Twice I’ve been to Center Parcs at Longleat, only a mile or so from this ground. Both times I was in the area, Warminster Town were away. So this was a ground I had a determination about visiting, & here was a good opportunity.
Firstly, another complaint about British rail. I have a Network rail card, when I examined the websites at National Rail & Raileasy, the cheapest fair was about £55 return. Now, I was prepared to pay this but had to renew my expiring Network card. Whilst examining the coverage map on the leaflet, I saw that it reached Bath. I wondered to myself if it would be cheaper to get a network return to Bath & then buy a straight return from Bath to Warminster. Needless to say, this way came in £12 cheaper. Although please with myself, it made me think that it may be even cheaper another way & why did these websites not flag up this option?
My journey was straightforward enough and I had an interesting view of where the Reading festival was the week before. The marquees were still up. There were abandoned tents still in the fields along with thousands of rubbish bags. The music festivals certainly have their place but what a nightmare to clear up.
I did my good deed at Bath station whilst catching my connection. The train pulled in & a member of staff barked out loud “Well get off then”. This small boy and girl, I’m guessing about 5 years old came to the door and stood looking terrified as there was quite a gap between the train & the platform. I reached out & helped them down. As I boarded the train, the member of staff in a polite voice asked me if I’d like a drink from the trolley. I gritted my teeth & declined to tell her what I was actually thinking.
Whilst looking for a lunch venue in Warminster, I was suddenly greeted with the sight of a Routemaster, red London bus coming round he corner. Talk about a sight for sore eyes, it was an absolute delight to see it and gave me a warm glow for the rest of the day. I looked it up on the Internet when I got home & discovered that it was being used for trips to Imber open day on Salisbury plain, this location is usually completely off bounds to the public as it is an MOD site, wjhat a great idea!
Lunch was taken in a café off the main High street called Gorge café. I got excellent cod, chips & peas for only £3.40, a bargain. It was a strange little café with loads of elderly ladies passing the time of day over the dregs of a coffee cup, one of them at an outside table got through 3 cigarettes in 20 minutes. I initially felt a little sad for them, but with hindsight they probably love the place and the company.
The ground is about a 15 minute walk from the station, the last segment up quite a steep hill. Being so high, you are treated to superb views of the rolling hills and indeed, a view right down on to Warminster town. The clubhouse has an unusual beige coloured roof and its shape reminds me of a little aircraft hanger. The inside has a bar, large screen TV and all looks quite tidy and modern. A white rail surrounds the pitch, there is hard standing around about half the ground, some cover and a single row of seats in front of the clubhouse. Another little covered area at the near end is also available, this may be designed for wheelchair users?
After a bright start by Warminster, they were comprehensibly beaten by a well drilled Hayling unit who looked quite useful.
Hayling were four up at half time after a header, a penalty after a push and a couple of extremely skilful and well finished moves. Warminster were given the softest of penalties for handball only a minute into the second period but the Hayling keeper made a classy diving stop. The final goal came on 75 minues straight from a 30 yard free kick that the keeper should have stopped.
Nice to get the competition under way again and a trip that I thoroughly enjoyed.