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Wealdstone: Traveller’s Tales

Posted by Rob Brown
Posted on Sun 12 Dec 2021
Posted in News

It’s not often we get to travel to a new ground to watch the Shaymen in action. It’s perhaps the first time since our visit to Havant and Waterlooville over three years ago that we’d had such excitement. The Greetland Shayman had come out of away-day retirement, the Ripponden Shayman had dug out his A to Z of London and Tesco Pete was again late. Shortly after 8.30am we were off on our 202 mile epic journey south, it was like Christmas had come early.

With our day out well researched and organised, we’d left ourselves a generous 34 minute leeway to ensure that any traffic issues wouldn’t impact on our favourite breakfast stop. With traffic at a standstill just 10 miles from our destination, it’s fair to say there was real panic in the car. When the traffic finally started to move, we had just seven minutes remaining according to our satnav to reach our stop before the 11.30am cut off.  Luckily for us, the usual suspects from the back seat agreed to jump out of the car on arrival and dash into the restaurant, using their charm and wit to book our last-minute breakfast before they stopped serving…

Bacon, eggs, sausages, tomatoes, beans, toast, and a mug of tea; they had everything on the next table. We were stuck waiting for the lunch service to start and ended up with fish and chips for our breakfast. The charm offensive from the old boys had clearly worked again. Their negotiation skills were second to none, “You had to be here at 11.15 at the latest,” said the helpful waitress. If only Tesco Pete hadn’t been 10 minutes late again…

After an exciting trip around the M25 and a short drive along the A40, we passed the impressive RAF Northholt and arrived at the ground soon afterwards. The residential brick houses on narrow streets with front gardens converted in to parking spaces made it particularly tricky to find a parking spot. The playing fields adjacent to the ground used for football parking in the better weather were out of bounds too. Eventually we found a spot and made our way back to London for the game.

‘Welcome,’ said the club official at the entrance to the club house, all the locals were really friendly and happy to see us. The full price admission was just £15 with the old boys getting in for just £10.  The Supporters’ Club had a few gazebos selling home shirts and other memorabilia down the side of the pitch and they were happy to tell us about the history of the ground which had been acquired from the defunct Ruislip Manor back in 2008. Unusually there is a gun turret in the corner of the ground which was used to defend the nearby Northolt airfield during the war.

The ground is made up of lots of small stands and narrow walkways, you could touch the goal nets from the covered terracing at the home end. The other end has a standing area at one side of the goal and covered seating at the other side.  There are separate stands, one much closer to the pitch than the other. You could hear the fans in the other stand, you just couldn’t see them once the pathway took a sharp turn. There is a decent block of seating on halfway, akin to a cricket pavilion with bright white seats, and the other side has hospitality blocks converted from container trucks. With plenty of tea bars dotted around, it is a cosy little ground.

In the first half the Shaymen were kicking downhill. The pitch has a decent slope, both one end to the other and one side to the other. It seemed particularly tricky as the rain started to fall. The Shaymen were awarded a rare penalty midway through the first half, there were better shouts for one previously but that went unnoticed by the referee.  The spot kick was scored, and a one goal lead was perhaps the least the Shaymen deserved after a comfortable opening half.

The second half was similar to the first with the Shaymen never looking under too much pressure and creating a number of good opportunities despite playing uphill in the incessant rain. The 120 or so travelling fans were vocal and appreciated the team’s efforts and their one goal victory.

Driving back and we were in high spirits. The league table looks impressive and oh what fun it is to see the Shaymen win away.

Goals on the road 13, miles 4912, c’mon Shaymen!

Read more posts by Rob Brown

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