Sunday, 22 July 2012

Two Herts - part 2

Saturday 21st July 2012
Pre-Season Friendly
Garden Walk, Royston

Following on from the 12.30pm kick-off at nearby Baldock I head nine miles eastwards along the A505 to Royston. I arrived at the ground with around twenty minutes before kick-off, but due to parking being at a premium I parked at the Town Hall car park, which is a few minutes walk away and only cost 50p due to it being free after 3pm.

The town grew up around the crossing of two ancient throughfare - Ermine Street and Icknield Way and is located in north-east Hertfordshire and has a population of around 14,500. It is situated on the Greenwich Meridian and is 14 miles south west of Cambridge and 44 miles north of London.

The football club were founded in 1875 and a list of some of their first team honours are listed below:

Spartan South Midlands League champions: 2011/12
Spartan South Midlands League Premier Division Cup winners: 2011/12
Spartan South Midlands League Floodlit Cup winners: 2008/09; 2009/10; 2010/11; 2011/12
Spartan South Midlands League Division 1 winners: 2008/09
Spartan South Midlands League Division 1 Cup winners: 2008/09
South Midlands League Division 1 winners: 1977/78
South Midlands League Floodlit Cup winners: 1994/95
Herts County League champions: 1976/77
Herts County League Division 1 winners: 1969/70; 1972/73 
Herts Charity Shield winners: 1981/82; 1989/90; 1996/97
Creake Charity Shield winners: 1911/12

The ground is one I liked immediately with the wooden fencing surround the pitch instead of the bog standard metal making a pleasant change. There are three seperate areas of covered accommodation at the ground - two stands (one seated and one standing) plus a lean-to from the clubhouse. The clubhouse was refurbished and decorated during the summer and has a very modern feel about it. 

The was pretty decent, especially for a pre-season outing and despite the warm weather was played at a high temp throughout the first half. Royston caught their higher ranked opponents cold by scoring inside sixty seconds, though this was helped by a spillage from the Histon keeper that fell kindly into the path of Matt Standon. Histon were rattled and it came as no surprise when Royston doubled their lead on eight minutes, as Martin Standon headed home a corner. Histon never settled and very rarely troubled the home defence during the opening forty-five minutes, while Royston played with pace and gave the Histon defence no time or space on the ball. 

The second half was only a few minutes old when Histon got a goal back with an unstoppable header that flew past the Royston keeper. Even though it was a friendly pride is a powerful emotion and I expected Histon to throw the kitchen sink at their hosts. This didn't materialise and it was a fairly even second period. 

It is always difficult to gauge teams in pre-season games, but I feel Royston should have enough about them to at least make the play-offs in the Southern League Central Division.

Admission: £4
Programme: Free
Badge: £2.50
Attendance: c200

A slideshow of thirty photos of the ground and game can be viewed below:

A cracking pre-season double, helped by the glorious weather and Graham Norton not being on Radio 2 but instead was a DJ who I had never heard of before, John Holmes who played some cracking tunes and some banter with his guests. Enjoy "50 Ways To Say Goodbye" by Train:
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