I’m currently in the process of looking for a new place to live, and spending my free time organising viewings of flats & properties. Due to one of these viewings being organised for this past Saturday morning, it meant I would not be able to make the long trip to Lewes to see the might Beachboys get revenge for the 6-3 humiliation they suffered just before Christmas. I did have some time spare though afterwards, and I thought I should check out another local (ish) non league club to get my Saturday dose of football.
So I made my way to Burroughs Park, home of Great Wakering Rovers, to see them take on London Bari in the Essex Senior League. It was a bit of a trek to get there, as the ground isn’t exactly well signposted when you hit Wakering, heading down a very small side road in the town to find the place, but thanks to a trusty sat-nav I got there from Canvey in just over 30minutes. First impressions were that it was a decent little ground, car park in good condition unlike some in non-league, and a few people arriving at around the same time. Only £6 to enter which was a pleasant surprise, and a very professional looking programme for £1 to go with it!
Upon walking in I caught up with Andy and his other half Eve, who have filmed & taken pictures of previous Concord games, as they regularly film the Wakering games and update the Great Wakering Rovers twitter account. It was a fairly chilly afternoon, and I didn’t envy Andy as he took his spot on top of the toilet block to film the game! Also before kickoff I saw & spoke to both Dan Trenkel and Danny Heale, both of whom I mainly met through twitter! For those that don’t know, Trenkel is a former Beachboy who is now the player/manager at Rovers, whilst Heale is playing for Rovers on a dual registration with Canvey Island FC (who he joined after leaving Concord many years ago). Both are good guys and I was hoping they’d get a decent result today!
The first half wasn’t really much to shout about, both teams had chances with the most glaring being an early Heale header which scraped the top of the bar. Wakering looked like a good side, but Bari were playing a fair bit of long ball football in my eyes, almost not caring about it at times. After speaking with the guys earlier I realised that Bari were a bit of a bogey team for Wakering, as Rovers had lost their last 3 encounters with them this season. The first half ended scoreless, but it had been an entertaining 45 minutes overall, and I hoped for more of the same in the second half. Of course, this was after my foray to the snack bar, where I grabbed an impressive double quarter pounder with cheese! You can generally judge a club by its grub, and Wakering did well on this front!
The second half certainly provided more action than the first, as Bari took a 1-0 lead thanks to a hugely deflected shot beating the Rovers keeper. This seemed to galvanise the away team and they continued to put Wakering under pressure, scoring 2 more goals in the process. Two substitutions were forced on Wakering through the game, with David Collins being injured in the first half, and Danny Heale picking up a knock in the second. It just wasn’t to be their day really. With 5 minutes to go though Rovers began to really pile on some pressure, and even managed to grab a late consolation goal, but it wasn’t enough as London Bari walked away 3 points richer with a 3-1 win.
It was a shame really, as Great Wakering Rovers have a good little set-up over there, a friendly club that welcomed me and had a good family atmosphere. I love that in a club, it’s one of the reasons I’ve become so enamoured with Concord Rangers in a way. As I said before, it’s a good ground, even if it’s out of the way a bit, and I would gladly go over there again to see Rovers play. Best of luck to Trenks & his side for the rest of the season!