goals at the School End, functional yes and perfectly acceptable but that clubhouse spoils you with it's glorious profile. 

Seating is available in one of the small standard flat pack stands you witness at so many places these days. I counted only around 30 people watching today so there was plenty of room to safely watch the game from various pitchside locations around all sides of the ground.

Callington Town play in the South West Peninsula League West, their visitors are members of the East section of the same League.

I had gathered that both sides were involved in squad rebuilding programmes for the upcoming season so it was a good opportunity to gauge the standard and judge how things were progressing.

What I witnessed was a decent quality friendly, which is a bit of a rarity these days. Newton Abbot Spurs in particular looked very impressive indeed. They appeared strong all over the pitch and obviously believed in knocking the ball about. They were soon creating a significant amount of chances and had romped into a 3-0 lead by half time, with no disrespect to a gallant Callington outfit it could have been a much bigger margin.

Callington applied more composure in the second half but the visitors still retained the upper hand. Plentiful substitutions obviously affected the flow of football but the game still kept the small crowd interested, we even got the bonus of a pre season friendly punch up which emphasised just how committed both sides were. The referee had a good game keeping a lid on the proceedings and establishing down to earth communication with both sets of players. 

Newton Abbot eventually ran out worthy 5-0 winners and will surely take confidence from the outing. For Callington I feel it is more of a work in progress but there definitely is a foundation to build upon, they have some talented individual players, especially the keeper, he had a very impressive performance, that 5-0 scoreline would be far greater without some top class keeping on show.

All in all a good little friendly which importantly made me feel much more confident about going along to football again.

Visit Rating 7/10

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