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Friday, January 23, 2009

Washout saved by Waders

Biggleswade Town 2 Croydon 1


Once again, I had good intentions when the draw was published. I decided on visiting Christchurch despite the fact that it was quite a journey with a long walk to the ground. But after weeks of freezing weather & heavy frosts, the temperature warmed up & suddenly we had storms and heavy rain. And at 8am on match day, the game was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch. I have to commend Christchurch who published the pitch inspection the night before on their website and updated their site as soon as a decision was made. So plan B was put into operation, step up Biggleswade.

Whenever a new ground opens, Hoppers all descend on mass & you read report after opinion on the new facilities. I usually leave it a few years to see a ground once it’s settled down. But beggars can’t be choosers and having checked that the match was on, I made the simple journey to the ground.

It’s funny how events happen & having taken a seat on my train, I took to reading a book. A couple of stations down the line and /i became aware of a conversation on the seats across the aisle from me where two guys were discussing the postponement at Christchurch and why they couldn’t understand it. I probably scared the hell out of them by butting in & explaining the reason for the postponement. The guys then showed me the way to the ground from the station, a happy coincidence. For those who don’t know, you turn right out the station towards the town centre, keep walking until you reach the fish and chip shop where you turn left, walk along the road under the A1 and the ground is on your right. It’s about a 15 minute walk from the station.

Biggleswade’s previous ground was little more than a pitch at a recreation ground with a tiny covered area and a tiny clubhouse with no facilities. The new ground is about as different as can be. A purpose built stadium set back from the road with good parking, it makes an immediate impression. The clubhouse is large with a bar, pool tables and will certainly be used for other functions. There is also a gym and physio area. The pitch is flat and there is an impressive stand for this level, a much smaller covered area is on the opposite side. A neat, tall fence surrounds the ground. Everything looks very new and the officials are justifiably proud. I never thought I’d see Biggleswade (The Waders) in such a facility.

I broke my rule of not eating hot food at football grounds and ordered a hot dog from the burger van. It was edible but basically reminded me of why I normally eat in the town I am visiting.
Croydon were the liveliest side from the whistle and I don’t think we ever saw the best of Biggleswade all game. The first goal came on 28 mins for Croydon. A quick free kick down the left channel into the box was crossed to the far post where Atkins scored with a stooping header. Biggleswade equalised on the stroke of half time, winning a dubious penalty after a man was bundled over in the right of the area, Kilroy scored comfortably from the spot. The winner came on 50 mins, a neat 1-2 30 yards out resulted in a 25 yard drive that caught a wicked deflection and left the keeper with no chance, it has to go down as an og. Croydon pressed for an equaliser and the Biggleswade keeper made one superb save.
Nice to see a 'Good news' story in non league football for a change.

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