Holmer Green 0 Brockenhurst 4
Families, we all love them, but do they have to have emergencies on a Saturday? I had spent the whole week researching a trip to Deeping & had all my train and bus timetables at the ready. Then the call came and I had to attend a family event on the Saturday morning which politically, I couldn’t get out of. This threw me into an obvious quandary. I would be free from 1pm, Deeping was now out of the question, so I studied the draw trying to find a game that I could reach. Just when Leverstock Green was looking to be my only option, my wife gave me a most unexpected lifeline by offering to drive me to a game. Back to the draw to hopefully find a ground I hadn’t visited. We agreed on Holmer Green, a trip of about 35 miles which she was happy to do. Now, at this point I must point out that my wife has never, ever, been to football before & I’m very grateful to her for putting herself out. My only concern was the M25, would it be the usual Saturday afternoon gridlock? My luck was definitely in this afternoon, as it was completely clear and we found the ground with an hour to spare. We decided to find a pub, which proved to be surprisingly difficult. We must have driven about 3 miles up long residential streets and bizarrely, couldn’t find one. I eventually spotted one up a side street in Widmer End. The Royal Standard turned out to be a locals pub, not particularly welcoming and an outrageous £6.50 for a pint of Guinness, a coke & a bag of crisps. Not going back there in a hurry! We sat outside whilst the locals sat in silence watching England beat Australia in the rugby. We returned to the ground after the game and ‘er indoors opted to stay in the car working on her laptop whilst I watched the game. The Double Decker I bought her seemed to keep her happy. There’s a good clubhouse at Holmer Green which judging by all the posters inside, is heavily used. There’s a well stocked bar, good sized halls and a selection of pool tables. There is a hatch serving food & drinks although my tea was only luke warm when served. Players walk along a path from this complex to the pitch which is behind a large hedge. The old boy on the gate was very welcoming & claimed he was falling asleep due to the lack of spectators arriving, maybe the rugby had kept people away? The crowd eventually reached about 40 in numbers and this season attendances seem to be falling round by round for me. The ground itself was a little disappointing. One stand that has 2 large wooden benches which would seat about 20 with room for people to stand behind & to the side of these. This is a white rail ground with wire fencing below the rail, hard standing on 3 sides and an unremarkable pitch. This is a typical South Midlands ground that lacks a bit of character, probably due to the uninteresting backdrop.
The ground was livened up by a pair of red kites that kept flying over the ground. The most majestic looking birds with a huge wingspan and so graceful in flight. I’ve seen them along the M40 corridor before but never this near London.
I keep bumping into Brockenhurst on my travels & I’m starting to recognise 1 or 2 of their fans. The first half was an even contest played at a quick pace with end to end action & some nice skilful play. Kevin Reacord, apparently making his full debut, scored a hattrick and looked a great player. Last season of course he reached the final with AFC Totton. He scored his first on 16 minutes with a slightly lucky cross which flew in over the keeper, his second was thumped home right on half time, a goal that knocked the stuffing out of Holmer Green. Full marks to Brockenhurst keeper Vine who caught everything & made some great first half saves to preserve their lead. Reacord completed his hattrick on 69 minutes, squeezing a shot home from a tight angle at the far post. Young completed the scoring 2 minutes later, slotting home after a neat 1-2. At about this time, the fellow next to me pointed into the sky and said “There’s the second half entertainment” as 3 hot air balloons flew by. “Just about sums Holmer Green up” he said, “Their balloon’s gone up”
There was still time for the miss of the season as a Brockenhurst substitute was presented with a wide open goal 10 yards out, yet somehow managed to shoot the ball sideways. He spent the next 2 minutes standing in the middle of the pitch with his hands on his head.
This won’t go down as a favourite ground of mine, but at short notice, it was there when I needed it.