Saturday 23rd July 2016
Pre Season Friendly (Brian Biggin Memorial Trophy)
PERRANPORTH 1 NEWQUAY 5
Attendance: 90 head count
Programme: None published
Tea Hut Stuff: Coffee £1
Weather: Dull and overcast, muggy
Parking: Squeezed in at the end of the overlooking road
The Match Shed hit holiday maker traffic on the A38 near Bodmin and got a second dose on the A30 approaching the Goonhavern turn. Cars crammed full of beach balls, brightly coloured towels and shopping bags bursting with jaunty swimming costumes. Wondered if they'd remembered to pack the umbrella's and the raincoats? This is 2016 Cornwall remember.
Despite the comments above, the sun was out and it had been a glorious morning weather wise. Everyone was cheerful, happy and filled with holiday anticipation. It wouldn't last though, a thick lead grey cover of dense cloud moved in and parked up for the rest of the day. At least it didn't rain (no, it was saving that for the entire duration of the following day, as I write this very report). I just love new age British Summertime.
Perranporth is the next main resort town south of Newquay. It has an absolutely fantastic beach which seems to stretch for miles. You can shake off most of the tourists early doors and get close to peaceful isolation right next to the waves, lovely.
The town centre itself is basically a main street housing dozens of trinket shops, cafe's, restaurants and a few holiday pubs, the usual stuff for a typical friendly holiday resort. Mind you I did find a nice little place selling Crantock Pasties which are some of my favourites at the moment (which was a bonus).
The ground is on the northern outskirts of the town as you head out for Goonhavern, look out for the rugby posts after passing the garage on your right, the football ground is directly adjacent tucked in beside the roadside above.
I am using a selection of pre season friendlies to try and visit lower clubs in attractive games against higher SWP Premier League opposition. That continued with todays Premier opposition from nearby Newquay, a side that only just escaped relegation on the last day of the 2015/16 season at Callington. Perranporth themselves ply their trade in the Jollys Cornwall Combination League. Last season they finished 13th out of 20 with 48 points. I would agree that both clubs have scope for improvement.
As the Match Shed pulled into the car park next to the Ponsmere Valley ground I immediately groaned at the site of parking meters. The council and private parking companies appear to have the whole of Perranporth locked down into a rigid pay and display culture. This car park was quite a hike to the beach but they still wanted Joe Public to fork out 4 quid minimum to park a vehicle. No way Jose, I did a Match Shed 9 point turn and tried my luck on the nearby street. I was extremely lucky to find a vacant space in a long line of bumper to bumper roadside parking just up from the club and beyond the line of strict no parking cones, result.
The Ponsmere Valley ground doesn't have an abundance of football stadium culture, Cornwall is beautiful but its a tad short on that kind of stuff. Without wishing to appear in any way disrespectful to a hard working non league club, its basically a bumpy pitch (when dry) next to a small clubhouse and some changing rooms. I can appreciate that it is really difficult on a limited budget to keep a football pitch in pristine order with the radically changing weather that the South West gets. It does have the bonus of floodlights though which potentially affords some wintertime mid week games and certain training sessions? Must add that the ground is really well kept and everything is extremely neat and tidy here. It gently nestles besides the slopes of a nearby golf club and the Perran Sands holiday camp beside the main road into the town, across the plane rests the town with its homely seaside trappings and the ever expanding housing estates as the developers dig deep into the nearby countryside. Seems a popular place looking at the amount of mechanical excavation equipment and infinity building foundations.
The pitch looked dry and hard. We had some rare hot weather down here last week but there has also been an awful lot of rain, I was surprised how dried out it appeared, must be hard work indeed for the groundsman. Nice to see a polite spread of local Perranporth supporters and some who'd made the short journey over from Newquay. I even spotted a few tourist look a likes with various League club shirts on, all good stuff for the good of the game (England forgotten etc.)
As for the match, well, how can I politely put this... it wasn't the best, in fact it was pretty much pants. Never have I seen such a collection of open-net sitters fluffed when it would have been far easier to score. Unreal. The ball was like a jumping jack firework on a massive bouncy castle, lets say it wasn't a level playing field in every technical sense of the phrase. With ball control at a minimum the first half went into non league 'Apocalypse Now' mode. Weird but not very wonderful. The hoof, clog and charge strategy was having a distinct effect on the proceedings. A free kick come cross slipped by everyone on the edge of the area, including the keeper and Newquay (in red and white stripes) took a 1-0 lead. Perranporth charged back up the pitch shouting cherry picked football squad slogans at each other, sadly, it had little reward. I sat down on the grass bank behind one of the goals to question what the hell was I doing here?
In an attempt to return to the living I stumbled into the clubhouse at half time for a coffee. Slowly I could feel my arms again and heard peoples voices around me, I hadn't been sent to football hell after all, surely things could only get better?
In accordance with the other 3 friendlies I have seen in Cornwall this season the SWP Premier League side took a second half grip of the proceedings and pretty much bossed the game. Newquay ended up with 5 goals but it could easily have been well into double figures. The Perranporth keeper was my man of the match, single handed he tried to stop the merciless tide coming in. Miraculous save after save hounded the Newquay attack, despite the rare glitch he had a stormer, well done Sir, you are a credit to your club and by the look of things, they really need to keep hold of you.
As full time and the sanctuary of the Match Shed beckoned the last rights were played out amongst half cut tourists from the beach and the pub strolling back to the Caravan Park along the road above the ground, a few of them yelled out clever dick comments more in line with a Rugby international, some of the worse for wear ones actually thought a rugby match was taking place? Was it the nearby posts from the adjoining rugby pitch... or maybe the kick and clap long high balls zooming up and down the playing field? Who knows, I think the Man United highlights are on Sky Sports later tonight for them anyway, sleep tight peeps.
Goodbye for now Perranporth, good luck to both sides for the season.