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

Sunday, 6 September 2020

Gateway to Dartmoor

Saturday 5th September 2020

South West Peninsula League East


Attendance: 80 (dodgy head count)

Admission: Bargain £4 or £2 concessions

Programme: Bit slim but only 50p

Weather: Plenty of sunshine, occasional scattered cloud

Parking: Club car park, beware, its small & you get blocked in

Left Cornwall early afternoon and bribed the guards at the Tamar Border Control (the bloke in the booth selfishly took 2 quid off me). I was soon jaunting up the A38 dodging erratic homeward bound holiday makers still razzled from their last night binge in the caravan.

Bovey Tracey is a lovely little place on the eastern edge of Dartmoor. I'd visited this area when I lived Up North. I had a contract to do Safety Inspections at a premises on the nearby Heathfield Industrial Estate. Usually took me 2 hours and I got expenses to stay in a big flashy hotel in Torquay, those were the days.

The big match witnessed classy Crediton visiting the leafy splendour of Mill Marsh Park. They brought a bit of support with them, it's only the other side of Exeter so not too much of a trip. Hope they got somewhere to park, it's not easy dumping the car near the ground, I got The Match Shed in the last gap against the fence in the tiny club car park, I was feeling rather pleased with myself until some other cars followed me in and promptly blocked me in. I'm never a fan of grid-lock parking especially as the chap who did for The Match Shed decided to have a leisurely chat at the clubhouse following the final whistle.

Great to see the home club respecting Covid 19 precautions, they had a signing in book for track & trace and automatic sanitiser units both at the entrance and the clubhouse. Also got the luxury of hot water, plenty of liquid soap and plentiful paper towels in the toilets, bit like that fancy hotel I mentioned back in Torquay. Benches and a few tables had been appropriately well spaced outside the clubhouse and it was nice to see people casually having a drink or a snack before kick off. The social distancing pitch side was pretty much ok, you'll always get a nob-head who ignores it but I only had to move the once so the matchday experience wasn't too anxious. Full marks to Bovey Tracey.

Mill Marsh Park is a picturesque place to watch football with scenic views through the trees to the Dartmoor foothills. There aren't the old school trappings that groundhoppers crave but the place is neat and tidy, has a great looking pitch and there is a small stand with seating and a similar covered unit on the far side for those wishing to stand up (probably a popular spot when the winter kicks in).

The match itself was a keenly contested affair with little to choose between the sides. There was the obvious early season rustiness but plenty of free flowing play which often resulted in near misses or the dreaded fluffed sitter. Crediton went into a two nil half time lead with a couple of well taken goals and their solid defence obviously posed a problem for home side objectives to turn things around.

The second half followed a similar pattern to the first but gradually Bovey Tracey expanded the pressure and took more of a grip. What probably had a deciding affect on the proceedings was the strange occurrence of Sean Finch, one of the home teams strikers, being sin binned for dissent not once but twice! The second occasion quickly followed the first and witnessed a gobsmacked Sean trudging off the pitch after he'd just knocked a 25 yard free kick into the Crediton net. Apparently the Referee adjudged there was a Bovey Tracey player illegally affecting the Crediton wall. 

Rumour has it a voice was heard telling the Referee to F-Off, the Referee thought it was Sean although those around the incident were of the opinion that the abuse came from a spectator on the touchline. Having a cracking goal disallowed and going back to 10 men really put the home side up against it and despite grabbing one back with a scrambled goal in the last minute and then the drama of a last gasp free kick Crediton took the 3 points.

Enjoyable visit.

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